Thursday, March 31, 2011

So If Change Is Constant How Do We Embrace It?

Yesterday I discussed the one constant in your life is change.  So if change is constant how do we embrace it?  Right now many of us are going through many challenging trials ie, loss of job, loss of income, house problems, health problems, loss of a loved one, etc.  So with these trials or changes, how can we learn and grow from it?  Each of us develops our own ways of coping with change, mine is to ponder it over a lot.  When we were faced with Jason losing his job, it was humbling, we really had to think about it, how to deal with it, where life needs to lead us and how we can turn a lemon into lemonade.  I am telling you now, almost a year later, it has been a blessing.  My husband has become a better husband and father from it.  He realized all that he had missed out on with the kids, and he was a very supportive father, but he worked late hours and had long days.  He also realized that I don't sit home eating Bon-Bons all day, that the house is a never ending battle, it can be cleaned one moment and looked destroyed the next.  But through this job lose, we realized even more what mattered to us and that was our family.  As change happens to you list the good and the bad, talk over and over the possibilites of what to do with the change and where you want your life to go.  Make sure you always hold true to your values but be open to new ideas, ie a new town to move to, a new home, a smaller home, a different job with different hours, more time with your children.  There is generally good things that come out of change it is just up to us to see it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The One Constant In Life Is...

Some of you know me, some of you don't.  For those who don't know me or my family, I would like to introduce one person into my blog that I will use from time to time and that is my Dad.  My father is a licensed clinical Psychologist.  He has practiced for over 30 years.  He has worked with everything from children to youth to marriages to the disabled.  So as you can imagine I go to him quite often for advice and help.  Quite a long time ago he told me something that has helped my outlook on life, he said, "Kami the one constant in life is change."  He then talked to me about embracing change and that it can be good for you.  I am a person who can really set my mind on something and changing it can be hard, but I have learned that change can be really great, it can be hard at times, but a lot of times it offers great personal growth.  In your marriage, change is a constant part of your life.  If you learn early to accept it, work with it and grow with it, it will help to bless you and your marriage.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Saving Ammunition for Later

A couple of blogs ago I used a term that you shouldn't save ammunition to use against your spouse.  This may be a new term for some or a term you are familiar with.  It means: don't remember all the things your spouse has done wrong or things that have bothered you about your spouse to use against them at a later date.  In example, you are having a discussion about how your spouse did not help clean the house.  Your spouse responds "well I help out most of the time" you respond "no you don't, three years ago in March I wanted your help and you didn't help."  That is holding ammuntion against them, you remember something they did wrong a while ago and instead of resolving it then you remember and hold onto it so at a different point in time you can use it to prove you are right.  This is not effective.  All that happens when you hold onto things your spouse has done wrong can hurt you, forgiveness is part of marriage, we are all not perfect.  If something does bother you, resolve it then, don't hold onto the ammunition to use against them later.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why Can't Men Just Read Our Minds?!

No, really, why can't our husbands just read our minds?  Wouldn't it just make life easier?  When I was first married, I truly belived Jason could read my mind.  I always became frustrated when he didn't take out the garbage, didn't understand when I was upset, or didn't take me on a date.  I realized that I expected things from him without asking him.  I just figured he would get the hints, or that he would just realize what needs to be done.  This is not true for men, they need full open communication so they understand you and the help you need from them.  Even 18 years into our marriage, I am still asking Jason to do this, help with this, etc.  He is much more observant now than we were first married, especially to how I feel, if I am truly frustrated or upset.  But that took time and it also required me telling him how I felt and why I felt that way.  I know that we may feel like a nag when we are asking for help in the home for the 6000th time, but husbands focus when they get home is not on the hard day you had, but on their hard day and their need to unwind.  I have found that just telling Jason what I need done and how I feel has made life a lot easier.  It also gives him the chance to say, I am tired, can we do it later or does this have to be done right now.  Mind reading would be fun but I think our husbands brain would go into overload when they realize our minds never stop.  So don't expect him to read your mind, just open up and tell him how you feel or ask for help.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy 18th Anniversary To The Man Who Makes Everything Worth It

