Vida Brown

Vida Brown

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Marriage, Is It Overrated?

By:  Davida Brown 

 

When I was a little girl, I loved all the princess fairy tales.  Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty…I couldn’t get enough. Each time the Prince arrived, I’d clap with glee.  He was always so dreamy and knew exactly what to say to melt the Princess’ heart.  And, honestly, he melted mine.  He seemed perfect in every way. I longed for the day when I too would meet my Prince and we’d ride off into the sunset, destined for a life filled with sunshine and blue skies.

As I grew up, I realized that fairy tales are just that. Not reality.  Yes, I eventually met my Prince.  Yes, he was dreamy. Yes, he said all the right things.  Yes, he melted my heart.  But that’s where the similarities ended.  My husband is my Prince, but Perfect? No. And me, Perfect? Uh no. Our relationship, Perfect? Absolutely no. After we tied the knot, did we start a blissful life together? You already know the answer.

I recently read an article about marriage wherein the author questioned whether marriage is overrated.  The author talked about how so many marriages fail, how couples aren’t really willing to put in the work to make the marriage thrive, how most marriages just coast along. Ultimately, the author concluded that most couples eventually discover that while marriage has benefits, it’s overrated, and for many, not really worth all the effort it requires.

As I reflected on the article, I couldn’t help but think back to my childhood, the fairy tales, and all the things I thought marriage would be. I was fortunate enough to see “marriage” in action firsthand, as I was raised by parents who were married until death.  I was fortunate enough to witness how a couple communicates effectively.  I was fortunate enough to witness how a couple should handle adversity, manage differences and move forward together.  At the time, I didn’t know that those observations would shape my expectations of marriage.  At the time, I didn’t know that those observations would supplant the fairy tale romance and notions of marriage I had as a small child. At the time, I had no idea that those observations would make me a believer—a believer that marriage, a great marriage, can never be overrated. 

If anything, marriage is underrated and here’s why.

  • Marriage is the quintessential team. My marriage is the only relationship I’ve experienced where another human being is 100% invested in me.  My husband wants to experience, be part of, and influence my life’s journey.  He wants me to “win” in every way possible and is committed to doing his part to see that happen.  And yes it’s reciprocal.  See what we’ve figured out is, my experiences affect him and as a result become part of his journey. When I’m happy, so is he.  When I’m b*tchy, he’s off his game.  When I’m stressed, so is he. When I succeed – promotion or other accomplishments – so does he. We are a team.  There is no “I”, only “we” and “us.”  I am truly an extension of him and him, an extension of me.   What other relationship offers that?
  •  Marriage allows complete vulnerability. My marriage is the only relationship I’ve experienced where I can be 100% vulnerable and completely transparent.  I can say those things I only think about and dare not say out loud for fear of rejection, disapproval or judgment. I can fail miserably and fall completely apart at the seams, because he’ll be there to help me pick up the pieces. I can be 100% me, flaws and all, without fear that he’ll leave me, because he gets that they’re part of me and make me the woman he simply can’t be without. What other relationship offers that?
  • Marriage has incomparable sexual Intimacy. My body is 100% his and his is 100% mine. This fact unleashes a freedom and inhibition that is unparalleled.  Can you have great, even toe-curling sex outside of marriage? Yes, but it pales in comparison to the intimacy and connection you’ll experience with your spouse. Our sex blows my mind. What other relationship offers that?
  • Marriage is the highest high. When we are in sync, the happiness I feel is unmatched.  It trumps my best day at work. It trumps my melting heart when my kids smile at me, call me mommy, and say they love me.  In fact, that happiness is addictive. We both crave it, and during the “valleys”, we both start itching for that moment when we’ll be back at that happy place again.  In what other relationship could I experience that?

 

Is my marriage a fairy tale? No.  Have we experienced storms that nearly wiped us out? Yes indeed.  Would I trade it for single hood or any other relationship? Not in a million years.  Is it Overrated? No way, far from it.

