Well said, Dr. Rutherford

Dr. Margaret Rutherford bills herself as a “Clinical Psychologist, Mental Health/Midlife Blogger.”  (She also provides a handy response to the challenge of naming one good thing about Arkansas.)  Just kidding.  At any rate, I thought this post was so good, and so well-written, that I would just copy and paste it herein.  I’ve taken the liberty of bolding those items that speak to me loudly.

Wedding

24 years of marriage.

That’s what September 15th meant for me.

We had celebrated earlier so I didn’t remember until I was driving to work. I called him. Told him I loved him. I got grocery store flowers when I got home. Beautifully arranged by the way.

What ever did we do without grocery store flowers?

Between being a marital therapist and my own experience, I have learned a few things. Since I am on year #24, I’ve divided them into 12’s. Just to be cute.

12 Things That Marriage Is Not:

1. Marriage is not for sissies. It’s hard work.

2. Marriage is not about getting what you want all the time. It’s not a dictatorship. It’s not wanting to win all the time because that would mean the other person would lose all the time. May be OK for you. Not good for the marriage.

3. Marriage is not rocket science. The principles it’s based on are really pretty simple. Kindness. Respect. Loyalty. That kind of thing.

4. Marriage is not unfashionable. It stays vital. Even Brangelina must think so.

5. Marriage is not in and of itself stimulating. Since you are with the same person over a long time, the two of you can get in a rut. You have to keep things fresh.

6. Marriage is not about collecting things. The joys of marriage aren’t tangible. You live them. That’s what makes them so very special.

7. Marriage is not for the impatient. Some of the best stuff takes a while to develop. You have to stick around to find that out.

8. Marriage is not the place for criticism. Or abuse. If it is found there, it will ruin any chance of true intimacy or trust and dissolve the hope that once might have existed.

9. Marriage is not a 24-hour repair shop. Your marital partner is not supposed to meet your every need. Some of those needs you may have to take care of yourself. Through your friendships or other activities.

10. Marriage is not self-sustaining. It does not thrive on its own. If all you focus on is the kids, you are making a mistake.

11. Marriage is not boring. Two lives woven together can be quite exciting! There’s just something about watching someone very different from you, living their life in an extremely different way. Up close and personal. You learn from that.

12. Marriage is not without conflict. Knowing how to disagree and work through anger and disappointment is probably the key to lots of stuff going well. Getting to that cooperating, mentioned in #2.

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12 Things That Marriage Is:

1. Marriage is the potential for an intense, deep and diverse intimacy. Sexual. Emotional. Relational.

2. Marriage is knowing someone has your back. Always. You have theirs. It’s about interdependence.

3. Marriage is realizing that you have been seen in your worst times, and that you are still loved. There’s an overriding sense of gratitude and security.

4. Marriage is sharing old jokes. Or some story that may be told over and over but it still makes you laugh ’til you are left gasping for breath.

5. Marriage is getting teary-eyed together.

6. Marriage is thinking about the other one not being there anymore. And not being able to think about it.

7. Marriage is getting irritated by the things that always irritate you. Have irritated you for 24 years. Will irritate you for 24 more. And tolerating it because it is way overbalanced by the good stuff.

8. Marriage is not being able to wait to get home to share some little something.

9. Marriage is wishing you were the one having the operation. Or the illness. Not him.

10. Marriage is sometimes fighting. Trying to slowly learn to fight more fairly. To apologize. To listen. To learn. To find resolution.

11. Marriage is about vulnerability. Giving someone the right to hurt or disappoint you. While simultaneously giving that someone the opportunity to bring you tremendous joy and laughter.

12. Marriage is a promise. A vow. To try the hardest you have ever tried in your life. Marriage is a place for the achievement of a personal integrity like no other.

I’m now living year #25.

So far. So good. Thanks for reading! You can find more from Dr. Margaret at http://drmargaretrutherford.com!

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Q&A with Lori Lowe, Author and Marriage Blogger

Lori Lowe, author of FIRST KISS TO LASTING BLISS: HOPE & INSPIRATION FOR YOUR MARRIAGE.

