Tag Archives: relationship

Relationship Advice #9

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“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord  not for men.”  Colossians 3:23

Our wedding day

Rachel and Jake,

For the past few years I have written to you here, here, and here with a variety of relationship advice for you to use in your everyday life.  Your Mama’s “pearls of wisdom,” as I like to call them, are not meant for mastery but more for your own reflection.  These little pieces of advice that I give are things that I am working on myself in my relationships and are in no way anything that I have mastered or do day in and day out.  Simply put, each year when your father’s and my anniversary rolls around, I reflect on what I have learned over the last year or what stuck out as the most pressing piece of advice I want to share with you.

When the time comes for you to get married, my hope is that you’ll be able to see what it takes to make a marriage last for a lifetime.  Your father and I have committed to the vows we made before God to love, honor and cherish each other as long as we live. It’s a large scale promise that can only be fulfilled by purposely choosing how we make up those day-to-day moments that create a lifetime of loving each other. What do those moments look like? Well, sweet little ones, that’s what I hope these posts will help you understand.

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{Relationships are a lot like sledding.  You have to mentally prepare yourself beforehand, get all of the tools you need in place and then you get to enjoy the ride! When you think you’re done, you just get back up, climb the hill again and head back down for some more adventure! Important note–It’s more fun if you enjoy the people you are sledding with.}

So, here it is, relationship advice number nine. It might sound a bit odd, but just bear with me here: get a hobby.  Yes, that’s right, a hobby.  The key to happiness does not rely on  relationships alone.  You need to be able to find things that make you feel happy and content and confident in yourself because as you will find in your life, and I’m sorry to say this, but people and relationships will sometimes disappoint you.  You need to be able to find satisfaction and fulfillment outside of relationships so that when the chips are down you can still have something that brings happiness into your life. On the flip side of that, your hobby will allow you to share your joy with others and many times will bring new and varied relationships in to your life.   God has given you specific interests and skill sets for a reason–it is up to you to develop and explore the natural talents He has given you!IMG_3135

Relationship Advice #9: Get a hobby. It could even be something that doesn’t have to involve the other person at first, if you want.  “How does that work?,” you might wonder. Or “What does that have to do with anything?” Well, that’s the beauty of this blog, just let me tell you…

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According to the researchers at the School of Medicine at Temple University, engaging in a hobby awakens the area of the brain that produces positive feelings and reduces stress.  Doing a particular task that you enjoy can enhance your ability to concentrate and encourages self-motivation and increases self-confidence.  All of these can have a profound impact on your relationship with those around you.

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Over the past few years your father and I have developed several hobbies.  Some we share with each other, and some we do completely on our own. Having a hobby that we can share together is a fun way to connect with each other, especially during these years when most of our conversation centers around you.  For example, in the past year or so your Dad and I have started exploring craft beers together.  We enjoy trying new beers together and finding beers for each other that we think we might like.  Sometimes we are surprised at how well we know the other person’s taste!

After you are in bed for the night, sometimes we will try a new beer together while we talk about the day or anything else that might be on our mind.  It’s a way for us to purposefully make an effort to connect with each other. Recently your Dad has even started learning how to brew his own beer with a friend.  I fully support that endeavor and enjoy reaping the benefits of it as well! IMG_3656.JPG

Photography has been a bit of an outlet for me lately.  I enjoy taking pictures and have been blessed to be able to share some of the joy that you, my children, bring me through sharing my photos with others.  I have been humbled that other people have chosen me to take their family photos and am loving some of the experiences and doors that photography has opened up for me.  It was completely unexpected, but it was an outlet your father (and some really great friends) encouraged me to explore!

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It’s no secret that your Dad has always been in to cars and Corvettes especially.  When we first started dating I thought “Go to a car show? Really??” Sometimes your friend or spouse might have a hobby that you are “just not that into.” And that’s ok! But, please try to like it for that other person.  There is always something that can be gained from new experiences.  Something that brings joy to your friend or partner can in some way bring joy to you too.  Even if it’s just spending time together or having something that you do together to support each other–it’s important!

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Who knows, some day you may like it and end up taking your kids there and posing them beside sweet Corvettes that you never really appreciated before your relationship began.  You might realize that it’s really not that bad, after all.  And when you find yourself saying “Hey, want to take the Corvette out and take pictures of it on some crazy back road I found?” you’ll realize that your two worlds have collided in the best way possible and then you’ll realize that the things that you thought were weird in your younger years really aren’t that bad after all.  Because in the end, my little ones, it’s all about supporting each other and bringing parts of yourself into a relationship.

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Trying something new can be a good thing when you look at it as an adventure or as a way to learn about new things.  In fact, we should welcome change and new opportunity into our lives because it helps evolve who we are as a person. Our lives weren’t meant to be stagnant.  You will grow and change throughout your lifetime and you want to be sure that you surround yourself with people who are going to encourage you and support your interests too.

If you want someone who is going to support you, then you need to be willing to do that for them, as well.  Being a good friend requires having a willingness to grow and bond over new experiences.  After all, no two  people are ever exactly the same.  Everyone comes in to a relationship with their own set of experiences and beliefs that can impact the way they view certain situations. Celebrate those differences, encourage others to pursue what makes them happy and enjoy the ride as they find their place in this world.

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I’ll leave you with one final thought, which happens to be an excerpt from an exceptional author.  Read these words and try to let them really sink in.  It took me a long time before I finally got the gist of what he meant.

Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.  Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.  Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.  Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.  Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are along though they quiver with the same music.  Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.  For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.  And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow. ~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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I love you more than you will ever know.  To the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

ps. Happy 9th Anniversary, Tim! Thank you for always supporting me and encouraging me and for helping me find my hobby!

