Sunday, April 30, 2017

Death of a Marriage - 5 Steps to Healing


There are few life events more stressful than going through a divorce. For many of you, divorce actually feels almost like a death. In reality, it was the death of your fairy tale. We know the statistics going in, but we all think we are the exception, our love is real, strong enough, the forever kind. Of course, there are always some who foresee trouble and bring out the prenup, but the majority of us believe we will beat the odds. To realize one day that we lost at the table of love is devastating and it affects our brains much like a physical death does. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about the Five Stages of Grief as it relates to death. I would like to suggest we experience similar responses when we are first faced with the reality of a divorce.

DENIAL…. It’s not true. It’s just simply not true. “He’s just going through a phase. She’s very stressed at work. They are just bluffing because we had a fight.” We come up with reasons to explain why our partner just dropped the D word on us. This cannot be happening to me/us. Denial is our mind’s way of gradually getting used to the pain. Much like slowly wading into the cold ocean waters. We tiptoe around slowly and tense up as the crashing waves of disbelief wash over us. Denial often shields us from guilt as well. The contributions we have made leading to this outcome may be hard to accept. Refusing to acknowledge the divorce as a reality cushions us from the admission of our mistakes. It is ok to need and request some time to process. It is a life altering decision.

ANGER…. If denial is the first sense of loss and helplessness, floating aimlessly in sadness, then anger is the anchor that starts the healing process. We become furious that they would reject our love and commitment and throw it away like yesterday’s trash. How dare he/she be so cold and callous, selfish and dreadful.  Anger gives us focus for the tasks ahead. We should not make lasting decisions in the throes of this anger, but it does move us away from despair and points us to the matters and details we need to protect ourselves, our finances and our future. (A word to the wise; this is where the first huge mistake is made by parents. Do not ever bring your children; regardless of their age and/or maturity, into your divorce battle. They love both of their parents. And it is never cool to ask them to take sides or use them as bargaining chips. They are going through their own stages of grief at the loss of the family unit. I understand you need allies, but you cannot recruit them from the children.) Anger is the catalyst for self-preservation. We cannot allow it to consume us because it will soon turn into bitterness. But we can harness it as an energy resource for challenging days ahead.

BARGAINING….. There is a fine line between compromise and concession. In marriage, a basic staple ingredient is effective compromise. If one or both partners fail to recognize and execute this, the partnership will erode quickly. If your spouse has asked you time and again to help with a chore, be more respectful, show more affection, whatever the complaint, and you have dodged and refused for years, it is now too late to show up with a mop, roses or dressed in lingerie, pleading for another chance. I believe in doing your best while you are in the relationship, but if someone truly wants out, I do not agree with begging.  You cannot force someone to love or stay with you. You can learn from the experience but never resort to emotional manipulation. It will backfire and still have the same end result.

DEPRESSION….. This is one we are all too familiar with, and the hardest stage to conquer. We hide under the covers, lay in the dark, won’t get out of bed and if we do, it’s to go to the freezer and pull out ice cream to eat directly from the carton. Some people watch sappy love movies. (Why…. is totally beyond me.) Some people call their mother, best friend or the Pizza Hut delivery person.  Others lose themselves in work or working out. A few hit the road or hit the bottle. We all react to depression differently, but we all agree on one thing. IT HURTS! There isn’t an Advil for heartache. Very little can be done except to wait it out. If you did not want a divorce, when the reality starts to settle in, the sadness will come. Possibly you will relive the good moments, the fun adventures, the great intimacy and the thought that the ride is ending makes it hard to breathe. Even if you wanted the divorce, or believed it was the best route to take, there will still be a feeling of regret, wasted time and loss. Every single one of these emotions and reactions is normal and understandable. I cannot tell you the right way for you to process your pain. I can point out some wrong ways.

