The Healthiest Example of Dealing with a Potential Divorce I’ve Ever Seen

She ducked.  She waited.  And it worked.

In an August 13, 2009 article published in The New York Times, Laura Munson described how her husband came home one day and said he wanted out of their marriage – that he didn’t love her any more.

Ms. Munson was stunned.  They’d had a good marriage and partnership, they’d achieved many of their goals, and life seemed happy and fulfilling.  This pronouncement – that he didn’t love her any more – seemed to come out of the blue.

Like countless others in her position, Laura Munson had to make an instantaneous decision on how to proceed at a time when she’d been sucker-punched.   Her very next words, her next actions, would determine not only the course of the frightening conversation at hand, but of her very life.

Unlike the vast majority of others in her position, Laura made an amazing decision.  She chose not to believe him.

Oh, she knew he thought he meant it.  She knew he was hurting, that he’d had some disappointments of late, that – she hoped – he believed he needed a fresh start, to assuage some wounds his ego and his sense of self as a man had borne.

But she chose to believe that he was saying hurtful things to her in the same way that an unhappy child will; that he was striking out the only way he knew how at the time, pushing against the perceived barriers to his happiness.

What happens next is the healthiest example of dealing with a potential divorce I’ve ever seen. In her writing, Laura Munson shows great class, courage and dignity… and ultimately saved her marriage.

We’ve all heard stories of those wounded spouses (partners/whatevers) who viciously retaliate when their partner wants out. They cry, they scream, they rage, they destroy property, they run up credit cards in the other spouse’s name, they trash the one who’s leaving the marriage to anyone who will listen, they manipulate the kids, family and friends into taking sides…

They show no class, no courage and no dignity.  And they destroy any chance of saving that relationship.  It’s as if they’re saying to the world, “I love him and I’m going to prove it by showing the gods how wounded I am.  I really really love him, but give me more nails to drive into this coffin dammit”.

Laura Munson proved that she loved him by first understanding that he was in pain, and second by making the situation about his pain, not about her.  She gave him the time he needed to work through his pain in a classy, dignified and courageous fashion.

And it worked.

Brava, Ms. Munson.  Brava!

To read the article, go here:    http://theweek.com/article/index/99512/he-said-he-was-leaving-she-ignored-him

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Really, Ladies… He Can’t Read Your Mind

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Why does my marriage work – and work so amazingly well?

Communication.

Yeah, I know.  You’ve heard it all before.  “Communicate with your spouse. Talk about your needs, your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your anxieties and little irritations.  Work through them, and you’ll have a great relationship.”

But you’ve tried and he doesn’t listen.  Or maybe he seems to but then he does (or doesn’t do) the same thing the next time.  And you can’t figure out why he doesn’t seem to care because after all, you wouldn’t dream of being so cavalier about things that are important to him.

Let’s take a pretty basic example, and say he forgets to put his socks and underwear in the hamper.  Instead, he just drops them on the floor and there they sit.   So you have to pick the items up yourself and toss them in the laundry.

Socks

Or his concept of “doing the dishes” is to “do the dishes” and nothing else.  The mat under the drainer doesn’t get washed, the stove doesn’t get washed, and the counters don’t get cleaned up.   So after he’s done with the dishes, you have to clean up after him.

Stove

Annoying, huh?

Yes, it can be.  If you allow it to be.  Or you can “communicate”.

Unfortunately, too many women think that communicating involves having your man read your mind.   I know; I’ve been there. “Look at this mess!” you sigh, pointing dramatically and world-wearily to the socks on the floor (or the grease splatters on the stove).  “Mess?” he asks, confused.  “Your socks are on the floor!”  And he looks briefly befuddled, then hurriedly picks up the offending items, tosses them in the laundry and starts to head off.

Man with Laundry 2

And you’re ready to shriek.  And may, in fact, do so if this is the 137th time you’ve complained about the socks.

And he’s confused.  After all, the problem is solved, right?  The socks are in the laundry.  So why are you standing there, annoyed, and acting as though this man who is a complete brainiac at the office is a total doofus at home?

