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I’m Fine

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That’s one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves and our spouses. And a lie is a lie, no matter how small.

And big lies, like cheating or hiding debt, aren’t the only way to destroy trust in a relationship. A ‘little’ lie about being fine when you aren’t may take longer, but it is just as devastating to a relationship over time.

I took time to think about why I said I was fine when I wasn’t. I lied because it felt safer. I lied because I didn’t always believe Mark would care that I was hurting or mad.

I don’t tell Mark I’m fine when I’m not anymore. I tell him I’m frustrated or annoyed or disappointed or really sad. He doesn’t always like to hear those things, but he appreciates being told the truth upfront instead of getting hit with it out of nowhere a couple of hours later.

Figure out why you hide behind ‘fine’ and then commit to being honest and taking care of the trust that glues you together.

Super-Teammates!

Sometimes when I talk about couples being on the ‘same team’ I have no clue what I mean. A lot of the time, it just feels like we’re trying to just survive. But, then I realized it was about so much more than that. Have you seen The Incredibles?

We’re all super-heroes, with specific skills and powers. But we also come with weaknesses and our own forms of kryptonite.

A great marriage teammate owns their superhero-like qualities. You know what you bring to the table. You know that who you are and what you do is valuable to the people in your home.

A great marriage teammate knows their limits. You know you can’t run as fast as Dash or stretch as far as Elastigirl. You don’t let your limitations stop you, but you build a life that acknowledges them.

A great marriage team has a shared goal, even if at times it is just about surviving. And I’m just going to repeat this: It’s a shared goal. SHARED. Not just one person’s idea of what life is going to look like. SHARED. Like y’all talked about it, got honest about it, made pros and cons lists, and said, “Go team!” at the end before uniting your rings to bring your powers together to summon CAPTAIN PLANET!!!!!

Sorry. Got a little carried away there. But you get the point.

Own your strengths and weaknesses. 

If I Were A Plant…

Taking care of a plant can take a lot of work, but the hardest part is following the directions for what that plan actually needs to grow and flourish. And, much like people, not every plant requires the same amount of water, sun, or fertilizer.

I’m like a cattail. I need a lot of <s>water</s>attention.

I feel love in the form of physical touch and quality time. I like being held after a long day or cuddles right before bed. Getting my back scratched will more than guarantee my blossoms to bloom. And the funny thing is, the more my Love Plant is taken care of, the more I’ll want to make sure my husband’s grows, too.

I don’t need presents or surprise date-nights or to be welcomed home with you doing the laundry or finally cleaning your skid marks off the toilet. That’s not my thing– but maybe that’s yours!

Being aware of what fills your love “fern” can make a world of difference in your marriage because, sometimes, when you’re feeling particularly annoyed… it’s just because you’re running on E. So my suggestion is to make your own list of what it takes to keep you happy in your home/marriage/family and share it with your spouse. It can be very eye opening and make some of the biggest impacts in your relationship. Being able to come home and tell Shawn that I just need a hug instead of letting random things (that don’t matter) get under my skin and blowing up… can you just imagine how much happier and stronger our relationship will become?

Is that not something that we all want to accomplish? Being able to pinpoint what we need instead of sitting there in disappointment and frustration is refreshing.

 

Was That Code For Something?

One night my son asked me if we could go get a milkshake. We get milkshakes often on weekends, but rarely, if ever, on a random Wednesday night. So, I said no and promised we’d go this weekend. Also, we had just split a cupcake so milkshakes probably weren’t the best idea.

He got really mad. This milkshake was clearly a big deal. A big emotional deal. We did the things that we normally do when things get emotional and then when he was mostly calm I looked at his face. He looked so… sad. And I wondered if this milkshake really had anything to do with sweets.

“Sweetie, did you want to get a milkshake so that we could spend time together? Did you want to go on a date?”

His eyes lit up. I understood.

