“Speaking from the Heart”

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When I think of marital advice, the first thing besides (don’t go to bed mad) that pops into my head is “communication“.  People say communication is the key to a successful marriage.  I would agree with that but I would expand on what communication means.  Communication is more than just talking about what bothers you at the moment or talking through things.  Communication starts way before you start discussing why you want this or they want that.  Communication is about expressing to your partner what your wants and needs are and asking about theirs; what you want and need out of your soon to be (or already existing) marriage.  It is getting down to the real, raw, stuff that you may be too afraid to talk about.  Let’s start at the first place this may and probably “should” come up, planning your wedding.  Think about it, you have this vision of getting married on a beach in Fiji with a few close friends, while he or she has a vision of a huge wedding where you invite hundreds of guests.  You have a vision of money being no object when it comes to your wedding while he or she doesn’t want to go into debt for one day. You expect him or her to pay for it all since they make more than you but he or she thinks you should both put money towards it.  But nothing is discussed until one of you has already planned out how it WILL be in your head, no discussion, no debate, accept it or not.

While these things may seem menial, they are small reminders that communication is about sharing your dreams, your visions, your aspirations with the person you are planning to spend the rest of your life with, before and after your wedding day.  Wedding planning can be very insightful regarding how your marriage might look.  For instance, if one person plans everything and wants everything the way THEY want it.  You can probably expect that to happen after you get married.  If they spend money without thinking about where it is coming from, you might expect that to happen during your marriage.  You may not take notice until well after you are married, after the “Honeymoon” has worn off and you are down to the daily grind.

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Artwork by talented Rita Loyd

 

When you are in love, the birds are chirping, the butterflies a flutter, and you sometimes get blinded.   You fail to notice those small things and you forget to talk about the important things.  Important things like, how will you manage finances?  Will you have a joint account or separate accounts?  Will you split bills equally?  Do you have big dreams of moving to another state or country?  Do you want children, does your spouse want children, if so, when?  Who will do the cooking and cleaning?  Will it be a shared effort or will one person be responsible for certain things.  What do you need to feel loved, how are you going to take care of your relationship?  I don’t like to use this word but what are your expectations of the marriage?

Often times we create all these expectations of how people should be but we forget that they are their own person and more importantly, we forget to tell them what our expectations are?  Then, when they don’t fulfill the expectations WE have placed on them (with or without their agreement or knowledge) we get angry with them for not meeting our imposed expectations.

Marriage is not just about finding the love of your life and living blissfully, happily ever after. First, you must find your truth, no matter how scary that may seem.  When we are honest with ourselves, despite the fears, we can then be honest with our partners.  This honesty will allow us to find our voice and sharing it with the person you are promising to share your life with.  Second, we must communicate all of these things with our partner.  Not just with words but with body language and actions.  Communication is so much more than merely talking about a problem or talking things out.  It is sharing thoughts, ideas, glances, touches, dreams, hopes, wants and needs.  Whether it is a marriage or a long-term relationship, we must speak from our hearts.  We must find our truth and speak it no matter how scary it may seem.  Let your wants, needs, desires and dreams be heard.

 

‘Love and Light’

Tina

It’s Official! Well, almost, let the stress begin.. or NOT!

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You have both decided that you want to get married, wonderful! I am sure by now people have already asked you (from the second you told them, which may have been, 2 minutes after you decided) when the big day is because that is something you know immediately *sarcasm*. Well, if you are like me you haven’t been (yes I said haven’t been) thinking about the day you were going to get married since you were a little girl so you don’t have the magical date picked out yet. One piece of advice here is don’t let people get to you, it can be frustrating when everyone and their cousin are asking when it is going to be and you just got engaged, literally 20 minutes ago. Something you should know is that people will do the same thing after you are married with “when are you having kids”. I will digress for a minute and say something about the “when are you having kids thing”. While I understand that it is a seemingly harmless question, it is a very loaded question because some people A. Don’t want to have kids, B. Can’t have kids C. It is currently a painful subject for one reason or another (maybe they are trying and haven’t been successful). If you are a good friend then you will know the answer to these questions and you don’t need to ask it. If you don’t know the answer, then, there is probably a reason for that.  Okay, back on track.  Planning a wedding can be stressful if you let it be.

The best ways to get stressed out planning a wedding are:  A. Plan a wedding way beyond your means and B. Not let go when you recognize that something needs to be trimmed. I can’t help but think of one of my favorite authors with this one.  Susan Jeffers states it very simply in her book “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”,  “make a picture in your mind, set out to do it and then let that picture go.”  I love this line so much because it speaks to committing to doing something but not staying so rigid so that we don’t bend when we need to. You may have had visions of a princess wedding dress but when you go try on dresses you get smacked with reality; dresses are not cheap!  Or you may have envisioned having it at this one special location until you did the visit and found out it would cost more than your whole budget.  These are the moments you will have to bend and be creative unless you want to start out your marriage in debt and completely stressed out because everything didn’t go perfectly!  The good new is, nothing in life is perfect.  I know you are thinking, that is good news?  Yes, it is because it means we all make mistakes, we all face challenges and hardships but you get through them, you learn, you grow and you become stronger.  Wedding planning and marriage are no different, you make mistakes, you face challenges but you let go, you learn, you grow and you become stronger for it!

