Relationship R&M

  
Relationship Maintenance

I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face the day the bank manager handed me the keys to my dream car. I was mesmerized by everything about that day. Driving to work in traffic felt so much less trying than the day before. The sun felt a little bit warmer and looked a little bit brighter. I placed both hands on the wheel and leaned back as I sighed a sigh of satisfaction. I was totally in love with this little blue wonder.

About 2 months later, I was in a regular routine of spending the morning of my day off cleaning her up from top to bottom. Every two weeks she needed me to refill her gas tank with enough fuel to ensure I didn’t end up sitting on the side of the road (you remember my running out of gas stories). And every 3000 miles, I scheduled an oil change. My dad taught me that checking the oil, cleaning the windshield and topping up other fluids should be done while I was waiting for the the gas tank to fill. All regular checks and maintenance. They were just part of owning a car and making sure that I continued to enjoy and depend on it.

No big deal.

It never occurred to me to be upset about the maintenance that was required even if it wasn’t enjoyable or convenient. 

I remember my wedding day even more fondly. I was full of hope and excitement for the future. 

It didn’t take very long after the honeymoon to discover the need for relationship maintenance. My shiny new beginning was being tainted with faulty communication or conflict resolution. And I was becoming less thrilled by the necessary maintenance with each passing day. I even began to become resentful of my partner because he didn’t function perfectly when his love tank was empty or his stress light came on or his temperature gauge stopped working like it did when we were dating.

To be honest, I didn’t want the responsibility because, after all, “happily ever after” was just supposed to happen because we were in love.

Strong, healthy, happy relationships don’t just happen. They require regular maintenance.
Taking time to reflect on your relationship is an important part of growing as a couple. It’s important to get you thinking and talking about what is working or what is not working. 

Every relationship has strengths. Identify them.

Every relationship has areas (weaknesses) that need improvement.

It’s important to give your relationship attention, maintenance and direction to keep running smoothly.

There are 9 Core Values for couples that require regular maintenance:

Spiritual Beliefs

Roles and Responsibilities

Family and Friends (Social interaction)

Sexual Relationship

Leisure Time (as couples and as individuals)

Financial Management

Partner Style and Habits

Conflict Resolution

Communication

It’s a good idea for you and your partner to evaluate your level of satisfaction with each of the core values (Rate your level of satisfaction from 1-10). Identify which are your strongest, “on the same page” values and which need maintenance. (You might be surprised that you both recognize similar issues that need improvement.)

Then do some research. Ask for help from a Counselor, mediator, pastor or experienced couple. Make a plan. Do the work.

And just like standing back looking at a freshly painted room in your house, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and success because you’ve given your relationship the care that it needed.
Good things take time, it’s true. They also require regular maintenance. 

So, check your love tank. 

You’ll be glad you did.

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An Important Key For Braving Trust

  
“Trust is the fundamental base line of any relationship which is always under threat. When we get trust right then we get durable fruit in relationships.” -Daniel Kent

My friend, Daniel, sent me this text yesterday following a teaching session I did on trust.

Have you ever told someone, “I can’t trust you?”

Have you ever said, “I’ll never trust anyone again?”

Contrary to what many of us think, trust is not as difficult as we think, if we have the right tools.

I think an important tool in any relationship is to understand who to trust with what when dealing with issues of trust.

Everyone one can be trusted with something. But no one can be trusted with everything.

Braving connection by sharing what is important to us requires that we not give a friend more than they are able to handle safely.

Trust is like a heavy weight. I would have a difficult time lifting a 40 pound dumb bell (I should probably stick to 2-10 pound weights). Now, my body building brother might lift that weight effortlessly.

I am not built to lift that much weight at the moment but I might be able to work up to it. If not, it’s unsafe for me to expect myself to handle that amount of weight. It’s too heavy for me.

In the same way, not everyone is equipped to handle the weight of what I might want to trust them with.

Does that mean he/she is untrustworthy? I don’t think so. 

For instance, even though someone may not be able to share that their marriage is failing with one of their friends does not mean that that friend can not be trusted at all. 

There will be something that can be entrusted to them. It might be as simple as details of the day or joys experienced.

Connecting in this way -with non-judgement about what a friend can bear- keeps both of the friends safe in the relationship. Both are less likely to betray or feel betrayed and walk away from a relationship that is important to them.
Sharing the weightier issues must be done with someone capable of sustaining the weight like a Counselor, confident, BFF or husband.
Each relationship has a trust weight bearing limit. 

Do you know yours?

I’m So Glad You Are Here

  
Welcome! I am so happy that you have decided to follow my blog and I want you to know that you matter to me! I want to welcome all of you who liked the blog and my Facebook page this week, shared a post, shared a thought or just stopped by to read a post! I am grateful for each of you.

