Five years of Forever

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

– Mignon McLaughlin

Dave and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary the other week. Like any moment worth celebrating, it’s a great opportunity to stop and reflect on the time we have spent together. Reflecting on what we did right, what we did wrong and where we are going.  Above all, one thing really stood out to Dave and I: WE MADE IT!

As anyone whose been married that long will tell you, it’s no small feat.

Looking at those who have been married for sixty plus years, I wonder what they went through to get there. My parents, who have been married for thirty-two years, have endured many tough times and despite it all are still together. Not just the “grit your teeth and bear it” together but “we could do that thirty-two years all over again and hope for thirty-two more” together. It’s inspiring, and importantly: THEY MADE IT!

It’s sad to say but amongst our friends there’s been a huge increase in the number of our friends who are divorced or in the process of getting a divorce. All were married for less than five years, some less than three. I’m not just talking one or two couples, but rather twelve couples. That’s right, twelve. Most under thirty years of age. It’s upsetting that it has come to that point for so many people and my heart feels desperately sad for them. Some of the separations were through mutual agreements and for others, one party has decided that they can’t go on. Either way, I know how deeply it has affected everyone involved myself included.

Looking at society in general; celebrities, people of influence, friends, family and even the church, it’s easy to see divorce as normal. Almost all who get divorced appear to have a ‘valid’ reason for the separation. If I’m honest there have been times in our marriage where I have thought that I have a valid reason for leaving. I would rationalize: “It’s definitely not me, it’s Dave. He doesn’t talk to me the way he used to. We have just grown apart. He has pursued the business thing and he doesn’t have that much time for a marriage as well. I don’t think I’m attracted to him like I used to be.” For me these thoughts and mindsets that crept in came down to one thing.

Selfishness.

Plain and simple. Now that may be a bitter pill to swallow for some, but it’s the truth. For me, I didn’t view my marriage as Dave and I united. Nor was I thinking; how can I put Dave first? Rather, it was “what is in this for me?”, and “Im not getting it, so I won’t give it”. If you ask Dave he’d tell you he was thinking similar things. The point is we were both hurting and both of us felt like we were owed something.

When I realized this, I was then able to take this to God and Dave and ask for forgiveness. When both parties are hurt one of you needs to step up and break the stalemate. Each day I need to lay my relationship with Dave at God’s feet. It’s when I start to think that I can do this “married thing” in my own strength that I become selfish and unstuck.

So what is it that gets a couple to five, ten, twenty or sixty years happily married? Is it simply being unselfish? Well that’s definitely part of it, though you’ll always catch yourself being selfish at times. As Dave and I were talking about all this, we pin pointed one thing: Our mindset of marriage is FOREVER. Not until it doesn’t suit us any more, or while ever the other person is meeting my needs, or until it gets too hard. Rather through the good times and bad, through sickness and in health, ’til death do us part. Remember those words on your wedding day? Yep, we swore an oath to do that.

Now I don’t say that to condemn those that have chosen separation. My point is that for those who are married or considering marriage; you need to approach every conflict, argument or disagreement with the FOREVER MINDSET. This mindset requires that no matter what, divorce isn’t an option for resolving your conflict. Of course I’m aware that things like abuse and infidelity can make resolution difficult, if not impossible, but most couples don’t start there. When you think in terms of forever you’re forced to get creative and break out of your comfort zone. After all, who wants to live unhappily ever after?

Do you have the forever mindset in your marriage?

In a subsequent post I’ll share with you some practical ways you can create it in your marriage.

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What to expect when you’re NOT expecting… anymore. (part 2)

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Click here for Part 1

Before we move on to part two, I want to say thank you to those of you who have shared your story with me. The response to my first post has been overwhelming. I feel so grateful that this is an opportunity for people to open up and receive healing in their worlds. Even if it’s just because they got to talk to someone about it. Please know, you are not alone in this. Many woman have had much harder journeys then I have and by hearing your journey it’s shown me the strength of a woman’s heart to keep trying. To me, I have realized the miracle of life.