Here’s where you get to communicate.  “Before you leave for work every day, please pick up your socks and put them in the hamper.”

It’s that simple.  No drama, no sighs, no expecting him to read your mind, no picking up after him.  Just a simple statement of what you want done.    If he doesn’t do it, leave them there.  But don’t do it as a punishment, or as a passive-aggressive way of getting even; do it as a consequence.  If he doesn’t pick them up, they won’t go into the laundry. And they won’t get washed.

The next day, repeat “Before you leave for work, please pick up your socks and put them in the hamper”.

Why should I have to do that?  you may ask.  Shouldn’t he just get it?  He’s not a child!

And there’s the rub.  That attitude, the “I have to handle everything, he’s behaving like a child, he should know better” long-suffering dialogue you have with yourself is the problem, not the socks.

Man with Laundry

If you want something, just tell him.  If it doesn’t get done, tell him again.  As long as you do it without drama or impatience, most men will gladly try to remember to do whatever it is to make you happy.

By the way, this goes for sex, too.

If there’s something intimate you want him to do or think you would like, tell him.  Don’t expect him to read your mind.  Just tell him.   (More on this in a future blog.)

To be continued…

What Does Your Bedroom Say About Your Relationship?

I’ve always felt strongly that the condition of one’s bedroom reflects the condition of one’s relationship.

A fairy tale... not a fantasy.

A fairy tale… not a fantasy.

For example, if you have pets, there should be beds for the pets in the bedroom because once the lights are out the people bed is for the people… no dogs, cats, ferrets, Gila monsters….  Nope.   it’s tough to have a physical relationship when you have to shove an 40 pound dog – or three – off the bed.

Is the room pristine-perfect, with every corner tucked in and not a speck of dust anywhere?  Then there may be too many rules defining the relationship.   Even the best of couples – and I include my husband and me among those – are somewhat messy in their interactions and boundaries at times.  So if our bedroom isn’t of gleaming showcase quality, that’s because we’re real people with occasionally blurred roles or behaviors, and our sanctuary room reflects that.

Unlike the author of the article below – and countless others with a similar mindset – I disagree about the negative value of having a television in the bedroom.  Not only do we have a fairly large television, but we have books – lots of them.  Our bedroom is a place to hang out, where we read and watch television and I often manage the paperwork for my business, as well as write various blogs.

After closing down the rest of the house for the night, we can transition from the rush of work and business, into the slower paced camaraderie of hanging out with the dogs, talking about whatever the television may prompt (if we’re watching it), and my husband can sprawl across the bed, filling me in on some factoid found in his current biographical or historical reading, while I wind down with some of the more reasonably mindless computer work my business requires…. all part of our pre-lights out routine.

Our bedroom is where the dogs and I share ice cream every night, where my husband can hang out shirtless (thank you, Hubs… I do like that look), and where we gratefully turn out the lights and talk silly stuff or cuddle or just fall to sleep, completely exhausted.  It’s our family room, our transition room, our center.

This would not suit our marriage.

This would not suit our marriage.

But this DOES describe our relationship!

But this DOES describe our relationship!

Here’s the previously mentioned article.  What do you think?

6 Feng Shui Signs You’re Dating The Wrong Person

BY DANA CLAUDAT
OCTOBER 1, 2013 8:00 AM EDT

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11134/6-feng-shui-signs-youre-dating-the-wrong-person.html

There’s a tremendous amount you can tell about how someone views things like sex, kids, love and even how much they want to be in any type of relationship just from walking around their bedroom — despite what they say.

But is it really fair or accurate to judge someone based on his or her bedroom?

Nope. People want what they want and no one is right or wrong for what they want. It is interesting, though, when people say they want something — love, kids, a long-term commitment — and their bedroom screams otherwise in rather vibrant feng shui language.

