Category: Marriage



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/


These are the 7 values that are important safeguards for your relationship.

happy romantic couple

1. Unconditional love

Unconditional love is the most important value in a relationship. It is committed love. It is defined by doing what is best for the other as deemed by the one loving. It involves compassion, preferring each other above yourself, protecting, and commitment to love even in conflict – when the ‘ feelings’ aren’t there. Make a promise to love in good times and bad, in sickness and health, in plenty or in want. Love is patient, kind, rejoices with truth and does not fail. See 1 Cor. 13:4-8.

2. Honesty

It’s critical to having a ‘real’ and authentic, trustworthy relationship. Dishonesty is one of the primary ways to break down both communication and the foundation of the entire relationship. Suspicion, lack of trust and safety form without honesty, and can single handedly destroy the marriage. Intimacy is always blocked when truth is absent. Honesty brings what is hidden to the light.

3. Faithfulness

Safety and trust are fostered within the relationship, paving the way for a deep, abiding and trusting relationship. It brings assurance that this relationship is committed. It guards against fear. It holds each other in high esteem and treasures each other. It always protects, and preserves the bond between the couple.

4. Forgiveness

Remember basic goodwill toward each other when in conflict. Try to empathize with your spouse and listen and understand their point of view. Evaluate what is beneath your anger to work on the root issues, rather than simply using anger as a protective barrier against your partner. If you are looking out for the best interests of each other, it diminishes areas of conflict and there is less to forgive.

5. Protect Against Intruders

Set limits on how close you become with outsiders to the relationship. Boundaries guard against infidelity and deep emotional connections that tear away at the intimacy between the couple. This is where honesty, faithfulness and love come in to undergird and protect the relationship. Guard against flattery from others. In order to keep your marriage safe from intruders you need to come up with a strong plan of action to ensure the security of your relationship!

couple talking in cafe6. Good communication

If you clearly, honestly and openly articulate your needs, desires, expectations, assumptions, beliefs, concerns, fears, etc. then you are well on your way toward making your relationship great! Communication is important. Connect heart to heart and share your real self with each other -this is the glue that holds it together.

7. Conflict Resolution

Finally, make it a point to work together to resolve conflicts and problem areas to foster growth and a mature, deep and committed relationship that will endure. If you are both invested in making it work, you both have work to do. Working together is incredibly important!

These values promote healthy, thriving and vibrant relationships! Over the next few weeks, stay tuned as I delve deeper into each of the above mentioned relationship values! Enjoy your long weekend!

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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 Romantic HoldingThis month I am primarily going to be talking about marriage relationships, but these tools are great for anyone in a committed relationship to keep in mind to have a thriving, healthy relationship!

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will touch on how to love and respect each other, forgiveness, keeping the romance alive, and some basic marriage 101 things to keep in mind that everyone should know about marriage.

Today is more of an introduction, but an important place to start, as we lay down some ground rules about building and maintaining healthy boundaries in marriage. You may think… Boundaries? In Marriage? Why should there be any boundaries in a marriage? Hear me out, and determine for yourself if the following 7 ideas are important safeguards for your relationship.

happy romantic couple hugging1. Love

Ok, we’ll start with an easy one… Or perhaps this is the most difficult one of all. Hmmm. Food for thought! Love is perhaps the most important value in a relationship to sustain the relationship. Because love is not just the mushy, romantic moments together in a relationship. Neither should love be confused with sex. But sex is definitely an important part of keeping a bond between each other that reassures the other that they are loved! But love is more than this. A good goal is to discover unconditional love. Unconditional love is committed love. It is love that always maintains basic goodwill toward each other, even in moments of great conflict. Unconditional love is defined by doing what is best for the other, not necessarily giving them everything they want, but doing what is best as deemed by the one loving. It involves preferring the other above yourself, it involves protecting the other from thongs that may prove harmful or not beneficial to them. It involves compassion. It involves commitment to love even when the going gets tough, and the ‘loving feelings’ aren’t always there. It keeps it’s promise to love not only the good parts of the other, but to accept the ‘whole self’ of the other, which includes the less than perfect characteristics that annoy you from time to time, or the areas where they still need to grow in. As they are loving you the same way, this allows for mutual growth and benefit for both people, as true intimacy can be attained this way, and self esteem is nurtured as you learn that you are not merely loved for how well you perform, but you are loved unconditionally. This is a great boundary to set… To make a promise to love in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, in plenty or in want. Love is the glue that holds the relationship together. Don’t take it for granted. Keep the love alive!

Another passing thought before I move on… Couples who have a strong, mutual connection to God also tend to have a stronger commitment to love, as unconditional love is a strong commandment among many faiths. It is always esteemed as the most important value.

2. Honesty

Honesty is critical to having a ‘real’ and authentic, and trustworthy relationship. Dishonesty is one of the primary ways to break down both communication and the foundation of the entire relationship. Honesty is like one of the 4 pillars to build a relationship on. Without it, it breeds suspicion, lack of trust and safety in the relationship, and can single handedly destroy the relationship altogether.

