3 Ways to be a Lifelong Learner in Your Relationship

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When you graduated from college, did you say to yourself, “Well, that’s it! I now know everything I need to know. My days of learning are over!” Probably not. In fact, you’ve probably continued to learn about new topics, acquire new skills, and seek out random tidbits of information, even if your days of formal education are over. It’s not only fun and fulfilling, but also keeps your mind open and your heart young, among other tangible and intangible benefits.

Interestingly, in long-term relationships, we often get to a certain point and feel as if we know “everything” about our partner. But whether you’ve been together for 3 years or 30+, there’s a good chance that there are still new things to learn about each other—it just might require more digging than it did when you were first getting to know each other. Read More

The Impact of Gradual Change

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I recently read a (fictional) book about a woman, Alice, who takes a fall at the gym and bumps her head. After a series of comical and confusion-filled interactions, she eventually figures out that she has completely forgotten the last ten years of her life. In her head, she’s 30 years old, happily married to the love of her life, and expecting her first child. In reality, she’s getting ready to celebrate the big 4-0, has three children, and is going through a hostile divorce. I’m sure you can imagine the hilarity—and awkwardness—that ensues.

The main storyline of the book revolves around Alice’s inability to reconcile the present-day state of her marriage with the one from ten years ago, which she believes is the present. What could have possibly happened in the past ten years to make them fall out of love with each other? Read More

Maintenance Required

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My husband and I have lived in our house for four years. There are still rooms I consider “unfinished” and boxes shoved in closets. You would think that four years would be enough time to get completely settled in. While we have made significant improvements to the quality of our yard, it is still a constant work in progress. In the last couple of years, our small deck, that seemed nice enough four years ago, has slowly devolved to a state of warped, loose planks and even one that fell off completely.

I’ve learned that being a homeowner is a lot of (ongoing) work, whether we choose to do the work or not. You might even say it’s kind of like being married or in a long-term relationship. Read More

I am a Recovering Complainer

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I am a recovering complainer.

We were having a picnic lunch on a beautiful May afternoon.  There were three moms and four children.  While the children played, the moms talked. I remember talking about my house.  Actually, I did a lot of talking about my house.  I had a lot of complaints.  I live in a 117-year-old house that, by default, we are fixing up.  It is one problem after another. Not only did I complain about all there is to fix, but I also complained about the layout, the size of the rooms, the lack of closets, the location of the bathrooms, the lack of air conditioning…  I’ll stop there.  The picnic ended.  We parted ways.

Not long after the picnic, one of the three moms invited all of us over to her house. I parked in front and my daughter and I followed the sidewalk to the back of the house where there was a tiny backyard.  We greeted each other and were given a tour of the house.  I thought my house had small rooms.  I thought my house had problems.  Her living room was smaller than our office. There was one bedroom for four people, and it was smaller than my bedroom.  The floor was uneven.  It was dark.  It was crowded.  I was embarrassed.  I had complained about my house and here she lived in a smaller, more run down home than I did.  I felt terribleRead More

Relight the Fire in Your Relationship

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The snow has fallen, wool socks have been pulled out of storage, fire places have been lit, winter is here and it has plateaued: don’t let your relationship do the same.  Here’s the thing about complacency, it’s a natural part of a relationship’s journey, but it can be avoided.  Leading up to National Marriage Week, the team at PREPARE/ENRICH wants to encourage you to keep your relationship on your mind.  When you do this, you are already taking a step in the right direction to combat complacency. Read More

Why I’m Not Setting Goals for 2017

It seems like everyone is setting goals for the new year, but I don’t think I will. Don’t get me wrong, goals are great in theory and help people achieve results. However, I’ve never had much luck with goals. I always end up either convincing myself the goal was out of reach to begin with or I talk myself into a simpler version of the goal and end up feeling guilty once I accomplish it.

So, I’m not setting goals for 2017, I’m setting intentions.

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To Do or Not to Do

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Time and time again, couples are faced with the struggle of defining their roles in their relationships.  Who will clean the bathroom this weekend?  Who is going to make dinner tomorrow? Who will wash the dishes tonight?  What may start out as a simple chore can catapult into a battle for acknowledgement, assurance, or even power.

How often are you faced with the struggle of doing the laundry for the third time this month because your partner doesn’t seem to be bothered when the laundry basket begins to topple over with dirty clothes?  You know it is their turn to do it, but you wish they would do it without you having to ask them. Read More

A Positive Posture Pays Off

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The plane landed and I hurriedly walked to meet my ride.  After having been gone for a five day business trip, I was eager to meet my family at my son’s flag football game.  After we shared hugs and heard about the kids’ week, my husband informed me that he had moved everything out of our office to install some carpet.  “Oh!”  I said, trying to manage my surprise.  He went on to say, “I labeled anything that I moved and organized it in bags and laundry baskets so you can find it.”  Unsure what to say next, I replied, “Wow, that was a lot of work!”  Inside, I was a mess of emotions ranging from, “Oh my, I wasn’t ready yet!” to, “I can’t believe he moved all my paperwork!  How will I find…” to, “He was just trying to finish a project we had been planning,” to, “Don’t blow up.  He put a lot of work into this.  Show him respect.  Calm down.  It had to be done at some point.” Read More