Today, I want to share with you some big red flags of romance I have seen time and time again that should raise your feng shui’d awareness when you’re dating or are in a relationship. If you have a fabulous partner with one of the red flags, I wouldn’t be that concerned, as long as that one red flag isn’t a deal-breaking flag.

If you see more than one red flag, it’s worth paying attention. I’ve had clients and readers ask me if it was “that bad” if their new boyfriend had a crazy bedroom setup, only to come back later to say that they should have known better. So, now you’ll know!

Some feng shui bedroom red flags for relationships:

1. There’s one nightstand or no nightstands.

No nightstands usually bespeaks an unsupported or unsettled life. People without nightstands are generally not planning to stay somewhere for a long time and are unsettled in one or many ways. Adding a nightstand is, of course, an easy fix. One nightstand in a bedroom, however, is a sign of someone who is primarily living for him or her self, and not necessarily in a selfish way. These people don’t really see another person sharing their bedroom; it’s just not part of their present-day thinking. Even if they desire it, they may feel for some reason it isn’t possible right now.

2. The bed has smashed up against a wall, with only one way into the bed.

People with these beds up against a wall don’t always really want a relationship, or at least not a balanced one. You’re trapped in their bed if you sleep against the wall. You are out on a limb if you sleep on the outside. It’s not the best situation.

3. The bed is on the floor, with no bed frame.

This is what I call squatting. If you’re casually dating, this can be fun and childlike in its romance. It’s typically not the makings of a solid life partner’s foundation. Same thing goes for a bed without a headboard. If you don’t have one, get one or make one. A solid headboard creates far more security and soundness for a bed, and for you!

4. If you see a giant (or any) TV in the bedroom, this isn’t a good thing.

It’s very easy to avoid intimacy when you have a huge TV that can fill the room with noise and distraction.

5. Follow me on this one: The bed is placed with its headboard on the wall to the left of the entrance-door wall.

The headboard isn’t up against the wall of the entrance door, but, rather, against the wall to your left. This is the ultimate bed position of someone who wants to “hang out.” Relationships can definitely work in this position if they’re based on strong friendships. But if you’re “hanging out” for ages and want a committed relationship, this bed position is not the greatest thing to see.

6. There’s work in bed: laptops, books and papers.

People who sleep with their work tend to have no boundaries when it comes to their job, and a strong identity attachment to it that’s larger than themselves. Even the biggest workaholic should get at least an hour’s distance between work and sleep. It’s a fixable red flag for many who are willing to see their relationship and their personal well-being as a priorities.

If you’re reading this and saying, “But… there’s no other way to set up this bedroom, so he/she has no choice…” I’ll say this: we pick our spaces. On some level we find a space that mirrors where we are in life for all its greatness and its quirks. That said, every single space can be improved!

Also, if you’re stuck in a dating rut, you may want to look at your own bedroom — and life — and see why you keep attracting the same situations. Balance, love and feng shui shifts — as well as all good things we want to experience — tend to start from our own selves first.

Good luck in love!

Published in: on October 2, 2013 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Anniversary, Husband

Happy 5th Anniversary

Published in: on September 19, 2013 at 6:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Resentment: Death By 1000 Cuts

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

— Carrie Fisher

Resentment in a marriage could be called death by 1000 cuts.  Few marriages fall apart because of one major issue… it’s usually the accumulation of many small resentments over time, dozens and hundreds of them, that just add up.

Several years ago, when Husband and I had just started living together, I was describing to an acquaintance how much I appreciated his attentiveness to small household-type details.  For example, he doesn’t leave his dirty socks and underwear lying around, and in fact, one evening when I happened to pick them up before he had a chance to, Husband said, “Hey, I’ll get that”.  My response was, “It’s okay, I’m heading towards the hamper anyway.”

My acquaintance commented: “Yeah, but I’ll bet he saw that look in your eyes that told him you were p*ssed off.”

I was taken aback for a moment, and then realized two things… a) had it been my first husband, that resentment would have been there, and b) she was saying more about her own relationship than she was about mine.  But with Husband, there’s no resentment about the little things that most couples squabble about.

