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!

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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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Love Talk

5

John is a typical man from the Baby Boomer era.  He wasn’t raised to express his feelings, and isn’t comfortable with verbal exchanges of love-struck happiness during those times when he’s “expected” to say them.   So, like many men of his age, his silence could be taken for a lack of caring, when truly, nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve tried to institute a game with him that I thought might make it easier to get those words out, but it hasn’t gone over so well. The “Tell Me Something Nice” prompt usually elicits a response like “No, I can’t…. it’s raining out”.  Or “No, I can’t… I’m asleep”.  Or “No, I can’t… I have a bullet lodged between my teeth from saving the West”.

This morning I tried a new tactic.  We’d gotten up and taken the dogs out, fed them their breakfast, and decided to climb back into bed, pups and all.  (The three dogs are not allowed on the bed after lights out at night, but this was just a morning snuggle.)

John was ready to fall back to sleep, but I was in one of those yappy moods.  “You sleep while I talk at you.”

Grunt.

Okay, he’s still awake.

Repeat after me.  ‘I am a lucky man.  I have an awesome wife.'”

Dead silence.

Do it!  Repeat after me.  ‘I am a lucky man.  I have an awesome wife.'”

His breathing, slow and measured, sounded like someone who was on the verge of falling asleep.  I waited a bit, but it seemed there would be nothing further coming from the Hubs.  Just as I was about to begin pushing my way through the dogs so I could get out of bed, a very low and deep voice said….

“I am an awesome man.  I have a lucky wife.”

HA!!

He’s right.

SoulMate 8

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

How Could She Be Surprised? Part Two.

My August 2nd blog described how stunned a male friend was by his wife’s over-the-top reaction when he told her he was filing for divorce.

The marriage had been distant and uncommunicative for more than a decade, and he figured she’d be as relieved as he was to finally just get it over with.

 Instead, she was furious. How could he do this to her? She’d been left alone with the house and the children, week after week for years, while he’d been off on his never-ending work-related sales trips. She’d raised those kids practically single handedly, and had dealt with the household problems and vehicle breakdowns all by herself.

Where was he when the children had chicken pox and were whiny and feverish? Where was he when a blizzard dropped 26 inches of snow and the power was out for three days? Where was he when she didn’t get that promotion she desperately wanted?

And now that the kids were grown and out of the house, he wanted out too? How dare he?

From his perspective, her anger was completely unfair—this was the first time he’d heard any of this from her. They’d agreed years before that he would take the sales job, because it would provide them with a better living than he could otherwise manage. He’d always thought it was a mutual decision, and her actions and attitudes seemed to reinforce that she preferred it when he was gone.

Wondering what signals he’d missed, he thought back over all the homecomings when she’d barely acknowledged him as he came through the door after being away for two or more weeks.

He cringed over the times when he had realized once again that he’d missed out on an important milestone in his kids’ lives… the grade school graduations, school plays, birthday parties, first boyfriend (it came and went while he was on an extended trip).

And he sighed as he remembered how she had made it clear that this was HER house, and his suggestions were unwelcome… after all, she handled it all just fine while he was gone, didn’t she?

So why was she so angry with him? How could she believe they had a marriage when they didn’t sleep together, talk or even eat their meals together?

And what about him? Did she really think it had been all fun and games? He’d spent half of his life on the road, living out of suitcases and in so many hotel rooms in so many cities that often he’d wake up in the middle of the night completely disoriented—he wouldn’t even know which state he was in, let alone what town or hotel.

He’d spent night after night either entertaining clients and drinking too much, or sitting alone in yet another boring room, watching bad television. This was a life? Hadn’t he done this for her and for the kids? And what did he get for it? A family that didn’t know him and didn’t seem to want him.

Sadly, this couple, like too many others, never communicated their relationship wants and needs in an open and honest fashion. Had they, it’s possible there might have been a different outcome to this marriage.

We’ll continue to explore this relationship in future blogs.

Coming soon, Part Three.  

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.

How Could She Be Surprised? Part One.

Recently a male acquaintance told his wife of more than 2o years he wanted a divorce.  

Since they hadn’t slept together more than a couple of dozen times in the previous decade (and if you know men, you know he was very aware of this) and in fact hadn’t even shared a bed for the preceding year, they seldom did anything together, they barely spoke and they even ate their meals separately, he figured she’d shrug her shoulders and say, “Whatever”.  

Instead, her response knocked his socks off.  She screamed at him, told him to get out of the house RIGHT THAT VERY MINUTE, and made it clear that she didn’t want to ever speak to him again.  

He was stunned.  After all, as a salesman with a very large territory he was often on the road for weeks on end; he’d frequently invited her to travel with him.  She’d always refused, even after their kids grew up and moved away from home.  In fact, within days of returning home from yet another assignment, she’d be sniping at him, “Isn’t it time for you to go out on another sales trip?”.  

