Archive for September, 2013



effective communication1Faithfulness is an important value in a marriage. After all, you pledged your vows of faithfulness and commitment ‘until death do us part’ on your wedding day, hoping to guarantee the faithfulness and commitment that allows you to confidently rely on the steadfastedness of the relationship. But we know all too well, that almost 50% of all marriages fall apart and end in divorce. There is also a high percentage of infidelity that occurs in relationships as well, some ending in divorce, others building from ground up to restore broken trust and revive the marriage with renewed vows of faithfulness.

Defining Faithfulness

Before we go any further, let’s take a few moments to think of some of the following words that have to do with the concept of faithfulness:

  • Trust
  • Confidence
  • Assuredness
  • Conviction
  • Fidelity
  • Truth
  • Certainty
  • Permanence
  • Rest
  • Commitment

Now I invite you to think about whether these are the words that come to mind when you think about faithfulness. Is this what faithfulness means to you?

I believe that true commitment and faithfulness means to be trusted in all areas, not just the sexual department concerning matters of fidelity. Being faithful means that you are trusted with the matters of each other’s hearts. Being faithful means that you can be depended upon to follow through with your promises. It means that your partner should have a confident expectation (or faith in you) that you will follow through and deliver on not only your promises but your wedding vows as well. This kind of confidence helps to eliminate fear or worry in a relationship.

If there is too little trust, little sense of safety, and little certainty about your relationship, this is a huge cause for concern and something to invest immediate attention to, for the sake of your relationships health. Intimacy comes from knowing the other person at a deep level. When this is not happening, there is always room for doubt and suspicion of where you stand with the other person, as well as questions being raised about how honest and open the other person is being. Openly and honestly sharing our thoughts, dreams, values, plans, decisions, and most importantly matters of the heart is an essential foundation for building that sense of security within a relationship.

Guardedness

Sometimes we put up masks or guards in a relationship about our areas of weakness for fear of being judged or rejected. But the more you share inside the relationship, taking risks of vulnerability, the safer your relationship becomes. If one member of the relationship cannot share his/her fears of abandonment, fear of closeness, or rejection, or fears of being controlled, or being seen as ‘all bad’ causing feelings of failure, and believing they are not loveable as they are, or have fears of sharing their own desires, needs or feelings in a relationship, this can become a major problem. Those sorts of things will seep out elsewhere if they are unable to be revealed within your committed relationship. This opens the door for infidelity, whether emotional or physical, where secrets now drive a wedge between you and the love of your life that you pledged your vow of faithfulness to. If you now share these secrets with a person outside the relationship, you may be at risk for some type of affair, and a ‘cooling’ of the committed relationship you are in. I encourage you, if you are afraid to share your deepest fears and needs with your spouse and you want to have a committed long term marriage with this person, face your fears. Bring your needs, desires, weaknesses and fears to your spouse and not to someone else, even if it feels risky. This is a great way to guard your marriage from outside intruders that may come in between the two of you and breakdown your marriage.

I also encourage anyone considering marriage, to take a look at the words above that outline what faithfulness is really about. If you do not believe you can do that, or do not have the same value of faithfulness, DO NOT COMMIT to marriage until you hold faithfulness in such a high regard. It is the only sure guarantee that you will have a successful marriage, if you REALLY do value commitment and faithfulness.

When the going gets tough, not when a relationship is in it’s infancy with all the feelings of infatuation… this is the time when your real values begin to show up. The test of time and hardship will help you determine the ‘stuff’ not only that you are made of, or that of your spouse, but it will also reveal how strong your relationship is. It will show you both what your ‘staying’ power is and willingness to stick with the process of being truly known and fully knowing, accepting and appreciating your spouse. This stage unfortunately is usually where the relationship begins to fall apart. But it is also an important crossroads for the relationship as you both begin to see your own moral failures, as well as your true values, and can be the beginning of the most confident, secure and wonderful committed relationship as you realize as a couple that you have made it through the most trying times and have come out stronger because of it.

