The Mutuality of Marriage

“In a successful marriage, there is no such thing as one's way. There is only the way of both, only the bumpy, dusty, difficult, but always mutual path!” Phyllis McGinley

Living with PIE

Pie is wonderful! It tastes good, smells good while baking, and can bring back wonderful memories. That kind of pie is not what this post is about. This PIE is about personal responsibility, intentionality, and expectations.

Personal responsibility is important for each of us to accept if we want to reach our goals. In marriage it means taking personal responsibility for your actions, your words, your attitude, and everything else about you. Blaming your grumpiness on the boss at work as an excuse for saying mean things to your spouse does not cut it if you are taking personal responsibility. In this case taking personal responsibility means realizing you are grumpy and why, being nice to others because it is the right thing to do, explaining to your spouse what is going on and how he/she can help, and then taking care of yourself in appropriate ways to get over your grumpiness.

Intentionality is about living on purpose. When you are being intentional you have a purpose for what you are doing and you have made a conscious decision about that purpose and those actions. To use the above example being intentional is when you get home and get bombarded with questions you listen carefully because you have already decided that you are going to be nice to everyone at home even though you feel grumpy. Then, after listening, you appropriately explain how you are feeling and what would help you along with what you plan to do to deal with your grumpiness. When you live intentionally you live with plans. You have an overall plan and goals for your life and how you want to be and more detailed plans for the specifics. You can still be spontaneous as long as the spontaneous things you choose fit in your overall plan. Some people call this idea being proactive and it minimizes the times in your life when you are reactive (which often does not go well).

Expectations are the key to everything you do. When your expectations are met life is generally good and when they are not met then life is generally less than good. Make sure your expectations are realistic. If others need to know your expectations then be clear about your expectations and double check with those others to make sure they understand. Many of us who are parents have given very clear expectations to our children only to find out later that they truly did not understand the expectations. Those troubles are on us for not making things clear and checking to make sure they were clear. (See how personal responsibility and intentionality work into this example?) When in doubt, clarify your expectations, or what you believe the expectations of others are, before acting. It will save time in the long run.

Once you get in the habit of living with PIE, your life will get better and you will be well on your way to a REAL Marriage.

REAL Love Note Tip #157

Go to your local newspaper and buy an “end roll.” When newspapers have to change the roll of paper in the presses there is usually a little paper left on the roll and the companies will sell them to you for a small fee. I think I paid $4 for the last one I bought. Now you have a roll of large paper to make really big love note.

You can also use it as a throw away table cloth or for art projects with kids.

Remember, REAL Love Notes are deposits in the love bank.

Love and Psychotherapy

“Love is nature’s psychotherapy.” Eric Berne

Illusions and Consequences

“It is not a loving thing to allow people to continue living in their illusions and not encounter the consequences of their actions.” Greg Johanson and Ron Kurtz

REAL Love Note Tip #156

This coming Wednesday, October 16, 2013 is Dictionary Day! Give your special someone a REAL Love Note of dictionary definitions that describe what you like, love, or appreciate about him or her. For the fun of it you can make it look like a dictionary and call it “(Your name’s) Dictionary of Words describing the most awesome person I know: (Insert loved one’s name).”

REAL Love Notes are an investment in your REAL marriage.

REAL Date Tip #104

It is October and Fall so take advantage of the activities that come around during this time of year. Go to a local corn maze for a date and follow it up with a hay ride. Be sure to have some hot chocolate or hot apple cider.

A REAL date a week builds a REAL marriage.

REAL Love Note Tip #155

September 19th is National Talk Like a Pirate Day! So today, and each September 19th, give your spouse or special someone a note from your pirate self that lets him or her know that he or she is your treasure. You can make the note in the shape of a treasure chest or put a decorative note inside a small treasure chest to get your point across.

So, be a pirate today and steal your loved one’s heart all over again with a special note about how you treasure him or her.

REAL Love Notes are an investment in your REAL marriage.

Marriage Through The Alphabet – E

Encouraging is our “E” word. That is no surprise since the “E” in REAL marriage stands for encouraging. This is a manner of speaking to one another. Here are some suggestions about what it means to be encouraging.

  • Use your manners: Please, thank you, excuse me, etc.
  • Speak kindly
  • Be helpful
  • Be truthful
  • Watch your tone, volume, and speaking speed
  • Restate content. “You mean….”
  • Reflect emotions. “You mean…and you feel….”
  • Clarify
  • Give grace or the benefit of the doubt
  • Be aware of context
  • Listen
  • Keep the relationship in mind
  • Speak to others in a way that you would like them to speak to you
  • Give sincere compliments

Most of us could use more encouragement. Sometimes this has to do with what we say to our spouse or another person. At other times it has to do with listening well and taking the time to fully hear our spouse or another person. Simply engaging your spouse in conversation can be encouraging as it provides contact and a sense of sharing in each other’s lives. So take the opportunity everyday to be encouraging to your spouse, it will help you maintain your REAL marriage.

Marriage Through The Alphabet – D

Determination is important in building and maintaining a REAL marriage. Determination gives you the motivation or energy to do what you need to do in your marriage even when you do not feel like it. Marriage is great overall and yet some days are difficult. Some days we do not want to be nice to our spouse, or kids, or co-workers, or anyone else. Determination can help you be nice anyway. Determination helps you get through tough days, weeks, months, or even years. Determination is not pretty at the moment but it leads to beauty through time.

Stay determined. It will help your marriage, encourage others, and leave a good legacy for your children, grandchildren, and friends.

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