But She Was My Soulmate

Soulmates was what they said. From the first day they met, Jim, the young doctor, and Sandy, the promotions manager, were so easy being together – no awkward moments, no missteps, just comfortable and happy. Their connection got very deep very fast.

Then Sandy told him she met someone else.

“What happened – how could this happen?” Jim wondered. “I thought soulmates were forever.”

Really?

What Is a Soulmate?

What is a soulmate? The answer depends on whether you want to reality or the romantic definition.

Literally-speaking, a soulmate is someone with whom you have an inexplicably strong connection. When you meet, you “click” quickly and easily. You like being with each other. You feel comfortable when you’re together.

The soulmate connection could be romantic and/or sexual but it can also be mental, emotional, spiritual, ideological, or something else. Your soulmate(s) can be strictly social or can even be a work or situational soulmate.

Also, the idea that there is just one soulmate for any one person is bogus. The average person can have many soulmates…even many romantic soulmates.

You can be with your soulmate for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

The Soulmate Myth

The mystique surrounding the soulmate is the stuff of fairy tales. One of the best ways to describe the soulmate myth is through the Urban Dictionary definition. It perfectly captures the impression too many people have:

“Fate and destiny contribute to the romantic bliss and happiness where both partners are so immersed in the strong karmic connection. The relationship between soul mates has a certain magical, mystical feel to it. The love is so strong, the chemistry is unexplainable, and sex is mind-blowing. Destiny makes sure these people find each other and gives two people the opportunity to have a fabulous relationship, grow as people and learn valuable lessons.”

Karmic? Magical? Mystic? Maybe soulmates are all of those. Or maybe that’s a lot of crap.

Still, even if your soulmate connection is romantic, it doesn’t necessarily mean s/he is a “forever in this lifetime” person.

Do You Have a Soulmate?

If soulmates actually exist, the likelihood that you have a soulmate is high. That’s because soulmates are part of reincarnation (one soul through many lifetimes). If a soul reincarnates, then it’s believable that you can cross paths with souls you knew from other lifetimes. When you do, your souls are likely to recognize each other. If you’re an “old soul” that means you’ve been around for many lifetimes and had many past life experiences; you could be meeting lots of other souls all the time. Some of those meetings can be like the proverbial ships passing in the night. However, others could have been very strong relationship in a past life and your soul remembers it. That’s how that fast and deep connection happens.

Marriage is real life – there is no happily-ever-after without conscious effort.

Remember that teacher you felt such a strong connection to in the fourth grade? Or a mentor who seemed to know you better than you knew yourself – and without whom your life wouldn’t be what it is? Or that family down the street who felt more like your family than the one you lived with? Those are happy soulmate connections.

Yet every soulmate connection isn’t always a good one. What about that relationship that was so toxic but you just couldn’t pull away from it? Or that coworker you didn’t like from the moment you met – and you could never explain why.

When destiny connects you with a soulmate, it’s an opportunity. In other lifetimes, some of those soul connections were too short and you get to finish them in this lifetime. Others were messy and you get to clean them up.

Soulmate connections are opportunities; they are not a guarantee.

Do Soulmates Make for a Better Marriage?

While the idea of being with and marrying your soulmate is deliciously compelling, the reality is a false equivalence. Soulmate marriage presumes the “happily ever after” that every romantic loves to dream about living.

However, marriage is real life and there is no auto-happily-ever-after. No matter how connected you and your sweetie are, the reality is that even soulmates have arguments, have bills to pay, disagree about how to raise the kids, get sick, lose their jobs, have accidents, and all the other things that are part of everyday life. Being soulmates when times are tough isn’t any easier than for couples who aren’t soulmates.

What makes the difference is how well you communicate with each other – soulmate or not. It matters if you treat each other fairly, divide the responsibilities equitably, make clear and conscious agreements, and renegotiate agreements when they aren’t working or when something has changed.

In the Five-Year Marriage, couples – soulmates or not – choose to design their marriage to fit who they are as a couple. They are partners who make agreements together and put their agreements in writing. They also agree to review and reevaluate how things are going and, every five years, re-contract and start over with new agreements.