I do not blog on Sunday's, that is my one day off.  Tomorrow is my 18th anniversary and I just want to say how much I love my husband.  In 18 years I have been blessed with a man who is very good to me, loves me all the time and treats me like a queen.  These have been the greatest 18 years.  It doesn't mean it has always been easy, but it has been worth it.  Our growth together has been one of the greatest blessings.  I appreciate how he accepts me and truly loves me for who I am (I have OCD at times (or at least I feel that way), so you really have to embrace that).  I love the four children we have together and the great joy they bring to us. He is my Joy in my Journey.  He makes me happy, makes me laugh a lot and I still get butterflies when he kisses me.  Thanks Jason for who you are and all you mean to me.  I will love you forever.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Silence Can Be Golden

We have been talking a lot about communication skills, because honestly they are ESSENTIAL to a good relationship.  I had someone bring up that silence is golden.  That is true.  Sometimes we go over the top or say things we shouldn't and there are times when we need to just learn not to say anything.  I remember when Jason and I were first married and we would get into a discussion and I would get frustrated.  I would stop talking because I didn't want to say anything I regreted and I would go take a shower and sort out why I was mad or frustrated.  It worked really well, I generally could always figure out the source of my problem and come back to the conversation more productive.  The only frustration was Jason didn't understand why I would not say anything and eventually get up and go shower.  Once I told him why, it was very productive, that was my way to deal with frustrations and come back to the conversation more productive.  On the other hand of not saying anything, just be careful you are not storing up ammunition against them.  Silence is golden when there are not feelings to sort through.  The problem is when you are being silent to keep the peace, but inside you are really hurting and needing to sort through the problem.  Make sure you evaluate your emotions.  Silence is golden if it keeps you from being sarcastic, unkind, verbally abusive or degrading.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

So What's The Deal With Sarcasm

I had a person post the other day that she had learned that she couldn't be sarcastic in texting.  She would text and use some funny sarcasm, but the spouse wasn't always sure if she was happy, upset, etc.  I remember within the first year or so of Jason and I being married that my family had a discussion about sarcasm.  It came down to a theory that sarcasm is a form of anger.  I can see how that can be applicable, but I think also people use it a lot to be funny, but the receiving end doesn't always know how to take it, so the person ends up confused.  At the end of the family discussion we talked how sarcasm doesn't have any place in a marriage.  The problem with it is sometimes the spouse doesn't know you are being sarcastic, and you can really hurt them.  I can especially see it a problem in texting, because you can't see their face and don't know how they are taking it.  It is great to be funny and have each other laugh, just remember if you are being funny in a text always add lol or haha or something so they know how to take it.  As for sarcasm, just leave it out, that way there never is any confusion.  I had a really bad problem with being sarcastic when I was first married, and I used it a lot, my husband took it well, but I also saw it caused problems.  Once we had the family discussion and I decided not to use it, but just try to be witty on my own, it made life easier.  People knew how to take me and I wasn't always confusing them as to whether I was serious or not with what I said.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Talking Face to Face

A great comment was brought up after yesterday's blog and that was about talking face to face with your spouse.  The person was talking to their spouse on the phone and they started getting frustrated, so they tabled the conversation until they could talk face to face.  Once they did, it did not seem as big of a deal.  You can talk and text your spouse all you want, but there are many talks that do need to be done face to face.  This couple was smart enough to realize they were getting frustrated so they agreed to stop the conversation until they could talk face to face.  This is so you can see each other and read each other's body language, which can say a lot more than words.  For example over the phone a spouse can say "I'm okay" but sometimes if you were to see them say "I'm okay" you would know they really weren't by their body language. 
Each day after work, kids, school, etc. you should find time to talk to each other.  See how your day was, talk about your dreams and hopes for the future.  One day the kids will be out of the home and you will want a great relationship with your spouse, one thing that will help is keeping up on your communication with each other.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

