Yes, you can create the relationship you’ve been longing for. Doing so takes willingness, and it takes commitment. More than anything, however, it requires the awareness that you create your own reality. No one else is responsible. Just you. So if you really want something other than the reality you’re currently living, fully commit to the seven behaviors below and begin creating something different for yourself. You’re welcome to check out a post from my personal blog (“My story and I’m sticking with it”) to learn how my relationship with my wife, Shonnie, was manifested.)
1. Fully commit to one another. Making a commitment to someone is ultimately a matter of choice. So there’s really no excuse not to fully commit to your partner. What’s more, being committed can be deeply liberating. No more looking around for someone better, no more “should I stay or should I go,” no more exit strategies. You’re in all the way, and you can relax and enjoy it.
2. Be clear about your purpose in life and live it fully. Get in touch with your purpose in life. Why are you here? What would you be doing if you didn’t believe you had to earn a living? What will you ultimately do with this one cherished life that you have been given? Discover your individual purposes and support each other to go for them with gusto.
3. Create a compelling vision for your relationship. Envision what you want to create, your biggest dreams for yourselves–individually and together. Then, on a regular basis imagine that your vision has already come to pass, and feel the feelings that accompany this visualization. Presto, you’re on your way to attracting what you want into your life and making it a reality.
4. Make and keep your agreements with one another. Make agreements about how you will be with one another and what you will do together to move yourselves toward your vision. These can be marriage vows, recommitment vows or any other type of agreements you choose. Create a regular ritual during which you review your agreements, speak them aloud to one another and, with no recrimination, recommit to those that you haven’t upheld.
5. Make your word law. When you tell your partner (or anyone else) that you’ll do something, do it. No excuses. When you get right down to it, your word is all you have. By consistently keeping it, you’ll nurture your self-esteem and engender trust between you and your partner.
6. Really listen to one another. Listening is a skill that few truly master. When our partner is speaking, we’re often thinking about our response to what is being said, discounting our partner’s thoughts because they doesn’t match up with our beliefs, wondering what’s for dinner, etc. Practice really listening to your partner, then mirror back what was said so he/she really knows you got the true intention of the words that were spoken.
7. Acknowledge one another regularly. To create a great relationship it’s essential that we really acknowledge our partner’s achievements, be it something they’ve done, something they’ve said or a way of being they’ve exhibited. Some words and phrases that are meant for speaking aloud often and with feeling:
- Well done! Way to go!
- Thank you.
- What I know to be true about you is . . .
- I love you just as you are.
- When I’m with you, I feel . . .
To be continued . . .
This time of year, many people feel the pressure of finding the “right” gift for their wife, husband, or other beloved. So we’d like to offer you three unique ideas about gift giving that may help:
- relieve your holiday stress
- keep you out of the frenzy at the mall
- bring tears to your lover’s eyes
- make for a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Sublime Solstice
1. Give your honey what they truly want. There are several ways to accomplish this including:
- Ask them what gifts they’d most like to receive and put those things on your shopping list.
- Remember past gifts that they absolutely loved and give a similar item.
- Learn their primary “love language” and give a gift that speaks to them in that way (Read about The Five Love Languages and learn how to discover your partner’s primary dialect.).
2. Be a happy giver. If you’re buying things just because you “have to,” think about the message that sends. When you find a way to enjoy searching for and giving a gift of love, your pleasure also comes through your gift. In 1998, for Bruce’s birthday, I bought three gifts — a tent, a music CD, and a ceramic mug that I’d painted myself (a picture of the Appalachian Mountains surrounding our then new home in Asheville). It was fun to learn about tents and pick one I thought he’d like and I definitely enjoyed painting the mug. To top it off, instead of wrapping the gifts, I erected the tent in our kitchen (it barely fit) and put his other two gifts inside with his card. Then, to celebrate, I invited him to join me in the kitchen “campground.”
3. Simplify and be more meaningful. Yes, sometimes your loved one wants many things, or you have a hard time choosing. Instead of going for volume, consider which gift would be the most meaningful — both for you to give and for him/her to receive. Incorporating the love languages idea here can be particularly profound. For instance, if your husband’s primary love language is quality time, you might give him a “Quality Time Romantic Date” gift certificate (that you make yourself). This could include sending the kids to a friend’s for a sleep over, a dinner out (your treat) at your hubby’s favorite restaurant, watching a romantic movie while enjoying your favorite wine or after dinner drink, and then surprising him with a gift of silk boxers and a night of love making to cap it all off. I’m certain that this will be more memorable than any necktie or piece of sporting equipment that you could buy.
There you have it. Simple. Fun. Meaningful. If you’re still looking for other ideas, check out the post I wrote at my other blog — Everyday Gifts–How You Can Show Your Love Without Spending a Dime. Whether you’re pinching pennies or not, these ten ideas are great gifts to give now or at anytime of year. If you have other great gift giving suggestions, please leave a comment and share your wisdom with others!
Below are the wedding vows from Elizabeth and her second husband, Carroll. These unique wedding vows show how different second marriages can be from first marriages for some couples.
