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Posts Tagged ‘discover’

Sometimes we don’t realize it, but what drives the success of a happily dating couple is the tension between who they are as individuals and what they share of themselves. Their lives are characterized by the movement from what’s unknown about each other to what’s becoming known, from what has been discovered to what’s about to be.

When a relationship is new, there is much more focus on learning more about the other person. However as it matures, focus is also required on the development of who you are becoming as an individual.

A common mistake is to stop focusing on the discovery of yourself and your spouse over time. You’ve seen those couples that seem so disinterested in each other – he certainly isn’t getting any admiration from her, and his affections aren’t towards her either. It’s sad and so opposite from how they likely began: in love with the discovery of each other. At some point they stopped discovering each other, or stopped developing who they were becoming as individuals. Sometimes both.

We’re sure you’ve seen couples that have been married for quite a while and yet are still madly in love too. You’ve seen the evident love and zeal they have for each other and you’ve wondered what they did to make love last.

Under the surface of such a love you will find that they allow each other space for and celebrate self-discovery, and they continue to learn more and more of who it is that they’re with – in every season of life, and in the light of the challenges and opportunities they face together.

Both man and woman, if they want their love to last, must take responsibility for and intentionally focus on this discovery. If they do, the same emotion and adventure that drives a new relationship will characterize theirs as well – only with the added treasure of the trust and safety of a more mature relationship.

How could you show more interest in your mate? Do you need to develop yourself more or allow room in life for them to “become” more of who they are? How is this tension is playing out in your relationship? We invite your comments below.

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Some people think that falling in or out of love is outside of their control. However, take a few minutes to think of it this way:

Without purposefully working on it, in a long-term relationship there’s a continuum from fascination to familiarity to falling out of love. In other words, the degree to which you are no longer fascinated by someone means you are oh-it’s-just-you familiar with them, and shortly thereafter you will find yourself falling out of the feelings of being in love.

It’s the fascination with someone who fuels your attention on them. It motivates you to meet their needs and enables you to make allowances for their shortcomings. It’s your familiarity with someone who eventually “breeds contempt” as you no longer look for what you don’t know. Instead you make assumptions about what they feel/know/do based on what you already know about them, and resign yourself to the negatives of being with them.

The slide from familiarity to falling out of love can take a long or short time depending on how many negatives are found in the relationship.

(Side note: Not every couple chooses to end a relationship after the feelings of love are gone: familiarity can also have a comfort or convenience about it that can trump a person from acting on their feelings of having fallen out of love. This is the couple that look bored by each other but no-one intends on going anywhere.)

The truth is, fascination with someone is a choice. Any person – even the one you’re with – has a bottomless amount of intrigue waiting to be discovered by you. What there is to know about a person is infinite. But to the degree to which you’ve developed familiarity you’ll need to discipline your focus and stir up fascination again over time.

So over time you can be fascinated by your partner or fall out of love with them. You can ask questions or hold assumptions. You can look closer or turn away. You can listen to or talk at. You can find the unknown places and go there or you can play it safe.

Given the choice, I know what I’m picking.

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Holding Hopes

A successful marriage involves the joining of hopes of two individuals. A large portion of your hope is built around the what the other person does and becomes, and chances are you will need each other’s help and support to accomplish your goals. As a couple, your hope in life overlaps intricately.

Do you know what the hopes are in the heart of your mate? Ask, probe, listen, observe. Begin with a decision to observe and join your partner in the journey of their hopes. Is it time to rediscover your spouse’s hopes? Life causes some hopes to shift and change over time but others will continue to surface, and will solicit more attention.

After discovering their hopes, decide to join your spouse in their pursuit. Do you remember the time when you said “…to have and to hold …’til death do us part”? At the beginning of your marriage you committed to hold each other’s hopes and dreams. You are your spouse’s greatest asset when it comes to fulfilling their hopes for life. You are the one who can most effectively assuage their fears, most excitedly cheerlead their efforts and most exuberantly celebrate their successes.

Take the time to discover what fears are present that prevent their hopes from materializing. Speak, act or empower so as to encourage their expression; and when hopes are realized, be the most ardent celebrator.

Holding their hopes is one of the deepest and most meaningful ways you can serve your spouse in spite of what life may bring. The spin off is that, as with all things of the heart, it inspires reciprocation. So time after time, make your love pave the way for hope.

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This “Kissing 101” series of posts isn’t for novices.

In fact they don’t need it at all – have you seen their eagerness?! No, your need of Kissing 101 is directly proportional to your anniversary number. Its aim is to help prevent you from ever becoming one of those couples that don’t kiss anymore. And if you fear you have, this is your incentive to rediscover the magic of a simple kiss.

So what’s the big idea about a kiss anyway? Kissing elevates you out of the hustle and bustle of what just happened and what’s next. It suspends the reality of the mundane, about the cat, the dog and the kids, the next appointment and the laundry. It captures a moment and gives it its highest potential – which is knowing that you’re loved and together in the middle of it all.

Primarily, kissing is about capture. Kissing seals a moment and locks it, with all its context and potential, somewhere deep inside you and inside the one whose attention you arrest with it.

That’s why it’s a travesty not to kiss much anymore. Or, almost as worse, to kiss without noticing. Is there really nothing new to capture? Is the wonder gone? Is the rush of life really worth more than the moment you could have just had? Or, perhaps, you have just stopped noticing what’s under your nose. Travesty indeed.

