Tuesday

Becoming What Your Soul Mate Needs


Photo By: The Tanori Group

Becoming What Your Soul Mate Needs

By Kris & Anita Rossow

Our desire to search out our soul mate is connected to our core needs. Marriage offers acceptance, value and belonging - it is the ultimate connection with your soul mate, two become one, the most intimate form of companionship.

We need to remember that while many of us search for our soul mate, making careful lists of the desired qualities that we are looking for in the right person, they are also searching for us. The question to ask is: Are we becoming what they need us to be?

In my journey to find my soul mate I had a lot of lessons to learn about myself before I was ready to join him for our journey through life together. I didn’t feel like I had much to learn at the time but in hindsight I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had not experienced the things I did. They prepared me to live life wholeheartedly with another person. The sacrifice and commitment of a relationship requires preparation of character.

If I didn’t spend time journeying on my own for a season and discovering who I was, I would have put unnecessary pressure on my marriage and our relationship. When you join with another person in a serious relationship that is based on faithfulness and commitment there are significant changes to adjust to-this is only hindered when you have not dealt with your personal issues prior to coming together. I discovered that singleness is a great season that should be celebrated -it’s not a time of ‘waiting’ but a time of ‘preparing’ for what is to come.

My preparation included; Realizing who I was as a single person, Better understanding my personality, Recognizing that I had poor self esteem and no confidence, Discovering how my family of origin affected me, Understanding my primary love language, Dealing with unforgiveness, Learning how to deal with conflict in relationships, Becoming emotionally stable and standing on my own two feet, Learning to budget, The list goes on and on….I had a lot to learn!

As you continue to read, this book will offer suggestions on how you can become the person that your soul mate is searching for. Sometimes we forget that it’s more about us becoming who we need to be in order to be attractive to them. Life is a journey with lots of lessons to learn, allow yourself to be challenged as you read this book and put into practice some of the suggestions - who knows Mr or Mrs Right could be just around the corner!

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Pre-packaged Marriage Saving Solutions


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Pre-packaged Marriage Saving Solutions

By Amy Waterman

Next time you are in your local grocery store, keep an eye open for an evolving phenomena. Pre-packaged and pre-prepared meals have now entered into the cheese market. I was down at the grocery store last week, doing some shopping on my way home from work. Looking down at all the different types of cheese in the deli before me, my attention was directed toward bags of grated cheese. I was astounded! Pre-grated cheese! And then it made me wonder...

If we are too lazy to even grate our own cheese, how bad have things become? Does this same paternalistic mentality over needing to buy cheese pre-grated follow into so many of our other facets of life? Can we buy houses that clean themselves, cars that drive themselves? It seems they are developing technology that will enable us to have vacuum cleaners that operate themselves as well as self-drive cars. Thinking on to the next logical step from this, how much do we expect others to do for us? How little do we expect to do for ourselves?

I mean, if we can’t grate our own cheese, clean our own homes, drive ourselves about, then where do we take control of what is going on in our lives?

This mentality follows when it comes to your marriage. There is no product out there that is going to save your marriage for you. The act of buying a book is not going to magically turn your marriage problems around. Reading the book is not going to change your life either. Marriages involve work. Marriage problems require even more work, and a commitment that the effort you make and the heartache you go through in the process of fixing your marriage is going to be worth it. Reading about how to fix a marriage is not going to magically change your life either. This mentality is going to doom your marriage to the divorce basket.

What is going to make a difference is having the determination to read the concepts and techniques that we offer and applying them to your marriage. This also means getting off your backside and taking responsibility for saving your marriage. Because ultimately the effort you go to is going to determine to a large extent whether your marriage survives or not.

I never heard of a person learning to walk again achieve success by simply reading a book about it. I never heard of Christopher Columbus discovering America by buying a book about it and never setting out to sea. I never heard of man landing on the moon and attributing his success by watching a great documentary about it and never reaching space. I never heard of Edmund Hilary conquering Mount Everest by reading a magazine about how to do it and never leaving his armchair. Achieving success in any pursuit involves HARD WORK, it involves dedication, and it involves personal investment by the person with the greatest to gain.