So, if you’re waiting around to meet your soulmate so you can have an amazing marriage, you could be waiting a very long time – maybe a lifetime. You could be pining away for some fantasy that may not even make you happy in the long-term.

If you want to be happy in your marriage, your best bet is to (1) choose someone who is a good partner and (2) together, rethink the whole idea of traditional marriage, and shift your paradigm to the five-year plan.

If you want to learn more about how The Five-Year Marriage® can offer you the relationship advice you and your partner have been looking for, You can take the first step with this groundbreaking, game-changing book: click through to read more about The Five-Year Marriage® or contact me today.

Relationship Advice: When “I’m Sorry” DOESN’T Count

relationship advice, when I'm sorry isn't enough

“I’m sorry,” Ken told Patty when she found out that he forgot to pay the credit card bill. “Who cares if you’re sorry,” Patty spit back angrily. “Now we have to pay interest AND a late fee.” Feeling guilty, Ken repeated his apology and assured her, “it won’t happen again.” But it did happen again. And, again, Ken said “I’m sorry.”

Everyone can make a mistake and forget sometime from time to time. However, while forgetting one time is an accident, multiple times is a pattern of behavior.

Patterns Either Build or Destroy

A pattern of behavior is any behavior that is consistently repeated. Paying attention to them in a relationship is important. Noticing both good and bad behavior patterns matters to your relationship. In fact, it can even save it.

For example. if your partner kisses you before going to bed and says “I love you”, that’s a positive pattern, and you like it. The more of that kind of pattern that you build into your relationship. Noticing that pattern gives you an opening to compliment your partner (“I love that you remember to kiss me goodnight”), which creates good feelings. It also can encourage your partner to do more things like that.

Obviously, love patterns aren’t the ones that cause trouble. The ones that do are the patterns that chip away at he trust between you.

Talk is Cheap and Actions Speak Louder Than Words

When it comes to love and relationships, trust reigns supreme. It’s the cornerstone of emotional safety and true intimacy. Patterns that don’t build trust weaken any relationship.

When your partner knows you don’t follow through on what you say, that pattern of behavior invariably leads to trouble. It did for Patty and Ken.

Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. Ken’s lack of follow through and the resulting “I’m sorrys” did nothing but make Patty doubt his every word. Patty no longer trusted Ken to pay any bills on time. So Patty decided she’d do it – and add another thing to her list of house things. It started a little piece of resentment that grew with each month that Patty paid that bill.

Resentment is sticky

Resentment is a funny thing. It’s sticky – like fly paper. Once out there, other things stick to it; it grows.

Patty’s resentment started sticking to other things – like that time Ken was supposed to pick Patty up and was a half-hour late. “He has no respect for me or my time,” Patty groused as she stood waiting for Ken to show up. Of course, as soon as Ken got there, Patty let him have it.

Of course, Ken apologized, but so what? Patty heard plenty of Ken’s apologies and, based on Ken’s patterns of behavior, believed they were meaningless.

Patty and Ken were on the path to breaking up.

Can This Relationship Be Saved?

Was there anything Patty and Ken could do to bridge the gap that was growing wider all the time? Yes! Here’s a Five-Year Marriage Method called The Family Meeting. Ken and Patty make a date to meet to discuss the problem. They meet outside the house, at a local coffee shop (keeps things civil). At their meeting…

  1. Patty needs to own the resentment and be able to verbalize clearly and calmly to Ken in the Family Meeting (1) what caused it, and (2) how she feels about it. It takes some prep work. Without the prep, Patty will likely not express herself the best was and, as a result, lose her personal power, Ken will be defensive, and the communication will break down.
  2. Ken needs to be open to hear, understand, and own his unproductive pattern of behavior. That means no excuses, no defensiveness, just an open-hearted seeing of how an “I’m sorry” without changing his behavior is affecting Patty.
  3. Ken agrees that he can and is willing to change his behavior. That means he doesn’t automatically agree to anything. Instead, he thinks first (“can I do that” and “will I do that”) and agrees/disagrees second. Then, if he agrees, he writes his agreement down where he will see it.In the case of the bill-paying, Ken agrees and then circles the due date on his calendar (if he sees it, he’ll do it). Then he either writes a check, pays online or by phone, or sets up an auto-deducted monthly payment.
  4. For Patty’s part, she has to be open to giving Ken a break – and the opportunity to “redeem himself” and earn back her trust. That means no sideswiping or off-handed digs. What happens in Family Meeting stays in Family Meeting.