I find so much joy interacting with all of you. You each have shared with me from your heart and I am grateful.
My college friend, Jeannie, shared this with me this week:
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad; So does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart.” ~Proverbs
This is a perfect picture of the beauty of women sharing heart to heart. It is sweet and makes the heart glad!
Jeannie, Thank you!
I hope your heart was encourage, inspired and a little happier!
I look forward to seeing you often and please keep talking to me. Share a story or an experience. Let’s keep the conversations going! It’s sweet!
Journey on,

Dee

Morning Frost on the Ground

  

I woke to very cold temperatures this morning, frost, icicles hanging on the house and sunshine. I couldn’t resist getting down and having a closer look at the frost on the ground.

Summer, why did you leave me? Don’t you love me anymore? 

My family arrives in 6 days and I feel so sad that they are leaving summertime weather for a winter vacation. 

Wouldn’t you know it’s the coldest winter we’ve had in a while.

Brrrrrrrrrrr

Things I’ve Discovered Along The Way

I’ve discovered the importance of making the best of every situation. In a negative situation, we don’t have much to lose. Might as well! Our life is broader in scope than the darkness we might experience today. Our life is more permanent than our struggles. Things might look bleak at first, but they can improve. With night and day, God has given us a picture of hope. The sun always rises. Things will always get brighter. “The end of a matter is better than its beginning”. -Ecclesiastes I’ve discovered the best things in life, those of true substance, involve the hardest-fought battles and the longest waits. We must keep pressing on. I’ve learned that effort spent on unwinnable battles is wasted effort. It’s best to simply move on to something worth conquering. I’ve discovered the easier route leads to accomplishment, but the harder route tends to lead to your destiny. Things can look ugly along the way! Giving up is the last thing you should do. Your destiny might be interwoven into fabric of your struggle. I’ve discovered there will be times filled with a yearning to be farther along your personal path than you are today. You will hold a dream on the inside, that hasn’t yet been born and feel like your life is barren.  Never give up. Keep moving forward. Fulfillment involves a waiting period—but stay active while you wait. Seize opportunities, even the small ones, to improve your skills. Do something that keeps you on course toward your dream. I’ve discovered that we can’t always blame others for our own shortcomings. They are what they are. We won’t be good at everything. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit when we don’t possess a particular forte and yield that activity to someone more capable. When we focus on our shortcomings and limitations, it can strip us of our confidence. We are all created with an important purpose, with value and uniqueness. Perfect your strengths. You know what they say, “practice makes perfect.”  I’ve discovered that we don’t know our role from day one. We travel a road of discovery.  Our hearts will provide clues about our destiny. A difference exists between excitement about doing something and a genuine, heart-based fervor that says, “I’m created to do this.” Many days, we don’t feel inspired in our lives. More often than not, it’s a matter of simply getting out of bed and pressing through the daily grind. If your circumstances look insignificant, don’t count them out. It doesn’t matter how you start. What matters is the end result. I’ve discovered that we are part of someone else’s story. And while your presence might go unnoticed at times, your absence would actually take something away from the lives around you. You might be the key factor that keeps another person pressing on—and you might not even know it. People need to know victory is possible. Your firsthand experience—your been there, done that—will give inspiration for others to know victory is within reach.We don’t always grow because we want to. Oftentimes, we grow out of necessity. We have no choice but to meet the challenge. Friendship means cutting away a small piece of your heart and allowing another person to fill that gap. Friendship is anchored in love. When we put love into action, it communicates value.

Life teaches us many lessons along the  way. 

It’s important to pay attention. 

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Way

Broken

  • deeclarknz.com A friend once gave me a beautiful glass friendship ball. I hung it in the window above my sink where the sun would shine through it lighting my kitchen with beautiful blue hues of colour. While mopping my floor one day, the mop handle hit and dislodged it from where it hung and it crashed to the floor breaking into a million pieces. My heart sank. I scooped up the pieces desperate for way to put the pieces back together. However, that was never going to happen. It was broken beyond repair.deeclarknz.comEvery time my heart has been shattered, I have felt certain that it could never be put back together. And every time , without exception, not only has my heart mended but it has become larger, stronger and more loving for the breaking. A wonderful truth in life is that we are stronger, gentler, more resilient and more beautiful than we imagine. The Psalmist David encourages us that The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit and heals their wounds. I have found this to be true. Each and every time.deeclarknz.comThe nature of being broken is that perspective is hard to maintain when we are in pain, when in fear, when confused or worried. Brokenness limits our view, for the moment. One of the purposes of love is to help each other not stay limited in our view of life. When helping each other move beyond our limited view of life, we are lifting each other above the pain and reaching for the feeling of health.  

deeclarknz.com“To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.” -M. Nepo

In my life, I have found that my brokenness eventually became useful in reaching out to other broken hearts. Like seeds broken open and then bear fruit, we can use our broken places to meet each other and be touched by each other. When broken of all the “stuff” that gets in the way of being in touch with others, we begin to know each other outside of our differences in this strange, mutual place of the heart. This is why when we fall, we lift each other; or when in pain, we hold each other; or why when joy floods in, we dance together. It’s a way that the many pieces of the heart loves itself back together.