Do not retreat away from the rest of the world; at least not for more than a day or two. There is no salvation to be found in your La-Z-Boy. Do not begin a smear campaign against your Ex. Not to anyone. It is not classy and will only make you look bitter. Maybe you are bitter, but the rest of the world doesn’t need to see it. Do not, and I repeat, do not begin to abuse alcohol or any type of drug; prescription or otherwise. Numbing the pain seems like a good idea, but it isn’t. It will still be waiting when you resurface into consciousness. With that being said obviously if you are currently on medication for anxiety and depression, by all means, stay on it. I am talking the reckless use and intake of substances with the sole intent to drown your sorrows. There can be no drowning today.

What does work? Don’t shoot me for saying it, but time. Prayer. Talking to people who love you, or even talking to a professional.  I will not promise the pain will ever completely dissipate. But I will promise that you will feel better, peaceful, even joyful again. Soon. Do you know how I know this? Because if you are reading this, you are fully engaged in your life and you want to be the best, most fantastic version of you. That motivation alone will drive you past the depression and down the road to your new future.

ACCEPTANCE….. We’ve denied it, railed against it, tried to negotiate out of it and cried about it. Enough is enough. We are divorced. You are divorced. And you will be ok. Accept it. This is the last stage of grief and the first step in the right direction. There are still decisions to be made and obstacles to encounter, but with a clear mind and determination, those will be handled as they arise. I talk to people all the time who have even managed to become friends or at least civil with their ex. This is especially helpful if there are children involved. And of course, there are in-laws and extended family that you may still love and want to stay in touch with. Unless the circumstances are severe, try to maintain those connections at least for a while. They may fade away with time, but there is no reason why everyone else has to be cut off immediately.

After acceptance comes the healing process. There is no pre-designated time for this to take place. Everyone has to heal at their own pace. Do not let friends or family, however well-intentioned, attempt to rush you through. They want to see you happy again, as do I, but understand it looks different for everyone. However, it does take work and responsibility on your part to achieve.

In reality, there are way more steps than just 5. This is an ongoing one-step-in-front-of-the-other process that will have many hills and valleys. The death of a marriage is truly a sad thing, but it does not define your journey. My hope for you is to make good decisions, keep a cool head and never close off your heart.

Hope With Abandon


Hope Out

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Finding A Date Is A Job!


When I was younger, getting a date was easy. I wasn’t easy, but finding a date was. They may not have all been stellar evenings at the ball with Prince Charming, but all in all, I could hold my own. Over the years, the field has thinned out (while I have not) so now it can be a little more challenging. With all the dating apps, swiping right and questionnaires that make me doubt compatibility with my own self, it feels like a job to find someone to date. Then, all of a sudden, it fell into place for me and I knew what I needed to do. So I developed my very own Dating App(lication)!

As it turns out, there is quite a lot of information found on a job application that is also quite useful when weeding out potential suitors. By utilizing this dating application I intend to be able to sort through a list of variables and come up with a select group of candidates who fulfill my love requirements! So what, do you ask, is on my dating application?? Here are the highlights.

Name – Of course, this is never really difficult to get, but you have to start somewhere, right?

Address – This should not be their buddy’s couch, parent’s basement or the Motel 6 down the street.

Age – I understand everyone has their personal preferences, but I like to keep it +/- 5 years. (I could possibly be persuaded to go -10 years for the right one….)

Do you have reliable transportation – Did I ever tell you the story of the guy that had his 80-year-old father bring him to, and pick him up, from our date? Uber doesn’t count either; that is too close to a threesome… and that’s not gonna happen.

Date Available To Start – Now this is my personal favorite! If you are not over your ex, do not ask me for a date. I do not wish to be your therapist or your rebound. And if you are not even divorced yet, while I sympathize with your position, you have to finish one chapter before starting another.

Are you available for overtime/weekend work – You would be surprised at how limited some people’s schedules are. I’m not even sure why they think they have time to go on another date. If they have to pencil me in weeks in advance, I’ll forget to show up. (I’ve actually done that.)