Elizabeth Pavka & Carroll Thompson, December 28, 1991
In love, we two have become one that we may each nourish the independent expansiveness of the other;
We together seek that higher spirituality which is for all humans;
We acknowledge joy and laughter as the wings of life;
We caress the Earth as our beloved home in space;
We recognize the stars as relatives to the light in us;
We cherish our individuality and our separateness as the binding agents which drew us together as one, yet hold us apart as two;
We affirm all humans are one people, all life one life, all Spirit one Spirit;
We face the frontier of our personal spiritual development with joy;
We now unite our hearts, souls, bodies, energies, minds, senses, and emotions, that we each may more fruitfully serve the higher purposes we have accepted for ourselves;
God is Love. Love is Light. Light is God in us.
We came as two. We go as one. We are in Universal Union.
Below is part of the December 26, 2005 commitment ceremony of Tom and Maggie who are dancing to beautiful music of their love. They celebrated their union with loved ones in Annapolis, Maryland and created a ceremony that reflected their values and spiritual beliefs.
Tom: As you know, Maggie and I met almost 2 years ago on a cold, wintry night in January. Our first date was to the Boot Scootin’ Boogie where we danced to country music. Ever since, dancing has been a big part of our lives.
As we’ve gotten to know one another better, we’ve been filled with an ever increasing joy, wonder and gratitude for the reality of our spiritual connection. We’ve felt a deep knowing that we’ve been brought together by a power higher than ourselves. We feel that our relationship is a divine gift from God and we are so grateful to be blessed with this amazing and transforming miracle in our lives.
Maggie: The purpose of today’s ceremony is make a promise and a commitment to spend the rest of our lives together as loving and faithful partners. We like to say that we view our relationship as our spiritual practice.
We believe that those who pray together DO stay together. When challenging times occur, we have tried to seek divine guidance through prayer and meditation and with God’s help, we’ve found our way towards the light.
Tom: We want ours to be a holy relationship, one in which we don’t try to change each other but to see and accept one another just the way we are, knowing that our flaws and weaknesses will not be judged by the other but understood and forgiven. We will try to communicate rather than suppress our feelings and needs, knowing that rigorous honesty is the only way.
Maggie: We will strive to learn how to support the other in being the best we can be. Today we ask to be used by God to serve His purposes, knowing that his purpose is always that we might learn to love each other more purely. And now, may we pray together:
Tom: Dear God, May we feel the presence of the Holy Spirit blessing this ceremony and our intention. May we ask for your guidance and blessing that the vows that we repeat are true and spoken with sincerity and the highest purpose. We thank you for bringing us together and ask that you light our way now and always.
We ask for your divine grace to help us become a moving and loving life force, so that together Maggie and I can make a positive difference and a contribution to this world. Thank you for hearing our prayer.
Maggie: And now we will repeat our vows:
Tom, you have brought such joy and light to my life. I have prayed all my life for a good man to share my spiritual path, to make me laugh, to share my passion for the wonders of nature, to love adventures and being active outdoors, to dance and play with me and to love and accept me the way I am. And here you are, all that and so much more! You have become my partner, soul mate and best friend. I commit myself to stand by you whatever comes our way. I will honor and respect you, encourage and support you. I give you my unwavering trust and unconditional love.
Through all the changes of our lives, I promise to be there for you always as a strength in need, a comfort in sorrow, a counselor in difficulty and a companion in joy. I will nurture and care for you in weakness and in health. I vow to be faithful and true to you alone. May my love give you strength all the days of our lives.
Tom: Maggie, I have been thrilled — from the first time I ever met you — through every day ever since. I thank God for bringing you to me to be my partner, my friend, my soulmate, my lover…I thank God for having you to be my hiking and biking mate, my dance partner, my partner in exploring and adventure, my partner in treasuring nature’s wonders…but most of all, my partner in walking down this spiritual path together. And I’m so thankful that my daughters, Emily and Claire, have taken you to their hearts and love you so - and are so happy for me.
I commit myself to stand by you whatever comes our way. I will honor and respect you, encourage and support you, I give you my unwavering trust and unconditional love. Through all the changes of our lives, I promise to be there for you always as a strength in need, a comfort in sorrow, a counselor in difficulty and a companion in joy. I will nurture and care for you in weakness and in health. I vow to be faithful and true to you alone. May my love give you strength all the days of our lives.
Maggie: And now, Maddy and Jordan, will you bring us the rings please. We will wear these rings as an outward symbol of our love and devotion. They represent a circle that never ends, they are a symbol of wholeness and perfection, peace and love.
Tom, as I place this ring on your finger, I take you as my partner for life. I cherish you for your goodness, your passion, your generosity, your thoughtfulness not just with me, but with my friends, your willingness to learn, change and grow, your wisdom and your gentle and loving ways. I, Maggie promise you my beloved to give you my future in faith, my heart to you in hope and my life to you in love . . . today, tomorrow and forever.
Tom: Maggie, as I place this ring on your finger, I take you as my partner for life. I cherish you for your zest for life, for the beautiful smile on your beautiful face, which just reflects the beautiful smile in your soul and in your heart — which touches everyone who comes in contact with you — most especially me.
I, Tom, promise you my beloved to give you my future in faith, my heart to you in hope and my life to you in love. . . today, tomorrow and forever.