 

Relationship Advice: 6 Things I Want You to Know

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Our wedding day

Our wedding day

Dear Rachel,

Today your Daddy and I celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary! I hope that someday you are blessed to share the type of love that Daddy and I share.  It is truly one of the best things in life! While we are not perfect, and our marriage is not perfect, we have made it a priority to do as much as we can to be the best we can be in our marriage and ourselves—for each other, and for you, sweet one.  Your Daddy and I have spent nearly 10 years building our relationship and growing in love with one another.  We have not been married for many, many years (yet!), but we have dealt with many struggles that come with life (someday I’ll tell you about them…but not now) but we have shared many more happy times together as well!

Since this blog is for you, and your soon-to-be baby brother, and any other siblings you may be blessed with in the future, I want to share some advice when it comes to relationships and love.  Sorry, it’s just what Mom’s do! We feel the need to nurture you and help you grow in any and all ways we know how.  Someday when you read this (and I’m not sure yet when that will be), I hope you know how much I love you and want what is best for you.  Already I pray for your future spouse and your children, just as I have prayed for you since I was a little girl.  Since your Daddy and I have been married for six years, here are six things (in no particular order) you should always remember when it comes to relationships and love.  Keep in mind, I am not an expert in these things.  These are just things that I have learned from experience or advice that other people have given to me. Ready? Here we go…

1.)    You are here for a purpose.  

“You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Psalm 139:14

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5

YOU, my dear, are not a mistake.  You were put here on this earth to be someone special and to do great things.  When I say “great things,” I don’t mean you have to cure cancer (although, that would be amazing!), I mean that by being yourself and developing all the talents God has given you, you will be bound to do great things! Don’t think for a second that you do not have purpose or meaning in this world. Love yourself, and be a person of integrity and virtue.  You are a child of God, and He does not make mistakes. Ever.

2.)    Build a foundation based on sincere friendship.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.” Ecclesiastes 4:9–10

Your parents-- hanging out and being silly!

Your parents– hanging out and being silly! circa 2005

When you find yourself wanting to start a new relationship, make sure it has a foundation rooted in deep and sincere friendship. If it doesn’t, you will be fighting an uphill battle from the beginning.  Finding someone who has similar values, goals and beliefs is crucial to the success of your relationship.  Life is full of ups and downs, and if you are able to trudge through it all with your best friend by your side then the ride will be that much smoother.  Don’t force a friendship though, if he happens to not be your type of friend—then he’s probably not your type of partner either! Differences on the small things don’t matter as much—but the big things, like life goals, family goals and religious beliefs matter A LOT! Make sure all these things align (at least closely) before you get too far in.  Developing a friendship where you can learn all of this ahead of time will help take care of all these things. 

3.)    Trust yourself.

 “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20

There's a great big world out there, kiddo. Go and get any thing your heart desires!

There’s a great big world out there, kiddo. Go and get any thing your heart desires!

You are no dummy. If something seems like a red flag, it probably is.  Don’t waste your time thinking someone will change or that things will get better.  If you are dating a dud (or worse, married to a dud) find someone better!

Helpful Tip:  Almost everyone dates at least one “dud” in their lifetime, but don’t worry, it helps us to appreciate the good ones even more! And trust me, the good ones ARE out there!

4.)    Be willing to “give” as much as you are willing to “take”.

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38

Life isn't always about doing the things that you want to do.

Life isn’t always about doing the things that you want to do. Make sure you are both willing to do things the other person wants to do.  And who knows, you might even end up liking it!

This one can sometimes be hard to do.  It’s not always fun doing “boring” or “silly” things that your partner wants to do.  But, it builds character and helps develop and cultivate your relationship with each other.  Sometimes we have to do things like that to show the other person that we care.  “Giving” in a relationship is just as important as “taking.”  If someone is always “taking” and never “giving” then you probably need to reevaluate your relationship, or lack thereof.  Balance is key.

Helpful tip: Don’t keep specific tabs on how much you give or how much your partner takes, just be sure that it feels about even when you look at the whole scheme of your relationship.  Some months you may give more than you take, or take more than you give and that’s ok, too. 

 

5.)    Be with someone who will encourage you and inspire you to do your best in all areas of life.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” 

Hebrews 10:24

You are meant to do great things!

You are meant to do great things!

Your ideal partner will inspire you to be the best version of yourself just by being who they are.  If someone drags you down—leave, and leave quickly! You are meant to do great things, don’t let anyone (and I mean anyone), tell you or make you feel differently.

6.)    It’s OK to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

Give yourself proper "think time" when things go wrong.

Give yourself proper “think time” when things go wrong.

Let’s face it–mistakes happen.  Mistakes can be disappointing at times, but there is something to be learned in every mistake.  Be open to the idea that you are not perfect and that you will fail at things.  Be ready to face your mistakes, to say you are sorry and to move on from them.  Most importantly, learn from your mistakes.  Life isn’t always happy, but if you are accepting of the fact that mistakes will be made and lessons will be learned, then your perspective of failure will change.  There is nothing wrong with admitting you made a mistake, in fact, it shows strength and helps you grow

Helpful tip: If someone is never willing to admit they made a mistake; that is a red flag!

 

Most of all, I hope that no matter what you always feel loved, cared for and valued.  You deserve the best that this world has to offer.  We have some time before you start dating (a lot of time, you know, like 30 years ;)) but I hope that as you grow I can teach you all of these things so that you learn to value yourself and others.  I hope that you are able to find love like your Daddy and I share.

Love always,

Mommy