Loyalty and Commitment

Here are some ways to increase a sense of loyalty and commitment, thereby ensuring faithfulness to each other:

  • Speak highly of your spouse in front of others. He will feel respected, she will feel loved.
  • Be involved in the things that are important to your spouse.
  • Help make decisions together, as a team, especially ones concerning finances (for him) and regarding the kids (for her) as well as other decisions that need to be made together for each person to feel considered, valued, and part of a team working together toward your family goals, values and dreams.
  • Don’t correct of be overly critical of each other in public, in front of the kids. Resolve these issues privately, and try to do so with as much love and respect as possible.
  • Don’t say anything that will tarnish your spouse’s reputation.
  • Don’t look lustfully at others outside of your marriage.
  • Make each other and your marriage a priority.
  • Defend each other.
  • Keep your commitments.
  • Speak positively of each other.
  • Work through your own issues of fear that affect your commitment and faithfulness.
  • Strive to be more faithful, loyal and committed.

Remember also that love ALWAYS protects, always hopes and always perseveres.

Stay tuned for value #5 on how to ensure that you are protecting your marriage from intruders. I will give some more key information on how to have the appropriate boundaries in your marriage to help keep your relationship safe from infidelity or other things that come into a relationship and eventually can break down the marriage bond.

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Looking to improve your relationship?

Check out my online Relationship Coaching Program and get started today!

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach

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lies truth

Trust is a BIG DEAL in relationships!

It is important to be open and honest with each other. It is important to understand how to identify and find safe people in which to connect with and build an open, and caring relationship built on trust. Keep in mind, trust takes time to develop. Trust must not be immediately assumed, or given. Trust must be earned. Trust must be built first by being able to observe another person from a safe emotional distance to look for characteristics of integrity. It must involve being able to trust first with small things, and as evidence occurs that your confidence in the other person is safe, you can begin trusting with greater things as the relationship progresses. Openness and an ability to share more and more intimate details as a relationship deepens must equally be observed, and both parties willing to take small risks until the certainty of trustworthiness is observed.

TrustHonestyRespectA sense of security is one of a woman’s most basic needs in relationship.

Trust, openness, honesty and transparency are absolutely essential for a woman in order to produce the level of emotional intimacy that will meet the needs of her soul. Nothing should be hidden within a marriage relationship, even the secrets of insecurity should be able to be entrusted to each other in order to foster a deep abiding bond of satisfying connection. Your spouse should know you better than anyone else. The reality, based on a survey done in the USA, Men tend to be the big secret keepers in relationships. Whereas a woman tends to want to share everything in a relationship, based on her deep need for security, men tend to keep secrets about everything from finances, feelings, his male relationships, spirituality, sexuality, and his relationships with women. All of which, if kept hidden and become found out by the woman he is with, will begin to tear apart at the seams the level of trust she has in the relationship, which then causes her to question the level of her safety in the relationship. On the other hand, honesty meets such an emotional need for a woman that women tend to fall deeper in love with a person who’s radically honest with them. Golden rule: Honesty is the best policy for everyone involved.

broken trust

Effects of Broken Trust

Trust is not only a big deal for women, it affects both spouses equally when something goes wrong, or when there has been a trust breach in your current or even past relationships. Yes, the baggage from the past often skews our perspective on present relationships. When you think about broken trust, often the first thing that comes to mind is infidelity in a relationship. But the reality is that there are many types of major betrayals that can affect a relationship. A major betrayal by definition is “When someone does something that breaks a fundamental promise or violates a fundamental expectation and does so in a way that significantly hurts your peace of mind. Everything from hitting your spouse, going behind someone’s back, loaning big chunks of your savings to a relative who is irresponsible, excessive spending to the detriment of your financial security, an alcohol addiction, etc. all can be major issues of a breach of trust in a relationship. If something is a big deal to you, if it changes the way you see the other person, if it makes you feel unsafe, if the quality of your life suddenly goes downhill, then it’s a major betrayal and breach of trust. So what is trust? Trust is a feeling based on a fact. Most of the time it’s not even a feeling we are aware of except when we’ve been hurt. Then the very sense of safety we used to take for granted is now something we deeply need to restore equilibrium.

Qualities of a Trustworthy Person

What ARE the qualities of someone who is trustworthy and safe then? Look for the following qualities, as well as look to become the following things to the people in your life that you wish to develop a deeper level of trust with:

  • People who act differently than those who have hurt you before.
  • People with the ability to accept your imperfections and love you anyway.
  • People who are no stranger to pain, yet are recovering.
  • People who are aware of their own deficits.
  • People who speak the truth to you lovingly.
  • People who draw us closer to God
  • People who draw us closer to others.
  • People who help you become the person you were created to be, and celebrate with you.
  • People who accept you just as you are.
  • People whose influence develops your ability to love and be more responsible.
  • Someone who gives you an opportunity to grow.
  • Someone who increases love within you.
  • Someone you can be yourself around.
  • Someone who always allows you to be on the outside what you are on the inside – valuing authenticity.
  • Someone who helps you become the person you want to be and were created to be.
  • Someone who helps you to love others more.