It’s a weird thing trying to convince your other half that you’re pregnant. It’s an even weirder thing trying to reassure them you’re ok when you are no longer pregnant.

For a month I went through the giddy (by giddy, I mean nauseous) highs of thinking that Dave and I were about to start a family, down to the strong pain I felt when that wasn’t going to be the case. In saying all that, I am so very grateful for what I went through.

A lot of people (myself included) have said that they would love to get pregnant just to know what it feels like. Well I was “lucky” enough to experience those feelings with only a small insight into what it may look and feel (oh, and smell) like. Let me just say, how your friends describe it… yep, that’s what it feels like. Exciting? Yes! Worth waiting for until you’re 100% certain that it’s not just the feeling you’re after, but you are wanting to have a family no matter what the feeling or experince may look like? Definitely!!

I have been given the opportunity to address my “woulda, coulda, shoulda” thoughts and turn them into actionable items that I know I really want to accomplish before starting a family. Some of those things are quite trivial; like going to the dentist for a full clean and check up (call me strange, but I LOVE that dentist clean feeling and will go through the trauma of all instruments, drills and feelings to get it). Some are more important than that; like making good on a commitment of starting a 12 month internship at my local Church (which by the way involved an awkward conversation with my new boss: ‘Thanks for the offer, I am looking forward to starting next week, oh by the way… I might be pregnant.’—eek!). All in all this event really got me thinking about such things. I am profoundly grateful that now I can get these things under my belt before my belt buckle starts to expand.

Although I thought I knew what my journey would look like—you know, conceiving first go, text book pregnancy and labor, happy child that grows up strong and healthy—the fact of the matter is that I have no idea. Especially now that Plan A didn’t go according to plan. Truth is, it’s not a problem: my strength comes from God. When I found out I wasn’t going to be carrying another little being for the next 9 months, all I heard in my spirit was God saying “Trust Me”.

For me, trusting God means that if the next time Dave and I try to concieve and it happens right away, then that is God’s perfect timing. Trusting God also means that if the process takes a lot longer, with many more challenges and nothing like what I expected, then that is still His perfect plan and timing.

For any woman or couple, this can be a very emotional time. Whether planned or unplanned, easy conceptions to alternate options like IVF or years of trying. Whatever your journey, remember that God wants to say to you “Trust Me.” It’s His plan and His timing. Are you willing to Trust Him?

What to expect when you’re NOT expecting… anymore. (part 1)

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What would you do if you found out that your life was about to change–drastically? Would you want to go back in time and re-live some missed opportunities, or would you face this change head on and embrace it for all it’s worth?

For Dave and I, it looked as though things were about to change. We’ve had many discussions about wanting to start a family, we just didn’t know how soon it was all about to start.

I have walked the pregnancy road with enough friends now to know that each woman’s journey is very different. Some friends, it seemed as though their husbands/partners only had to look in their general direction and they were pregnant. Once, twice… three times. For others, it’s been an emotional, burdensome, faith journey where after years and years of trying and IVF treatments they have finally welcomed the blessing of a child into their lives. Others still have had absolutely no success and instead opted to adopt.

Last month was a crazy time for me. Emotionally. Physically. Mentally. I had every sign and symptom that I was pregnant. That feeling of exhaustion that doesn’t even make sense to describe because it feels unwarranted. I mean, how can producing a few extra cells and blood really make you that tired!? Physical discomfort as parts swelled, bloated, ached and hurt. That sweeping sense of nausea that can make a walk around the neighborhood feel like a lap around a sewerage treatment plant situated inside the city dump and your gag reflex is working overtime. Yup, you name it, I felt it.

It’s actually quite amazing how long a month can feel when you are waiting desperately for that first moment possible when you can take a pregnancy test and confirm your suspicions. Who knew peeing on a stick could be such a highly anticipated event!