There are no shortcuts. The people who achieve great things in life, sometimes against great odds, are those who are determined to succeed and determined to take action and do something. Others can provide you with the tools, but the hard work and the heartache and the achievement are ultimately your responsibility.

I cannot help those who will not help themselves. I provide the tools, but it is up to you to use them and apply them. Next time you are at the supermarket, buy a block. Grate your own cheese. Clean your own floors, drive your own car. Save your own marriage with my course. Let me help you save your marriage

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Friday

Creating a Boundary Between You and the In-Laws


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Creating a Boundary Between You and the In-Laws
By Dr. Andrew D. Atwood

My spouse's parents are in our lives way too much. They have way too much influence over my spouse and intrude into our life as a couple. We want our own family. How do we draw a tighter boundary between them and us?

Yes, this is a question of boundaries.

The first thing I would do is rent the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. That will give you a big fat laugh! You can see the whole drama played out in front of you. Absolutely hilarious.

Keeping some humor around this issue will do you some good. In fact, it will do everyone some good.

There is a rule of thumb working here, which means most of the time it is true. I picked this up years ago from Frank Pitman, one of the most innovative Marriage and Family Therapists around. Frank said something like this: If a couple is struggling to emancipate a child, look to the marriage.

Look to the marriage.

Your mother and father in-law may not want to be alone with each other. Maybe they both have too much of their identity wrapped up in being a parent, instead of a husband or wife. They are different roles, and if one or the other, or both, can't handle the marriage, they might triangle in with one or more of the kids in order to buffer their marriage.

Is this a new thought for you, or have you already considered this?

If your in-laws are unwilling to be with each other, any effort on your part to disentangle the triangle will result in some repercussions for them. One move I've seen, is where the husband and wife shift their attention to another member of the extended family, say another child or even a grandchild. They will put energy into everyone but themselves.

In such situations, you will have to handle your own anxiety as you watch your in-laws deal with each other. And, even more importantly, your spouse will have to handle the anxiety of watching his or her parents heat up a little as they deal with each other. That can be very challenging.

Your job is to support your spouse in his or her effort to build tighter boundaries. The boundaries have been too permeable, and maybe too flexible, and they need to be firmed up. That usually means having to say "no" to people you love, and who will exhibit some pain when they hear the word "no". Hold your own hand, hold your lover's hand, and ride it out.

Think about your partner. How he or she will respond will depend to some degree on which type of person they are.

If your spouse is a Ready Adventurer, well, he or she might just go ahead and have at it. The adventure of challenging parents doesn't threaten as much. The Ready Adventurer is comfortable with less stability and might very well say "no" with some ease. If not, look to the presence of shame and guilt.

On the other hand, the Loyal Caretaker will have a terrible time with this. After all, it is very easy to get the Loyal Caretaker triangled into his or her parent's marriage in order to unconsciously take care of his or her parents' marriage. Strange as it may seem, that happens a great deal.

As an anecdote, there is a historic home in the neighborhood where our office is located. Like our office, it is a large "Heritage Hill Home." But, the Voigt House has been perfectly preserved. It looks exactly as it did in the 1890's. How did that happen? The oldest daughter never married and stayed at home with her parents and nothing, not one thing, was ever modernized. Makes a great museum today, but it was an enmeshed family that never emancipated their daughter.

The Authentic Idealist, if trapped in a triangle with his or her parents, has likely been hooked by some emotion, such as guilt or shame. In fact, as I think about this right now, I would bet that is the case here as well. If a tighter boundary is drawn the parents will somehow create some guilt or shame for their child for having done so. Insidious that stuff is. Watch out for the role of guilt and shame.

The Careful Thinker is vulnerable to being empowered. They like the feeling of power, and while it is usually the power attached to words and ideas, they might just as well be hooked by the power given by a very grateful mom and dad. That is a possibility. Some examination of the issues might help the Careful Thinker to think more carefully about how to encourage growth in both your marriage, as well as the parents'.

What to do?

