Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

What Else You Got?

Cover of "Love Is A Decision"

Cover of Love Is A Decision

We have good manners (or at least we should) we have possessions and things and we have potential to be the best we can be.

But we are living in a society with failed marriages all around us.  They fail – even when people have all the above things in spade.

We get married because we’re in love.

We are well-mannered, and well-meaning – even bringing material things and all kinds of potential with us.

And still – many marriages fail.

So I ask the question:  WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?

Love – check

Good manners – check

Well meaning – check

Some material possessions – check

WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?

You see – every marriage that fails – started out with these things too.  Yours is no different.  Or is it?

I have learned a few things being married almost 30 years.  It takes much more than just love, good manners, material possessions and well-meaning to make a good strong lasting relationship – that can go the distance.

WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?

When the bottom drops out – life goes sideways and things aren’t fun anymore?

When crisis touches your family – financial security goes out the window and illness comes to stay?

When you have nothing else to give and the emotion of love is gone?

Here are some practical things to think about when contemplating marriage or in trying to better yours.

1. Love – ah the very word just makes us all warm and tingly, right?  It is something that great songs and Hallmark movies are made of.  “Love is all you need” and “Love means never  having to say you’re sorry” blah blah blah.  Nice sentiments – they sound so good and sing well – but they are NOT true!    I wish it was.  And there was a time not so long ago that I really thought love would be enough – but it was not.  Love is great but it can only take you so far.  Love is the great leveler – but it can also mess with your emotions and blind you. It is not enough when emotions can be fickle – and that feeling of romance and newness wears off eventually with anyone – especially in a long-term marriage.  This can be a  problem for people – if they don’t feel it anymore. Love – is a decision, therefore – not just an emotion.  It is an act of our will.

2. Friendship is wonderful and much more solid.  And friendship in marriage is a must. How many times have I heard that a couple was “in love” but as time wore on – they discovered that they did not even really know each other well – and they were startled to find out that they were not even friends.  When the emotion of love and romance wears thin – you must have something left to fall into – something safe and comfortable.  A friendship of heart and soul can save you when your marriage goes through a rocky patch – as all marriages do.

3. Respect in a marriage is also a must.  Many partners lose respect for each other when times are not exciting anymore – they withhold love – aren’t friends and don’t like each other anymore.  This leads to so many problems – the first and foremost is a sabotage of their own relationship.  Respect is given – as well as taken.  You must respect your spouse – but they  must also respect you.  And it is hard to hold that line – if you yourself are not respecting them.  How many times over the years have I seen couples talking badly to each other – even in public.  That is not good.  But you must be the first to respect. If you show kindness and proper respect for them – they will not be able to help but return it.  But you cannot have it only one way.  And respecting  means supporting your partner through good and bad times.  Finding a way to encourage the hopes and dreams of him or her and being that safe person that they can trust when life goes sideways.

4. Lead with your head and your heart will follow.  If you always allow your heart to lead you – you will be in trouble – as the heart is fickle and changeable – like the emotion of love.  We can feel love for many different people we have chemistry with. That doesn’t mean it is real. This is a hard one for many to deal with.  A long-term relationship isn’t always going to give you “tingles” – and if you get bored easily or need excitement 24/7 –  then long-term marriage isn’t for you.   But normally something needs to happen in you first.  You can’t always change things for the better – but that is the place to start.

5.  Be the person of integrity and character that you expect your partner to be. Living a life of character is hard.  We are not perfect and slip and fall in so many ways.  It is a daily choice – and sadly I have not always lived up to this – and maybe you have not either.  Don’t give up.  If you blow it – Jesus forgives – get up and try again.  He has promised to be with us on our daily journey and He will be there to help and guide us – giving us words of encouragement through His word and speaking softly to us through prayer.  He understands that it is hard to go through life without temptations – in fact we need to know that THEY ARE COMING.  No one is immune. Brush yourself off – and begin again – each new day is another chance to get it right.