Planning a wedding may be your first experience facing challenges together such as budgeting, compromising, bending instead of breaking, and learning when to let go.  I never believed people when they said things are different after you get married.  Things can be different in a couple of ways.  One, if you haven’t lived together for very long before you were married, you will be learning a new dance.  Add a bonus child to the mix (and everything that may or may not go along with that) and you have another dance to learn.  My husband and I bought our house 2 months before our wedding day, so we didn’t live together very long before we got married so there was a lot to learn.  Two, there is something that instantly changes when you say I do!  I am not saying everyone feels this but a lot of people do.  It is this instant feeling of joy and excitement, the first day of your marriage!  There is something exhilarating about walking back down the aisle from whence you came.  You walked up “single” and now you are walking back down hand in hand with the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with.  THAT, is the purpose of the wedding day!

I say these things because as you plan your wedding, think of it as practice.  It is practicing how to let go and not cling to a vision of how you thought it should be.  It is practicing how to stay focused on the love that brought you two together in the first place.  Throughout the wedding planning process and throughout your marriage you will have to find that spot time and again.  The same way you get caught up in the details of the wedding, you may find yourself caught up in the details of life.  You might find yourself becoming rigid (especially if you are a control freak like me) and needing things to be a certain way because that was how you envisioned it.  In doing so, you might feel a disconnect, a distance but if you reconnect to that love that got your there, to the joy after you said I do, you can find your way.

As you plan your wedding, the most important thing to remember is that, after it is all said and done, it will be the first day of your marriage.  Stay focused on the purpose.  If you learn to let go of how you “thought it should be”, you will be amazed to find that it is better than you could have ever imagined.  Things will not be perfect, as nothing is, but you will get through the hard times and come out stronger than you went in.   The trick is, you have to let go first!

Love and Light

Tina Louise

And so it begins and it began…

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I have pondered what my first post should be about and have decided upon the most obvious of topics.  The first phase of Soulful Inspirations by Tina Louise will be everything to do with Weddings or I what I like to call “the first day of your marriage”. So, naturally what better topic to write about than the journey that led me to want to do anything Wedding!  Also, what better time than today, the two month (to the date) countdown to our second anniversary which led me down the path I currently find myself.  Over the next (exactly) two months I will share the journey the past two (technically four) years has taken us on, the lessons I have learned.  I will share why I resonate so strongly with wedding creations, even down to getting “ordained” to officiate those intimate moments.

Upon planning for my wedding I discovered my love for making things with my own two hands.  I have since “labeled” myself as a “handicrafter.”   I also discovered my love of love and the artful dance of relationships.  In planning our wedding (the first day of our marriage) I discovered that what matters most is not the overly lavish set up or ridiculously expensive dress but what it represents.  I found myself consciously thinking about every aspect of our wedding day and how it represented who we were as individuals and as a couple.  I also discovered that weddings are ridiculously over priced and refused to go into debt for that special day.  So, I set out with my husband to be to create a beautiful day that we could share with our families and friends but that wouldn’t send us to the poor house or make us forget the purpose of it all.  Through the planning and creating I started to recognize where people lose site of the purpose.  When I hear a bride to be or groom to be saying “It is MY day, it is ALL about ME!!!” it makes me cringe.  Like so many things in our society we have lost site of the relationship with have with people and things.  It is all about ME, what I want, me, me, me, me, me.  I took to heart things people told us such as “Oh it just goes by in a blur, you feel as though you and your husband didn’t get to spend any time together”.  When I hear that my heart feels a tad bit sad for them and I knew that on our day I wanted it to be about us, our union and my bonus daughter.  I wanted every piece of that day to be a true representation of who we were and what our marriage was to be.  Now, on a side note our expectations always get in the way (for me this happened later on down the road) but I will get to that later.  I never viewed our wedding “day” as just a day.  To me, it was and always will be, the first day of our marriage.  We took great care in crafting our ceremony, picking our music to walk down to (we both had our parents walk us down to music), incorporating our cultures, our personalities and our love into every fiber of it.  

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So the day came and many things went “wrong”.  Our photographer didn’t show up (I am still working to get our money back, piece of advice:  never pay in full and listen to your intuition, I had FOUR dreams she didn’t show up), the sand ceremony wasn’t set up the way it was supposed to be, the table cards weren’t exactly right, we started VERY late, the wrong songs were played despite MUCH planning but none of that mattered.  We carried on and made it a day to remember not just for us but for everyone who was present that day.  I could have had a melt down when I realized the photographer didn’t show up but I simply responded with “Round everyone up, get everyone with a camera and let’s do this.”  When I realized what our Officiant meant when she said “The opening for the sand bottle was too small so I made a funnel” (mind you it was during the ceremony I realized what she meant), I could have had a melt down.  I didn’t, I just said ‘eh’, we will do it at the reception.  At the end of the evening we did not feel that we didn’t get enough time with each other.  We felt present and connected every moment. Our guests felt the same and we still receive the best compliments about that day and how it impacted others.

What I hope to bring to people is the message, when you are planning your special day that will mark the first say of your marriage don’t lose site of the purpose.  Conscious wedding planning (not just in the “green” sense) will leave you and your guests with much to remember, reflect on and reconnect with when times aren’t so easy.  I promise you that you will reach set backs, bumps, and struggles as you are learning your dance, especially if you are adding step-coupling and bonus-mommyhood into the equation.  If you can’t handle the small bumps that come up during the planning or the day then how will you ever handle the big stuff?  If you start your marriage off with “It is MY day instead of OUR day” or “It is all about ME instead of US”,  how will you learn the dance that every couple has to learn?  How will you compromise and learn the give and take; or that sometimes it is not equitable or fair, sometimes one needs to give a little bit more than the other?  My mission is to bring the relationship and consciousness back into the wedding, the first day of the marriage and beyond.

‘Love and Light’

Tina Louise