The truth is relationships are rarely perfect and are often rocky. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW, a professional therapist for 20+ years and married for 26 years says, “We have this unrealistic expectation about what love is – it’s bliss, it’s happiness. It’s really about growth. We have to ask, ‘Am I still growing in this relationship?’ Cause you’re not always going to be happy. Clients come in thinking something’s wrong because they’re not happy.
But, no, this is a chance to grow. The painful moments are a chance to grow. Even in family relationships, not necessarily intimate love relationships, there are always opportunities to grow but there are things we don’t want to look at.”
The things we’re defensive about are clues as to where we are being called to grow.
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must become completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” – Cynthia Occelli
Hanks continues, “I think that happens in relationships too. Sometimes it falls apart to grow and come back together as something that’s even more beautiful.” As individuals and as a couple we should be progressing. “We learn about ourselves and grow in relation to other people. Isolated we don’t grow. We need each other. That doesn’t mean you have to be married to grow. We need relationships. We need to bump up against people to smooth off our edges.”
What To Do When Things Get Rocky
She also brings out that we pick partners who will force us to grow and heal past wounds. Julie says, “If things are rocky instead of asking, ‘Should we get divorced or not?’ ask ‘What do we need to learn?’ If you’re still growing, stay in it.”
I really appreciated this last statement because what I told my first husband as I finally admitted I wanted a divorce was, “I die a little every day I stay in this marriage.” I had grown so much in that relationship, addressed so many things in me, but it got to the point where I was no longer growing. I was dying. My well was dry, I had been completely depleted by the dynamic.
After making the decision, I went to a marriage and family therapist (who happened to be very pro-marriage). He helped me see my spouse was never going to grow as long as he was with me. It was too easy for him to be co-dependent upon me and allow me to carry the load. Odds were, he would never grow further as long as he was with me because of the dynamic.
In my opinion, there’s a time to stay and grow, and there’s a time to go. You have to judge for yourself whether you’re growing or dying in a relationship.
Watch the full interview with Julie de Azevedo Hanks. Lots more good stuff here:
Some women have trouble enjoying sex. They may have trouble climaxing or they may suffer from low libido caused by menopause. Perhaps they just have a lower interest level than their husbands. But, most of the time, women are simply overworked by the roles they play — as wives and mothers taking care of a household, children and perhaps even pursuing a career, women can get worn out and simply be too exhausted for sex.
Your husband may be wondering, “How do I get my wife to be more sexually active?” And you may be wondering “How do I get him to leave me alone?” or perhaps a better question is, “How do I enjoy sex with my husband when I’m not in the mood?”
Gina wrote the book on “How to Have Really Great Sex When You’re Not In the Mood.” In this segment Gina talks about how men and women are wired differently and how to be responsive and connect even when you don’t feel like it to start with.
Audio Length: 7 minutes
Get all 20 interviews with entrepreneurial women sharing their happy marriage secrets. We talk about intimacy, spicing up your marriage, overcoming financial challenges, bouncing back from setbacks, boundaries in marriage and families and much more. Click here for details.
If you remarry, should you move to a new home with your new spouse? Many experts recommend that if you're beginning a new marriage you should begin it in a new home that is just yours together.
While I have loved living on 24 acres next door to my sister's family for the last 18 years, it's time to move on and start fresh.
Chris wants a place that's just his and mine; and frankly, I wouldn't want to live in a house he'd lived in with his ex-wife. So I certainly can't blame him. I'm thinking letting go of the old memories would be good for me too.
The home we're moving to is smaller than the one we have now, but there are lots of things I really like about it.
- It's more affordable.
- It's got real hardwood floors throughout the first floor and tile in the kitchen.
- I like the roomy kitchen and while the cabinets are dated, that's a project for the future, and Chris loves projects.
- It has a garage (which we don't have in our current house).
- There's a man cave area in the garage for Chris to work on his projects.
- The yard is fenced and will by nice for Snow (our Great Pyrenees).
- There's a cool area for a Zen garden.
- Best of all, it doesn't have the 1/2 mile dirt road from hell or the massive flooding problem that we have in our current home.
Since the house is smaller, it's a great opportunity to simplify my life and let go of the junk we've collected over the last 18 years. The thought of sorting through it all is feels overwhelming, but I'm trusting it's all working out for the best in the end.
My friend Martina Muir posted in her Warriors of Light group about how she can be peaceful and love others yet still be willing to fight for truth and what’s right. She’s a ready warrior if the call comes.
