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Articles from December 2008

December 17, 2008

Why Be Married? For the Fans

The San Diego Padres are up for sale, because John and Becky Moores are no longer willing to be married.

Baseball's rules require one controlling owner, and they don't have enough assets to split them without violating this rule, except by selling the team.

According to SignOnSanDiego, "The Moores met in high school history class in Texas and married in 1963. They have four adult children, including Jennifer, a minority owner of the Padres."

December 15, 2008

Helping Your Disabled War Vet Spouse

Rachel Cornell wrote a powerful blog post last week for the wives, husbands, parents, and friends of disabled war vets.

A blind artist, author, and speaker, Rachel gets it. When your limb, your vision, your range of motion, or half your intestines are gone, you don't "put your life back together again" -- you build a new life. You don't "get things back to normal" -- normal, as Rachel says, is just a setting on a washing machine. And no therapy can "make you whole again" -- because it's your dreams that make you whole, not your arms, legs, eyes, or guts, and no injury can destroy those. In the aftermath, you hang onto the dreams and deal with the new obstacles, or you focus on the losses and lose the dreams.

If you're married to someone learning to go after his or her dreams with a body that can't do some of the things it could do before, it's going to throw some new obstacles in the path to your dreams, too. People are going to treat your spouse differently now. And it's going to affect you. Your spouse must handle many things differently now. It's going to affect how he or she handles your relationship, too.

Expect love. It won't -- it can't -- come in the same packages as before, but it will be there. Find other ways to get the other forms of help and support you need to follow your dreams.

Assume love. Don't jump to conclusions about the meaning of a harsh or discouraging word or a change in daily rituals. You've both got a lot of adjusting to do, and you're going to overadjust a few times before you get it right.

Look for third alternatives. Honor the dreams. Respect the efforts. Don't ever think your first idea or two is all you get to choose from. Build the new rituals, the new furniture layouts, the new traditions, the new chore-sharing arrangements that build the new life and move toward the lifelong dreams that make you both whole no matter what.

December 14, 2008

Why Be Married? For the Rituals of Home

Pull up a chair and visit with a happily married woman who truly appreciates the rituals of sharing a home...

Today's guest blogger is Jennifer Blair. Jennifer is a recovering codependent, perfectionist, and workaholic. Sound like anyone you know? Jennifer can help. She will be speaking, along with Barbara Sher and six others, at the Time for Me retreat on March 27 - 29, 2009, which looks like a wonderful weekend of relaxation and new perspectives. It's at the beautiful Mimslyn Inn in Luray, Virginia. I think you'll enjoy her take on what's really great about marriage.

I'm enjoying a cozy morning at home before driving back up to York, PA around lunchtime.

Last night my husband and I drove by our oldest son's house and popped in to see if they wanted to go with us to a good Vietnamese restaurant nearby where we are all addicted to their #25 - broiled chicken over diced fresh veggies and rice noodles.

Now, my oldest (John) is 6'5", my husband is around 6'3" tall, John's girlfriend, Karin, is around 5'10" or 11, and well, then there's me, at 5'6". We entered the restaurant and took a table off to the right. The owner, who's about 4'11" and who normally greets us by yelling out "NUMBER 25!", came over and fussed at us: "What you doing sitting there? You don't sit there! Sit over here!" To which we all rose, and obediently moved over to the table on the left. And I had to smile. It's good to be home.

This morning I awoke to the smell of Tim Horton's coffee, one of God's gifts to humanity. My husband had the Sunday paper out and was busy chopping onions, green peppers, and mushrooms for an omelet. Nice. He also had a frying pan full of my favorite Maple Bacon, slowly cooking. Ahh, the smells!

Spoiled, I sat down and read the Washington Post and sipped my coffee until he placed a plate filled with a steaming omelet and fragrant bacon in front of me. This is how the strong, silent types say "I missed you. I'm glad you're home." They shove food at you and grunt: "Here."

After breakfast, I watched Larry attempt to wrestle wrapping paper around a present I picked out for myself yesterday. Using about twice as much paper as the box called for, he was alright until he got to the final corner and all the excess awaited. Mumbling and cursing inanimate objects are two of his favorite past times, so this was no exception. He folded the wad of paper into something that looked like an overstuffed diaper, then held it down with one large hand while he cut the scotch tape with his teeth and the other hand. Then he wrapped the long strip of tape around the package, grabbed a black marker and wrote my name on the paper, stood back proudly, and said "There!" There is no mistaking a package wrapped by my husband. They all have their own charm.

I will do my part Christmas morning and act surprised when I am handed this paper ball.

Such are the rituals of old people who forgot to celebrate their 32nd anniversary yesterday.

Or maybe we just did - in our own quiet way.

December 4, 2008

How to Talk to Your Spouse about Money

I was asked on Twitter this morning by author Susan Kuhn Frost how to talk to your spouse about money. It's a great question. In a word: gently.

Prepare yourself for the discussion by counting your blessings. When we feel any lack of resources tightening its grip on us, it's so tempting to pass the fears off to someone else, instead of laying them to rest. But do you really want to tighten the grip of fear around your husband's or wife's neck? Your spouse surely shares whatever lack of resources you are feeling right now. Do you really want to add shame or blame to this?

So count your blessings. If your spouse were to disappear from your life tomorrow, would you really be at less risk? That's not what happened to me when my first husband died suddenly. All your debts, all your obligations, all your hopes are yours alone. All your underage children's debts and obligations and hopes are yours alone, too. If you are lucky enough to have someone sharing them with you for now, focus on how fortunate you are, and not on how much more you could have if he or she made different choices.

Even if your spouse brings in no money at all, count your blessings if there are chores you don't need to do on top of earning an income, or problems you don't need to solve for your children or your parents or your home. Write out each one on paper and take time to savor it. Then add every thing your spouse has done that makes you feel good or at least less stressed, because these are helping you make the money and the choices you need to make right now.

Don't talk about money until you've thought about how truly rich you are. It will change your voice and your body language. And these will change your spouse's brain chemistry. They will decide whether your spouse stays calm and free to think of creative responses or must answer in spite of a flood of chemicals whose very purpose is to narrow the range of options the brain will consider. Which options? Those that have worked repeatedly in the past in the face of a threat, which may include such gems as walking out of the room, calling you names, belittling you, or bursting into tears, all mastered while still way too young to think of anything better.

Start from a keen awareness of how rich you are because you have love in your life and a partner through tough times. If you do, the rest of the money conversation is just brainstorming with someone you admire, trust, and love. Be honest about what you seek, so when you disagree about strategies, the two of you can find third alternatives that satisfy both your goals.

December 3, 2008

Don't Wait to Have Fun with Your Mate

"'Don't wait until your kids leave home to schedule quality time with your partner,' said UC Berkeley psychology professor Oliver John" in today's UC Berkeley News.

He and fellow researchers Ravenna Helson and Sara Gorchoff conducted interviews with 100 women starting when they were seniors at Mills College in 1958.

They might also have added, "Don't wait for Prince Charming."

[T]ypical of their generation...84 percent married before age 25 and 30 percent divorced by age 45. In some cases, the increased marital satisfaction they found later in life was due to finding more compatible partners after divorcing. Overall, however, the study found the marital satisfaction of women who stayed with the same partners increased significantly while the boost in contentment for those with new partners was not notable.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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