Have you reached your forties and fifties? You feel smug and safe because you are still married? Be careful. You are beginning to feel your age. You have become conscious of age categories when running a marathon or participating in a bicycle race. You have to watch what you eat. For the first time you discover you have gained weight. It happened to me when we had just returned from a week long backpack trip.
Your children are grown. Your bucket list may have too few things crossed off. You may be looking at new sports cars or a trip to Australia. Maybe you are thinking of going back to college. When you read about a big road project that will be completed in 2045, you calculate if you should get excited about that. You begin to wonder if you have passed the midpoint of your life. Do you have less time to live than the time you have already lived?
If you do these things, you will become soul mates and adore each other after 60 years of marriage.
In listening to the other fourteen parenting experts on the Parenting Summit during the past three weeks, what struck me was the powerful advice given by the experts who are mothers themselves. All of them described the impact of the birth of that first child.
The surprising feeling of helplessness, loneliness, crushing responsibility, complete entrapment and the guilt for those feelings kept us looking ahead with some anxiety. Feeling such feelings just added to the hopelessness, because we tried to hide the fear and show only the joy.Every mother who shared on this program wanted children and loved the baby, but somehow the complexity and power of the conflicting feelings came as a shock. The birth of the baby changed our lives forever.
Women handle this huge change in different ways. The women in the Summit were women open to learning. Most of them had jobs teaching, counseling, writing or in some way significantly connected to parenting or with children. Some of the experts shared clinical information. I am sure that was helpful to some listeners. Some were young and some were old like me.
More and more the clinical information makes me smile because reading books like most of us did before becoming parents didn’t prevent the panic. Help! How do I do this and what if I make a mistake! An awesome responsibility which can lead to putting the marriage and yourself on hold. That never works in relationship.
I plan to share some valuable follow-up in the next few weeks. You can still access the free summit for the next few days by going to http://www.elisabethstitt.com/purposeful-parenting-summit. Once you have registered you will get an email with Day l, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and so on. Click on the icon. My interview is on Day 4. Interviews are 30 minutes. The information is excellent and all it takes is a little of your time.
Purposeful Parenting: Expert Advice
Parenting Coach, Elisabeth Stitt, has put together a free online event called, “Purposeful Parenting: Expert Advice on Creating Your Own Family Plan”. She has invited me to participate as an expert speaker along with 14 other professionals in fields like nutrition, financial literacy, emotional resiliency, talking to kids, how to stay grounded as a parent, and relationship skills. I am thrilled to be a part of it
To get your free access go to http://www.elisabethstitt.com/purposeful-parenting-summit. Once you register, starting July 6, 2015, there will be a new audio interview released every day. It’s that easy! Audio recordings can be accessed by phone, computer, in your car, ipad, or even during your workout. Curious about who will be speaking along side me? Go to http://www.elisabethstitt.com/new-page-l/ and check it out.
Again, the only way to get access to all this free awesome advice (and my interview with Elisabeth) is sign up here: http://www.elisabethstitt.com/purposeful-parenting-summit/.
Let me know if you get something out of my interview “Becoming Soul Mates and Great Parents, Too” It airs on Wed. July 8th. Soul Mate relationship faces many challenges after that first baby arrives. I would love to hear your stories.
Nine out of ten men believe intimacy means sex. Interestingly, when women complain about lack of intimacy, men don’t understand what they want. For intimacy to occur, there must be interest, respect, warmth, acceptance and trust. It involves understanding, talking, and listening. It requires an awareness of being loved and feeling loving.
The dictionary definition of intimacy: “intrinsic, innermost…marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity, marked by warm friendship, suggesting informal warmth or privacy, of a very personal private nature.” Is it any wonder relationship is difficult for everyone? The huge differences in perceptions of what love is and how to show it, lead to hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and the often spoken comment, “If you really loved me, you would……..” We can’t even agree on what intimacy is.
The challenge to those looking for a soul mate relationship is to accept the fact you must learn from your partner. That means spending time together sharing your stories, beliefs, and perceptions. What are your dreams, passions and concerns? You can open my book, “Becoming Soul Mates” at almost any two pages and find something to talk about. Little by little you will create the intimacy that leads to becoming soul mates.
How to Become Soul Mates
Even the most reclusive person cannot escape relationships. Start with you. Think back to the first, second, and third years of your life. Even if you don’t have conscious memories of those years, you can probably reconstruct some of the things you do know into some kind of idea of what your first relationships must have been like.
Did you have both parents? Do you even know who both parents are? Where did you live? Farm? City? Country? What was your dwelling place? House? Apartment? Street? Were you wanted? Planned? Were you welcomed by one person or many people? What kind of caregivers were a part of your infancy? Do you have siblings? What position are you in your family? What happened to you during the first three years of your life has everything to do with this therapeutic process we call relationship.
Responding to care or lack of care not only affects early learning to talk, walk, and react. It also affects the development of perceptions about ourselves and others. Most of us form distorted perceptions of ourselves and others from the beginning. Identifying and sorting out early perceptions becomes a lifetime task in relationship.