I love this about Martina. It’s also one of the things I love about my husband. He models this blend so well.
People love him. He’s kind and remembers every child that goes through the schools. Whenever we leave the house, we’re always running into “one of his kids.”
Yet as former Air Force and currently a School Resource Officer, he has a strong sense of justice and is ready and willing to fight for the truth, for principle, and to protect others with his life.
It’s fun to watch the blend of tough and tender, justice and mercy, serious and silly, diplomatic and blunt wrapped in one package. Before knowing him I wouldn’t have believed such a contrasting combo could exist inside one person.
I’m more of a peace person. But I will use the power of the pen to stand up for truth. I’m the pen and he’s the sword.
One of the beautiful things about a good marriage, I think, is the new blend created by the partners’ combined strengths.
My husband Chris and I are approaching 5 months of wedded bliss. This morning as I was lying in his arms, I said, “I’m not seeing your flaws. I must still be in the honeymoon phase.”
He said, “Good. Stay there.”
I added, “How about we stay here for another 50 years? Let’s stay here forever.”
He thought that was a good idea.
Most people think the longer you’re married, the more boring and ordinary it becomes. My friend Paula Scardamalia says it’s the complete opposite.
By the way, Bob and Paula are one of the three couples who modeled to me what a great marriage could be. So I highly prize her wisdom. She told me this:
“The longer you’re married to somebody, the more of a delight and adventure it is. There is so much within the sexual relationship, within the emotional relationship, within the mental and the physical and even within the spiritual.
They are all journeys that if you can stay with it, if you’re willing to work within the relationship, become so much richer, so much deeper, so much more color and texture. It’s such a journey worth taking.”
Listen in as Paula expounds on why this is…
Be sure to sign up to receive our “Having It All” virtual summit audios which feature wisdom from 20 happily married women entrepreneurs.
Courtney Beardall wrapped up her interview with me by sharing this sage advice:
“If you’re going to be happy in your marriage, you have to decide to be happy. You have to decide and make that choice every day. You have to not just “be happy.” You have to enjoy your spouse. Find genuine joy in them. A lot of times that’s deciding to find absolute delight in their quirks and shortcomings and silly things. Choose to find delight in your spouse.
A lot of times they need someone to take the lead. They need us to find them attractive and funny and handsome and invaluable. We need to be complimenting each other. They respond to that. If you’re treating your spouse badly and you expect them to treat you wonderful, you’re dreamin’! Be brave. Be kind first.”
Listen to this short audio with Courtney
Be sure to sign up for the Having It All Summit and to be notified when the book is released. You don’t want to miss a thing! There’s a box on the right-hand side of this page to sign up for notices.
About Courtney Beardall
Courtney Beardall lives with her family in Northern Wyoming. If you don’t find her in her healing room, you will find her on a mountain top with her kids or exploring something new. Learning is a life long process and she is always looking for new and better ways to incorporate science, biology and spiritual laws. She is the creator of Investigating health, an energy modality that incorporates all aspects of the human body, including hormones, chemicals, structure, physiology and behavioral disorders. She teaches online courses in energy healing. Visit her online at www.CourtneyBeardall.com
When I interviewed Debra Brown Gordy of TheSophiaWomensInstitute.com , she shared with me this important mind-shift about marriage that can completely change the way we view it and the results we get.
“In the conventional mainstream world, marriage is viewed as a contract like a business contract or arrangement. If a person and their spouse are married in a civil ceremony, and in many cases in a religious ceremony, it’s an exchange. I do this, and you do that. That’s a contract idea.
To get into what marriage really is, we need to go beyond the idea of a “contract” to marriage being a sacred bond, grounded in a sacred lasting promise.
This kind of promise was anciently referred to as a covenant. That is what a marriage really is. When we remember and realize that, that we’re not creating just another ordinary relationship or friendship, it implies respecting, nurturing and protecting the bond.
The bond must come first.
The mistakes and wounds that hurt a marriage the most and that are the most injurious and difficult to overcome are injuries to the bond. That’s why, for instance, infidelity is such an injurious wound. It’s an injury and violation of the bond.
When we remember that marriage is a sacred bond, we invoke an entirely new level of connection and commitment between us. It’s in this new level of connection and commitment that we have access to sacred power for good that we can access no other way.
This is a mind-shift and a deepening of our understanding especially in the era we’re living in now when we are creating generations of people where divorce is increasingly common place. We have third generations of families that have an immediate history of divorce. This makes marriage sacred again.