5.  Don’t play the “blame game”.  That’s way too easy – and such a cop-out!  “They don’t respect me” or “They’re withholding” or “They don’t understand me” or “They don’t meet my needs” – are very common things that are said when going through a serious problem.  Instead of blaming – try finding out what is happening inside of you.  Have you stopped respecting them?  Have you withheld to punish or teach a lesson?  Have you failed to understand because they don’t understand you?  Do you meet their needs?

6.  Be the best person, lover, friend and confidant that you can be.  It starts with you.  Marriages still fail – but not usually when couples are sensitive to each others needs – putting their feelings and needs ahead of your own agenda and even your own happiness.  What you sow into them – in love, compassion, understanding, respect and friendship it WILL COME BACK TO YOU. And you CAN turn even a bad marriage around.  You can rekindle a dying relationship – bring a spark of life because of attention and determination – disciplining your heart and your mind to honor and love first – and let the feeling comes later.  Wait for it – it will come.

When couples wants to get married because “they’re in love” – this needs to be our question for them:

WHAT ELSE YOU GOT?

God Bless

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A Note From My Husband

On the occasion of my milestone birthday – I asked my wonderful husband and best friend to be a special ‘guest blogger’ today.  Hope you enjoy and will be encouraged as you read his note to me –  that even after almost 30 years together – he still is romantic and knows how to keep the love alive.

God Bless

To my lovely wife Cindy on her special 50th birthday;

Good morning my love!  I trust you had a wonderful sleep.  I was watching you this morning just before you opened your eyes and thinking about how thankful I was to have the love of such a beautiful woman in my life.  Funny how so many put an emphasis on youthful looks these days and fight frantically to somehow attempt “time travel” to spin the biological clock backwards.  I loved it when we saw the title of a new book recently, “fifty is the new fifty” – it garnered a laugh from both of us, but even without reading the book we understand the sentiment.  Being authentic to yourself and your life experiences, being comfortable in your own skin, is a large part of remaining beautiful; a glow that comes from within and radiates outward.

Cindy, you are beautiful, both inside and outside.  You not only are an extremely attractive woman physically (insert tiger growl here), but you are true and authentic to your core values, which is what makes you irresistible.  In this way you have become more gorgeous to me over time.  I love it how you are passionately interested in how others feel and think, and have an uncanny way of connecting to them, especially in their time of need.

This year we will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary.  We have seen much of life and have weathered both good and challenging seasons together – more and more I see in you a beauty and strength that I both admire and envy; a depth that time has only served to reveal and prove.

There’s a section of 1 Peter chapter 3 that echo these very values that I love about you.  It describes a woman of uncompromising beauty, and where lasting attractiveness comes from;

3 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self,5 the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.6 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God7 used to make themselves beautiful.”

Cindy my love, this “milestone birthday” (at least that’s what we call the ones that end in a “0”) is simply another occasion that displays what those who really know you already have been celebrating; your authentic love for others, emotional balance, and spiritual centeredness.  This is what makes you attractive to others and to me.

And, you’re just plain hot looking!

Happy birthday my love!

Greg

Just When You Thought It Was Safe…

Yesterday Greg performed a funeral service for someone we had known for several years – who had recently lost her husband to cancer.  While at the service, one of the senior ladies came up to him and told him she was getting married again.  “I finally landed him” she said of another man who was recently widowed.  Well this gave us a good laugh and proves once and for all that anyone can get married – at any age – love seems to have limits or requirements – and let’s face it – most people don’t want to be alone.  They would rather marry again  – anyone rather than be alone.  So this sparked a very colorful and fun conversation and got us really thinking about what it would be like if something happened to one of us and we found ourselves single again.