Position Applying For – This is important, and hopefully one they put some thought into. I don’t need a Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, but not looking for a Professional Time Waster or Manager of Mischief either.

Previous Experience - Here is the section I want to know a little about, but not too much. We all have a past. I do not need to relive yours. I just to need to confirm you actually have been around a woman before today. Length of stay is important to consider. Do you bail after the orientation when things start to get real?

Reason for Leaving – Again, gory details are not required. But if you were forcibly removed or just failed to show up one day; either will land you in the rejected pile.

Special Skills – Well, because it is always good to have special skills. This is where he provides a list of characteristics and abilities that create enthusiasm and excitement on my part.

Expectations – What are you looking for? Casual Dating? Friends With Benefits? Long Term Relationship? Be honest and upfront about what your intentions are. If we are not on the same page, there is no need to proceed to the interview phase.

And last, but not least….References – Now this is a tricky one, even in real job applications. Who is going to provide the name of anyone unless they are sure to give a glowing recommendation? But these absolutely do not count….Your mother. Your mother’s bridge club. Your mother’s hairstylist. Your hair stylist. (The idea you even have a hair stylist bumps you down three spots.) The mailman. The bartender at the corner bar. (Or anyone else on the corner.) I may decide to leave this one off the form. I’m not good with trusting what other people say. I prefer to make my own assessment. If all the other fields are answered to my satisfaction, I will have to trust my instincts.

You know my friends, I wrote this in jest, but there is a small part of me that wonders if it would not actually work in some fashion or form. It is all basic necessary information and it sure would be great to have it handy and available up front. I know, it’s not practical and some could even say cold and unfeeling. Where’s the adventure? Where’s the wonder? Where’s the intrigue?  I’m actually tired of all the ‘wonder’; you know….. the ‘wonder when this date is going to end so I can go home and get back to my Netflix.’

I try not to be cynical; it’s unattractive. And I am completely willing to provide the same information in return. In fact, maybe I should do a his/her version. Would any of the questions be different? Hmm, maybe another blog to consider.

At the end of the day, it truly should not feel like a job interview or work release program to find someone compatible. However, I have learned, often the hard way, that details and history are important. We all need to do our homework and be diligent about who we let into our lives. Communicate honestly from the start and learn to ask good questions. Their favorite color is not important. Their views on compromise, adventure styles and how they set the thermostat are!

Happy Job (I mean Date) Hunting!

Hope With Abandon!

Hope Out!
(Just in case anyone would like to see/print the actual Dating Application I really did make one and it is on my website; www.hopeboulevard.com )

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Do's And Don'ts For Ex-Spouse Day

Today, April 14th, is Ex-Spouse Day. 

Celebrating a divorce is almost akin to an oxymoron. Very few people actually rejoice in the thought of dissolving a union entered with such pomp, circumstances and commitment. Unfortunately, divorce is sometimes a harsh reality and whether you wanted it or not, you have to deal with the aftermath. Everyone has to process grief and loss in their own way. Take positive steps today to reclaim your future and your joy. 

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to make it through the day both emotionally (and physically) sound.

Do:
Finally, delete all their old pictures and texts from your phone. I know this is a hard one. If you are still in love and hurt from the divorce these are reminders, even if painful ones, of better times. You catch yourself looking back and re-living the pain. This is unhealthy and will not bring healing or closure. It is a huge step, but when the divorce was final, all of this information became irrelevant and a roadblock to your future. Delete them. All of them. Free up space on your phone and in your heart for something NEW.

Don’t:
Post a Meme with the hallelujah chorus and a picture of your ex. No matter how badly you want to, don’t! You can sing it to yourself and your friends, but gloating on social media is not classy. Be conscious of the posts and opinions expressed on your public online forums. Your ex may not have been perfect, but I’m pretty sure you would not want your dirty laundry aired for the world to see either. Don’t live in resentment. Pick up and move on.