He isn’t the most verbal little boy. He has big emotions and not all the words to explain what he wants or needs, so (I think) he develops code words. Words that he attaches to big and real needs.

Milkshake, the thing we go and get just me and him on Saturday nights, was his code word. His way of asking for a little alone time with me.

So we went to Sonic and he sat on my lap and pressed the button to order and flirted with carhops and took maybe two sips of a $3 milkshake. When we got home he jumped out of the car and said, “Thank you, Mommy, for the date.”

I swear this applies to your marriage.

There was the obvious answer to my kid’s meltdown. He’s a spoiled brat who needs to learn how to do deal with ‘no.’ And I agree! I want him to learn that we don’t get to eat sweets whenever the mood strikes. But that wasn’t what he was REALLY asking for. He was asking for time and connection with me, and I’m going to say yes to that as many times as I possibly can.

We can look at our spouse’s behavior and see the ‘obvious.’ He wants sex because he’s horny. She wants help with the dishes because she’s a nag.

But would it hurt to dig a little deeper to find out what’s underneath the ‘code word’? What is he really asking for when he says he needs sex? What is she really asking for when she says she needs help around the house? (Even better what are YOU really asking for when you ask for your code word?)

And do you really want to say no to sex if it really means affirming his connection with you or his identity as a man? Do you really want to ignore her request for more help around the house if it means telling her that she isn’t alone and that she can rely on you as a partner?

Before your next fight, dig as far and as deep as you possibly can to find out what you’re REALLY saying yes or no to.

Healthy Pooping is like Healthy Fighting

Yeah, you heard me right. And no, I’m not kidding.

I think there are some similarities between healthy poop and healthy fights:

It’s intact. The ‘mushier’ the poop the less healthy it is. A healthy fight is also intact. It’s about one topic. A ‘mushy’ fight is when you start off fighting about chores and end up fighting about that time 3 years ago when she forgot to pick up your dry cleaning. Keep your fights focused on what topic at a time.

It’s regular. Regular bowel movements are a great sign things are going well. Same thing with fights. It’s not a great idea to let things build up. It doesn’t make fighting or pooping easier. Are you regularly letting each other know what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling? Or are you opting to hold it just a little bit longer? Much like pooping, fighting is good for you.

It doesn’t hurt. This is really important. Pooping shouldn’t hurt. Fighting shouldn’t hurt. But since most of us don’t get to see great examples of healthy fighting many of us are terrified that it won’t feel good. We hide from it because we can’t imagine being in conflict with a person you love to ultimately end in feeling closer. We imagine the only thing that comes from fighting is hurt, so we avoid it. This doesn’t mean painless fighting is natural, I think it’s a learned skill. But, like pooping, if it hurts it’s not healthy.

Episode #006 – Getting on the Same Page (special guest!!!)

In this episode Melissa and her new husband, Shawn, talk about getting on the same page! Like many of us already know, being on the same page is harder than it sounds, and it’s definitely something that couples don’t even realize is an issue. Because of this, Melissa and Shawn share about how they recently regrouped and made sure their goals for their life together were lined up. And (surprise, surprise) initially, they weren’t. 

Just like football, soccer, or doubles-tennis, marriage is a team-sport. And much like any team sport, it comes with a game-plan and with an unimaginable support system. And in order for the team to do well, they must communicate the plan they want to take together.

Melissa and Shawn used many different tools to shape their “page” and to make sure that they were both committed to it. One of them was to answer these questions together and with an open mind.

 

Episode # 005 – Pooping

I think the title says it all. Today we’re talking about pooping (and not pooping) around your spouse, marriage-poop etiquette, and if there is an underlying reason for not pooping around your spouse. (Melissa includes a response to the above-mentioned article that will either make you think she’s crazy or hilarious (but really just somewhere in-between).

And, although we agree that there usually aren’t any underlying issues when you’re unable to poop around your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend, we do mention how a healthy digestive system is kinda like healthy fighting in a different blog post.  It’s definitely a good read for the next time you take the throne.