Finding our way to Total Honesty

I believe in total honesty in your most intimate relationship with your spouse. I believe how much you reveal to others depends on the depth of the connection. Obviously we do not need to reveal all things to everyone, and though this topic is geared mostly to intimate relationships, I believe that the more authentic, upfront, and honest we are in our most intimate relationships, the more forthcoming we will become in other areas of our lives, in regard to living with integrity.

The following are some areas most couples find difficult to be honest about:

  • Feelings
  • Disappointments
  • Desires, likes and dislikes,
  • Hurts
  • Anger and hatred,
  • Sex
  • Failures
  • Sins
  • Needs and vulnerabilities

Being honest, however, must go along with other important values to hold in a relationship because honesty without love and commitment can destroy a relationship. Honesty without compassion and forgiveness can do the same.

Intimacy comes from knowing the other person at a deep level. If there are barriers to honesty, this kind of knowing is taken over by false fronts, masks that we put on, little white lies, secrecy, and hardening of the heart happens over time until there is a rift between a couple and isolation occurs.

trustworthy qualitiesI can’t stress enough the importance of being able to share with each other your deepest feelings, needs, hurts, desires, failures, successes, whatever is in your soul. If you and your spouse can feel safe enough to be totally vulnerable, you are on your way to an incredible marriage.

The Effects of Deception

Sometimes though, deception can take over for ‘defensive’ reasons. In other words, dishonesty occurs not for evil reasons, but to protect oneself. This does not excuse lying, but it does complicate matters when you want to be totally honest in a relationship but experience some of the following common fears:

  • Fear of real closeness and being known
  • Fear of abandonment and loss of love if they are known
  • Fear of being controlled and possessed if they are known
  • Fear of being seen as ‘bad’ or not good enough if some part of them is known.
  • Fear of their own desires, needs and feelings.

affectionate coupleTherefore it is always important to not only value honesty, but make it a practice in your relationship, as well as ‘doing unto others as you would have them do to you’ by cultivating honesty in your life and making it not only a relational value, but a personal value as well, as one who regards honesty as an incredibly high characteristic of integrity. The truth is, if you model it, you might just reap what you sow in return. But in this pursuit of being an honest person yourself, make it a goal to value wisdom as well, so that you will seek out safe, supportive relationships able to discern that the relationship you choose to engage in, also values honesty in his/her life.

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Looking to improve your relationship?

Check out my online Relationship Coaching Program and get started today!

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach


couple huggingAt first glance, looking at the concept of unconditional love, the task itself seems forever daunting, if not completely impossible! How can we love our spouse so completely and unconditionally? No wonder so many of us give up on the thought of happily ever after and “until death do us part”. Love is complicated enough when we are NOT expected to love so perfectly. But perhaps unconditional love is not as daunting as we first suppose.

Perhaps it is our expectations of what marriage is and should be that we take a look at first. If we enter a relationship with the expectation that the other person is supposed to take the role in our lives of ‘completing’ us, or bringing us fulfillment, and the ideal perfect idea of happily ever after involving no conflicts and agreeing on everything (let’s be honest, when we say that, we really mean that the other person agrees with you) and couple all of that with the expectation that the other person is not a ‘broken’ person dealing with their own issues, and growing from them, what we really have is a search for a fairy tale, and not reality. It is also a picture of self-centered or self-focused love. We are looking for someone else to love us unconditionally, with no understanding of what unconditional love is really about. What I have just described is not only a recipe for disaster, but it is not what a ‘real’ relationship ought to consist of.

First let’s take a look at what unconditional love really is. The definition goes something like this: The one who loves does not do necessarily what the one being loved wants, but what is deemed best by the one who loves. It also has to do with the concept of preferring one another… not merely looking out for your own interests and needs but also to those of the other. This means that we are looking out for each other, to find and cherish the best in each other, and encourage growth in each others weak areas, so that they might become stronger and well balanced in all areas of life, rather than a marriage of convenience seeking what someone else can complete in you. It requires being other focused. It requires greater emphasis on building together something that will not only last, but grow and flourish and bring the best of the both of you through friendship and team work.