Ask yourself this: why is it I don’t want to be completely honest with the person I love? Why do I feel I have to hide things about myself, or my bad habits, or whatever the case may be. What are you afraid of? What are you afraid will happen if you reveal what you are being dishonest about? What is the likelihood that when you reveal your secrets, what you expect to happen will actually happen? Not only will answering these questions reveal something about your own sense of integrity, or your weaknesses you struggle with, it may also reveal the weak points in your relationship. It may mean the person you are with is not loving unconditionally, it may mean you or your partner have an opportunity for growth. It could be your partner wrestles with grace for your flaws, or is looking for an ideal, perfect relationship, rather than a real relationship. It may be a perfect opportunity for growth. Intimacy is always blocked when truth and honesty are absent. Think of this as an opportunity for deeper growth in the area of intimacy. It may be an opportunity for growth for the one hiding things from the other. Is there a root issue there? Have you been rejected before and fear it again, event though it may not happen in this relationship? Are you blocking the other person in the relationship the ability to really come through and show you you are loved regardless? Examining Dishonesty reveals what is hidden. Honesty brings what is hidden to the light so there is an opportunity for repair.

Couple Holding Hands3. Faithfulness

It’s integral for a long term, committed, till death do us part kind of marriage. A commitment to faithfulness is a way to foster safety and trust within the relationship. It fosters protection, and paves the way for a deep and abiding trusting relationship. It guards the marriage from outside influences that could bring potential harm. It sets limits on outside relationships to preserve the bond between the couple. It brings assurance that this relationship is safe, nurturing, committed, and always ‘there’. It allows each other to rest in the reliability of the relationship. It nurtures love, and guards against fear. It holds each other in high esteem and treasures each others hearts, assuring each other “you are safe here”. It always protects, and preserves the bond between the both of you.

Couple Hugging4. Forgiveness

I will not go into great detail today as I’m dedicating a whole blog to it in a couple of weeks…. That is how important this issue is!!! Make your promises of how you will work through forgiveness. Remember basic goodwill toward each other even in conflict. Try to empathize with the other person and where they are coming from, or what they have endured. Evaluate what is beneath your anger to work on the root issues, rather than simply using the strength of anger as your protective barrier against the other. Remember that your job is to protect each other always, rather than protecting yourselves from each other. Remember to prefer each other, and this will help diminish the areas of conflict. If we are both looking out or the best interests of the other, we will have less to forgive. Stay tuned for my forgiveness blog in a couple weeks as I go into more details and practical tools to work through forgiveness. Forgiveness is hard work. But essential to keep the toxins out of the relationship!

5. Protection against intruders

I briefly touched on this when I talked about faithfulness. Theses two go hand in hand. You will need to set limits and boundaries on how close and connected you allow yourselves to become with outsiders to the relationship. Determine together how close is too close to outsiders to the relationship. This helps to guard against infidelity, affairs, deep emotional connections with others that tears away at the intimacy between the couple. If you find yourself able to be closet to someone outside the relationship that could potentially break down the strength of your committed marriage relationships, ask yourself why this is. Discuss it with your spouse first. This is where the values of honesty and faithfulness and love come in, to undergird and protect the safety of your relationship. Perhaps it is an indication of something that needs to change or grow in your relationship or that something has grown stale and needs to be revitalized. Guard against flattery from others. This is a commitment you need to make together that you want this to be an exclusive relationship. Say what you will about ‘open’ relationships, or friends with benefits or free love, but none of those things help build trust, safety, intimacy or assurance that you are truly loved… Which is a basic need and desire we all have whether we admit it or not. If you want to keep your marriage safe from intruders you need to come up with a strong plan of action, and your own values and boundaries to ensure the safety of your most important relationship to each other! This is a perfect segue to the next boundary:

6. Good communication

If you are able to clearly, honestly and openly be able to articulate your needs, desires, expectations, assumptions, beliefs, concerns, fears, etc than you are well on your way toward making your relationship great! Communication is important. Not just talking about the weather or what you did at work that day, but to connect heart to heart and share your real self with each other, this is the glue that holds it together. If one or both of you struggle with knowing what your concerns are, or how to confront and voice your needs, or to identify your needs, this will affect your ability to communicate effectively. Make it a goal to learn together effective communication skills. In fact, I will recommend a book for you to check out which identifies a lot of the problem areas in communication. I’m talking not just about what is said, but how it is said, or understood, or clarified. I’m also thinking of what is unsaid, and the verbal body language we make assumptions on and don’t ask clarifying questions to ensure we have received the right message. I’m talking about assumptions we make, which often turn into beliefs whether accurate or not. If you find you have trouble in the area of communication, and are committed to making it work – check out this book called “Love is never enough” by Aaron T. Beck, MD.Working Together

7. Working Together

Finally, make it a point to work together to resolve the conflicts, problem areas, weak areas, in order to foster growth and healthy, mature, deep and committed relationships that will endure the test of time. If only one of you is committed to making it work, one of your pillars has broken down. If you are both invested in making it work, you both have work to do. One person cannot carry the entire relationship. If you are the person not investing in making it work, why is that? Have you given up on love or basic goodwill towards your spouse? Is there a communication blockage that has caused you to give up? Are you open to outside help to give it another shot? Perhaps there is some piece missing that you have not yet identified.

Working together is incredibly important. If one of you gives up, it can be detrimental to the future security of your relationship. If you find that you don’t care about the future of your relationship, you desperately need to seek professional help outside of the relationship to see if the relationship is salvageable and whether or not you are invested enough to try and save it.

With a little work, your relationship will have the best chance for survival, healing, repair and the ability to thrive. Hopefully some of these tips help.

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Need some extra help?

Check out my one-on-one Relationship Coaching Program and get started today!

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach

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