Why Are YOU Loved?

Rich

true story

Maura (names changed) shared with me that she loves her fiancé, Micah, not because he “is” her life, but rather because he “gives” her life. He gives her the courage to embrace her self—her life—and invites her to dare and create a life with him.

 

In the early days of dating Maura wondered why Micah wanted to be with her. A year ago, when he proposed, she quickly said “yes,” and then more intently began to wonder why he would want to spend his life with her, of all people!

 

Maura told me that as she navigated through her self doubts, the great gift Micah gave her was to help her see that those doubts were just lies she told herself. He helped her to see more clearly and freely the person she was in this moment in her life. He helped her to envision who she wanted to become.

 

Micah couldn’t live life for her. He could, though, help her embrace life with confidence – a confidence that comes from recognizing strengths and acknowledging weaknesses.

 

In learning to see herself with new clarity, Maura has been able to see that she, too, gives Micah life – in ways that he had never experienced before.

 

SANITY SAVER questions:

  • What do you most like about yourself?
  • Which of your partner’s character strengths help you be a better person?
  • Which of your character strengths help your partner be a better person?

 

Please understand that I’m not asking you to consider what you’re going to do for your partner. Rather, I’m asking you to consider what it is about you that you prize so much that you want to share it with your partner.

 

Do these questions make you squirm?  Good!

When confronted by questions like these, most of us do squirm.  Often times we feel uncomfortable reflecting upon and naming the good that we are BUT name it you must.

The more you understand and appreciate what makes you unique and what you bring to your marriage, the more confidently will you say “I do.”

 

To love your partner and to respect and love your relationship,

you must know how to learn to honor yourself.

 

Being Alive at the Same Moment!

I’m not sure where I came across this excerpt, but I know I saved it because of the very last sentence, which I think is simply exquisite.

Read it and then replace the names “Adam and Miranda” with your name and your partner’s name. . .how do you feel?!

 

In Pale Horse, Pale Rider (1939), Porter wrote:

“He had his uniforms made by the best tailor he could find, he confided to Miranda one day when she told him how squish he was looking in his new soldier suit. ‘Hard enough to make anything of the outfit, anyhow,’ he told her. ‘It’s the least I can do for my beloved country, not to go around looking like a tramp.’ He was twenty-four years old and a Second Lieutenant in an Engineers Corps, on leave because his outfit expected to be sent over shortly. ‘Came in to make my will,’ he told Miranda, ‘and get a supply of toothbrushes and razor blades. By what gorgeous luck do you suppose,’ he asked her, ‘I happened to pick on your rooming house? How did I know you were there?’

“Strolling, keeping step, his stout polished well-made boots setting themselves down firmly beside her thin-soled black suede, they put off as long as they could the end of their moment together, and kept up as well as they could their small talk that flew back and forth over little grooves worn in the thin upper surface of the brain, things you could say and hear clink reassuringly at once without disturbing the radiance which played and darted about the simple and lovely miracle of being two persons named Adam and Miranda, alive and on the earth at the same moment.

1

What Marriage “Isn’t”

 

I recently came across this reflection – poignant and spot on!

 

“When I see that look on Kevin’s face just after my dad walked me up the aisle, it makes me want to cry. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen that look and heard the words that come with it. That look is one of the reasons we are still together today. It’s also what almost did us in.

 

There’s this idea about romantic love, about finding your “soul mate” as that man of mine surely is, that makes us think that our lives should be entwined, enmeshed, our happiness entrusted to another. I think that idea does more to undermine good relationships than almost any other.

 

The underbelly of that notion is: so, if I’m not happy – and who is all the time? – it is my partner’s responsibility to at least try to make me feel better, happier. I won’t speak for other people but, in our determination to put how we felt about each other into practice, we kinda got it wrong for a while.

 

In the misguided attempt to make the other happier, we contorted ourselves and our lives into painful and unrecognizable pretzel shapes – or felt guilty when we didn’t or couldn’t. We thought we were responsible for each other instead of to each other.