If Ken and Patty can’t work it out alone, it’s worth seeing a marriage therapist or someone who can help Ken figure out what’s going on with him.

In The Five-Year Marriage, couples meet regularly in Family Meetings to work on problems like shared responsibilities. They aren’t making off-handed agreements on the spur of the moment. Instead, they discuss and make agreements to each other consciously, write them down, and follow-up at the next Family Meeting.

If you want to learn more about how The Five-Year Marriage can offer you the advice you and your partner have been looking for, click through to read more about The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm

 

Is There Room in Your Relationship?

Manger of Annmarie Kelly - Womens Empowerment Coach

This year I decorated my house for Christmas. Not that I don’t do it every year, but when I started going away for Christmas a few years ago, I switched to “decoration-light.”

Not this year. I needed more help getting that “festive” feeling, so I went full throttle. Taking out old ornaments and trinkets brought back memories of Christmases past…and happy feelings started coming back.

While Joseph trimmed the tree, I went through the “Christmas boxes” and, as I unwrapped this little thing or that one, I thinned out the stash. I let go of anything that didn’t have a personal or emotional significance, or that I once felt “obligated” to keep. You know the kind I’m talking about, right? Well this year I decided I’m old enough to toss whatever reminded me of anything or anybody that didn’t bring back a happy memory. It was good – I felt lighter!

Among the “keeps” are my two mangers. One was my parents’manger from their first Christmas. It was displayed under the tree throughout my childhood. Most of the porcelain figures broke long ago, but the Baby Jesus, a few animals, and the manger itself are still there.

The other nativity set is my first one. It’s Avon, bought from a friend who was selling Avon (of course) when I lived in my first apartment. It doesn’t have as much character as the older one, but still has its original parts.

Both nativities are displayed on the living room window seat. They’re easy to notice…which is how, one night last week, I got to thinking about Christmas in New York…

Christmas in Manhattan

It was 2018 when Joseph and I took the train to Manhattan on Christmas Eve morning. We stayed at a funky little place across the street from Grand Central Station. After checking in, we took a paid tour of the iconic landmark with a guide who gave us all the juicy history, from the station’s beginnings to Jackie Kennedy’s efforts to keep it from being demolished and even shared The Campbell, a “secret” lounge popular during the 20’s – the last one 🙂

The weather was very mild for late December, even at night. So we walked everywhere – east side, west side, and all around the town – including to the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Christmas Mass.

Not surprisingly, the church was packed, but thanks to Joseph’s initiative, we got a great seat – end of the pew on the main aisle.

We were right there listening to the beautiful choir sing O Come All Ye Faithful as the altar boys and priests processed to the altar followed by the well-known Cardinal Dolan. It was neat to see and hear, and the majesty of the moment wasn’t lost on me.

The Mass itself was standard for the holiday…until the homily. It was a short and simple talk. Yet, for me, it turned out to be the most meaningful sermon I ever heard.

Dolan started the homily with a cute story about his nephew, but quickly wound his way to retelling how Joseph and his very pregnant spouse, Mary, were told there was “no room at the inn.” So, turned away from everywhere, the couple ended up in a stable, where Mary gave birth to Jesus. You know the story…me too.

Frankly, it was standard Christmas fare – until the Cardinal asked, “What about you?” He asked if we ever thought about making room in our hearts for Jesus, or had we been so wrapped up in the busyness of “doing Christmas” that we too were saying “no room.”

In all my years of hearing or reading that nativity story, I’d never thought about it that way. I never internalized it enough to ask myself “am I making room in my heart — or am I saying ‘no room here’ too?” It brought tears to my eyes then…and now.

For those of us who celebrate the meaning of the season, it’s a good question to ask ourselves, right?

Is There Room for Your Relationship?

However, the reason I want to share that story with you is this: You and I are at the end of a year filled with loss — so many kinds, and at all levels. It challenged us in ways we never expected. Many couples – even the most positive of couples and with the strongest marriages –  discovered holes in the fabric of their relationships. And,  for as much as you’ve been through this year, if you’re like me, your heart is struggling between being sad, angry, frustrated, and stuck in some lockdown-induced rut.