Do:
Apologize. Quite possibly you have nothing for which to apologize. However, seldom does a marriage get all the way to divorce without both parties having contributed to the demise. No, it will not fix the problem or reverse the decision, and that is not the purpose. The purpose is to free your mind. Owning the issues or drama that you brought to this table will greatly reduce the likelihood of a repeat offense. Learn from your mistakes and theirs. This is also a good time to forgive if you still hold a grudge. This apology can be made directly to your ex, or even in front of the mirror. But it is a great first step to your future.

Don’t:
Send flowers to your ex with poison ivy as the accent greenery. Revenge can sound really good when the pain is at its worse. They poisoned your soul so you will poison their palms. I hope you know, I’m just kidding around. (I’m pretty sure flowers.com doesn’t stock poison ivy.) Seriously though, do not let yourself fall into the trap of seeking revenge. It is a vicious cycle. If they totally wronged you, try and find a way to be grateful you found out before any more time was wasted and move on. If they just decided to bail, why spend your precious time chasing a ghost?

Do:
Remember something good about them. You did choose him or her to marry after all. Very few people are all bad or all good. There was something about your ex, that at least for a little while, you thought you could not live without. Just for a moment today, recall a sweet moment or great adventure. Do not dwell on it, but remembering something good can help reduce the feeling of wasted time.

Don’t:
Host A Self-Pity Party. No one would want to attend anyway. If you make a habit of feeling sorry for yourself, you will not only have lost a spouse, but you may lose a few acquaintances as well. It’s not a pretty site to watch someone wallow. I know it may feel like you will never get past the hurt, and that no one really understands, but you will and we do. Hold your head up, shoulders back and never let them see you flinch.

Do:
Order yourself a Mimosa and toast your ex for the end of an experience. You had some good times. You rocked it for a while and gave it your best shot. There is no shame in ending the ride. Raise a glass to the memories. Don’t dwell on the drama. Figure out the lessons you can walk away with and apply when the next opportunity opens up. Here’s looking at you!

Don’t:
Text them after a few of those Mimosas. Toasting your ex is one thing; getting toasted is another. It is never advisable to drink and text, but in this case it is an absolute NO. Give someone your phone if you have to. Drexting almost always leads to someone doing something stupid that they regret. Do not let this be you!

Do:
Go out with your friends for dinner. They were there when you walked down the aisle, and they are still by your side. Celebrate the community of love that you still have in your life. Go out on the town and let loose a little. Enjoy the freedom of living on your own terms. This is not the day to live in the shadows. Go out and shine!

Don’t:
Order a dozen pizzas (or an exotic dancer – or both) in your ex’s name at their new home. Take the high road. Sure, it would be funny to see the look on their face when Magic Mike shows up with 12 Meat Lover’s Pizzas at their door, but it is not worth the……Ok, I’m sorry…that really would be funny.

I hope you get my point. These are just light-hearted ideas to help relieve a little stress at the thought of what this day may represent to you. You absolutely should never do anything damaging or harmful to your ex.

I can’t speak to the purpose of celebrating Ex-Spouse Day as a calendared event. I suppose at best it can be used as a springboard to healing. Moving forward is hardly ever successful without understanding the path that brought us to this point. Acceptance and forgiveness are vital to moving past the pain. 

Turn the page. Turn the calendar. Tomorrow is a new day!

Hope With Abandon

Hope Out

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pay It Backward (Lessons For Our Daughters)


*Disclaimer* I try to make a habit of staying off of soap boxes because soap is a slippery substance and one can easily fall off the box. However, this has been weighing on me of late and I just felt the need to ‘go there’.  This post will reveal a bit of my southern conservatism; for which I am unapologetic. You may not agree with everything I say, but if you have daughters, granddaughters, nieces, etc.; at least please try to hear my heart.