If You Can't Say Anything Nice, Don't Say Anything At All

I think some of the greatest advice came from the cartoon Bambi "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."  Such amazing words from Bambi's little friend Thumper, but they ring so true today.  This philosophy applies in any situation, but especially in your home.  Your spouse is someone that you are suppose to be picking up, not putting down.  Whatever you say to them, they will take to heart because it is being given by the person who is suppose to love them the most.  Do not say things you will regret, it takes more effort to undo them than to say them.  If you are having frustrations, don't be accusatory and blaming, think of "I" statements to make to them so they don't feel like they are being accused, such as, I feel that, I get worried about, I am not understanding this, I am frustrated that, etc.  You get the picture?  Make sure when you are talking to them that you are dealing with how something makes you feel and not attacking them.  Last, if you do start getting upset, take a time out.  Tell them this is making you upset and you don't want to say unkind things and find a way to take a personal timeout.  Do whatever it takes to sort out your feelings and what you are thinking so you pick them up and not pull them down.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Appropriate Times to Talk

Did you know that there are appropriate times to talk to your spouse?  Let me start with an example, you have just balanced your checkbook and it is off by $100 or so, as soon as your spouse gets home from a long stressful day at work you hit them with the fact that you are $100 short in the account.  Seeing that they have had a long day, they are not going to take it well.  Another example is, you are tired and it is late at night, all you want to do is go to bed and your spouse decides to talk to you about something that has really been bothering them about you, all that results is you get defensive and upset and you go to bed angry.  Talking late at night or right after someone comes home from a long day at work is not effective.  You need to learn to read your spouse and choose times that are appropriate.  After some time being married you will be able to read your spouse and learn when are good times.  Wait until they have had time to settle down from work or a long day of kids.  Never, ever talk when it is late on sensitive subjects, all that happens is you end up unhappy and possibly angry at each other.  If it is that important to talk, schedule time, go for a drive, or go grab ice cream so you can talk quietly.  Just remember think before you speak so you don't say things you regret, it is hard to take back words and they hurt most from those you love most.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Budget and Balance

Now that you have talked to each other openly about your finances you need to take the next step and set up a budget.  You may think that is difficult especially if the income fluxuates week to week, but I lived with that for 14 years and still made it possible.  Look over your bills write down how much is due each month and when they are due.  Next figure out your budget according to when you get your paycheck, ie once a month, every week, every other week.  Now take your bills and put them under which week is best to pay them.  If you are in a sales field it can be harder, just remember when you have a high week you put it aside for a low week.  Don't forget to set aside a little from each paycheck to cover those unknown expenses that always come up.  Once you have your budget figured out, do your best to live by it, it can be hard, but once you get use to it it gets easier.  The other item is to always balance your accounts.  Don't think you can just look up your balance online and it is okay.  You need to look over purchases and keep track of what has cleared and what hasn't.  My husband does not like to balance the accounts, so I do it, but I always keep him informed of where the bills and budget stands each week.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Be Frank in Finances

I had someone bring up a comment about finances and how a temple sealer had told her and her husband that they should talk to each other before they make any purchases.  Being completely open in finances is very important. You should both know where the money is going, what it is being spent on and where it needs to go in the future.  Being frank with each other can avoid alot of problems in the future.  One of the top reasons people get a divorce is over finances.  Today I want you to sit down and discuss all of your finances be open and make sure you understand them completely.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

No Really, Get Away

Thanks for everyone's patience with me being gone for a bit.  My advice today is to make sure you have planned your get away with your spouse.  Even if you can't do it for 3,4, or 6 months (is shouldn't be longer than that, you need to be together) you need to plan it.  If you are financially tight, go camping in the summer, it is beautiful to be together under the stars.  Or you can set $5 or $10 aside from each paycheck to afford a motel or bed and breakfast.  I am telling you that it helps your marriage be stronger.  Every time you go away you realize it is great being husband and wife.  You are on your own time schedule and not the children's time schedule.  Talk to your spouse today, get it planned.  Have something to look forward to.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Get Out of Town!