Yet there’s the promise of a return to normal sometime soon. It can’t be soon enough, right? What’s next?

Try this…
While we’re waiting for the promised “herd immunity” you have some time to ask yourself, or think about – and maybe even meditate on – this question: “What can I do right now to open my heart so that, in the new year, I won’t be saying ‘no room’ but to be more open to love?” Figuring out that answer will change everything…

If both of you do it, then this will be a good time for you and your sweetie to talk together. Whatever difficulties your relationship went through, with open hearts, you can find the room to be more open to rethinking and resetting your relationship.

I wish you a fabulous Christmas and a wonderful holiday!

With love and in victory,
Annmarie

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

holidays put stress on most marriagesThe Holidays Add Stress to Most Relationships

Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s…It’s supposed to be the happiest, most wonderful time of the year. For some it is. Not everyone. For many, it’s a time filled with stress, and often leads to arguments between couples. Sometimes it results in bad things – from hurt feelings and silence to flying off the handle blowups and domestic violence.

“Divorce Month” follows the Holiday Stress

It wouldn’t surprise a lot of married people that January is (unofficially) called “divorce month.” After months of lockdowns, January 2021 could be a record-breaker!

With so many people out of work, working from home, and home schooling, this holiday season may be the most challenging for couples ever. It’s hard to be happy when you feel confined. It gets harder when you can’t visit your family, or can’t buy gifts because you aren’t even paying your bills on time, and you’re stuck in the house for what seems like forever.

Will this season go down as the worst in your life? Maybe. Unless…

If there’s one thing Covid confinement has given so many of us,  it’s a focus on what matters most in life. Many – maybe you – are surprised by how much family matters. Not that you didn’t know it before, but Covid brought those feelings home for so many of us – and in a whole new way. Yet, at the same time, in most households, tensions have been running high.

During this unique holiday season, if you’re home alone with your family and missing the usual parties and family gatherings, here are a few things you can do to make your holidays bright.

Have a Plan to Deal with Holiday Stress.

Do you want to be Santa or the Grinch. If it’s Grinch, no more work necessary. But if it’s Santa, then sit down with your sweetie and decide how you’re going to do the next two weeks. It’s going to take some mental and emotional effort, but the plan will be your guide.

While making a plan is mostly for you two, if you have kids, bring them into it and ask for their cooperation.

What to Include in Your Stress Management Plan:

  • Be nice. Covid confinement doesn’t feel good, and everyone knows it. It’s sucked the politeness and kindness out of many of us. And, of course, our loved ones are likely to be the most affected. We’re more likely to make an  effort with “outside” people, but let our guard down for those closest to us. That’s a recipe for disaster. So agree to make an extra effort to be nice. Start with saying please, thank-you, and excuse me.  And keep track. Make a point to notice at least five things each day and thank your sweetie. Just that tiny courtesy can soften stress and create a positive shift in energy – both in you and with them.
  • Make space for crabby. It’s hard to feel love, kindness, and tenderness when you are hurting – and you feel like nobody is listening or cares. You feel “crabby” and show it. So give your crabbiness an outlet in a short but acceptable way; it’s simpler to do than you might suspect. At the end of each day, you and your sweetie can take ten minutes (five minutes each) to express your anger, sadness, fear, or pain. No feedback necessary because this is for venting. Include your kids if you want. Note: this isn’t a “pointing fingers” time but judgment-free zone for expressing how you feel.
  • Say “I love you and I care about you” to each other daily. When was the last time you said it – honestly and deeply? When was it that you focused on each other, looked into each other’s eyes, and said the words with feeling? It’s really hard to be mean to each other when you know the person you’re being mean to really loves you…and vice versa.

What happens next: Assess if your Plan Worked

After the New Year rolls in, decide how the plan worked for you. Did it revive forgotten good feelings? Did it rekindle your love? If it worked well, you can make your plan part of a New Year’s resolutions.

Or, maybe working your plan helped you both recognize that you need some outside help. That might mean you need a simple tune-up or a reset. Or it could let you know you have a problem that needs third-party help. Marriage therapists have seen a huge uptick in business – and most are willing to do online visits. It could be a relationship-saver!