During this time however, I was listening to my inner thoughts and what they were saying. On the one hand I was thinking how amazing and great it will be to have a baby, and how amazingly quickly its come about–lucky me! (To be honest, I was thinking that God knows me too well and He would be willing to bless me with a baby first time ‘trying’ because as if I could wait more than one month! I am not that patient!) While on the other hand, I had many regret filled “woulda, coulda, shoulda” thoughts of all the things I wanted to do before getting pregnant.

For those of you with kids, I’m sure many of you would’ve had these exact same thoughts when you found out you were expecting (planned or unplanned). Yet, nine months later you had a baby in your arms. You might have never imagined it possible nine months prior, but now you wouldn’t change it for the world!

However, my story ends differently to that. This may also be the story that you share as well. Unfortunately my pregnancy didn’t get past one month. In fact it could hardly be called a pregnancy, really. But through this it has been an amazing soul-searching adventure that I would love to share with you.

What would you do if you knew your life was about to change? Would you keep living life as you are doing now? Day in, day out? Or is there something that you keep putting off thinking “I’ll do it one day”? What if you don’t get that “one day”?

As I share my story, I hope it encourages you to make the most of each new day.

Continue to Part 2

What makes your heart happy?

What makes your heart happy? When you are low and need a pick me up, what do you do? When you have a moment to yourself, what do you do to give yourself a bit of pampering?

This week there has been a big shift in my household. Dave squared (my Husband and his business partner) have been working out of home for the past 4 months. It’s been so great having them here doing their work but just knowing they are around. This week however, they are now working out of an office 40 minutes away. This was our life back in Australia so it shouldn’t come as such a shock, right? Wrong! After 4 months of having them here, it did! All of a sudden the days feel very long, our house feels very big and very quiet.

Do you ever have those days where you feel as though you will just bear it, count down the hours and the day will be over? Maybe because you’re working in a busy or boring job, or looking after some screaming toddlers, or maybe nothing is really happening so you’re boredom dictates your mood and outlook.

Today, being my day off after a long and busy week, I have decided that instead of bearing the day, I would surround myself with the things that make my heart happy. Here is my list for today….

Waking up to a beautiful Indian summer’s morning, blue skies and the heat on my skin energizes my soul20111014-100905.jpg

Spent time with God to feel refreshed and know that He is with me20111014-100921.jpg

While cleaning the kitchen, I was listening to Hamish and Andy for some laugh out loud humor

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I love pretty scents. Be it perfume, candles or fragrances. Today I was burning a Creamy Caramel Pumpkin candle, which made the house smell as though I had been cooking for hours, but all I had to do was light 1 match.

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Baking and eating mum’s famous carrot cake recipe, which not only made me feel closer to home, it made me pretty happy knowing that I can replicate mum’s cooking!20111014-100947.jpg

While hitting the books, I loved learning how to relate to people better and get people to see their full potential through the world of life coaching. 20111014-100931.jpg

Also while studying, I snacked on yummy Jelly Bellys, which I now regret because I have the sorest tummy. But how can you resist eating each one and identifying them on the back of the packet, then working out all the different combinations?20111014-101022.jpg

Oh, and I bought a few cute things for the home. Just some little things that when I look at them just give me a little smile. Like these super cute serviette rings…. CUTE! 20111014-100957.jpg

All in all today could have been somewhat boring or mundane. Instead I feel refreshed, which allows me to give to others. If your heart is happy, then out of that will flow how you respond and relate to others.

Take some time this weekend, maybe 10 minutes if that’s all the time you can spare, maybe a few hours or a day where you allow yourself some time to do the things that make you happy! Trust me, it’s worth it!

Happy Father’s day Dad!

It’s Father’s day in Australia, so I thought I would dedicate this blog post to my amazing dad! For some, Father’s day brings about warm feelings of their dad who was there to love and nurture them. For others, this day can be a day of grief or loss. For me, this is a day where I want to honor a special man who I get to call my dad.

Growing up I was daddy’s little girl, but then my adolescent years hit… hard. For some reason I wanted to push away a man who had raised me and always did what was best for our family, even if it came at a great sacrifice. It wasn’t until I reached adulthood and realized that my dad was more than just a dad. He became a friend, a coach and mentor.