No, seriously, get out of town!  After Jason and I were first married we had the opportunity to go to several friends weddings.  At one wedding I remember the sealer's (he is the man that married the couple) advice, he told us to get out of town.  If you can 3-4 times a year, if not at least a couple of times.  He said it did not have to be fancy, even if it is only 30 minutes away and a basic motel, or you can just go camping, but the most important thing was to get away together, just the two of you.  Jason and I have tried hard to follow this.  With raising four children and him back in school it is not always easy, but it is necessary to our marriage.  Everytime we get away we remind ourselves we are husband and wife, that there is more to our relationship than just being a mom and dad, which we do love also.  When you take time to strengthen your relationship with each other, it will strengthen your relationship with the family.  The kids will see the peace, love and kindness you have for each other.  It doesn't mean that you will not have stressful times, it just helps you get through them better because you are taking time for each other.  Make your marriage a priority and plan a getaway now.  It will rejuvinate you in everyway. 
I will not be posting again until next Thursday the 17th, because I am taking my own advice and getting away with Jason.  The end of this month is our 18th anniversary and I can think of no better time to get away.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Praying for your spouse

I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I chose to attend church each Sunday.  The chapel I go to we call a ward and the leader of this ward is our Bishop.  One Sunday, a while back, I was in churh and our Bishop had a talk with all the adults.  He talked about all that was going on in the world and things that are trying to pull marriages apart.  He then gave us advice and specifically one piece of advice stuck with me and that is you are to have prayers together each night with your spouse vocally.  You take turns every other night saying them and when you say them you are to thank Heavenly Father for specific things you love about your spouse, or things you appreciate about them, or things that your spouse does for you that you appreciate.  Besides it being a prayer for the everyday things it is an opportunity to tell Heavenly Father and your spouse vocally why you love them.  I have done this, and it is humbling.  I believe I am good at telling Jason what I love about him, but to say it in prayer seemed to be harder.  Your challenge is to do this every night with them.  Your love and appreciation for them will deepen.  You are also invoking Heavenly Father's blessing upon your marriage, you are thanking him for the good and letting him know what it is.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Grapefruit Syndrome

Have you heard of the Grapefruit Syndrome?  If you are a member of the LDS church go to the website and look it up in the April 1993 Ensign for the whole story.  The gist of it is a woman was told if her and her husband list the little annoying habits they find in each other it won't grow into a big annoying habit further down the line.  So the woman goes ahead, one of her complaints was he ate a grapefruit like an orange.  He would peel it and eat it and it drove her crazy.  Next it was the husbands turn and what does he say, that he finds no annoying habits with his wife, that he loves everything about her. 
This is the truth of a marriage.  If we look for annoying habits or negative things, we will find them.  But if we look at our spouse and see their little habits as being them and therefore good, it will not bother us.  If we look for the good we will see the good. 
Do not let your marriage become a Grapefruit Syndrome where all you see are annoying things your spouse does.  See them for being themselves, who cares if they leave the cap of fthe toothpaste, or eat their grapefruit different, it has no consequence on the eternal spectrum of things.
Love them for who they are and embrace them for being your spouse.  See the good, tell the good and you will know the good.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pick them up, Don't put them down

The rule is simple today:  Pick them up, Don't put them down.  We will elaborate more tomorrow, I just want you to think about what you do and say. (PS I don't post on Sundays)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why to date once a week

How was your date last night?  Did you enjoy yourself?  Did you get a chance to re-new your relationship with your spouse and to remember that you are husband and wife, not just mom and dad?  Dating is an essential part of your life.  You used to do it all of the time before you were married, so why would you want to forgo a part of your life that used to be normal?  Through dating our spouse we remember why we are married.  It gives us time to sit and talk to each other without all the distractions around.  If you ever feel like you are lacking for conversation, talk about your future, where do you see yourselves in 10, 20, 30 years?  What are your future goals for yourself and your family?  You can even evaluate your relationship.  If you feel the future is uncertain for your marriage, why?  How can you turn the tide and fall back in love with the person you married?  How can the two of you totally commit back fully to your marriage so the two of you look forward to a future together?  A regular date once a week is your renewal.  Look at it that way.  Fill your cup back up and focus again on each other.  Your marriage is worth it, so start working on it now.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Date Night