Throw away generalizations and ideals, expectations, and comparisons. See your self as an individual, different from everyone else. In acceptance of that difference, we give the gift of intimacy. That is the foundation for learning to be soul mates.
A Hotel with “IN-Room” Art
We needed an ocean “fix”. We decided to go south this time. Ten years ago we participated in a city sponsored book sale in San Luis Obispo. We decided to return to Morrow Bay, a beautiful coastal town near San Luis Obispo where we stayed at a unique hotel called Masterpiece Hotel. Every room has at least five beautifully framed prints by famous artists. Our room displayed “Roseate Spoonbill” by John James Audubon; “Colors” by Kyosi; “Pinkie” by Sir Thomas Lawrence; “Poplars on a Hill” by Vincent Van Gogh and “Trees” painter unknown.
The first couple we met when checking in told us they were from Colorado. They said they come to the Masterpiece Hotel over and over because they like it so much. If we lived closer, we would probably do the same. Breakfast was served from 7:30 to 10:30 every morning. Wine, cheese and crackers from 5:00 to 7:00 in the evening. Guests can also use a spa and fitness center. Our room cost a reasonable $201.40 (including tax) for two nights.
Best of all, a short walk took us to the wharf where we ate a delicious lunch of sole piccata and of course, clam chowder at the Dockside restaurant. A road goes out to the town’s famous Morrow Rock, home to peregrine falcons. We watched them near their nests on the side of the huge rock. A volunteer from a nearby college invited us to view them through his telescope. A couple of fishing boats struggled to get into the Bay through the wind blown waves of the ocean. A surfer used a kite to guide himself back and forth through big waves. Dogs and children played on the beach.
I highly recommend a Morrow Bay getaway. It helps to order sunshine so you can walk along the beach. Other choices include boat tours, wine tasting, quilting stores, art galleries, bird watching, missions, golf, hiking, bicycling, fishing or simply sitting on a bench watching the waves crash against the shore. Something for everybody!
|Keith and Shirley Abbey-married 61 years
by guest blogger Todd Creager http://www.toddcreager.com
Long term love and I mean deep love, the kind of love where you feel that you would marry your spouse all over again after 10, 20, 30, 40 years of marriage does happen. There are couples that DO experience that kind of relationship. What are their secrets? I have learned from these couples, some people are clients, people I know in my personal life and even people I have read about in articles or seen on TV.
Look for the best in your partner. I have heard many of these couples talk about the necessity to overlook each other’s flaws; not to ignore them but at the same time not to focus on them. Definitely each partner kept in mind the good stuff, the positive attributes, and the things they enjoyed about their partner.
Let them know how good they are. Not only did they look for and think about the best in their partner, they expressed it. They complimented their partners far more than they criticized them. It was easier to hear the negative feedback because they got plenty of positive feedback as well.
Be affectionate. They touched a lot and were affectionate with each other. As they got older, even if their sexual relationship changed somewhat, they never stopped touching. They adjusted to the aging process but kept the physical connection any way they could. They were not rigid when it came to approaches to touch and sexuality. They were able to talk openly about sex.
Place a high value on the importance of the intimate relationship. They made relationship a high priority. They made time to be alone and intimate and enjoyed each other’s company. They planned trips together and went on frequent dates. They often were different (as most couples are) but they found enough similarities of activities to do these things together.
Tune in and be attentive and let your partner know you are there for him or her when needed. They were strong emotional supports in trying times. They would take turns being strong for each other during the occasional life tragedies and losses. They each felt a sense of deep caring for each other and trusted each other. Some of these couples had earlier times when the trust was disrupted but they learned how to heal and create trusting relationships. There was a sense that, “You are there for me.”
These wise couples have reaped the benefits of these secrets to long term love. Now it is your turn.
Todd Creager at “Making the World Safe for Love”
|Married 68 years|
Secrets to a Long Marriage
Going directly to the experts, long time married couples, makes sense to researchers like sociology professor, Todd Migliaccio, California State University, Sacramento. He has interviewed and taped dozens of couples in long marriages including my husband and me. More than 100 couples contributed to “Married for Life”, Honor Books by Bill Morelan, one of the sources I used. I have been sharing some of these experts’ advice in my most recent blogs.
Interestingly, “spending time together” in one form or another was recommended more often than any other advice. A close second was commitment to the marriage. One person put it uniquely, “Never consider getting unmarried as an option.”
Many other responses were repeated in different ways. These experts on love advised couples to realize neither of you are perfect; practice cooperation, follow the Golden Rule, try to see each other’s point of view, but agree to disagree sometimes. I tell my clients, “Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If you focus on the strengths you will have twice as many together, If you focus on the weaknesses, you will have twice as many weaknesses. Which you focus on will determine how strong a marriage you can create.”
Becoming lifetime soul mates is a unique rewarding adventure. If you remember the story , “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams, you will remember the discussion between Rabbit and Skin Horse about what is real. Rabbit asks if it happens all at once or bit by bit. Skin Horse tells Rabbit it doesn’t happen all at once. It happens when you have been loved over a period of time, but “it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.” In other words, you must learn how to let go of defenses.