 

The result? We had about two years of hell that stripped our relationship right down to its foundation.

 

I remember standing on a street, looking across the top of a car at him and thinking: I am willing to lose this but I am not willing to not be myself anymore.

 

I was lucky. He was braver and more determined than I was.

He took the first steps to break our dynamic. At the time, it felt like he was retreating to his corner to work on his own issues, but it gave me the room to do the same.

 

I would never, ever, ever want to go through that again (have I said “never” and “ever” enough?) however, the new relationship that was built on what remained, that foundation, that look, is everything I ever wanted and more. Boy, I love you, I admire you, I like you and I’m grateful for you and to you for our quarter century together.

 

What we now know is that marriage isn’t about two becoming one, but about learning how to be yourself in the presence of another.

That, to me, to us, is the secret of a marriage worth having.”

 

Marley Klaus is a writer and former 60 Minutes producer who in 2006 began a blog called The Heathen Learns , dedicated to learning about the seven major religious traditions. She and her husband –  film, TV, and theater director Kevin Dowling – married in 1987 and have two sons.

 

Happy 2018 – A Month Late!

What marriages work the best?

The ones where partners acknowledge, validate and appreciate

each other continuously.

Robert Middleton

 

While the above quote applies to couples married, it also applies to couples engaged—especially those who are actively planning their wedding.

Last month I was body-slammed with the flu and so for me, the new year is beginning a month late!!

On this Friday before Super Bowl Sunday I encourage you to be kind with each other as you make your way through the wacky world of wedding planning.

How you treat each other during this time is how you will treat each other the time after your wedding. Your life together has already begun.

I wish you a happy new year—a year of new blessings, new happiness, new dreams.

Cheers!

~JP

What Is Your Definition of ‘LOVE’?

 

I recently read a blog post in the Weddings section of The Huffington Post titled “Do We Really Know What Love Is?”  It’s a provocative title and an even more provocative entry.  Vicki Larson begins by saying:

Love is why we marry, or at least that’s what many of us believe. . .That’s fine except, what is love?

 Many of us are stumped to define it, and even those of us who can define it often find that others may not agree with our definition. Yet we all have an idea of what love is.

A friend, a college professor who teaches a class in love, says her students are terrified of having to define love, terrified by the idea that love should even be defined.

Hate, narcissism –  they have no problem agreeing on definitions for those. But love? They shrug, a defeatist shrug, and say, “Well, it’s different for everyone.”

Is it? If love is different for everyone, then what love are we talking about when we’re building a marriage around it or divorcing because we no longer have it? What love are we talking about when we insist people marry “for love”?

 

It got me thinking – what is my “definition” for love?

Hmm. . .one of my favorite reflections on love comes from the writer Marguerite Yourcenar who described her ideal partner as:

“Someone who bolsters our courage and approves, or sometimes disputes, our ideas; who shares with us, and with equal fervor, the joys of art and of living, the endless work which both require, never easy but never dull; someone who is neither our shadow nor our reflection, nor even our complement, but simply him/her self; someone who leaves us ideally free, but who nevertheless obliges us to be fully what we are.”

What about YOU?

What is your understanding of love?

Your partner’s understanding?

Can you put it into words?

Let how you understand love guide you in the creating of your ceremony.

 

 

 

Puttin’ On The Ritz!

Last month I officiated a wedding at The Ritz down in Dana Pt.

As is my custom, I arrived an hour before ceremony start time so as to settle in and gather my thoughts for a final time.

After checking base with the event planner, I took a stroll behind the lawn. And that’s where I spotted the couple to whom this post is dedicated.

 

They looked to be well into their ‘70’s. The man was in a wheelchair and his wife was pushing him. She pushed the chair up to a fence that bordered the perimeter of the bluff.  Once he was close enough, he reached over to the fence and pulled himself up. The wife put her arm around him as they looked out. I thought, “how sweet.”