You’ll have access to the full audio clip on this subject — her “3 Secrets to Soul-Satisfying Love” through our virtual summit. Be sure to sign up for it in the box on the right side of this page.
Debra Brown Gordy is The Women’s Spiritual Empowerment Mentor TM & president of The Sophia Women’s Institute. For over thirty years, she has been guiding accomplished women who hunger for more love and personal fulfillment to create deeply loving marriages and fulfilling lives along with their professional success. As a relationship therapist, speaker, teacher, author and musician, Debra is known for connecting with audiences with her warmth, wit and real-life wisdom. She is the author of the forth-coming book, Cinderella Wisdom: A Woman’s Quest for Freedom, Happiness & Lasting Love, & creator of many deeply transformative programs for women including “Freeing the Heroine Within You to Flourish!” Visit her at http://www.TheSophiaWomensInstitute.com
One day in November of 2015, I was sitting over at my sister’s house for a bit. My 4-year-old nephew Joel (her grandson) got in trouble for something and had a toy taken away. He was not happy. He started to cry and got very upset.
Then he said something like, “I’m not happy. I want to be happy.”
On a dime, Joel started jumping up and down as if something wonderful happened. I watched him closely and from that point forward he was happy as a lark and moved on to doing something else.
This caused me to ask myself, “How much power do we have to control our Happy?
That same day was a rough one for me. It was spiraling downward fast. Then I thought of Joel and said, “I’m not happy. I want to be happy.” I put on a smile, jumped up and down and I felt amazingly better throughout the rest of the day. Thank you Joel!
Choosing A Theme for 2016
People have been telling me what their word or theme is for 2016. One friend is “prosperity,” another is “ease and flow.” I like both of those. I really hadn’t given much thought to selecting a word this year. I’ve been dealing with some health issues, and it’s a challenge some days to concentrate on my work. I have been more frustrated than happy. I feel like I’m not me. I’m a do-er and my ability to “do” has diminished.
There are really good things in my life, but it seems I can’t fully enjoy them because I’m spending what little energy I have trying to keep up with everything or stressing over the things I can’t fix or can’t accomplish.
Perhaps you know the feeling. Have you ever felt like life is forcing you to rest, but there are so many demands on you, you can’t? Sometimes I’d like to go live on a tiny island with my husband, eat fruit from trees, and have no one to answer to. Sigh…
My priorities have changed significantly of late. I used to want “abundance,” but now I have decided simplicity is my abundance. Give me a simple life, with the fewest things to be responsible for. Give me an abundance of peace of mind, happiness, time to enjoy my husband and family, and freedom to visit my children and grandbabies.
Simplicity. This morning I almost chose that word for 2016.
That didn’t feel quite right.
Then I decided “Happiness” would be a better word. As I learned from Joel, happiness is a choice. I can choose happiness anytime I want, IF I have the courage to do so.
Then again, I have a sneaking suspicion that for me the road to happiness has a lot to do with Simplicity. Happiness is found in the simple things. If I look for it there, I’m bound to find it.
Want to Join Me?
So my theme for 2016 is Simply Happy Now. I’ve decided I’m going to post my Simply Happy moments to my Facebook wall using the hashtag #SimplyHappyNow. You’re welcome to follow me on Facebook and see what I discover. I hope you’ll join me in choosing simple happiness in the NOW. If you’d like, share your moments with the #SimplyHappyNow hashtag on social media and let’s see how much happiness we can create together in 2016.
I’ll blog the highlights here.
My 14-year-old son Elijah and I had been to the store and were on our way back. I’m not sure how the subject came up, but I took a moment to plant a few seeds with my son about the kind of man he might like to be. He’s a very kind and thoughtful young man — very helpful and has a genuine love for people.
When I spot that kind of person, I can’t resist giving him the inside secrets to getting even better results in life. I suggested to Elijah that he take the opportunity to learn as much as he could about home repairs from Chris (his stepfather). I explained that if he knows how to fix things, it’ll give him the edge when he’s ready to find a wife. Women find a man who can fix things incredibly attractive.
We walked in the house and Chris was sweeping the floor (without being asked).
I pointed to Chris and said, “Now that, that’s just hot!”
Countess of Grantham: “You’ve been talking to Isabel….”
Earl of Grantham: “I have been talking to Cora”
Countess of Grantham: “That is a mistake.”
Lord Grantham: “You can’t expect me to avoid talking to my own wife.”
Countess of Grantham: “Why not? I know several couples who are very happy who haven’t spoken in years.”
Okay, so not the best marriage advice in the world, but you have to admit, she lets loose some zingers!