Archive for September, 2012

Our Wedding Anniversary: a Personal Reflection by a Former “Desperado”!

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

     In these blogs I attempt to write about a variety of topics that you might find interesting and assist you in having an enlightened, healthier, and more loving life.  Today I offer a personal testimonial on how defenses can be brought down and a deeper intimate life can be created.  My story.

     September 30th is a special day of celebration for my wife, Sherry, and me.  We will have been married for thirty four years!  I feel fortunate and grateful that we have reached this point.  Most of the credit for this accomplishment belongs to Sherry.

     At the beginning I had some intimacy issues.  I did not want to let any woman get too close to my heart.  My emotional boundaries were solid, my defenses strong.  I became very independent.  My challenge was to be interdependent – a partner. There were reasons for these defenses, as there probably are for yours.  Everyone has some emotional barriers that need to be overcome if a more loving union is to be accomplished.

     In 1977 I met Sherry.  We got to know each other as friends. As the relationship developed we went on some dates.  An early one is memorable and pertinent.  We were at the Steak and Ale in Tucker having dinner.  After a tasty meal and good conversation we moved into the Lounge where Banks and Shane were playing.  Some of you know of them. As a part of their musical set they sang DESPERADO. You may be familiar with it. Some of the words follow:

                Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?

                You been out ridin fences for so long now.

                Oh, you’re a hard one

                I know you got your reasons.

                Those things that are pleasing you

                Can hurt you somehow …

 

                Desperado, oh, you ain’t getting no younger

                Your pain and your hunger, they’re drivin you home.

                And freedom, oh freedom, well that’s just some people talking

                Your prison is walking through this world all alone. …

 

                 Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?

                 Come down from your fences, open the gate’

                 It may be rainin, but there’s a rainbow above you.

                 You better let somebody love you, before its too late

 

     For some reason the words hit me like a thunder bolt.  Here I was sitting with this beautiful woman who was one of the nicest persons I had ever met.  And she was trustworthy – what you see is who she is.  No pretense.

     I said to myself, “let her in”.  And I did.  The rest is history.  1978 was our marriage year.  Kristopher John was born in 1980. Brittany Ann in 1983.  Baby making stopped at this point based on a  response from Sherry when I asked her what might be a special gift for Valentines Day.  She replied, “Your vas deferens!

     The de –“fences” have mostly come down, occasionally present.  They are not necessary.  I am loved, not judged, criticized or controlled.  Past mistakes are not brought up. We share a fun and loving life.

     Our children, Kris and Brittany, are now young adults.  We are very proud of them as they have successfully moved on to the next phase of their lives.  They have married well and have satisfying careers. We still are a very close loving family. Even have a special one year old granddaughter named Hailey! However, “empty nest” is not empty because Sherry and I are living in Paradise together, with you our friends and community.  I hope that you will be encouraged as I have to “come down from your fences, open the gate” and see that beautiful “rainbow above you”. I am blessed and grateful to live with “the sunshine of my life”, still the nicest person I’ve ever met, and hope you are as fortunate. Bring on another thirty four!

 

Are You a Good Conversationalist? A List of Styles. Yours?

Friday, September 21st, 2012

      Good communication can be a challenge.  Conversation is one of the main forms of communication. Are you aware of your conversational style?  Might you be guilty of any of these conversation no-nos?

     I came across an article by Rich Santos in which he describes conversational faux pases.  I would like to share a few of them with you and add my own embellishment.   See if you recognize yourself or someone else familiar to you.

  1. Conversational Hijacker (CH) : A person shares something with the CH and the CH takes over without really listening to you or commenting on what you said. The CH wants you to listen to him/her. The CH takes over and dominates.  A conversational imbalance results.
  2. Eye contact style: Some people continually stare a hole through you as you converse; others barely look at you or in your eyes. Eye contact should have an easy rhythm to it.
  3. Ghost Listener C(GL): This person continually asks you to repeat what you said.  The GL is not really into you or interested in what you have to say. The GL’s mind is someplace else but periodically re-connects by asking you to repeat what you said.
  4. Tasteless Jokester (TJ): The TJ just has to be heard and resorts to tacky tasteless jokes to get attention. The TJ is boorish.
  5. Shameless Self Promoter (SSP):  The SSP is a me, me, me person. SSP’s take over and talk about themselves ad nauseam. An SSP does not ask about the other person’s world. Again a conversational imbalance results.
  6. Negative Person (NP): The NP finds something negative or wrong about most everything. The NP sucks the positive energy out of a conversation. A conversation with an NP invites the listener to find an excuse to move away.
  7. Dead-end Answerer (DA): The DA answers with a yes or a no or a single sentence.  This illustrates that the DA has no personality or is detached and wants to get out of the conversation.  Conversation with a DA is going nowhere. Exit .
  8. Word Machine (WM): The WM talks and talks and talks and/or questions and questions and questions. The WM is exhausting and draining. 
  9. Vacuous Person (VP): The VP is shallow.  The VP is not informed or interesting. Conversation is very boring with a VP.
  10. Pseudo Intellectual Person (SIP): The SIP is a conversational snob, above it all.  The SIP tends to be condescending, sometimes belittling. The SIP needs to be one up on the conversational partner.

