Happy, Healthy Mind - Speak Up!
I am not sure if my husband will mind me saying this, but we hit a big emotional bump in the road around our tenth year of marriage. Up until that point, we both felt blessed to be married to our best friend who was always there for each other emotionally. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending, or either of us might not want to blog about it. Actually, I think the lessons we took away are too important not to share. Not to mention, sticking it out thru the pain definitely paid off in the end and made us stronger.
With a lot of honest communication, time and effort on both of our parts, we were able to gain major clarity on the situation. Not only were both of us determined to do the work, no matter how painful or messy it got, we were both of the mindset that our vow to each other was forever. As a result, we were both able to figure out our individual roles and take accountability for them. We were able to work thru the process of what went wrong, and were committed to make the necessary changes for our lasting happiness and contentment. Now I finally feel ready to share my experience and put my life lessons down on paper (or in a blog). Personally, I have been like that with every hurdle in life, big or small. It takes me some time to meditate on it, digest it, and then change or accept the situation. This repeated, conscious choice has allowed me to move thru my life hopefully as a better version of myself. Its funny how life is like that, kind of an ebb and flow. My husband and I are both grateful and wholeheartedly feel our relationship is in a much healthier and loving place.
In my life's quest for self improvement and personal growth, I don't ever feel that the blame rests with just one person. It is true when they say it takes two. This fact motivated me to really dig deep into MY role into what went wrong, along with analyzing my past relationship patterns. I found it doesn't get you anywhere in life to play the victim or martyr. I have personally matured from accepting the responsibility for my actions which facilitated a mental and emotional shift. This helped me foster healthy, loving relationships with my mate, friends and family. I am excited to share with you how this shake up really truly changed me (and us) for the better!
To begin with and out of respect for my husband, I will sum it up by saying we were both doing our best to cope with a series of extremely, uncontrollable painful life events. Over the years of dealing with there aftermath, we didn't even realize we had drifted apart. I love the marriage advice from Dr. John Gray's book: "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". It not only gives the male perspective of relationships but he gives some very practical tools that really work. He says that when a man is in his cave, sorting thru painful life events, the best thing for a woman to do is get her own needs met to continue to be happy. Whether that means going out to lunch or to the movies with friends, working out, getting a massage/pedicure or buying yourself flowers. Anything that raises your inner joy and literally your hormone levels of Oxytocin. (More on hormones in another blog).
Another words, do you! (Oh and don't make him pay for it when he comes out of his cave). Men usually isolate themselves in their cave to solve their problems, where women usually consult their girlfriends to talk it out. What I learned was that my behavior/pattern in relationships, for decades, was to not speak up to ask for my needs to be met. In addition, I failed to do loving things for myself that I needed for my self care. Dr. Gray says that men need and prefer us to speak up and ask for what we need, as they cannot read our minds. I think a lot of women feel men should know what we need or may not want to have to ask as they should know us better.
I think for me, I have always tried to take care of everyone else needs, putting them first, and me in last place. I was always extremely generous with everyone else in my life except myself. This only led to my frustration, bitterness and feeling neglected. Learning the power of speaking up has been a huge game changer for me, and us. Its kinda funny really because now I speak up all the time and don't delay in the slightest to say what I want or need. When asked if he likes this new outspoken wife, he says he likes knowing the true me and where my mind and heart is at. My requests just come out automatically and it feels so freeing and empowering.
Whether its needing more of his time and attention, a honey do list or a date night. Its a win win really because he enjoys providing for my needs and is more than happy to give me my hearts desires. Intuitively, men really want to make us happy and provide and care for us, being our knight in shining armor. Who knew the cliche was spot on.... "Happy wife, happy life!"
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