 

But then he turned to his wife, cupped her face in his hands and they began to kiss – energetically. I was startled because the scene went against the scenario I’d mentally created for them – old couple; probably cranky; affectionless not to mention sexless––hope she doesn’t push him off the bluff!

 

I know, none of this sounds very kind on my part, but, hey, if you knew my relatives, you’d know why I came up with this oh-so-wrong snapshot!

I was deeply moved by the sight of them. Their bodies may have been worn, but their tenderness was strong. And apparently their love was as vibrant as the love my couple, Christine and Nelson, was celebrating that day!

 

Before a couple exchanges rings, I have them hold hands and remind them that “these are the hands of your best friend.”  My reminder to them ends with the line, “and these are the hands, even when aged, will still reach to you with the same touch that comforts you today.”

 

I’ve liked the image of that line; but, I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood the profoundness of it until I watched this couple, as the wife stroked her husband’s face (you’ll note that I’m presuming they were married and not having an affair!).

 

I went on my way and officiated the ceremony that was touching in many different details. Afterwards, as I walked to the lobby, I passed the cocktail lounge and who should I spot having a martini, but – my couple from the bluff!

 

I broke into a wide grin as I thought. . .so you’re in your 70’s, use a wheelchair, but you’ve got a wife you still make out with (in public) and can cap it off with a drink at The Ritz.  WOW! Now that’s the good life!

 

May your life be just as good. . .

What I Learned About Weddings From A Golf Pro (you’ll be surprised!)

ferjuaristi.com

Note: 

Even though I begin this post talking about golf – it really is a wedding post!

 

When I’m not officiating weddings, I’m a corporate communications coach and trainer (https://thebusinessofconfidence.com).  I offer workshops on what’s commonly referred to as “soft skills.”  However, as you know there’s very little “soft” about customer service, team building as well as managing all those difficult conversations!

 

Last year I began coaching professionals in the world of golf  – long story!  Up until last year, my experience on the greens was limited to miniature golf. While it will be a long time before I don’t feel self-conscious playing, I have learned a great deal about the sport and the giants who’ve made it the avidly popular sport that it is today.

 

One of those legends is Sean Foley, who is one of Tiger Woods’ former coaches.  Recently, I read an article where he was asked this question: “You’ve always said that golf would never define you.  Do you still feel the same after taking on Tiger?”

 

Here’s his answer:

“Golf instruction is what I do for a living, but it doesn’t define who I am.  I’m not here to revolutionize golf instruction.  I’m here to touch the individual lives of the people that I work with.  I was raised on the idea that when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night the goal is to leave the world in a better place than you found it.”

 

Foley is much respected in the world of golf and it is remarkable that he can say that golf doesn’t define him.

 

His answer challenged me to think about what defines me.

 

In addition, it got me thinking about weddings (which I’m more times than not thinking about) and what a wedding actually celebrates.

 

Does a wedding celebrate what defines YOU?  Does a wedding celebrate what defines YOU as a COUPLE?

 

In order to say “I Do” to another person, don’t you need to be able to say what defines you?

 

And can you really venture forth into the unknown future together without knowing what defines you as a couple?

 

Sean Foley has a very clear sense of what his defining goal is when he wakes up in the morning and goes to bed at night.  Do you, individually and as a couple, have just as a clear a sense?

 

I know – kinda an odd questions for a wedding blog BUT. . .

 

I think knowing who you are as a couple, knowing who you want to become, is the surest way to helping you be and become the people you want to be and become!

 

 

 

2

Marriage Is. . .

carolinetran.net

 

A while back I reached out to couples I had married, asking if they would complete the sentence, “Marriage is. . .”

 

For some reason, I thought this would be easy to do BUT it hasn’t been. Many couples wrote, “We know what marriage is, yet it’s hard to put into words!” And that makes sense since, at times, marriage can be like the air you breathe.

 

I officiated Jade and Susan’s wedding several years. I think the photo captures so much of who they are – and their joy reminds me why I love officiating weddings! They recently sent me their response to “Marriage is. . .” and I’m happy to be able to share it here on the blog. . .

