Love & Friendship

When I look back three years ago, it never occurred to me that my friendships with my girlfriends would change. Some of my friendships have gotten much closer, while others have become more distant. Dwelling on what has happened, I think about the times I would pick up the phone and have long talks with my girlfriends about our love lives, our favorite gossip stories, or planning a movie night. Planning a girls night seemed effortless, in fact there was no planning required…it just happened.

friends

Marriage is learning to live with a guy, and at times can come with full of surprises when you least expect it. Mind you, I will never trade the blessing of marriage, and being married to my husband for the world, but marriage brings with it a lot of “stuff”. You are no longer grocery shopping, doing laundry or cooking for one person. You are no longer thinking about yourself, you are thinking of all the considerations for you and your husband while making decisions. At times, this can be overwhelming.

I look back at the friendships I had before I was married, single and sometimes dating, the common denominator was more time. I had less priorities, and more time to visit friends,  whom I would call my best friends. Now that I’m older, and now that I’m married, my circle of friends have become smaller, and my best friend became my husband. This is not because I don’t value my friendships the same way I did before, but because my husband became my number one priority.  As I reflect on my past memories, I feel guilty for not being there for my friends, and that I’ve created the feeling of “I don’t care,” But trust me, I do care!  As much as some of my friends might think that I have moved on with my life, or they no longer matter to me, I feel the same way about them.

I have come to realize that just like marriage, friendships take a heck of a lot of patience and effort. My phone calls might consist of more of texts as I try to balance my work life with my personal life, and my visits might have to be marked on my calendar, but this doesn’t mean I don’t care, it means that I am trying, and you are worth my effort!

Modesty: See more, Be more

Photo by tiverylucky- Image ID: 100319198

Photo by tiverylucky- Image ID: 100319198

For decades our culture has stopped valuing modesty, instead valuing women for all the wrong reasons. Yet, as parents, we try to teach our children to dress and act appropriately despite what we see and hear around us. How difficult is it to teach our children, teenagers and young adults the value of self-worth and respect, when our culture isn’t teaching it?

I don’t have children yet, but I do fear, when the time comes, what this will be like for them.

We live in a “sex-crazed” society; sexual messages are everywhere, and are reviewed by children. What was once known as unacceptable or risqué is now accepted and we see it everyday. There is no wonder, some boys and men experience difficulty fighting  their temptations, or sudden urges to look, speak and act, when sex is around us, all the time. It is very important to understand, men have a responsibility to control, but .. women have responsibility, too. Women have to start taking responsibility for their wardrobes or lack there of. What you choose to wear, and how you wear it, reflects who you are, more so, it will impact the type of men you attract. This can impact their behaviours and attitudes they have towards YOU, and sex. You have to think about the kind of man you want in your life.  If you choose to dress seductively, you are sending a message implying you are “impure,” and attracting a man who is fine with that. If you choose to dress more modest, you will attract a man who is attracted to who you are as a person.

To be modest, doesn’t have to mean, you cover yourself from head to toe. Although, in some religious beliefs, perhaps this does. Modesty can mean different things, to different people. Someone who is modest, doesn’t solicit them self by how they dress. In order to teach this to young girls, you have to decide what you consider to be modest. This has become more difficult because society’s standards have changed. When I was in school, exposing bra straps were considered embarrassing. Shopping for bras, when I was a young girl, were plain, and considered “no big deal,” as far as style and colour choices are concerned. Today, stores have “sexified” undergarments and have also added thongs and Brazilian cut panties for young girls. Girls, today, purposely show their bra straps, and  thongs, not to mention wearing pantyhose as pants.

So how do we decide what is modest, and what isn’t? How do we change what has already happened? This is a decision up to you, as parents, to set this standard. This is a decision you have to make with your spouse. You can not make a decision and have it be effective, if you include your daughter. Discuss what clothing you find acceptable and NOT acceptable in public. Talk about specific ages to wear heels, and make up. Parents, familiarize yourself with the latest trends, fad’s and slang.  Hidden sexual messages are all over clothes and accessories today, and slang is used everyday. Unfortunately, most of these things slip under the parental radar, not because you don’t care,  because the “meanings” have changed. Communicate with your daughter, your daughter’s friends, and do your research. Simple fact, if you don’t know, chances are, your daughter does, Ask! Most importantly, stay connected with your daughter, this includes telling your daughter how beautiful and proud you are of her. Help them understand why this is important, and teach them along the way, so they can make good decisions on their own.

Women already have a hard time being valued, respected and treated, don’t add more fuel to the fire, by wearing something that gives others the opportunity to devalue who you are. We live in the twenty-first century, its time to stop blaming media for everything, men for “gawking,” and embrace modesty.

8 Success Tips for Marriage

From dating, to marriage, no one really prepares us for the next stage in our life. We are given advice from family & friends, we refer to books, and online resources, but not all advice applies to our own relationship. If there is one thing that is true, from books, advice, or online, is that  no marriage is easy or  perfect,  but that’s what makes it real.