It came up because we were marveling at how people can go back after being married to the same person for so many years – and start over and date.  Now mind you we have been married for 30 years this September and neither of us have been on one of those ‘dates’ in more than 30 years  – Oh we date now – sweet little outings that are more about connecting and romance then they are about getting to know each other like on a first or second date – but we haven’t ‘dated’ in years – in fact I’m not sure we ever did.  I’m not sure I would know how.  We went from being friends into a relationship pretty fast back in college and sort of skipped over that part.  I would have to say that my last actual ‘date’ was with some creepy guy at college who asked me to the spring banquet.  I didn’t think he was creepy until that evening – but none-the-less  it is my memory of that evening – and the last real ‘date’ I was ever on.

I think ‘dating’ is highly over rated – not for the faint-hearted – and certainly something I would probably avoid altogether if I was back in a situation that left me alone and single.  Let’s face it – there are some pretty scary people out there.  I know.  I’ve had some of these people as friends over the years.  I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if married to one of them.  And let’s face it – someone can appear a certain way as a friend and then be completely different in real life – the daily grind, living, paying bills, through sickness and financial reversal.  And getting to be comfortable again with someone else – hard to do.  I mean – can you imagine it?  I can’t.

And so there we were – having one of those moments trying to take it all in – imagining what would happen if something should happen to one of us – and force the other one back in the ‘dating pool’ – just when you thought it was safe to be single. I teased him and told him he would have all sorts of women coming out of the wood work to get a shot at him – I’m sure they would come, it’s hard to find a decent hardworking man who is good-looking, kind generous and so on  – he’s a find for sure – and a minority in the sea of so many single women. He’s so great that several years ago I had someone even picked out for him to replace me upon my ultimate demise – a wonderful single gal from our church who was recently widowed with a small son.  And then she ruined everything and up and got married!!  Can you believe that?  We’ve had many laughs over it – in fact I even told this woman about it – and she was flattered – she got married to someone else – but still flattered 🙂  Man – can’t anyone wait anymore?  Sigh.  I have found NO ONE since her.

But I do applaud all those friends in our lives that have chosen to be single. It is not for everyone – and I think it takes real courage to remain so.  But there’s no one I admire more than the person who finds themselves single again due to a death of a spouse or a bad divorce.  Being ‘out there’ again is scary.  It takes real-time to grieve and grieve properly and fully before being ready to try again.  But we have known some of these wonderful people who have actually found love a second time around – and no one deserves it more than they do.  It should give all of us hope that God is really a God of reconciliation, love, forgiveness and second chances.  I love that about Him.  These wonderful friends somehow pulled themselves up  – went through all the ‘first dates’ and scary things that all single people have to do – and still they were able to work through all those emotions and find someone wonderful 🙂  Is there more than one special person for everyone?  You bet!

But as for me – I’m way too picky.  Greg has spoiled me for anyone else.  And No – he hasn’t picked out any guy for me upon his ultimate demise.  Men don’t do that – being territorial and all of that.  And he thinks no one could take care of me in the fashion in which I am used to – so it would be a moot point.  So I’m afraid it would be up to me in that case.  I’m sure I would be lonely but would also enjoy being single and not be anxious to be on that train again and be ‘out there’.  I have a few girlfriends who feel the same way – being in another relationship is simply not an option for them right now.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of how people actually change – just when you think you know everything about them.  Those that did not give it enough time – and they find themselves in a relationship with someone who turned out to be abusive or controlling – changing personality just when they thought they knew them.  That’s not for me.  I would have to know someone as a friend for a long while – to feel that I knew him through all the different seasons of life.  I don’t think I would ever ‘date’.  Nope it’s not for me.

For those of you that have found that special love a second time around – after being ‘out there’ – I want you to know that I respect you and I’m so happy for you.  That takes such great courage to find another relationship that works and that makes you so happy.  You are true heroes.

And for those of you that haven’t – just remember you could always ‘date’ again – just when you thought it was safe being single… 😉

God Bless

How To Find And Keep A Woman

Sean Connery at the 2008 Edinburgh Internation...