Lori Lowe

On February 9 we are excited to host our next Marriage on Tap event and  to have Lori Lowe as our guest speaker.  Lori is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage and writer for the popular marriage blog, MarriageGems.com.  I had a chance to do a Q&A with Lori for our blog.  I have been impressed with Lori’s passion to marriages and how she has touched so many individuals with her writings.  I know that if you join us on Feb. 9 you too will be impressed.

Gary: Your blog, www.marriagegems.com, states that you are a journalist and not a marriage counselor. So why did you start the blog?
Lori: As a child of divorce, I personally experienced the effects of family division. And as a GenXer, I grew up during a doubling of the divorce rate when many friends and family members were going through a similar division. After getting married myself, I realized due to our life experiences, many married people lacked positive role models for how to work through challenges in relationships and to become stronger. As a journalist, I wanted to capture the stories of great role models and share what they learned. I investigated why some marriages quickly fail, and why others don’t just survive, they thrive, even when they face adversity. In conjunction with writing the book, I also read a lot of research on what makes relationships work well. I decided to share research-based marriage tips at my blog to help encourage couples, even couples who are doing well today. As a Catholic, I believe the state of our marriages and families is critical to our future.

Gary: I see that you have a book, an eBook, your marriage knowledge is published in many popular publications, and your blog is rated as the Top 10 Marriage blog on the Internet. Very impressive! Since this is not your career, then what is your objective with all your wonderful efforts?
Lori: My objective is to strengthen marriages for the benefit of the children in the families as well as the adults. Research is very clear that living with your married parents provides the most stable situation for children in terms of education, faith, physical and emotional safety. Research even says that children of divorce die an average of five years earlier than those from intact families. We’ve learned a lot in the last generation about what not to do when we put children through a divorce. We’ve also learned there’s no such thing as a “good divorce.” But the most important thing we’ve learned is that working on making a marriage better and keeping the family intact is usually the best option. Couples go through ups and downs in their relationships. Many who work through the down period end up with a much more fulfilling marriage and family life a few years down the line.  Most unhappy marriages can become happy again if they stay together and work to improve the relationship.

FIRST KISS TO LASTING BLISS: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage

FIRST KISS TO LASTING BLISS: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage

Gary: Can you tell us a little about your book?
Lori First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage tells the true stories of couples across the country who experienced a wide range of adversity and who used those situations as a means to strengthen their relationships. They experienced things like child loss, drug addiction, infertility, infidelity, life-threatening illness and accidents, opposing religions, bankruptcy, interfering family members, stranger rape, separation for military service and more. I learned some important lessons from them, which I share in my book.

Gary: The goal of Marriage on Tap is to make sure couples are making time for their marriage and join us for a date night. While interviewing couples for your book were there any stories you can share that touches on the importance of making time for each other?
Lori: In general, I would say if we are not growing together, then we are drifting apart. There is no middle ground. In addition, if we are not building up our spouse, then we are tearing them down. We need to take positive action to build up our marriage, or erosion will occur. That is evidenced in some of the stories, such as when infidelity occurred. Thankfully, there’s a lot we can do to strengthen our marriages, and it doesn’t require that much time or effort if done consistently.

Gary: Could you give us a trailer of what everyone can expect on Feb. 9 at Marriage on Tap?
Lori: I will share 12 lessons learned from couples across the country that I profiled in my book. These are 12 things that can and should be put into practice in every marriage to ensure that your marriage doesn’t just survive, it thrives.

Gary: In recent years, there has been lots of effort by the Catholic Church to educate Catholics on the importance of marriage. In your opinion what more can the leaders and members of the Catholic Church do?
Lori: I think we as a Catholic community should be doing a lot more to support marriage in general and especially marriages within our Church. While most Catholic churches have active marriage preparation programs, not many offer ongoing marriage education for young and/or mature married couples. Education and skills training has been proven in research to improve marital satisfaction. We also need to become very knowledgeable about what our Catholic faith teaches us about marriage as a sacrament. Couples who are more active in church attendance and practice do indeed have lower divorce rates, despite what you may have heard in the media. Strengthening our faith can positively impact our family lives. It would be nice if trained counselors were in every church, but due to the resources needed, more people need to step in and help. Even those of us without training as marriage counselors should consider getting involved and encouraging one another, even on an informal basis. We need to support families in crisis and help lift up children and families at risk of divorce. We also need more people who are willing to be a positive voice for marriage, which can be a wonderful vocation.

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