Have you ever gone for a big goal or dream and achieved it and then thought, “Now what?”
in August 2011, I captured a compelling vision of a wonderful, connected relationship with a man I could love, respect and admire. I had no idea who that man would be. But I knew somehow, some way he was in my future.
That vision propelled me forward. It led me to lose weight, get in shape, tap into my femininity, grow a spine, and learn to set boundaries with men.
I stepped out of my comfort zone in a big way, ending a 28-year marriage, traveling to new places, meeting new people, and trying new things. I got in touch with my emotions and got vulnerable enough to repeatedly put my heart on the line.
I bounced back from more than one broken heart, and willingly risked it one more time to keep moving toward that vision of a connected relationship with a man I could love, respect and admire.
The very worst of me came for a visit, but was vanquished by the very best in me. I learned about what was important to me and what really didn’t matter in the long run.
There is one thing I hadn’t considered and that is the unusual “silence” that follows reaching a big dream.
I love my life. I love my husband. We’ll celebrate our first anniversary in September. I found the connection I was looking for and I love this man more every single day.
But here’s what people never tell you… when you spend every ounce of energy you have going for a big vision and then it becomes a reality, you’re thrilled about that, but after you’ve gone a little ways living this new life, it starts to feel normal.
Then you hear people talking about going for big dreams and you think, “I don’t have a dream to pursue. I’m living my dream.”
And somehow you wonder if that’s wrong. Shouldn’t I always have some big passionate dream I’m going for? There very well could be some other dream that will capture my passion around the corner. But even if there isn’t, I’ve decided my passion is to make the most of the gift I’ve been given.
Make The Most of Where You Are
How can I make this marriage I dreamed and longed for the best it can be? How can I show my love to this wonderful man each and every day? How can I create more peace and love in our home? How can we co-create a beautiful life together and live it to fullest?
Relationships have to be nourished and appreciated to last. Living the dream is the really fun part. Happiness isn’t “out there” in some future place anymore. It’s in the here and now. For many of us, that is a challenging shift in perspective. We tend to always want what we don’t have. I’ve decided to cherish every moment of what I DO have here and now. That is my dream. That is my passion. Soak up every ounce of love in the NOW.
Frankly, that’s probably what I should have been doing all along!
We moved to a new house over the weekend. It’s a fresh start for my new husband and me. The idea of moving took some getting used to because it meant moving away from my dream property that I designed and built my house on 18 years ago.
Once I acclimated to the idea of moving, I approached the move with curiosity, just going with the flow and seeing how it went. I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel. Whatever it might be, I was ready to get it done and have a solid foundation under my life instead of feeling like I was in limbo.
I must say I’m enjoying the new house. Chris is very happy having his own workspace in the garage and a home that feels like it’s his to fix and putter around in.
For me, I think the other night sums it up best. After a busy day of Chris, the boys and me working to settle into the house, we sat down to watch Mocking Jay 2. I looked at my husband and sons and thought, “this is how a family should be.”
For the first time since we married it felt like we were a real, cohesive family, working together, relaxing together — united. It became real. Being in a home that’s all of ours (not one that was mine first) has given us the opportunity to work together to make this house our home. It’s united us.
Yes, I think I’m going to like this…
My all-time favorite novel is Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. It helped me see where I had been enabling other people in my life. It helped me grow a spine and set boundaries in relationships. It opened my eyes to where I had lost myself. Reading Atlas Shrugged was one of the first steps I took in finding my way back to emotional and relational health.
I like Rand because she makes me think, and I absolutely love the characters in Atlas Shrugged. I’ve watched video interviews with Rand, and she comes across more abrasive and stubborn in person than in her fiction. I don’t always agree with her philosophies, but because I love the novel so much, I’ve tried to at least understand where she’s coming from. Doing so, has helped me gain new insights into relationships and humanity.
I was researching some of Rand’s quotes today for another blog and found this intriguing quote on sex. In recent years I’ve come to understand how closely tied our sex lives are to the value we see in ourselves. I’ve never heard anyone articulate it quite this way.
“Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers. But, in fact, a person’s sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions. Tell me what a person finds sexually attractive and I will tell you their entire philosophy of life. Show me the person they sleep with and I will tell you their valuation of themselves.
No matter what corruption they’re taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which they cannot perform for any motive but their own enjoyment – just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity! – an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exultation, only on the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire.
It is an act that forces them to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and accept their real ego as their standard of value. They will always be attracted to the person who reflects their deepest vision of themselves, the person whose surrender permits them to experience – or to fake – a sense of self-esteem .. Love is our response to our highest values – and can be nothing else.” – Ayn Rand
What do you think of what she has to say on this subject?
Chris and I celebrate our 6 month wedding anniversary today (3/4/16). Some might say we’re still in the newlywed phase, but we’ve been slammed with more challenges, drama and loss in those six months than the average couple would probably endure in a three year period. We’ve had our baptism by fire and I’ve got to say, I love this man like I have never loved anyone before.
On our wedding day, I had only an inkling of who he truly is. Each day with him is like unpacking a gift from God that keeps revealing admirable traits, pleasant surprises, love and laughter.
What a good, honorable, loving man he is! I love being with someone who draws from my heart such an intense respect, trust, love, and adoration as this man does from mine. He is such an affectionate, attentive, hard-working, fun and wise friend to me!
I have lost much in the last year and God sent me this marvelous man who not only knows what it is to lose everything and can help me process the grief, but also believes in and values who I really am at the core. He’s constantly holding a space for the real me and my true worth. I am learning who I am through his eyes.
It took me 49 years to find this sweet connection — this quest of a lifetime. Whatever I may or may not accomplish in the rest of my days, I will have all I need in loving and being loved by this man. Thank you, God, for answered prayers (and as Garth Brooks sings, the “unanswered ones”).
I saw this post about “How to Get a Man to Love You.” I spent time during my dating years reading stuff like that. Trying to figure out how men tick and what I was supposed to do to “make a man love me.”
Here’s what I discovered… STOP trying to make a man love you. That’s the problem! You care too much. Stop needing, forcing or trying so danged hard. Just be yourself and the man who is right for you … who is going to love you … will just love you.
You won’t have to “get him to do it.” Be yourself, love yourself, hold to your values and wait for the man who knows he’s found a treasure from the get-go!
Here’s how I used positive affirmations to retrain my brain and found the man who instantly saw my value and loves me for me.
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
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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…
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