From our family..to yours!
Joe, Tosha & CeCe
As I’ve said before..My husband (who is a Marriage & Family Therapist) and I are very passionate about relationships. We have led groups, spoke at several events and continue to learn as much as we can. Since we naturally get asked a lot of questions about our journey…then I want to share things with you as I learn. I’ll continue to be writing posts as well as showcase different videos on NittyGrittyFashion.com I hope it’s helpful and you enjoy!
Relationships are obviously built on several things. However, one thing that cannot be overlooked is compromise within the relationship. No matter if you have been married 5 days or 50 years, we all have to compromise to keep our marriage thriving. For me and my marriage, I have learned how to compromise in ways that are a big deal to my husband. He loves the house to be clean. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be clean as well but I tend to leave things around the house. =) Compromising for me is being aware to pick things up and keep the house clean. This makes my husband feel so loved and respected. In return, I love to watch chick flick movies, he watches them with me because he knows that I enjoy them. Apart of marriage is entering into each other’s world and sharing that with them. I see a lot of relationships where the spouses don’t spend any time together, have no shared experiences and don’t look to each other as friends. It takes effort to do things we don’t enjoy. For me, it’s watching sports on TV ….but when I do, I am entering into his world and sharing something with him that he enjoys. It is the same when he goes shopping with me and actually enjoys it, I LOVE that! =) Thinking of ways that we can take our eyes off our-self and onto the relationship is going to strength our marriages!!
Making a to-do list reminds us of what we need to do each day…which goes to show, we all need to be reminded of things from time to time. Life gets crazy and busy and the natural drift in marriage or relationships is isolation. Meaning, if we are not aware of it, we will put other things before our relationship. For Joe and I, we have posted up reminders of our love and commitment to each other in our house. This is helpful to us to see the things that we love about each other. If you haven’t before, write a love letter to each other and put it in a frame and hang it on your wall. When those days of fighting, misunderstanding and frustration happen, you can see your writings and be reminded of how you really feel. This will help you to keep perspective and not be focused on the temporary problem.
When writing your letters, think back to the time you fell in love, what was it that attracted you to each other. Be very detailed, not vague. Being detailed will make the other person feel validated, respected and valued….showing that you really pay attention to them and know what you like in them. More expressive the better =) Happy writings!
Empathy is not a word we use very often. What does it mean? Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Of course this is extremely difficult to do at times, because we each experience things differently. However, I believe we can train our mind to become better at this. Just like playing a sport, as you practice…you become better. The below is a great diagram to display the components and degrees of empathy. Empathy can be expressed in these different ways depending on the situation you are in. Next time you feel you and your partner are not on the same page with things, take a step back and say ” how would I feel if I were in their shoes” or “if I were them, how would I want to be consoled”. I have said before, marriage is not about “I” it’s about “us”. At the end of the day, we need to make decisions and reactions based on what is going to be better for our relationships. Yes, it is difficult but isn’t it worth it!
My husband’s saying is “Empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, so that you do not step on their feet”
I know we have all asked this a time or two…Is he the one? How do you know? Will you just know? I get asked this ALL the time in our relationship groups, and by single friends. Is it cliche to say “You will know when you know”? I believe some truth in that saying, but mostly I do not believe we should be led by our feelings. Our feelings and emotions can sometimes get us in trouble, if we are not careful. In any other situation (other than relationships) people would agree that you can’t always act based on how you feel. When you first meet someone, you have to think logically more than emotionally. When we are led by our emotions, we develop blinders, causing an inability to see the other person for who they really are. Haven’t you heard friends say, “This is not the person that I met in the beginning?” One of two things have happened: 1) either they were putting on a good front and now their true colors are coming out, or 2) you were so in love and did not see all the red flags from the beginning. We tend to let things slide when we are in love. So how can we really know if they are the one? Here are the steps that I took with Joe, my husband, before we got engaged.
1) I made sure to be friends with him for a year before we dated. That way I got to see who he REALLY was. Neither one of us was out to impress the other.
2) Did his values line up with mine?
3) Did he have the same spiritual beliefs as me? A lot of people dismiss this but you must think “what will life be like when you have kids”? What belief will they be raised upon.
4) Not only does he spiritually believe the same as me but are we equally yoked? Meaning, are we at the same level with our beliefs. If one person believes their beliefs are stronger than the other, then the stronger person will eventually be pulled down to their level.
5) Do we have the same interest? I have many friends tell me after they’ve gotten married, “I feel pressured to live the same lifestyle as my spouse.” If one person likes to stay home all the time and the other person likes to go out, eventually this will cause problems in the relationship.
I know most people say that opposites attract. Yes, men and women are naturally opposite and some opposing characteristics are a healthy balance. However, I believe that the more we have in common, the more this will bring us together as friends and not only lovers. Anyone can have a great relationship; the difference between those that do and those that don’t, is how hard you are willing to work at it. I had someone tell me one time that marriage shouldn’t be any different than going to college. In college, we study for years to learn how to become a professional at our career. Marriage shouldn’t be any different. We should take time to learn how to do marriage. Dating shouldn’t be any different either. Be intentional about your dating relationship. Think ahead and envision what your life will be like. After doing this, you will know for sure if he is the one!