As many of you know, I have a second job with an event company. Part of that job includes working various concerts. This can be fun (depending on the artist), but as I found out recently, it can also open my eyes. A few weeks ago I worked an event featuring a male singer at a small venue attended by a late teen/early twenties crowd; mostly female. (I am being vague by intent.) I understand that each generation tells the previous generation that they just do not ‘get’ their choice in music. And in this case, that is correct; because I absolutely did not get it. But it wasn’t the music that disturbed me. It was the message.

When the doors opened, the floor at the front of the stage quickly filled with beautiful young women. Young women that I am sure were bright and talented and smart; with dreams and goals and probably the support of a wonderful family. They were happy and surrounded by their friends. Yes, in my opinion, many of them were dressed in outfits that a few years ago would only be worn behind closed doors, but then again, I am a dinosaur. But that is not what bothered me. What bothered me was what happened next.

After the fairly calm and harmless opening act was finished, the headlining guy came on stage and immediately commenced with singing (and I use the term loosely) the vilest string of lyrics I believe I have ever heard. I did not understand a lot of what he said, but what I could decipher was all manner of crude words and actions that he personally directed at those beautiful young women in the audience.  And to my amazement, they raised their hands and cheered him on; accepting his flood of insults and degradation. The only thing I could ask myself; why?? Because if a man walking down the street were to stop and say those exact things, those girls would be devastated, indignant and possibly even report it as a disgusting verbal assault. Yet, they paid $30 each, or more, to listen to it put in music form. It hurt me to watch. And this is my response to that experience…..Lessons For Our Daughters.

Class

The definition of class is displaying excellence, grace and poise. Let’s teach our young ladies to be classy. This is not to be confused with haughty and vain. It is my wish for every woman out there, regardless of age, to be self-confident and believe in her worth. To present herself; both in dress and demeanor that demonstrates to the world that she values herself and her place in the world. That she does not have to conform or concede to melt into the crowd. Teach them to shine as individuals. Remind them that while manipulation is within their grasp, it is beneath their dignity.  Encourage them to pursue quality and caliber.

Respect

First and foremost, they should always respect themselves. There isn’t a one size fits all definition of ‘self-respect’. Part of being an individual and believing in yourself is recognizing your own personal level of acceptance. We need to teach our young women to have pride and ownership of their values and beliefs and understand there may be times when they will have to stand alone in their convictions. 

 A close second in respect is for the common sisterhood. “Mean Girls” is at an all-time high. As women, we can be more damaging to each other than men ever think about being. At some point in time, we decided to pit ourselves against the very ones who understand us the most; other women. We all share the same struggles, fears, desires and triumphs. Because of cultural or other influences, we may display or communicate them differently, but peel back the layers and we are pretty much all the same little girls playing dress up with our friends and dreaming about our future. Let’s teach, and show; our girls to be kind and accepting of others. To respect the challenges of someone who looks different or comes from another background. To understand that the dearest people in life that will stand with us through the storm and in the fire will oftentimes be our girlfriends. Treat them as precious gifts; because they are.

Conscious Freedom

I truly believe this is the most important lesson; because it combines the first two characteristics and forms the foundation for how we, as women, take on life.

Women have fought for decades for freedom and equality. And I am a firm supporter of both. However, as we applaud our victories and explain them to our daughters; we would be remiss if we did not also explain this... With freedom comes responsibility. The ability to make our own choices and affect our own destiny brings the weight of the consequences of those decisions. Having freedom does not bring a license to become careless.

For example…Yes, we have the freedom to do what we want with our bodies. After all, they are our bodies. There are many who affirm the right of women to explore and stretch their sexual boundaries. And I am never one to judge another’s path. However, we need to have honest discussions about the cost of those explorations and the difficulties of re-defining boundaries once crossed. Just because something is ‘ok’ to do; doesn’t mean it is advisable to do. Teach your ladies to use wisdom and vision before making decisions of any kind; sexual or not.

Also as women, we have been given the most amazing and wondrous gift of ushering brand new life into this world. This is not a gift we should treat lightly or with disregard. As mature, and hopefully, wise women, we should strongly advise our girls on the importance of good judgment. Regardless of individual beliefs; these decisions will have a lasting impact. Talk about them before the emotional distress of a reality is involved.

