Wednesday, December 31, 2008
New Year's Resolutions For Your Marriage
In any event, it was always nice to have a fresh start. I think that really is why we like New Year's Day. It marks the start of something fresh.
And something fresh only becomes something useful when we are intentional. So, every year, I make a few resolutions. Not too many. Then, they don't fall away. And I really try to keep them.
You are probably familiar with those resolutions that people make, then let fall away within a couple of weeks. The gyms are full on the 2nd, and empty by the 20th. My secret: I make sure I can see them everyday. I post them for myself to see, and remind myself of them.
This year, my resolutions are:
5) Focus on being more grateful.
4) Express that gratitude.
3) Avoid surrounding myself with negativity.
2) So that I can be more positive.
. . . and my biggy:
1) Finish my book on thriving!
Now, how about you? Specifically, what are your resolutions about your marriage? How will YOU be different during the next year to improve your marriage?
This is what I really like about resolutions -- they can't be about what someone else should do. And that is what we often get into when we think about marriage. We think about how our spouse ought to be different. A resolution puts it back into YOUR court! How will YOU be different?
Remember me back in school? I didn't make it a fresh start by leaving school. I just made it a fresh start by taking another class, opening another chapter in life. I still had to deal with my grade-point average, so it was not just leaving everything behind. It was just a new start.
It is the same with your marriage resolution. Don't think that your resolution is a fresh start without the marriage, without a past. Instead, make a mark in the sand. Decide you will move forward and leave what has happened behind. Move forward.
Some hints about your resolution:
- Be specific.
- Figure out how you will measure it.
- Make sure it is about you.
- Put it somewhere you will see it EVERY DAY!
- Stick to it. Make it a habit.
More marriage saving information can be found in my ebook, SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE HERE.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I love to trail run. I love the feeling of going through the woods, feeling the ground beneath me, usually just behind my yellow Lab. Now, I don't live in what anyone would consider to be the Mecca of trail running.
But there is this one trail. . . I figure I have run it over 600 times. It is my standby trail, about 7 miles long. After that many runs, I know what is coming, and exactly where I am. I don't have to think about it, I just go.
But one of the things I really love is watching the seasons change as I run the same stretch of land. I watch the progress of each season as I go: the growing warmth and green of Spring, the heat and humidity of Summer, the cool colors of Fall, and the bitter solitude of Winter. . .
Which led me to contemplate this about the seasons: Marriage is a lot like the seasons of the year. And we don't act like it is.
We like to think that a marriage is going to be just like it was (fill in the blank). We expect that we will always be gushing with love, passion, emotion, etc., that many feel at the beginning of a marriage. Unfortunately, that is not reality.
So what if we shifted our thoughts a little bit? What if we started to expect that marriage is more like the seasons of the year? This changes two things:
- We stop pretending that nothing will change. We accept that things will change, and that this is OK.
- We come to believe that the place we are will change.
You may be reading this because you find yourself in the Winter of a marriage. It can all seem so cold, so barren, so desolate. It can seem that nothing will get better. We think back to the cool of Fall, wishing it was back. If you aren't careful, you can fool yourself into believing that something better can ever come.
But Spring is always just around the corner, if we wait for it. Sometimes, we decide to just move to Antarctica, camp out in desolation. But if we just wait it out, Winter leads to Spring.
It may come slowly: kinder words toward each other, a hand held, a hug accepted. But soon, the Spring thaw takes over and their is growth. Spring can take some cultivation, action, effort.
I grow Banana trees in my backyard (yes, bananas can grow in Kentucky!), and when I plant the stalks each year, it is in the early days of Spring. The brown stalks have no leaves, look dead, and just sit there. . . for what seems like forever! But I have faith. I keep on watering. Then, one day, I notice a little green beginning to break through the top. Then a leaf erupts. Suddenly, the plant takes off!
But guess what? Even during the period when the plant looked dead, it really wasn't. It was hard at work on the inside, getting ready to shoot up!
Sometimes, marriage is the same way. Things just look dead, but there is lots of activity on the inside. Both individuals may be working hard to get things going, even if it is outwardly invisible. Suddenly, Spring arrives.
And Spring is followed by Summer. Those fun, lazy days. Life just seems so much easier. The rhythm of life changes to an easier pace. Life (or the relationship) is enjoyed and savored.
But just when you think you have it figured out, some leaves start falling. Cool breezes kick up. In marriages, the assumption that you finally have it all figured out gives way to new disagreements and realizations that you really don't see things alike. The cool can be breathtaking, but it is easy to pretend that the cold is not coming. After all, there are still warm days.
Until one day, there is frost on the ground. Conversations screech to a halt. Tensions create distance. Distance leads to more cold. At that point, both people are wondering what happened to the relationship. How did it get so cold, so distant?
Well. . . that is the cycle of life! Winter does come. But so does Spring.
As cold as it is, I still drag myself out to run the trail, because Winter may not be quite as enjoyable, it can be beautiful -- and Spring is coming!
More marriage saving information can be found in my ebook, available by CLICKING HERE.