This concept of love does not fit so well with your typical Hollywood romantic movie. A perfect example comes to mind is the upcoming movie, “About Time” with Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson, about  a guy who finds out from his dad that the men in his family have always been able to travel through time. The character Tim in the movie (played by Domhnall Gleeson) can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life. As the movie trailer indicates, Tim goes back to the same moments in time several times to edit what he presents of himself to the girl whom he is falling in love with, so as to present a more ‘polished’ or ideal presentation of himself. Click below to watch the trailer for this movie:

Sadly, this is not what real life or real love is about. It is most often the opposite. The person with whom you are the most intimate gets to observe you in ways that outsiders do not see. The day to day habits, character issues, un-edited versions of each other. I will admit, in the early stages of a relationship, yes it is true that people most often show the best parts of themselves at first, but eventually the flaws show. Eventually disillusionment enters the relationship, especially when you are seeking the ideal mate.

couple arguing in bed

While it is quite disappointing when people first see the flaws in their spouse, it is a perfect opportunity for something real to develop and the perfect place for unconditional love to be tested. This is the part of the relationship where your real values surface. When you first see the flaws – the temper, the blameshifting, the hidden secrets surfaced, the addictions or bad habits show up… what do you do? Do you see this as the perfect opportunity to run away and leave the relationship? Do you withdraw emotionally and disconnect? Do you fight and bicker and stick it out? Most of these responses come from something deep within us that longs for the ideal, coming out in language like “I need to find someone better than this.”

If you have followed my blogs for a while, you may recall a series I did a long while back on boundary development. To refresh, boundary development happens in the first few years of growth, going through the following stages of development: First we need to attach and connect, then we need to separate and individuate and begin to notice that mommy and me are not the same. This is also where boundary development begins. Knowing what you want, or don’t, determining your likes and dislikes, and differences between you and others first takes place. The next stage involves knowing that you are loved unconditionally; that both your good and not so good parts are loved. Finally, there is the stage of adulthood and authority. These are the stages we walk through while growing up in our first family. I mention this because, as many of us know, we all carry baggage with us into every relationship we enter. Everything that is unfinished business in our growth and development needs a safe place in which we can continue and complete that growth, that missing element. This is a perfect example of what the intention of marriage is for.

Marriage is meant to be a safe place to finish growing and be cheered on by our mate to continue to grow and develop throughout the remainder of our lives. Without continued development, we grow stale and become stagnant. Where there is no vision, the people perish. We are meant to continually live with purpose for the remainder of our lives. The same man who was quoted to say that without vision we perish, is the same man who tested the measures of life, as you can read in the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Bible. Solomon was claimed to be the wisest man of his age, and after an experiment of experiencing all sorts of pleasure, and riches, work, even wisdom itself, came to the conclusion that everything in life is meaningless without purpose. His conclusion was that God gave purpose to life, and that without purpose, there was really no point, because everything comes to an end. You can’t take your riches with you. Pleasure alone without purpose leads to depression, and loneliness. He realized that life was not meant to be live self-centeredly.

So too, marriage is not meant to be lived for the convenience of others making me happy, but rather to work as a team together building each other up, and being a help to each other spurring each other on toward more and more growth, and personal or professional or spiritual growth, as well as coming to deeper levels of maturity within the relationship. Sharing not only the joys and successes of life together, but also walking together through the painful seasons of life along with all of the trials, and through each others weaknesses, openly communicating and sharing with each other brings a deep and rich fullness to your lives together, and ultimately leads to a life where there is never a dull moment, or distance between you, but rather a rich sense of ‘wholeness’ as you draw closer together, always preferring one another.

This is what unconditional love is meant to be.

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Looking to improve your relationship?  Check out my online Relationship Coaching Program and get started today!

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach

 


This morning I was inspired by a blog I read on igniting more passion in your marriage, and since I’ve just begun a new blog series on marriage, I decided I would host blog this touching article, and link to a video that has recently gone viral, entitled “Sweet Lorraine” about a 96 year old man whose wife recently passed away and the love song he wrote to her after 75 years of marriage. It was such a touching story, it brought me to tears, and I would like to share it with you!

Please follow the link below to the article and the you tube video, “Sweet Lorraine.”

http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2013/09/passion-in-marriage/

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