     Conversation is one of the chief ways that we get to know another person.  A conversation that has appropriate sharing, balance, and rhythm facilitates a deeper relationship. It is worthwhile for you, Respected Reader, to see if any of the conversation faux pases apply to you. If someone important to you is guilty of such you might want to have them read this article – or see that they receive it from an anonymous source!

                   “The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

10 “Stupid” Things Couples Do to Mess Up Their Relationships!

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

     Dr. Laura Schlessinger, known for her talk show and book writing, likes to use the word “stupid”.  She has at least four books that contain the word “stupid” in the title. One of them is TEN STUPID THINGS COUPLES DO TO MESS UP THEIR RELATIONSHIPS. While she is not my favorite theoretician, she is not “stupid”, maybe brash, somewhat narrow minded.  How you may be “stupid” in relationships, according to Dr. Laura, follows – with some side comments by yours truly. 

     You may be “stupid” in the following areas:

1. SECRETS: People who keep secrets when there is no need to. This is a way of keeping the other person in the dark, of being important.  They know something that the other person does not. That is not to say that every thought, feeling, and behavior needs to be shared.  Privacy, too, has its place.

2. EGOTISM: These people can’t be filled up.  It is all about them.  They are exhausting as they find the limelight wherever it is.  Sometimes they need to put the other person down so that they can climb higher into full view.

(Dr. Laura question: “How many egocentric folks does it take to screw in a light bulb? One, she just holds the bright bulb up to the fixture and waits for the world to revolve around her.”

3. PETTINESS: These folks look for trouble.  Little things can’t be bypassed, let go.  Everything is a big issue to fuss about.  They stay on the offense thereby putting the other person on the defense most of the time.

4. POWER: These people have to have the power, the control.  They make unilateral decisions without consulting their partner, even if it affects that person.

5. PRIORITIES: These people have distorted priorities.  Money, status, individual image and glory, etc… are more important than the relationship connection.

6. HAPPINESS: These people need to be happy all the time.  If something goes wrong they cannot handle it.  They catastrophize, blame, and struggle to cope.  The world owes them perpetual and unlimited happiness.

7. EXCUSES: These people have an excuse for everything.  They never own it, hold themselves responsible, or be accountable for mistakes they make.

8. LAISONS: These people seek out inappropriate people to have unhealthy relationships with.  These relationships may involve poor life style choices, addictions, affairs, etc… Their lack of people boundaries allow folks to come in that contaminate the spousal relationship.

9. MISMATCH: These people chose a person that is not a good fit for them for a committed relationship.  They failed to do their “due diligence”, enhanced by relationship counseling, so that a better match might result.

10. BREAK UPS: These people are continuing to “break up” with their partner or threatening to do so. These yo-yo relationships are exhausting and ultimately do not work. Consistency and trust cannot be established.

     So, respected reader, do you or your partner have some “stupid” categories to address? Every person does occasional “stupid” behaviors, but some people manifest these “stupid” characteristics on a regular and habitual basis. Bottom line: Avoid “stupid” people. Don’t be a “stupid” person. “Stupid” kills relationships!

A Quiz for Married Women. Check Your Score!

Monday, September 10th, 2012

   I receive much feedback from readers. I welcome it and gain insight as to what topics speak to certain people.  Some say that I shouldn’t write about love-making (mostly women). Some offer topics (usually at a cocktail party when someone has been “over served”). Some like a quiz to check up on how they (or someone else) are doing.  So here goes a Quiz.

     This Quiz, complete with scoring and interpretation, is courtesy of author Laura Doyle.  I will present it in its entirety.  Are you ready, Ladies?  Finish each question with a “rarely”, “sometimes”, or “frequently”.  Do you…

  1. Feel superior to your husband?
  2. Nag your husband?
  3. Commiserate with other women about your husband?
  4. Hear yourself say, “I told my husband…”?
  5. Think that everything would be fine if your husband would do what you tell him to do?
  6. Eavesdrop on your husband’s conversations?
  7. Feel like the only adult in the family?
  8. Feel over burdened in parenting your children?
  9. Do things for your husband that he is capable of doing for himself?
  10. Have recurring anxiety and depression?
  11. Feel exhausted?
  12. Find either of you are disinterested in sex?
  13. Feel resentful or jealous about your husband’s victories in life?
  14. Reject or criticize his gifts?
  15. Fantasize about divorce or life with a man who would better match you?
  16. Discount the reasons you chose your husband in the first place?
  17. Feel hopeless about your marriage because your needs have gone unmet for so long?
  18. Have a hard time trusting your husband in even small matters?
  19. Find yourself trying to control your husband?
  20. Get angry with your husband when he makes a poor decision?