How to Dig your Familial Grave


By M. Simone Boyd  


Pop Quiz: is it easier for you to point out the positive or negative qualities in your loved ones? If you are anything like me it is SO much easier to pinpoint the negative rather than the positive. Especially, when it comes to family! But nagging and being overly critical is a sure-fire way to wreck your familial relationships. I learned that lesson from Abraham Lincoln and his wife. And it saved me from fussing at my husband for no good reason.


The Case of the Frozen Vegetables


One day, I opened the refrigerator to discover that two bags of frozen vegetables had been removed from the freezer, opened, and placed in the refrigerator. Both bags were clearly labeled: KEEP FROZEN. Yet, the vegetables had been left in the refrigerator.


This was a major problem. And, I was fuming. Only one other person—my husband--lived in our 300 sq. ft. studio apartment. So, I knew immediately who to blame. Why had our Trader Joe’s Country Potatoes & Wild Mushrooms been carelessly moved to the refrigerator? Each bag cost $2.99 (a total of $6.49 with tax). Didn’t I always say “waste not, want not?” This was clearly wasting. And, hungry children across the globe could have feasted for a week on $6.49.


I thought about calling my husband at work to ask about the reason for leaving frozen vegetables in the refrigerator. But, I decided against it. Thankfully. Because, I learned on the way to work that the great tragedy of Abraham Lincoln’s life was his marriage. Dale Carnegie in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, says that Mrs. Lincoln nagged and harassed the life out President Lincoln for almost 25 years.


What Abraham Lincoln & His Wife Taught Me


Nothing Lincoln did was ever right. Mrs. Lincoln complained that:
• he walked funny
• his ears were too big
• his nose was too big, and that
• he was stoop-shouldered

And her nagging changed President Lincoln’s attitude toward her. As a circuit attorney, he remained on the road for three months in the spring and fall. The other attorneys went home on the weekends, but not Lincoln. He dreaded going home. So, he didn’t. Those are the results Mrs. Lincoln got from nagging.


After reading that story, I asked myself “Am I like Mrs. Lincoln?” The truth is: I was much like her. I could easily find things my loved ones did wrong. But, when it came to pointing out the positive I found myself at a loss for words. And that’s a problem.


Science Says….


Because science says that we must give five positive comments for every negative comment for a relationship to be healthy and survive long-term. Elizabeth Scott, M.S. says that “it’s well-known in the therapeutic community that negative statements from others can erode our sense of self-worth. That’s why we must be intentional and use our words to build our family up, especially our spouses.


Case Closed


Regarding those frozen vegetables, it turns out I blew the whole thing out of proportion. My husband was thawing them to eat for breakfast after his workouts.


Question: What strategies can we use to avoid nagging? And how will it improve our marriages?


M. Simone Boyd researches and writes about what makes relationships, marriages, and families thrive or die. For more tips on building strong relationships visit her blog at www.myfamilyfantastic.com or follow her on twitter @msimoneboyd

The Aftermath of Infidelity: How Do I Trust Again?

THE AFTERMATH OF INFIDELITY: HOW DO I TRUST AGAIN?

 

Webinar Event is today, March 5th at 8:00 PM (EST).

 

You may participate in the webinar by clicking on the play button below or this link: 

http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventid=66259650 (Use this link to replay the webinar)

 

If you have questions that you'd like answered during the event, please submit.

 

Click here for Coaching Packages

 

The Aftermath of Infidelity: How Do I Trust Again?

 

ARE YOU READY TO TRUST AGAIN?

 

Recovering from infidelity is hard. But with work, it can be done.  Not only can your marriage recover, but you can fully restore trust in your marriage. 

  

You already know that forgiving your spouse is essential to rebuilding the trust, but to fully restore the trust takes more. Our FREE webinar, The Aftermath of Infidelity: How Do I Trust Again?, will not only teach you the process to fully restore the trust, but give you specific exercises to actually do it.

  

Why are we so confident our process works? Well, several years ago, Derrick and I experienced this issue. We almost didn’t survive it, but we did, following the process and doing the exercises we will be sharing with you. Now, we're closer than ever, and using this process, we've helped other couples rebuild and restore trust in their marriage after infidelity.  We are so passionate about helping couples in this area and, yes, that includes you.  

 

READY TO SIGN UP? CLICK HERE TO REGISTER    

 

Before I share the logisticslet me tell you who this webinar is PERFECT for...