Here is another example of freedom that I have always found interesting. There have been studies conducted on individuals released from prison after serving long sentences. A certain percentage of them will actually commit another crime with the express purpose of returning to prison. Why? They couldn’t handle their freedom. In prison, they were told what and when to do absolutely everything. They carried no burden for their decisions. It was easier to have their life led than to lead their life. 

Now I am not suggesting that we, as women, should live in a prison or have someone else lead us. NOT AT ALL. I am, however, re-emphasizing that one cannot separate freedom from responsibility.  

Do I have all the answers? Not by a long shot. Did I teach all these lessons to my own daughters? Well, I did try, but trust me, I struggled with good decisions myself. (I am super proud of my daughters, even if I made mistakes along the way.)

One more thing and then I’ll push the soap box back under the table. This message isn’t just for women. I know there are many men out there who are raising daughters too. And I applaud and am so proud of you for doing so. Having some of these conversations with your daughters will never be the easiest part of your day, but they are important and far reaching. As fathers, you will impact the way your daughters view men and their place in a man’s life. Model the kind of man you want your daughter to be attracted to. Teach her to be the kind of woman you yourself would respect and admire. 

As a society, we should all strive to engrave these truths into the hearts, souls and minds of all our young women. Never believe you are not reaching them if you are teaching them; because you are.

My goal today is met if just one girl is told that she is beautiful, priceless, rare and worth more than she could ever imagine.  

Hope With Abandon


Hope Out

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Owner's Manual (AKA Womanual) - A Guy's Guide



So last week we discussed tips and suggestions for women to keep her man (and the relationship) running in tip top shape. And, as promised, this week we are going to turn the table and give the guys some help. Now I will admit I felt a little nervous about using the same title; Owner’s Manual. There are quite a lot of hurtful and damaging things said in regards to men treating women like property. I absolutely do not want to contribute to this stereotypical objectification (those are two very long words) of women. But I trust you. And I hope you trust me and know my heart. This is just meant to be entertaining and insightful. So in keeping with last week’s theme, let’s explore the ways a man can fine tune the relationship with his lady.

Let me first start with this….. I am not going on record as saying that women are more complicated than men. But I will admit there are multiple varieties of women. And layers to those multiple varieties. And by-products to the layers to those multiple varieties. And…. Well, you get my point.  Women can present a challenge at times for men. But that’s a good thing. Most men love challenges. So, in theory, it is a win-win. Especially for the guy who has a chance to read the manual first.

SAFETY

Never, under any circumstances, answer “Yes”, if your girl asks “Do I look fat in this? Or any other deviation or rewording of this question. In fact, this is not an actual question. Here’s a secret. Women sometimes talk in code. Ok, maybe that isn’t a secret. And it certainly isn’t fair, but I promise we do not intentionally do it to irritate you. You do not need to answer this because we already know the answer. We have mirrors; lots of them, and eyes. We know exactly what we look like. What we want is for you to tell us that even with the weight, wrinkles, gray hair, last season’s clothes, or a host of other reasons, that you still find us attractive. Desirable. Hot. My hope is you truly do think all of those things. So just tell her she looks amazing. (You may have to say it twice.)

Here is one other example of code. When she asks if you want to go with her to a dinner/wedding/party with/for her family; again this isn’t a question. It signifies one of two things. It either means she wants to go and is politely requesting your presence, disguised as an inquiry. OR….she doesn’t want to go and is silently pleading with you to come up with an excuse to miss it. Unfortunately, I can’t help you with which one it is. You gotta figure that one out on your own.