The Holiday Season of 2020 will be one for the books for sure – for lot of reasons. For you, let this Covid Christmas be one to remember…for the good, not the sad.

You can Fix a Relationship that is Off-Track!

Many couples find that their relationship got off-track over the past few years. Covid confinement brought  that realization to the forefront. You still love  each other, but with kids, carers, the house…and everything…you got off track. What you need is a reset…and I have it for you.  Learn more: Relationship Reset

Exciting News! 30 Day Relationship Reset has Launched!

Happy Thursday Everyone!

I trust you’re well and surviving this crazy social distancing summer. I’m surviving and have been busy. Now I’m SUPER excited to announce my newest program. But first, let me explain…

Back in March we all got hit with Covid confinement. A few weeks into the lockdown, calls with both my clients and girlfriends started having a similar sound – everyone was suddenly with their loved ones 24/7 – only not everyone was feeling so loving. The pandemic news was stressful enough on its own, but for many couples – and I mostly talked to the women – lockdwon brought to light many dysfunctional issues in their relationships.

At the same time, I started sensing that long-time married couples, ane even some newlyweds, were intimidated by the marriage model presented in my ground-breaking and game-changer book, The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm. The women I’ve talked to LOVE the idea of renegotiating their agreements and getting a fresh start. However, like many life-changing ideas, it was also daunting. I’d hear them say things like, “This makes so much sense, I wish I’d had this forty years ago. Now I think it’s too late for us.”

Only, IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

I know from experience that within The Five-Year Marriage® concept there are extremely effective and valuable tools that ANY relationship can benefit from and use – ones I’ve been using for over 30 years through my 7 marriages with Joseph. And I know they work!

So, during lockdown, I decided to boil down the best parts of The Five-Year Marriage® – the ones that make the most sense for established couples. Then I arranged them into a manageable and highly effective format that couples can use to help get their relationships back on the right track, right now.

And so, The 30-Day Relationship Reset was born! 

This online program is a once-a-week “class” that walks you through the process of resetting your relationship to reflect what’s going on in your marriage/relationship now. And it’s LIVE online now! You can check it out by clicking here.

It’s a once-a-week program, delivered to your inbox. Each week includes:

  • A video explanation of the week’s plan – what to do and why it’s important for you. Most of the videos are relatively short – about 15 minutes.
  • Downloadable worksheets to guide your thought process – there are even a couple scripts to guide you and your sweetie through specific conversations, including the Family Meeting
  • Step-by-step instructions for using the worksheets
  • Additional tips & resources for understanding a bigger picture related to that week’s topic
AND, because everyone can use a little support and affirmation along the way, I also include:
  • A private Facebook group just for class members
  • Bi-monthly Q&A calls to provide detailed answers and research to help you problem-solve what’s happening on your unique journey. You’ll have access to these calls for 3 months – 6 calls ( just in case your reset takes longer than 30 days!)
  • Audio recordings of the Q&A calls

If you want to get your relationship back on track…
If you want to feel like you and your partner have each other’s back…
If you want to re-ignite the fun and intimate connection you once enjoyed with your partner…
THEN THIS CLASS IS FOR YOU! 

And as a thank you for being a loyal Five-Year Marriage follower, I’m offering you a special discount! $50 off the regular class price! Just use code “love4all” during checkout. Register here.

AND THAT’S NOT ALL!

You’ll also get a FREE Kindle copy of my book, The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm!

No matter how long you’ve been married, or living together, or simply dating, your relationship will benefit from this class!

I know it – in fact, I guarantee it! If, two weeks after I send your first 30-day Relationship Reset module, you aren’t satisfied with the program, I’ll give you your money back.

I’m Annmarie Kelly, award-winning author and speaker. I’m also the architect of the Five-Year Marriage® and the Godmother of Modern Marriage. I know how these past months have challenged you – body, mind, and soul. Me too! They’ve challenged all of us! That’s why I’m so incredibly excited to share this program with you, to help you and your sweetie refresh and reset – maybe even reverse course – so you can get back on track…together.

It’s not too late. You really can do this!