Now it is time to total your score and find out what it means.  Give yourself 5 points for each “rarely”, 3 points for each “sometimes, and 1 point for each “frequently”.  Add them up and see what’s there.         In Ms. Doyle’s thinking:

IF YOUR SCORE IS 35 OR LESS: You’re probably wondering what the heck you ever saw in this guy! But not to worry – the tenderness you seek may just be dormant. If you remember the reasons you agreed to marry him in the first place and start respecting him for those reasons, you can still have the marriage you dreamed was possible. Find the courage to stop controlling your husband today. You won’t be sorry. You can transform your marriage starting now.

IF YOUR SCORE IS 36 TO 60: It’s hard to tell because you make it look easy, but you’re doing too much and you need a break. Start to take better care of yourself and ask for help more often.  Your vulnerability will be rewarded if your husband feels respected.  Thank your husband for his contributions and you will be well on your way to igniting passion and achieving intimacy.

IF YOUR SCORE IS 61 OR ABOVE: Congratulations! Your marriage is very intimate and passionate. You found a man you respect, and the two of you have a positive impact on each other. This union is a healthy mix of individuality and togetherness. You practice good self-care, you’re quick to apologize, and he adores you for it.

     Well, what do you think, Ladies?  Does this inventory tell you anything about yourself or your marriage?  Does Ms. Doyle speak to you with her interpretation of the scores? You Men who may have joined in, what are your thoughts and feelings?  Might the two of you discuss these matters?

     Quizzes invite you to think about the question matter. They raise awareness in a particular area of thought. Hopefully this exploration has had benefit and provoked further discussion and possible change where warranted.

                         “The unexamined life is not worth living”     Socrates

Are You a Better Person Because of Your Spouse? Or Worse?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

       “Can you make me want to be a better man?”    Zac Brown in song.   “You make me want to be a better man”   Jack Nicholson in movie  ( I have not been able to find a woman saying the same.  What’s that all about?)

     Marriage has an incredibly great impact on you! Marriage affects you physically, emotionally, and behaviorally. Marriage changes you in many ways – “for better or for worse”. The research is clear and every marriage illustrates it well.

     A good marriage has love in it. Love energizes positive feelings, evokes caring behavior, and fosters personal growth.  A bad marriage has fear, hurt, and anger in it. These emotions bring out negative  hurtful behavior, isolation,  and personal regression.

     Take a moment and reflect on this.  Think about the quality of your marriage. As a result of such a committed union have you become better or worse as a human being? Have you evolved into being a better person or have you regressed? This should be a relatively easy deduction once you frame the question.

     If the answer is “better” try to understand why.  What has your spouse done that has encouraged and promoted your growth as a more complete person?  Has it been unflinching belief and support of you no matter what? Has that person been complimentary of you and what you contribute to the relationship? Role modeled desirous behaviors? Other reasons?  If the answer is yes, please be sure to tell that person so – often.

     If your answer is “worse”, what are the reasons? Where has that person dropped the ball?  Lack of support?  Critical?  Addictive behaviors? Mean spirited? If you are still in this poor marriage what needs to change so that the relationship can facilitate your desire to be a better person. You do want to be that, do you not? It is helpful to know and express your needs if you want a complementary partner that brings out the best in you.  If you do not know your needs how can you move forward. (“If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there”)

     After you have finished this evaluation of your partner as to how s/he has helped or hindered you in becoming a better person in your marriage, I invite you to ask a further question of yourself – and maybe of your spouse.  Have you helped to make your spouse a better person? If the answer is yes what specific things are you doing to help make that happen?  If not, why not?  What is holding you back? What might you start doing? Are you consciously aware of the likes and needs of your spouse and make an extra effort to deliver? Hopefully so.

     After reading this article may you be grateful that you have married such a special person that has been instrumental in your becoming a better person. ( I am. You should have known me before I married Sherry!) If gratitude for such a union does not quickly come out of your mouth, what are you going to do about it?  Or do you not want to become a better person?  I would guess that you probably do, so please do all you can to have your marriage be as enhancing as it is capable of being.

      “The unexamined life is not worth living”     Socrates