Image via Wikipedia

I was challenged today (and I love a challenge) by my friend and pastor, Stephen Collins – to write an article to ‘piggyback’ on my article from yesterday, ‘How to Find and keep a Man’.  This time – this one is for all you men out there – wanting to learn some basic ‘secrets’ about women.

Greg and I have been reading the book (our 10th time or so) “The Truth Will Set You Free – But First It Will Make You Miserable” by the late Jaime Buckingham.  In one chapter he talks about the subject of virility of men – and baldness in particular. His writing is humorous and insightful – hearing what men really think about their manliness – how loss of hair affects their feeling of youth and purpose, and dealing with insecurity – either correctly brought on by others – or self-imposed.

I stopped Greg in the middle of the chapter – and said, “Why are men so hung up on losing their hair? – Some of the best looking men – in my opinion have no hair at all!  Patrick Stewart of ‘Star Trek Next Generation‘, Chris Daughtry, of the band, ‘Daughtry’ – Andre Agassi, Vin Diesel, Billy Zane, Bruce WillisSean Connery – to name just a few.  These men exude confidence – and that has NOTHING to do with whether they have hair or not.  And no woman would say they are NOT sexy.

Anyway – I digress.  Back to the subject at hand.  If you are a man – how do you understand, and more importantly win a woman and keep her?

Women aren’t so complicated.  I think there has been much dialogue on this topic over the years.  I think they are more emotional than men are for sure – but basically there are some basic needs and a smart man knows how to meet them.  And a smart man – has just learned to listen more and learn from others who get it wrong.

What should you be looking for?  If you want a long-term relationship – here are some things to watch out for.

1. A woman worth having is one that can adapt to change. I say this because there are many changes throughout life and marriage.  This is the woman who can love you past your enlarging mid-section and loss of hair.  The woman who thinks you get better looking as you age.  The one who will not get squeamish at the first sign of change, both physically or emotionally.

2. Make sure she has a great sense of humor. You’re going to find that this one quality may save your marriage some day.  Can she laugh at herself?  Take a joke?  Not take herself or you too seriously?  Then you may have a winner here.  So many women start out with a sense of humor – but quickly lose it when life becomes serious.  And nothing can make you lose it faster than having children, family issues, financial stresses, external relationships and aging.  Some woman lose it and never get it back again.  The ability to laugh is HUGE.  If she is great fun to be around and can see humor in anything – you may have a winner.  Don’t give her a reason NOT to laugh.  Give her permission to see the ‘lighter’ side of life.

3.  Beauty is fleeting – don’t choose her because she’s ‘hot’. Now I KNOW I’m treading on very thin ice here – so I will just say that the curvy blond that you fall in love with – just may put on a few (okay – maybe more) pounds after having children and may NEVER look like she once did when you first met her.  Now for some of you men – this is a real problem. I’ve even seen it in some members of my family – the man will INSIST that the woman always be on a diet – or NEVER cut her hair.  All in the attempt to keep the woman the way he first saw her and fell in love.  News flash:  Women always know if you love her just the way she is – or if you have conditions on your love. Even is she pretends she does not.  Don’t be one of those men.  Love her exactly the way she is.  And communicate this clearly with how you treat her.  She should always feel like she is the most precious and beautiful woman in the world – to you.  If you do not – believe me – she knows.

And when you have found her – the perfect woman – here are some tips on how you can be sure to keep her.