I’m looking forward to connecting with you during your remarkable 30-day Relationship Reset!

CLICK HERE TO
RESERVE YOUR SPOT!

My Five Year Marriage featured on Medium.com

I’m excited to have my marriage story & The Five Year Marriage featured in this great article on medium.com! It was a fun interview with Vicki Larson back in February – pre-covid. Vicki is on the same page about marriage – can’t wait to turn the tables and interview her on my new podcast…coming soon!

Read it here: https://medium.com/@OMGchronicles/why-all-women-need-renewable-marriage-contracts-1ce134c89890

Your Marriage in Covid-19

Yesterday morning, when Joseph and I tripped over each other at the sink after breakfast, he noticed how I tensed up. He laughed and said, “I bet you’ll be glad when I’m back to leaving the house at 4:30.” He’s right. I have my own wake-up routine in the morning. He does too – he usually gets to work two hours before his first client so he can ease his way into the day.

Uncertainty can Cause Tension in Relationships

Neither of us is doing our own thing right now. We know it’s temporary….but how long is temporary? You’re probably wondering that too.

Covid Stress can Impact Your Relationship

During these days of covid-19 confinement, everyone’s patience is wearing thin. “I just can’t look at him another day” and “she’s driving me crazy” are just two comments I’ve heard from friends lately. Lost wages, lack of freedom and constant contact with spouses and children is making you and I stressed, depressed, and aggravated.

Take a deep breath. We’ll get through this!!!

In the meantime, and while you’re breathing deeply, remember to make your relationship with your sweetie a priority. Not sure what that means? Webster’s say that means “something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives.”

Don’t Take Your Relationship For Granted

Yes, the kids, the bills, food, and the mortgage are also priorities. But for some reason – and maybe because those important things are constantly knocking on the door – we take our most important relationship for granted.  Reports are that depression and loneliness are on the rise. Sadly, so is domestic abuse.

However, this bad time is going to be over. Soon enough you’ll be able to run to the food store anytime. You’ll catch up on the mortgage and get the bills paid eventually. The kids will go back to school someday. You’ll socialize and travel freely again. Those habitual things have a way of falling back into place.

Make Marriage a Priority

It’s not so easy with marriage. There’s no real “falling back into place” mechanism for relationships. If you want your marriage to survive and thrive, you MUST make it a priority. It has to come before the kids, the bills, and everything else. Marriage is like those gardens many people are planting in the backyard: it won’t grow unless you water and feed it. If you don’t, just as the garden will do if it doesn’t get attention, all that will be left will be weeds.

This period of confinement may have put a spotlight on some problem you have – maybe one you didn’t even know was a problem. Now you do. Don’t ignore it. But now isn’t the time for focusing on it. Instead, make a plan to talk about the problem issue when things are more normal.

Tips for Resetting your Relationship

In the meantime, take some mitigating actions. I listed a few ways to do that here: Relationship Reset Each suggestion is one small way to make your marriage your marriage #1 in your life. Start today.

Stay well!

Need help getting your marriage back in first place?

This book will show you how to make it happen – available in paperback and Kindle: The Five-Year Marriage ®

#FiveYearMarriage #MarriageTips #LoveAndMarriage #PartnershipMarriage #ModernMarriage #MarriagAdvice

Quarantine Quarrels

Unhappy couple arguing on the couch at home in the living room

Your new lifestyle, courtesy of the coronavirus, is giving you some interesting challenges, isn’t it? You’re working from home, homeschooling  your kids, and getting meals on the table – all while trying to stay healthy.

Then, just the other day, you realized something. All those little quirks your sweetie has – the ones you usually brush off – are starting to wear on your nerves. Today you read that there’s been a spike in Chinese divorces since the coronavirus and you thought, “No surprise! It’s only been a couple weeks and s/he is a making me crazy.” At the same time you’re wondering…are these quarantine quarrels a sign of something serious?

Maybe – maybe not. Here’s one way to figure it out:

First, relax. Take a deep breath. Remember that you’re both used to your space and now you don’t have it. It’s stressing you out. It may seem like forever, but it really is temporary.