Gently, but firmly, determine to tighten up the boundaries over the course of a year or so. Eighteen months might be a good time frame. To do it all at once would traumatize everyone. You and your spouse sit down and figure out a step-by-step plan for tightening up the boundaries. Look at all the occasions where mom and dad intrude. How often do they call? How often do you visit there? How often do they visit here? How often do we get together and for what occasions? Then determine to wean yourselves free, little bit by little bit. Make a plan, and work your plan.

If your spouse is struggling to tighten up the boundary, I would recommend three steps.

1. Get a cognitive understanding of what the issues are. See it for what it is. Your in-laws have to deal with each other and your spouse needs to tighten up the boundary so they can face their marriage.

2. Get to work on the shame and guilt issue. John Bradshaw's book, Healing the Shame that Binds You, is a terrific guide. I identified with the first half of the book so much, it was incredible. Then, in the second half, John outlines a number of techniques for freeing yourself, most of which I use regularly in Therapy. I highly recommended John's book.

3. Get into some supportive therapy. When you tighten up the boundaries, you will be dumped on by your in-laws, and maybe by everyone else in the family system, and that is a lot of pressure to take. I have a family that I have worked with for some time and the husband is enmeshed with his own family of origin. 82 people in the extended family and finally, one sister moved more than 10 miles from home. She has been put under tremendous heat, and that heat has served to inform everyone else in the family that they had better not do what Jill has done.

Well, there you have it, some advice from me to you around a fairly common problem. And don't forget: go rent My Big Fat Greek Wedding!

For more Marriage tips click here.

Thursday

The Best Thing to Give Your Significant Other


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The Best Thing to Give Your Significant Other
By Kris & Anita Rossow

One of the best gifts that you can give your soul mate is a healthy self esteem. When you are truly comfortable in your own skin and know who you are and where you are going you will really have something to offer someone else. No one wants to end up with a 'leech', a person who can't really function without constant affirmation to build up their self esteem.

Once upon a time I believed that this topic was only relevant to females but the more life I live the more I discover that males have the same self esteem issues and deal with them in a different way!

In Nathaniel Brandon's description of self esteem he states "self-esteem as a basic human need, i.e., '...it makes an essential contribution to the life process', "...is indispensable to normal and healthy self-development, and has a value for survival." Maslow described two kinds of self esteem needs, the "need for respect from others and the need for self-respect." Without self esteem the individual feels discouraged weak and inferior. Do you have a healthy self esteem? Do you draw your self esteem from an external sources that may cause you to crumble when they do? Where do you draw your self worth from?

This idea of self esteem ties in with our basic core need for acceptance and value. We desire to be accepted by others and to be valued for what we do and who we are. It is very dangerous when a person's self esteem primarily comes from what they do and from what people think of them.

When we compare ourselves to the glam models we see in magazines or to the sporting heroes on our television sets we will never measure up to what the world seems to value and accept as popular. Self esteem is the opinion you have of yourself.

In order to become comfortable in your own skin you need to build your self esteem and understand that you are valuable just as you are. Building self esteem is a step towards happiness in life. The fact that we are here on earth and have been created to live a purposeful life is of value. We can't always rely on others to validate us. Sometimes we need to take responsibility for boosting our own self confidence. Self esteem increases your confidence which in turn boosts your self respect. When we respect ourselves we can respect others and improve our relationships.

Low self esteem causes depression, unhappiness, insecurity and poor confidence which all have a negative effect on relationships in our life. When we listen to negative 'self talk' it impacts on our ability to focus on others in life and causes us to be consumed with ourselves. Two important keys to increasing self confidence include; facing our fears and forgetting our failures.

Facing our fears will increase our confidence and build our 'I can do anything' attitude to success! Failures are better forgotten than remembered. Forget the failure but don't forget the lesson you learnt. Always remember that the only people who haven't failed in life are the people sitting there doing nothing! You don't want to become one of them. Odds are if you're living life to the max you will fail sometimes. Choose to focus on the success and learn from the failure, don't befriend it and use it as an excuse to do nothing.

Being comfortable in your own skin and having a healthy self esteem is one of the greatest gifts you can give your soul mate. If you are confident and comfortable with who you are you will attract that into your life.

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