Dad and I would go on Daddy Daughter dates, where he would show me what it was like for a man to treat a lady… I was watching.

Dad would help me in my career, by showing me how to relate to others and present myself professionally. What he had learnt and overcame in his career… I was watching.

Dad would encourage me in my walk with God, bringing out the best in me and helping me in my relationship with my heavenly Dad. He would pray with me and talk until the late hours of the night. He modelled a man of faith in the good times, integrity in the tough times… and I was watching.

What is your relationship with your dad like? What are some of the life lessons he has taught you?

If your relationship with your dad isn’t at a place of comfort or peace, remember there is a Dad in heaven who loves you and knows your inner most thoughts. Who formed you and created you… and He is watching.

Thanks dad for the man that you are.

For some of my favorite dad moments, here are 2 videos to enjoy! Happy Father’s Day!

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My heart said what I wanted to say

The other day, Dave and I were going for a drive just to catch up and hang out. He has been so flat out starting a business that at times he must wonder if it’s really worth it? He has been putting in crazy hours, dealing with the highs and lows that each new day brings. He has taken care of 3 redwood trees worth of paperwork to get a US company set up and to be honest I watch him and I am in awe of the amazing job he is doing. It takes someone talented, dedicated and faithful to do what he is doing, and he seems to be doing it brilliantly.

As a wife of an entrepreneur, it’s sometimes hard when due to the business’ demands the relationship becomes a far away after thought that grasps tightly to the few moments you get to capture when the stars align, the winds blowing the right way, the moon is blue and you are there, just the two of you… alone. These moments can sometimes be daunting. Thoughts that run through my mind is how do I make the most of this rare moment?

As Dave and I were cruising down the 101 the other day, it dawned on me: This precious moment shouldn’t just be about the facts and events that have occurred since the last time we caught up. It’s about sharing my heart’s thoughts that sound weird coming out sometimes, but create a bond together in such a short amount of time. Here I was talking about my mundane things that had filled my week. How I had cleaned the house, unpacked some boxes from our move and completed my uni assignment. But then a heart thought interrupted my run sheet of facts. What my heart wanted to say was ‘Dave, I think you’re doing a really good job, and I am proud of you. I know this is a time where time is lacking, thoughts other than work are few, but thanks for being my Husband and making this time out of your mayhem so we can spend some time together.’

Too often in the past I held back from saying something like that because my first thought is ‘well he already knows that’ and secondly ‘it sounds kind of cheezy’ (yes I am not the best person when it comes to affection).

However, when those words from my heart came out of my mouth, not only did Dave’s face light up and chest went out, I felt that bond that was created, that although sometimes I feel as though I am an after thought, I really do love this man and it’s these precious moments together are worth it.

Do you have a spouse like this? Does it sometimes feel like your time together is as foreign as meeting a stranger? Although it can feel strange, make the most of your time together.

What does your heart want to say? When is a time in your relationship that you decided to let your heart do the talking? What did you find happened for you and your relationship?

Courage

Quote

‎”Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow'”

-Mary Anne Radmacher

Have you whispered quietly those 5 simple words, “I will try again tomorrow’?

I have coached many people who have to pluck up the courage to speak those words when they talk about their life goals and dreams. I find this especially true when you are just starting out in a new journey and it takes a few attempts to get it right. Maybe you have decided to change careers, pursue a new relationship or repair a broken one. Whatever your task I know it takes courage and determination.

Do you look at those around you who are further down the path of experience then you and think they have the courage of a lion? That there is no other way they could have got to where they are today without the fierce roar inside them? I can guarantee that at some stage or another those people whispered ‘I will try again tomorrow’.

Life isn’t about how many times you get knocked down, it’s about how many times you get back up! If you are feeling defeated and as though you can’t go on, take a moment to gather your thoughts, dust yourself off and believe in those 5 simple words ‘I will try again tomorrow’.