Next, take a minute to stop and regroup. Fighting is a normal part of a relationship. You are bound to get on each other’s nerves from time to time. Right now you both need some time to be apart. Plan it – go out for a jog, find a quiet place in the house to be alone, call an old friend. If you have kids, each of you take some time alone with them so your partner can have some me-time.

Then stop and think. In The Five-Year Marriage®, I tell people to focus on patterns of behavior. When you’re bickering, are you arguing about a temporary annoyance or a pattern? Is your sweetie watching repeats of old SuperBowl games or binge watching Downton Abbey and it’s annoying the hell out of you? If those aren’t regular patterns, it’s likely to be more about immediate stress relief. For those, as the old nuns used to say, “kiss it up to God.”

On the other hand, if your partner is online and running up the credit cards…as usual…that’s a pattern of behavior. It concerned you before, but now you’re both out of work, money is an issue and it doesn’t seem to matter. Or maybe it’s not about money or something so concrete. What if s/he has a pattern of constant complaining or seeing the downside of everything. That negatively affects you and it matters for your health and well-being.

If quarantine quarrels are highlighting serious issues – around money, alcohol, online gaming, criticism, etc. – that’s a problem. Maybe in your busy lifestyle you didn’t even notice it. or it wasn’t an issue. However, now that you do and it’s a concern, DO something. It’s not going to magically disappear when the coronavirus quarantine is over.

You can start by mentioning it as a concern that you want to talk about later. Trying to fix it when you’re stressed enough and cooped up in the house together probably isn’t a good idea; it will only add to your stress. Still, you can share your feelings and  get an agreement to talk about it at the end of the confinement. You might even get an agreement to get outside help with a marriage therapist. If you do, make the appointment now – once the quarantine is over, therapists are likely to be very busy!

Finally, understand that the coronavirus quarantine isn’t the end of all things, but it’s a definite shift. Pay attention now and prepare so when life returns to what will be the “new normal” you can be better off and ready for the good stuff.

Want some self-help? Download the Kindle copy of the Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm  today. It’s chock full of ideas and things to think about and talk about to help you bridge the gap between now and your happier future!

#Coronavirus #Quarantine #FiveYearMarriage #MarriageTips #LoveAndMarriage #PartnershipMarriage #ModernMarriage #MarriagAdvice #WomensEmpowerment #MarriageContract #CoupleAdvice #MarriedLife

 

 

The Washcloth and The Wall

Unhappy couples can fix their relationship
Can We Fix This?

Have you “hit the wall” in your marriage yet? It happens to just about every married couple at some point. Based on my conversations with women, I’d say it’s most common someplace between 8-15 years. For me it was in my second marriage.

When Joseph and I were in our first month of counselling, there was a lot of anger, tension, and hurt. We had 2½ years left in that marriage and I didn’t know if we could fix the problem. We tried and tried, but didn’t. I was clear about not wanting to have another marriage unless we did. Counseling seemed like the last chance.

But it was hard…really hard. We both had to look at stuff about ourselves we didn’t want to see.

In those days, much as it is still today, Joseph left for work early. He was up and out the door before I was awake. So we didn’t talk and, in those days, that was probably good for us.

One morning, after a particularly difficult counseling session the night before, I got up to get ready for work. One of my “things” is having a fresh washcloth each morning. The cloths were stored in the linen closet in the hallway.

That morning, before going to the linen closet, I went to the bathroom first. There I found a fresh washcloth waiting for me. I was surprised. Joseph never did that before – he just always got his own and I got mine. But that day was different. Though I noticed, I shrugged it off as a quirk.

The next day it was the same thing…and the next day…and the next. Every morning when I saw that fresh washcloth, I knew Joseph thought about me that morning, in a nice way. I realized it was Joseph’s way of telling me that he still loved me and wanted to work things out. I started to see the washcloth as a sign that we might be able to find a way together. In the midst of a very difficult time in our relationship, when our verbal communication was minimal, that fresh washcloth was a lifeline.

Every Five-Year Marriage® will hit a wall. It’s important to recognize what agreements you have that created the challenge. It’s equally important notice the signs that keep you going.