ASSEMBLY

So assuming you answered correctly to the dinner party question/request, this will come into play next. Most likely you do not need a lot of time to get ready, even for an ‘event’. We, on the other hand, require a slightly longer assembly time. Just picking out the ensemble is time-consuming all by itself. Then throw in hair, makeup, accessories. Please do not rush us. Or worse, try to help us or offer suggestions. We’ve had this routine for years and are not about to adjust it now. Just sit back, relax, watch the news, the game or check Facebook. I promise when you see the finished product you will forget the time involved and be blown away.

INSTALLATION

The biggest needs for a woman are to be loved, cherished and feel secure. Now each woman has a different barometer of how she measures these. Again, this is up to you and great communication to figure out her love language and learn to speak it fluently. If you install daily doses of affirmation, attention and commitment, all of the pieces will fit together to form a strong and lasting bond.

After you have successfully introduced the necessary components to start a great relationship foundation, you can move on to different projects. Like installing the new garage opener, fixing the leaking faucet, hanging the light fixture. And we don’t care if you do it, or just have it done. But we love it when you handle the tasks that make our life run smoother. This absolutely registers on our love radar.

Here is one other piece of advice. Your lady does not need or intend for you to fix everything in her life. Sometimes she just wants you to listen. I know that your love for her and desire to solve problems puts your mind into gear when she starts to share her struggles with you. And if she specifically asks you for help; then absolutely, run into the fire for her. But if she just needs a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on; simply offer that. It truly is almost always enough.

MAINTENANCE  

Here are meat and potatoes of this manual. While many have said there are only a few basic requirements to make a man happy; it isn’t quite so easy with us. Not because we are difficult. No, not at all. But because we are all unique. We are artists, teachers, caregivers, organizers, leaders. We might be introverts, extroverts, constantly on the move, or mainly chill. We are strong, loving, smart and efficient. We are actually capable of maintaining ourselves because most of us have had to from time to time. So when we meet a man and allow ourselves to let him in our world, we don’t need empty promises or lofty statements. We need to believe you understand and appreciate each of us as a pure and rare individual. We want you. Your time to invest in us. Your commitment to stay with us.

Now, the occasional randomly sent flowers or special dinner is always appreciated.  We will also gladly accept tiny boxes on any day of the year. But what moves our heart every time, is simply being with you. Breakfast in bed. A walk (or run) in the park. Curled up on the couch. Hiking up a mountain. A drive in the city.  The activities we started out doing with you, we still desire. We are not hard to figure out. You just need to listen. With your heart. What makes her excited? When is she laughing? Where does she feel safe? How does she relax?  Learn these truths about your woman and she will reward you in ways you cannot begin to imagine.

PROGRAMMING

Do not try this under any circumstance. Trust me on this.

TROUBLE SHOOTING

Even with the best maintenance and highest quality parts, sometimes there is still a breakdown. Often women having to start over in this stage of life have been badly hurt and suffered emotional damage. They may be distrustful and wary.  And while it is certainly unfair to make you pay for another’s mistakes, if you are committed to restoring her faith, then stay the course. She obviously saw something in you that offered her hope again for love. She may need reassurance from time to time, but please do not view that has an attack on your credibility. Just hold her through the confusion and pain and be there standing beside her when the sun shines again.

WARRANTY

Just as I mentioned in the last week’s post, some people are just not ready and some relationships just do not last. Guys, if you truly believe that you are following these basic guidelines and your girl does not appreciate or respect you; you have the wrong girl. There are still many of us out here that can recognize a good man and know how to treat him. (They read last week’s post.)

Do not sell yourself short or settle just to keep from being alone. For all the time and energy and love that you have to offer, it should only be invested in someone willing to reciprocate.  

Ok, guys and gals; that’s all I have. I hope within the last two weeks there have been a few nuggets of wisdom. There is no way in two little blog posts to cover all the different types men and women and relationships. Trust me, I know how challenging it can be. And finding someone to journey this life with is only the beginning. There are many things we need to learn and keep learning every day. Life and love are about growth. But having a hand to hold and smiling eyes to look into make it all worth it.

Keep up the good work my friends!

Always Remember To Hope With Abandon

Hope Out