It's Friday, do you know what that means?  Date Night.  Grab your spouse and take them on a fun date tonight (or tomorrow if unavailable tonight.)  Think out of the movie/dinner box.  Now is the time to start renewing your relationship and in order to do that you need to get out of any monotony you may have gotten yourself in.  You may say we don't have a babysitter, then find another couple with kids and take turns babysitting. Make dating your spouse once a week a priority.  Now for thinking out of the box, here are a few suggestions: get your favorite takeout and grab a blanket and go to a park or lookout to eat it, if it is too cold, eat in the car and enjoy the beautiful scenery - ice skate (holding hands is great) - grab some other couples and have a potluck dinner at your home and play your favorite games  such as scum, telestrations, bunko, etc. - go ice blocking and bring the hot chocolate - do a progressive dinner with your friends - go to a hot spring, bring goodies and just relax - For those in St. George, grab your favorite food, grab a blanket and go eat on top of the Dixie, it is beautiful - visit historical sites in your area, grab goodies and have a trivia contest afterwards, do silly details like what color was the chamber pot the upstairs bedroom, etc.- go sledding before the snow is gone.  There are many things to do, you just need to be creative.  Go, enjoy your date night, laugh with them, love them, and forgive them quickly for we all have our faults, it is up to our loved ones not to see them as a fault but as a personality enhancement.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Group Dates

Remember when you were dating in high school and you use to always do big group dates with all of your friends.  You would be so creative and have such a great time.  Right now, hopefully your spouse is your best friend, but having another support system of great friends is helpful.  About 13 years ago we knew a couple, who knew another couple, who knew another couple, we were all bored of the same dinner/movie date so we decided to do a creative group date.  We only knew one of three couples and we didn't know what would occur from it; we were a bit nervous.  After the first date of backwards bowling and potluck dinner, we hit it off amazingly.  All of these years later our children refer to us as the 4 K's because all of the women's names started with a K.  This was a great way to get out and get to know new people.  Just remember in choosing your friends to choose someone who has your same values, someone who will pick you up when you are down, someone who believes marriage is worth all the work and effort and someone who believes that the grass IS NOT greener on the other side.  Be as creative as you were in high school with dating your spouse.  You don't need a group or creative date everytime, but they help to get you out of a monotonous routine.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Favorite Creative Dates

I have had many creative dates with my husband, a few of them are:  backwards bowling (just mix up all the rules however you want), sparking (get some wintergreen life savers and sit in the car in the dark and see if you can get them to spark), hiking almost anywhere and bringing a picnic lunch, skeet shooting contest, photo scavenger hunt, an amazing race, building a campfire and roasting marshmallows, playing golf frisbee at the Dixie and roasting hot dogs in the gazebo afterwards, play racquetball and go jacuzzing afterwards, hike the narrows (if he can get through), go to Sand Hollow in the summer and plan a BBQ, go fishing (there are a lot of fishing ponds around St. George), have a night where you just scrounge up the change around the house and you can only use that money to go out with (it is fun to see how much you can do with so little), go to a bouncy house place and have races with other couples.  If you can't get out, bring the date home - once the kids are in bed get your favorite take out food and bring home a movie.  There are so many things to do, just don't make it the same boring things.  I would love to hear anymore ideas.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Your Favorite Date

My favorite date was Jason's and mine's first date.  We went to the Bloomington Caves and went spilunking (is that spelled right?) then afterwards had some lunch.  On the drive home the truck we were in hit a rock and it put a hole in the gas tank and all the gas had leaked out within a minute.  We did try to catch some gas by throwing the water out of the drink cooler and catching it (Jason has claimed that was not one of my brightest ideas because now we had nothing to drink, were about 20 miles from home on a dirt road, and no way to patch the gas tank so the gas was useless).  So we began a long walk back to anyone's home we could find along the way.  I had brought along my Dad's .22 and we were able to do some target practice.  We probably walked for 4 hours or so, but I can honestly say that was one of my favorite walks.  We talked and talked and talked and laughed and laughed.  Then and there I realized how great it was to be around him.  Either one of us could have been real complainers with me dumping out the water and the fact that we now had a real long walk ahead of us, but instead we just loved each others company so much it made the other things insignificant. ***Now if you would like, I would love to hear a favorite date of yours***