1. Treat her with respect. She is not the housekeeper or the cook – or *gasp* – your property. She is your partner.  And although I believe the woman sets the tone for respect in the relationship – (please see my article from yesterday) it is also the man’s responsibility as protector and head of the house to set the tone of respect with the woman he loves.  This will do a couple of things.  First, if a woman is treated with the proper amount of respect from her husband – she will do ANYTHING  for him.  And I mean anything.  And secondly, you will become the ‘hero’ in her life and you will feel like a better man because of her.  You will be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound – all because of giving her the proper respect.  If a woman is disrespected by the man who is supposed to (and who has signed up to)  love, honor and cherish her, she will quickly withhold love, respect and honor from him.  I have seen this happen in too many marriages.  You cannot afford to disrespect and dishonor your woman.  It will have terrible repercussions on you for years to come.  And she will not love you physically the way you want or need her to.  Woman are funny that way – they must be emotionally cared for first – before they can give physical love. It is much easier for you men to separate the emotional from the physical.  Remember – she is not a man – or one of your guy friends and you cannot treat her disrespectfully (like you do with your friends) and then expect that she will respond to you in a passionate way.  Woman’s brains do not work that way.  They do not compartmentalize ANYTHING.  Everything touches and affects EVERYTHING else.  All things must be right and healthy in her world first – before anything else.

2. Listen to her heart. This sounds so silly to most men.  Good grief – I married her didn’t I?  Why do I have to ‘listen’ to her?  She’s so emotional – she just needs to think and be more like a man – then all would be well.  This kind of thinking will get you into big trouble.  And as I stated in my last article – if you don’t think she’s worth listening to – or find her valuable enough to hear what’s going on in her heart – then someone else (who has learned the emotional secret to women better than you) will be there – willing and able to step in for you.  Don’t be stupid.  It happens ALL THE TIME.

3.  Encourage her hopes and dreams. Any woman worth having and keeping has hopes and dreams – some that she’s afraid to even speak out loud – but they are there.  Let her talk about them.  Key in on her and let her tell you about them.  Don’t interrupt – or worse yet –  be too busy for her.  Make the time to really listen.  Don’t try to ‘fix’ or dictate your own agenda.  Most men make the mistake of trying to ‘set her straight’ – or trying to ‘fix the problem’ because men are problem solvers.  Women don’t always need a problem solved – they just want the right to be heard.  And they need someone to understand them.  When you – her husband won’t do this – you are setting yourself up for HUGE problems.  Treat her like she is the most valuable thing in the world – and she will return it.  That’s a guarantee.

Woman love ‘little things’ done for them or with them in mind.  They love getting notes, gifts, flowers – it doesn’t really matter – it’s the thought behind it that really melts us.  We are deeply moved by a sensitive man who will move heaven and earth to be with us – and like my pastor and friend, Stephen said to me yesterday – ‘a man will run through a brick wall’ for the right woman who loves him and respects him.  So true.  And likewise – a woman with the love of a man like that – will do anything for him.

I love it when Greg will call me up when he’s out on a business call – and say, ‘I’m on my way home – are you available to have a coffee break with me?’  OH YES!!  I also love dates – either long evenings together – dinner and a movie – or just going somewhere together and taking a walk and talking together.

I know I am probably leaving many things out – but these are the most crucial to keeping a woman.  A smart woman knows a good thing when she has it – even if she may sometimes forget.  Be that man who reminds her – by treating her like she deserves to be treated.  This is the best way to ‘affair proof’ your marriage – when this happens so much today.

I pray God’s richest blessings on your relationships!

God Bless

29 Reasons

This morning with my morning coffee I received a note from Greg – my husband, partner, lover and friend for 29 years today.  The note was just entitled:

29 Reasons Why I Love You

I would love to share these with you – but it is simply inappropriate to do so – they are for me alone – all the things he loves about me that are unique and personal for me to hear.  I did not need much from him – my needs are pretty simple – I don’t demand flowers, candy, gifts or any other monetary things that are unique to anniversary celebrations – and although he has lavished these things on me in the past – he knows they are not important to me.  I would rather have this note – with 29 reasons. ♥

I want to encourage you today – the ‘little things’ are sometimes the most effective.  Everyone can write a love note – everyone can do a simple act of kindness – everyone can think of something unique and special without spending any money at all.  Speak a love language of the heart – and maybe come up with your own 29 reasons – today.

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband, Greg ♥

God Bless

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