Curious about what a Five-Year Marriage® is? Start with this website and then read the book, available in hard copy and digital: The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm

#FiveYearMarriage, #MarriageTips. #LoveAndMarriage, #PartnershipMarriage, #ModernMarriage #WomensEmpowerment, #MarriageContract, #RelationshipAdvice, #AnnmarieKelly, #ContractMarriage,

What If He Isn’t Interested?

Get your man interested in a relationship reset“We celebrated our fifth anniversary,” Jill told me. ”It’s a good time to look back. So I told my husband about the Five-Year Marriage®. He gave me a weird look. Then, in an irritated voice I didn’t recognize, he said, ‘Are you crazy?’ And, with that, Jill dropped the subject.

However, what she told me later was, “He thought I was talking about getting a divorce, but I wasn’t. I just wanted to talk about our relationship.”

Of course, Jill wasn’t talking about getting a divorce. She wasn’t even thinking about it. She wanted, after five years, to evaluate their relationship. Her goal was to open a new door for problem-solving before any little problems got bigger. She also wanted to talk about the changes her growing business was making for both of them. Finally, she wanted to affirm that they share mostly good experiences, and figure out how to get more of them. Instead, once that conversation shut down, they talked about the food, their families, work…and stayed on the surface of their relationship.

Jill’s experience is common. It happens more than most women (and some men) want to admit. Then, when the marriage hit a breaking point for her, and she wants out, he’s flummoxed. The complaint goes something like this: “All of a sudden, she tells me she wants a divorce. Where did that come from?” And, when I hear that, I always wonder, “How many years did she try to tell you there was a problem and you didn’t want to hear her?”

Starting the Five-Year Marriage® Conversation

Talking about and creating your own Five-Year Marriage® isn’t something that happens in a single conversation. Instead, it’s a process.

Think of it like planting flowers in the spring. Very often the ground is hard and compact. It doesn’t absorb water. As a result, you can’t plant anything. You can’t even get a shovel into the dirt. If you want to plant something, first you have to “condition” the ground with water. Then, when it’s aerated, you can start planting.

The mind is much the same. New ideas – like The Five-Year Marriage® – are like that too. You can’t plant in the dry, compacted soil of old ideas – like traditional marriage. The mind isn’t ready and the idea is immediately rejected.

So, even though you want to talk about The Five-Year Marriage® , if your partner isn’t ready, you won’t get anywhere. So you need to think about how to best “prepare the soil.” Every time you do , you’re gently aerating the hard soil of a mind not used to the idea.

Here are some ways to help you:

  • Give it the light touch. You don’t have to be “militant” about the idea. Make it an part of an “I’m curious” conversation.
  • Read The Five-Year Marriage® articles found on the Five-Year Marriage® website. When you find one that you think your partner can connect to, bring it into your conversation. Say, “Get this! I was reading an article about this couple…” Explain why the article interested you and end with, “that’s something different…what do you think about it?” Whatever those thoughts are, see them as the beginning of a longer conversation, either now or in the future.
  • Leave the book around where it’s visible – like the nightstand or coffee table. That is likely to generate questions, like “are you thinking about a divorce?” Good – any interest is better than none. Interest is the equivalent of a rain shower on dry dirt. It’s a conversation starter.
  • Send out some feelers. If you see an article or interview about The Five-Year Marriage® , share it. Ask questions like, “that makes me curious…how about you?”
  • Point to somebody else. Find a couple in your circle – or a celebrity couple – who are having problems, or got divorced. Express your concern about how easily that can happen to any couple. Ask “what do you think was a problem for them?” Then ask, “how do you think a Five-Year Marriage® would have helped them?” or “how do you think a Five-Year Marriage® could have made a difference?

Traditional marriage, with its out-of-date construct, is ingrained in our brains. Most people like the idea of marriage, but even when they’re married for a long time, couples wish there was a better way. The Five-Year Marriage® is it. When you give your Five-Year Marriage® the light touch, and use examples that make sense to your partner, s/he will be more receptive. And you will both be happier for it!

If you’ve been reading my articles and are want to know more, sign up here for The Five-Year Marriage® newsletter. You’ll get a few emails right up front. They’ll tell you more about The Five-Year Marriage® . After that you’ll get an email when there is a new article, a free teleseminar, a upcoming workshop and discount offers. Get it here: The Five-Year Marriage® Newsletter