 

This webinar is PERFECT for you if you’re trying to figure out if you want your marriage in light of the infidelity.

This webinar is PERFECT for you if you’ve made a decision to trust your spouse again, but don't know how to translate that decision into actually trusting your spouse.

This webinar is PERFECT for you if you are in wait-and-see mode.

This webinar is PERFECT for you if the Wall of China is around your heart.

 

In a nutshell, this webinar is PERFECT for you if want to trust again and are ready and committed to implementing specific steps to do just that – TRUST Your Spouse Again.

 

READY TO SIGN UP? CLICK HERE

 

Don't delay.  This webinar has limited space and will fill up.  We almost never offer our webinars for free, as our clients pay hundreds of dollars for our coaching services, but because we are so passionate about this issue, we are making it available to a limited number of participants. We hope that includes you.  

 

With this webinar, you get

  •  the step-by-step process we used to fully rebuild trust in our marriage.
  • the individual and couple exercises we provide our clients to enable them to rebuild and restore trust in their marriage.
  • to submit questions prior to the event so we can cover your issues during the presentation or during the Q&A.

 

This webinar is a coaching session.  So come ready to take notes. Understand that after this content-rich session, you will have specific exercises to do individually and as a couple to rebuild the trust.

 

Webinar Date: March 5, 2015
Time: 8 pm, EST
Duration: 60 Minutes

 

Worried that you won’t be able to make it on the 5th or at 8 pm, EST? Don’t worry. The event is being recorded and will be available for replay for 48 hours after the event for registrants. You can listen in as often as you’d like. Simply go to the event page link you will receive after registration.

 

So what are you waiting for. Register now! Space is limited!

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

 Remember, every day is a new opportunity to move your marriage forward.

 

Davida and Derrick Brown

This Is Marriage

By: Nicole Dash 

The greenish-blue hue of the cheaply made hair net matches his eyes. The blankets cover his body and the IV bag hangs behind him. He is about to be wheeled into surgery – a minor foot surgery to remove a broken sesamoid bone which has caused pain for nearly two years. I hold my breath as I exit the pre-op area even though I know he’ll be fine. He will be home in a few hours complaining about his new crutches and forced bed rest. I will spend the next few weeks caring for and loving him while occasionally rolling my eyes at his requests for extra blankets and back scratches. I will feel frustrated at his stubborn insistence to push himself. He will feel vulnerable and irritated by his temporary limitations. We will laugh at the absurdity of the situation one second and argue for no reason the next. We will both wish for time to pass quickly. Yet, I wouldn’t trade one minute. I wouldn’t want anyone else caring for him.

What does it really means to form a partnership and marriage with someone? To meet someone and eventually make the decision to share a life together. To be brave enough to embark on a journey that is ridiculously fraught with imperfections. To give over a piece of your heart and in turn accept another person’s heart – by choice.

Marriage IS NOT a fairy tale. Marriage IS NOT always simple. Marriage IS NOT about perfection. Marriage IS NOT just about love – although most marriages test, push, and teach about the true meaning of love.

Here is what marriage is actually about.

Marriage is acceptance.

Marriage is vulnerability.

Marriage is forgiveness.

Marriage is truth.

Marriage is partnership.

Marriage is choice and commitment.

Marriage is laughter.

Marriage is sharing dreams and experiences.

Marriage is frustration and sometimes anger.

Marriage is love and joy.

Marriage is disappointment and sometimes tears.

Marriage is work.

Marriage is family.

Marriage is friendship.

Marriage is a journey.

My husband and I have been on this journey for nearly 10 years. Some days, I shake my head and wonder how and why it all started. I wonder if I’m the only one driven partly mad by the experience. Then I remember. I look into his eyes and I know. This IS marriage. A real marriage. Our marriage.

In sickness and in health, broken foot and all. We belong to each other.

 

Nicole Dash is a blogger.  She is the creator of tinystepsmommy.com, a blog about life, family and finding yourself amid the chaos.

How I Saved My Marriage

 
Someone shared this blog post with me and it really touched me.  So many couples are dealing with how to save their marriage.  If that's you, I hope Richard's story will encourage and inspire you.