 

“Marriage can be so many things – good or bad, short or long. It can make life easier or introduce all kinds of struggles. But a beautiful and everlasting marriage is an unmistakably remarkable thing.

A miracle.

A blessing.

A feeling and power only the two of us share and truly understand.

It is a step in the right direction, every time knowing the path we walk, we walk together.

 

I have known and loved Susan for nearly half my life. Some describe her as an extraordinarily caring, compassionate, and creative person, but she is normal to me.

Normal, in the sense that she is my “every day.”

 

She is my constant, my ground level, my reference, both my dreams and my reality. I embrace the privilege of marriage and find it necessary, requiring it to function and live out life’s intended purpose.

 

Marriage sometimes enunciates and justifies contradictions – I am not me without you and you are not you without me; my soul is freed so long as it is bound to yours; calculatingly avoiding pain and death for years, yet not hesitating to sacrifice oneself for the sake of your loved one – your family.

 

The unity of marriage gives us strength in character, yet consistently challenges us to reinforce our commitments to love and responsibly being loved. We conjure the spirit of Love to redeem the ultimate feelings of joy and have learned that when we threaten or disregard it, we can expect in return the most unbearable pain.

 

Marriage is the everyday commitment to cultivate love and share in the many treasures that radiate from it.  Our strength is refined as we hold our confidence and cling to one another, despite knowing some, perhaps many, inevitable obstacles lie ahead.  Our togetherness is and will always be the ultimate reward for our marriage.

We are dedicated, exclusively, to one another, sharing in the responsibilities of anything and everything important to the other, sometimes even knowing the other “better than they know themselves.”  In this marriage, we recognize that life is bigger than you; it is lived for two (plus Junior, maybe someday?).  In our marriage, we learn to accept being rightfully wrong and avoid the pursuit of being wrongfully right.

 

By engaging in and being bound by marriage, we understand that our togetherness is always still an option and could easily be taken for granted if not nurtured properly.  Marriage is a vow made in the context of unnaturally dictated terms – eternity.  That is, every day our love outlasts the gauntlet of the universe, we overcome a statistically improbable chance that soul mates wandered the earth and found the one, yet we promise to prove this again, and again, and again.  And although outwardly we demonstrate the beauty of marriage to our friends, loved ones, and peers, we know the true value of our love lies within our hearts and this bliss is life’s ultimate best kept secret.”

 

Jade & Susan Thiemsuwan

 

What Is Your Definition Of ‘LOVE’?

I recently read a blog post in the Weddings section of The Huffington Post titled “Do We Really Know What Love Is?”

It’s a provocative title and an even more provocative entry. Vicki Larson begins by saying:

Love is why we marry, or at least that’s what many of us believe. . .That’s fine except, what is love? Many of us are stumped to define it, and even those of us who can define it often find that others may not agree with our definition. Yet we all have an idea of what love is.

A friend, a college professor who teaches a class in love, says her students are terrified of having to define love, terrified by the idea that love should even be defined. Hate, narcissism — they have no problem agreeing on definitions for those. But love? They shrug, a defeatist shrug, and say, “Well, it’s different for everyone.”

Is it? If love is different for everyone, then what love are we talking about when we’re building a marriage around it or divorcing because we no longer have it? What love are we talking about when we insist people marry “for love”?

 

It got me thinking––what is my “definition” for love?

Hmm. . .one of my favorite reflections on love comes from the writer Marguerite Yourcenar who described her ideal partner as:

Someone who bolsters our courage and approves, or sometimes disputes, our ideas; who shares with us, and with equal fervor, the joys of art and of living, the endless work which both require, never easy but never dull; someone who is neither our shadow nor our reflection, nor even our complement, but simply him/her self; someone who leaves us ideally free, but who nevertheless obliges us to be fully what we are.

 

What is your understanding of love?

Your partner’s understanding?

Can you put it into words?

 

Let how you understand love guide you in the creating of your ceremony!