Lastly, I have come to know that hurting people hurt people. When I come across such a person, they are crying out for understanding, comfort and a safe place to heal. Fire doesn’t fight fire. Nor does pain heal pain. Hurting people need to know that they can trust again, love again and hope again. 

I want my brokenness to open my heart enough that I can reach the hurting with the truth that the Psalmist David shared, that wounds can be healed and that in brokenness there is someone near to help lift them above the painful moments.

The best way to heal a broken heart is not to isolate it and close it down. The best way to heal brokenness, strangely, is the art of continuing to open yourself up. To remember that all of life is not where you are at the moment. To find usefulness in the pieces that remain. To reach outward and yes, upward. 

Even if it doesn’t feel like it today, unlike broken glass, a broken heart will mend. 

D

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken  

Some Like It Hot

I definitely am one of those people…I like it hot: steaming hot baths/showers, jalepanos, the heat of the sun and don’t even give me a lukewarm coffee (even worse -iced coffee). Hot is my preference.

At least once in life, we all experience the flame going out. But it doesn’t have to remain dim. All it takes is a little spark of hope and kindness and love and perseverance to fan the flame.

Here are a few quotes that I’m hoping spark a little inspiration for you:

Of all the fires, love is the only inexhaustible one.—Pablo Nerudadeeclarknz.com Great things never came from comfort zones. deeclarknz.com Decide you want it more than you are afraid of it. – Cosby deeclarknz.com No longer bereft, you blaze.—Emilydeeclarknz.com When eyes have died in its gaze, know the heart had died in its blaze. -unknown deeclarknz.com Love what you do so that it sets others ablaze with inspiration. deeclarknz.com Accept things as they are or accept responsibility for changing them.deeclarknz.com Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire. -St Catherine of Sienadeeclarknz.com The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.—David Whyte

The tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze! -James

One Word Photo Challenge: Hot

Enveloped, Rested But Reopened

  In the midst of pain there is a tendency to want to curl up. It feels very much like protection to envelop the most sensitive parts from exposure to outward battering. 

After some of my most heart wrenching moments, I found myself curled in a ball clutching my heart in a desperate attempt to shield it. Enveloped in a few moments of solace.  The problem that developed was dependence on the place that felt safe and distanced from potential discomfort. Even a caccoon which is designed to swaddle the caterpillar during metamorphisis becomes a cage to the butterfly unless she is able to break herself free when it’s time to fly.   Everyone needs a place of respite. A safe place where we can go and rest and feel comforted, and protected, and secure.   But if we remain there too long our ability to function becomes atrophied like unused muscles. Withered. Wasting away.

While we think we are protecting ourselves, it’s easy to lose our ability to freely trust or love or hope. Protection can turn to entrapment. We might begin to feel insecure, doubt ourselves, or fear the pain more than we desire to live fully. At some point we have to allow ourselves to uncurl. 

Open up.

Re-enter our messy, beautiful life.

When the sting of pain begins to wain, extend, move and stretch. Reach for the fullness of life.

Pain is a part of life. We can’t escape it. 

And we can’t hide from it.  “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ~Buechner


Enveloped

  

Enveloped within in each tiny seed is hope. There is more than a wish within its contents. There is promise and potential and grand purpose. 

We must reach beyond what we can see. 

Life is enveloped within the seed.

Humans.

Dandelions.

Oak trees.

Nourishment.

Dreams.

It’s hard to imagine the full potential in small beginnings.

But it’s there. 

Waiting.

Unfolding it is simple.

Don’t hold too tightly to what is.

Release.

Give in and accept change.

Allow time.

Reach for what can be.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Enveloped

Liquids

  

   Pour a liquid out of its container, and it changes shape, fills the space you give it. If you give children a lot of space, it may surprise you where they’ll go and the shape they’ll take.

Nancy Gibbs

   
 

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

Langston Hughes

  
  
  
  Good coffee is a pleasure, good friends are a treasure.

Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Liquids