Along the way, we figure it out, and sometimes make mistakes. Some mistakes can affect our marriage.  I want to discuss some important points to make your marriage better.

1. Be Patient
Photo by David Castillo Dominici-Image ID: 100122416

Photo by David Castillo Dominici -Image ID: 100122416

It is so important to be patient with your spouse. This doesn’t come easy, and some will say, “I am patient.” My question to you is, are you always? Men and women, react, reflect, interpret and communicate differently. While most women find it easy to express how they feel, happy, sad or angry, for men, this isn’t always easy. Let’s take a look at chores. We all have them, they need to be done, and we expect our husband or partner to help. Women, you ask your husband or partner to “tidy” the living room.  You have given the task, while you clean another room. You and your husband or partner are finished, and you come to find a stack of papers, or books left on the coffee table,  and blankets piled at the end of the couch.  At this point, you ask “why didn’t you tidy the living room?”  The response from your husband  or partner , “it is tidy?” When communicating, understand that your husband or partner’s interpretation might be different. Even though the room doesn’t look “tidy” to you, it looks tidy to him.

2. Communicate
Photo by photostock- Image ID: 10034198

Photo by photostock- ImageID: 10034198

It’s important to be clear when communicating with your spouse. It’s true what they say, men are not mind readers. Men and women process information differently. If you say you are “fine,” or “you should know why I’m mad”  this is very insensitive and unfair to your husband. Men are not “wired” the same as women. Men don’t always know when they have hurt your feelings.  Communicate with your husband or partner on how you feel.

I’m still learning to do this, but when you have mastered this, it will make a positive difference.

3. Respect your partner

One of the most important things a man needs is, respect and to be respected. He desires it most from his wife or partner. The saying, “you have to earn respect to gain respect,” is true, but you have to remember he is human. We all make mistakes, and no one is perfect. To lead a healthy and happy family, both partners need to be respected, even if you feel your husband or partner didn’t deserve it.  If you continue to respect your husband or partner, it will help motivate him to earn it. This doesn’t mean you ignore his bad decisions, pretend they don’t exist, these will still need to be communicated. It means, you need to discuss your differences with respect.

4.  Forgiveness
Photo by stockimages -Image ID: 100108461

Photo by stockimages -Image ID: 100108461

At some point in our lives, we all make mistakes. There comes a point in our life where we need to choose to make forgiveness a life long habit. This includes big ones, small ones, or even annoyances – ( most mornings I have to forgive my husband for leaving breakfast crumbs on the counter or the window open in the bathroom during the winter). No one says forgiveness is easy, but the more you forgive, the less room there is for resentment.

5. Date Night
Photo by nuttakit-  Image ID: 10036113

Photo by Nuttakit- ImageID: 10036113

This one has been around a long time, and there are so many articles supporting scheduled date nights. This is something my husband and I make a habit of doing each week.  You can never stop dating your spouse.  It’s a funny thought, “we are married, we are done dating,” but its true. You need to set time aside for just you and your spouse, and talk about each other. Don’t talk about your kids, bills or work. Just each other. Scheduled date nights, don’t have to be costly. Some inexpensive ideas:

  • Take a walk
  • Eat in, but catch a movie out
  • Go to a cafe
  • Movie in, with popcorn or your favourite snack( Plan a babysitter, play date ) Or wait until your kids are asleep.
  • Cook together, eat together

Spending one-on-one time allows you to connect emotionally and  learn something new about each other.

6. Never threaten

Sometimes we find ourselves in an angry spot. Never threaten, unless you mean it, and you plan to follow through. Sometimes couples will often threat separation or divorce when they are angry. This tactic is cruel and unfair to your spouse. Threatening is a TEMPORARY way out, that can lead to more harm than good. There are other ways to get past this method.

  • Take a breather
  • Communication Talk when ready, and calm.
  • Seek advice from an outside, reputable source if communication doesn’t work.
7. Don’t criticize

Criticizing your spouse is hurtful and embarrassing, even if it’s done with friends. Making this a habit will damage the respect you have with each other, and makes it uncomfortable for others around you.

8. Love
Photo by Sharron Goodyear- Image ID: 1003633

Photo by Sharron Goodyear- Image ID: 1003633

No one said marriage is  easy. What we see on television, or read about in books, is not always true. Marriage takes work, and commitment. There might be times you might question the love you have for each other, or the attraction you have towards your spouse, but always choose to love each other. The day you walked down the aisle and read your  vows are so sacred. You made a commitment to each other. To have , and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. They don’t say “to have to hold anyone you please” or “in good times only.”  They say to have, AND to hold, implying, holding each other. In sickness AND in health. Good times AND in bad times. There will be bad times, along the way. Remember to love in the good parts AND in the bad. Good times, will always out way the bad times!