We get emails and calls from people like you every day and very often, they tell us how our relationship advice and information helps them create happier, closer, and more connected relationships.
This isn’t always the case.
Sometimes we get someone like “Mary” (not her real name) who just wrote to us and thinks otherwise.Normally we wouldn’t do this, but we’re sharing with you what “Mary” had to say about us and as usual, there’s an amazing relationship lesson or two here.
So, If you’re open to the relationship and love lessons, here’s what “Mary” had to say about us and our work and our answers to “Mary”…
“The information you send — I find — does not ring true of a couple who communicates under the stresses of raising a family. It sounds like you are in a marriage — without younger children — and quite possibly this marriage between the two of you is a second or third marriage …. meaning, your marriage has not really stood the test of time.
“Anyone can dispense advice under those conditions.
“Real credibility comes from a couple who has faced TOGETHER the real world challenges that married couples face — when going through life phases together, raising children together … and making it stick for the long haul.”
**** Our Response…
” We certainly can understand why “Mary” expressed those feelings because it can be tough dealing with the challenges she was talking about.
And, here’s our take on it…
What we have discovered is that we all have different life situations and those situations and challenges that go with them can change many times.
Here are a few…
- some people are dealing with the pressures of raising small children
- some are dealing with the grief of a separation or divorced
- some are happily married and want to make their relationship even better
- some are struggling in an unhappy relationship
- some are tentatively beginning a new relationship
- some are coping with job pressures
- some are dealing with care of aging parents
For the two of us–this is a second marriage for both of us (as of this writing , we’ve been together 10 years) and although we didn’t raise young children together, we did navigate the sometimes murky waters of creating a “blended family.”
So what do we have to offer that might be helpful to you in your particular circumstance or at this point in your life journey?
No matter what your life situation is, there are stresses and challenges that come up along the way.
These stresses and challenges may look different but they are really very similar.
We have learned that it’s not your circumstances but how you are able to live and move through those circumstances that makes the difference between living a life of love and just living your life.
When it comes to creating a great relationship that is close and connected, we ALL have our challenges and one person’s relationship challenge may be no better or worse than someone else’s.
It’s ALL just the story we tell ourselves about how easy (or difficult) it is or will be to create what we want that can keep us stuck.
It all comes down to discovering how you separate yourself from others–what stories you are telling yourself about them or the situations–and making a conscious choice to either open to them or close.
It comes down to making conscious commitments from the core of who we are, even in the middle of situations that we find ourselves in, and living our lives from those commitments.
And these commitments can morph and change as our lives change.
If you have limited time because of trying to balance the care of small children and a job–and everything else that goes with that situation, you and your partner may only have 15 minutes a day to connect.If that’s all the time you have together, then truly connect with love for each other for that 15 minutes.
If you are empty nesters and you want to reconnect with each other after years of “life” getting in the way, make a step toward opening to each other by rediscovering what the two of you love to do together. You may open to new ways of being together.
If you are single, wanting to be in a close, connected relationship, and it just hasn’t happened yet, practice opening in new ways to the people in your life.
No matter what your life circumstance, here are a few commitments that you might consider making to help make your life richer and more connected with the people you love…
1. Commitment to being present.
It takes as much “effort” to be present with the people in your life as it does to not be present. Not being present is just a habit we’ve all learned. Giving your full attention to someone is a way of showing your love and respect–and can be practiced and learned.
You might say that you are too busy to look at and make eye contact with your kids or your partner as they go to school, work or ask you a question. You might say that they don’t make eye contact with you. We suggest that you be the one to begin breaking the “I’m too busy” habit and try that one thing.
2. Commitment to communicating with honesty and from your heart.
Here again, communicating with half-truths or from fear is a habit that many of us have learned–and this way of communicating usually doesn’t work–as you may have figured out by now.
No matter what your life situation might be right now, learning to feel inside you for what is true for you and then learning how to communicate from that place of honesty is important to keep any relationship strong and growing. So much of our communication is based on reaction and not conscious intent–(we’re constantly practicing this one!).
Make the commitment to practice in the moment (no matter how ‘busy’ we are) to stop communicating from reaction and start communicating from love.
Difficult? It can be–but it just takes practice to get better at it!
3. Commitment to look at every day as a gift.
We just saw the film “Namesake” and one line stuck with us. It goes something like this… “I look at every day as a gift as I do you.”
What would happen if no matter what our life circumstance, we look at every day as a gift. Now of course, there are going to be better days than others–but what would happen if we reminded ourselves of this idea and tried to find the “gift” when there doesn’t look like there is one?
Is this being a “Pollyanna” or as Susie’s mom used to call Susie’s ever-positive sister– “Miss Merry Sunshine”? Well, you can look at it that way or you can begin changing the way you look at what comes your way in a different light.
This week, we invite you to look at your life a little differently and discover maybe just one way you can create a better relationship with one person who is important to you.
No matter what the other people in your life are doing, we suggest that you start with you.