To become great kissers again is readily within your grasp. It starts with noticing. Remember when you were dating? That first kiss? You sure noticed that moment, and you learned quickly to celebrate all those like it and seal them with many kisses. So now, perhaps years later, don’t allow your togetherness to become “normal.” Notice moments together again and seal them with kisses.

For a great refresher on how to notice and capture a moment with a kiss, watch this scene from the movie HITCH where Hitch (a dating coach) teaches Albert (his client) the keys to that first kiss moment.

Seize the next available opportunity and capture it. Write it on your heart and someone else’s with a kiss, and do it again at the next opportunity.

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I (Rowan here) stumbled upon my wife and daughters (ages 36, 7 and 5) watching a Barbie movie, “Island Princess,” to be exact.  Not having the agenda to watch it myself for content (!), I leaned into the other reasons to stop and watch the movie with them: to spend time with them, and to analyze the appeal of this famous franchise!
 
It was an insight extravaganza into the female soul.  Here are some surface renderings of what I saw.  (If you’re a man who has ever wondered about what goes on behind the eyes of the other sex, hopefully this will stir some thought. If you’re a lady, please feel free to clarify my findings).
 
Relational Saturation:  EVERYTHING in the movie was about, or heavily couched in relationships: Barbie’s friendships with the island animals, later with those in “civilization,” and ultimately with the prince.  This movie showed relationship as the lens to see the world through, and was even used solely as the basis for tension and plot. I looked at my girls, amazed: Wow, is that what goes on in there – ALL THE TIME?!
 
Romantic Climax:  If relationships generally are the basis of everything, then the romantic relationship is the I CHING of life, period! Everything builds to this in the movie, with the insinuation that the rest of life flows from it. Now, our girls are quite sheltered from mainstream culture as we are careful what influences we let into our home – but as I sat with them and watched their faces, they were thoroughly glued to the screen! I was left to wonder, how much of a woman’s hope, happiness, and satisfaction in life is left in the hands of her prince?  What kind of prince am I?
 
Rescued, Discovered, Pursued: This is important: the rescuing, discovering and pursing of who Barbie is happens in layers. Layer 1) Uh oh, Barbie gets shipwrecked, but rescued by the Island animals, discovered as a great friend and becomes accepted and pursued by them. Layer 2) She’s discovered and rescued from isolation by the Prince (and his loyal but unaffected assistant) who pursues her for something more than friendship. Layer 3) Events transpire to rescue Barbie from the King’s rejection and disdain. Even he discovers her true character, and she’s then approved of (pursued) as a wife for his son. The only tensions in the movie, at each stage, are whether she will be rescued, discovered and pursued. 
 
It makes me wonder, what layer are my 3 girls at right now?  I want to recognize the junctures at which they need rescuing, discovering and pursuing.  Sometimes I’ll only be able to watch and hope and be a friend; in others I’ll need to act and speak the truth into their tender hearts. 
 
Guys, will you and I be the unseeing King, the unaffected assistant, or the always-believing Prince?  Ladies, may we have your hand, your friendship and your trust?  Deep down, it’s what we want to fight for.

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When you’re dating someone new, there’s a very obvious “spark.” This is what makes early love-life so intoxicating and much of what drives the “spark” centers around the things you do together. Perhaps you meet doing a joint activity: church, or a sports team, or through work. Or maybe you take long walks together, listen to music, or go out on the town dancing.

Wherever it was you met initially and whatever you used to do together you have remembered because of the spark that accompanied it. Then came marriage and bills and kids and careers and family issues and bigger bills, and the activities that held that “spark” have been buried with the past, or lost in the busyness and distractions of life.

Do you miss that “spark”? Can you find the activities and things to do that will capture it again? We need to find them. Sure, there are mind-numbing activities, distraction-type “dates” to do together, but then there are those joint-activities that nurture the soul of your relationship, times in which you find yourself closer and more intimate, not just entertained.

Use this summer to look for (together!) and find activities that afterwards you’d say “nurtured us.” Look for times when you “notice” each other afresh, discovering something new about where each other is talented, or what your spouse simply enjoys. When you catch yourself admiring her, or awakening again to how irresistible he is to you, take note – there’s an activity that carries the “spark.”

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If you watched the movie, Seabiscuit, you probably remember the scene where Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) first sees the horse coming out of the mist. And, as he and the horse look at each other, Tom has a revelation about what kind of horse Seabiscuit is. It’s like Tom knows him just from that brief moment.

We remember this scene because we all have a similar longing to be known by someone, especially our spouses. We love to be known, we love it when someone else understands us, we even love it when we understand ourselves.

That’s why we like to remember our dating days: times full of fun and long conversations, where the only objective is to get to know each other.

That’s why we like taking personality tests – big or little, serious or silly. Each test represents a window into our soul, seeing a new room that we have yet to explore. We long to know more about ourselves, and where and how we fit in with everybody else.

The irony is we don’t like getting put in a box. It just makes us want to jump out of it. Why? Because deep inside we know we’re unique. We long to be discovered on a continual basis.

Each of us are on the road to becoming who we will be. We’re changing constantly – each decision and choice we make, each new thing we learn or experience, each person we meet and get to know, changes us a little.

Take the time to look at your spouse with a purpose to discover them a little more today. Let yourself be intrigued by their personality, just like you were in your dating days. Your spouse is becoming someone special, and you have the privilege of witnessing their transformation. Chances are, they’re no longer in the box you once thought they were, they jumped out long ago.

Just like you, they long to be known all over again.

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