As far as he was concerned, the marriage had been over for years.  A decade or so before, he’d asked her to go to marriage counseling with him, but she’d refused.  She didn’t want to talk about it.  

 The divorce was difficult.  The wife was very angry and hurt, and made it clear to the family that her heart was broken by the horrible person she’d married so many years ago, with the full expectation that it would last forever.  

What happened?  How could two people have such a different understanding of what was going on between them?  How could any woman who was still fairly young – after all, she was only in her mid 40s – believe that her similarly-aged husband was happy to be in a relationship with no sex, no mutual interests, and no conversation? 

Sounds completely irrational, doesn’t it?  

It happens with far more frequency than most people realize, and the reason is both very simple and extremely complicated at the same time.   The simple explanation is “People see what they want to see, and believe what they want to believe”.   

What my friend’s ex-wife wanted to see and believe is that her marriage was fine, that as long as they weren’t battling it out every day and were living a reasonably harmonious existence, that there was nothing to worry about. 

She apparently valued a relationship where she didn’t have to “feel”, where she could be emotionally distant and there were no expectations placed on her – other than those she felt competent to handle, such as her job, housework, mothering, and so forth.  

She was probably panicked when he asked for marriage counseling those many years before, and likely did everything she could to dissuade him from pursuing that line of thought… and she most likely pushed all the right buttons – those buttons that any spouse knows how to push – to make it clear that this was a bad idea on his part, and that even bringing it up was both foolish and indicative that he had some serious personality failings.  

So my friend gave up.  He stopped asking for counseling, he stopped trying to find a way to make the marriage work, and he was rewarded for it… the air cleared, the household became calm again, and sadly, he was left alone. 

Married, but quite alone.  

Coming soon, Part Two.

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.

Won’t You Be My POSSLQ?

When Husband first moved in with me (he was called John then; now even my friends have started calling him Husband), we struggled for a bit to come up with a good word to describe our relationship and each other. 

At 50 years old, “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” seemed… dumb.  “Partner” was too harsh.  “Fiance” was okay but it just seemed too contrived – yes, of course we were getting married (it was always understood, even before we talked about it).

Then I remembered!!  Of course!  The U.S. Census Bureau had created exactly the right term several decades ago.  And some hacks had even written some poems about it, as in:

Roses are red, Violets are Blue, Won’t You Be, My POSSLQ?

Persons of Opposite Sex, Same (or Sharing) Living Quarters…. POSSLQ!

There’s a longer poem, ripped off from John Dunne’s “The Bait”, which starts with “Come live with me and be my love…”.   You can easily google it or find it on our Facebook Fan Page “Soul-Mate Marriage”.

After playing around with it, Soon-To-Be-Husband and I decided POSSLQ didn’t quite cut it for us.  Any two people could be POSSLQs, and not have nearly the level of commitment to one another as we did.

So we made up our own: Partner for Life, or PFL (pronounced “Piffle”).

Piffle only lasted a year or so, but during that time it worked for us.

All in all, though, we much prefer Husband and Wife.

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.

 

Equipment vs Marriage Failure Rates

The other day I asked my 52 year old husband to research some statistics for a personal risk workshop I’m writing.  A while later he came to me, hard-copy download in hand, and a worried look on his face.

“It says here that 67% of second marriages end in divorce”, he sputtered.  Puzzled, I just sort of looked at him quizzically.  “Uh, yeah… that’s pretty common knowledge.”

“But… that’s worse than first marriages!  How can that be?  Are we doomed?”

John is an engineer by training; he’s spent most of his life in manufacturing plants and traveling the world troubleshooting mechanical & other systems on Navy ships.  His experiences are in what he calls the “hard” sciences; mine are in business and the social sciences.  The statistics he’d just researched for me were confirmation of the exact numbers… I had a good general idea of the trends and patterns, but couldn’t remember specifically what the percentages are.

Reading those numbers worried him.  His engineer’s brain fastened onto that 67% figure – 2/3rds – like it was some kind of statistical failure rate of a piece of equipment.  A two-thirds failure rate in a machine is, of course, disastrous.  The machine itself is likely a complete failure.  Did that mean that marriage itself is a complete failure?

“No sweetie, we’re fine”.  As I’ve tried to explain to him before, with equipment there are only so many variables to address.  Whether he’s troubleshooting a dechlorination system, an anti-fouling unit, a boiler, or even a lawnmower, there are only so many moving parts and so many types of errors or failures that can occur.  The equipment can either be fixed, cobbled together or junked.

But with people, the number of behavioral, genetic and environmental variables are nearly endless. And so, the reasons leading up to failed relationships and marriages are nearly endless as well.  The difference is that people can learn and adapt and decide whether to let all of our many errors and minor failures turn into a large one or not.

John and I are fine.  We will always be fine.

But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded every now and then of the need for a little preventative maintenance.

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.