Does that mean he’s perfect? Ha! Absolutely not.

Does that mean I don’t notice the annoying habits he has?  Of course I do. 

I notice that he often leaves me to do the dishes, and like most men doesn’t seem to realize that cleaning the counter and range are part of that job…. and after 4½ years he still doesn’t know where the fire engine red collander goes (which is in a different place than the cheap stainless collander). 

He can’t be trusted to wash my clothes, and when folding laundry will pair one of my black ribbed trouser socks with a plain one.  He snores.  Loudly.  He smokes like a chimney and our garage—which is now called The Clubhouse—reeks as a result.  He forgets to shave sometimes which makes his face really scratchy. 

But I also notice that if I lose my keys (a daily occurrence), he’ll hunt high and low for them, even though it isn’t his fault and even though it’s the 90-hundredth time it’s happened. 

He always helps bring in the groceries without being asked; he will eat anything I put in front of him even if he doesn’t like it or it’s vegan. 

He prefers to be a homebody, but if I want to go out (with friends, to a movie, a restaurant or whatever), he’ll go… and not gripe too much.  

He calls me several times a day (even if he’s in The Clubhouse and I’m just yards away inside) to tell me little things he’s just seen, heard or thought of.  He looks for movies we can watch on television together, and he remembers anniversaries.  He thinks of things my daughter would like.

He doesn’t complain when I forget to shave sometimes (okay, often) and my legs get really scratchy.

He is as excited by our love as I am.

Given all this… why in heaven’s name would I waste time on resentment?

 

 

Soul-Mate Marriages is saddened by the high rate of divorce in the U.S., with even fewer second marriages succeeding.  We recognize the reasons are complicated but believe the trend can be reversed with trust and hard work.

Neither of us is a relationship saint, but our marriage, the 2nd for both of us, has brought more joy, satisfaction, and peace than we could have imagined. 

We hope our insights will be helpful. 

 www.facebook.com/soulmatemarriage

What’s LOVE Got To Do With It? Everything!

A column in today’s newspaper entitled “What’s LOVE Got To Do With It?” describes a survey by Prince & Associates, a firm that polled 1,134 people in the U.S. and determined that two-thirds would “marry an average-looking person they liked if they had money”… in the ballpark of $1.5 million.

Well, I’m happy to say that my husband is in the minority.

We were 7th grade sweethearts; a short-lived but sweet young romance, and broke up after a few months without any major—or even minor—scarring.

 Thirty-seven years later, while in the process of extricating ourselves from unhappy marriages, we serendipitously ran into each other on an airplane—I’d missed my flight and was rerouted onto his, and into the very last seat on the plane, directly behind John.

The connection was immediate, although it took us nearly 18 months of e-mailing and instant messaging to get our acts together; in part because I was CEO of an $8.5 million company and had significant real estate investments.

At first John was concerned, because despite a well-respected career as a civilian subcontractor for the Navy (he was known all over the world for his work), he didn’t think he could match my success.

Once we worked that out, our relationship was able to move to the next step… meaning he moved in with me.

The next hurdle was his belief that people would think he was only interested in me for the money. He wanted to marry me, but for some reason the timing wasn’t ever “right”.

A little over a year after he moved in, my business crashed and burned, a victim of treachery from within and politics from without.

Suddenly, I no longer had any money, and in fact my personal net worth was in the negative numbers. It will take me a very long time to dig out of the financial crater I’m in.

A year after the company imploded, John and I got married.

Although the loss of my company devastated me and our finances, the reality is that I know one thing beyond a shadow of any doubt. My husband loves me—and it’s not for the money.

Soul-Mate Marriages is saddened by the high rate of divorce in the U.S., with even fewer second marriages succeeding.  We recognize the reasons are complicated but believe the trend can be reversed with trust and hard work. 

Neither of us is a relationship saint, but our marriage, the 2nd for both of us, has brought more joy, satisfaction, and peace than we could have imagined. 

We hope our insights will be helpful.  http://www.facebook.com/soulmatemarriage.