How I Saved My Marriage

 

By:  Richard Paul Evans

 

(Dedicated to my sweetheart.)

My oldest daughter, Jenna, recently said to me, “My greatest fear as a child was that you and mom would get divorced. Then, when I was twelve, I decided that you fought so much that maybe it would be better if you did.” Then she added with a smile. “I’m glad you guys figured things out.”

For years my wife Keri and I struggled. Looking back, I’m not exactly sure what initially drew us together, but our personalities didn’t quite match up. And the longer we were married the more extreme the differences seemed. Encountering “fame and fortune” didn’t make our marriage any easier. In fact, it exacerbated our problems. The tension between us got so bad that going out on book tour became a relief, though it seems we always paid for it on re-entry. Our fighting became so constant that it was difficult to even imagine a peaceful relationship. We became perpetually defensive, building emotional fortresses around our hearts. We were on the edge of divorce and more than once we discussed it.

I was on book tour when things came to a head. We had just had another big fight on the phone and Keri had hung up on me. I was alone and lonely, frustrated and angry. I had reached my limit. That’s when I turned to God. Or turned on God. I don’t know if you could call it prayer–maybe shouting at God isn’t prayer, maybe it is–but whatever I was engaged in I’ll never forget it. I was standing in the shower of the Buckhead, Atlanta Ritz-Carlton yelling at God that marriage was wrong and I couldn’t do it anymore. As much as I hated the idea of divorce, the pain of being together was just too much. I was also confused. I couldn’t figure out why marriage with Keri was so hard. Deep down I knew that Keri was a good person. And I was a good person. So why couldn’t we get along? Why had I married someone so different than me? Why wouldn’t she change?

Finally, hoarse and broken, I sat down in the shower and began to cry. In the depths of my despair powerful inspiration came to me. You can’t change her, Rick. You can only change yourself. At that moment I began to pray. If I can’t change her, God, then change me. I prayed late into the night. I prayed the next day on the flight home. I prayed as I walked in the door to a cold wife who barely even acknowledged me. That night, as we lay in our bed, inches from each other yet miles apart, the inspiration came. I knew what I had to do.

 The next morning I rolled over in bed next to Keri and asked, “How can I make your day better?”

Keri looked at me angrily. “What?”

“How can I make your day better?”

“You can’t,” she said. “Why are you asking that?”

“Because I mean it,” I said. “I just want to know what I can do to make your day better.”

She looked at me cynically. “You want to do something? Go clean the kitchen.”

She likely expected me to get mad. Instead I just nodded. “Okay.” I got up and cleaned the kitchen.

The next day I asked the same thing. “What can I do to make your day better?”

Her eyes narrowed. “Clean the garage.”

I took a deep breath. I already had a busy day and I knew she had made the request in spite. I was tempted to blow up at her. Instead I said, “Okay.” I got up and for the next two hours cleaned the garage. Keri wasn’t sure what to think.

The next morning came. “What can I do to make your day better?”

“Nothing!” she said. “You can’t do anything. Please stop saying that.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “But I can’t. I made a commitment to myself. What can I do to make your day better?”

“Why are you doing this?”

“Because I care about you,” I said. “And our marriage.”

The next morning I asked again. And the next. And the next. Then, during the second week, a miracle occurred. As I asked the question Keri’s eyes welled up with tears. Then she broke down crying. When she could speak she said, “Please stop asking me that. You’re not the problem. I am. I’m hard to live with. I don’t know why you stay with me.”

I gently lifted her chin until she was looking in my eyes. “It’s because I love you,” I said. “What can I do to make your day better?”

“I should be asking you that.”

“You should,” I said. “But not now. Right now, I need to be the change. You need to know how much you mean to me.”

She put her head against my chest. “I’m sorry I’ve been so mean.”

“I love you,” I said.

“I love you,” she replied.

“What can I do to make your day better?”

She looked at me sweetly. “Can we maybe just spend some time together?”

I smiled. “I’d like that.”

I continued asking for more than a month. And things did change. The fighting stopped. Then Keri began asking, “What do you need from me? How can I be a better wife?”

The walls between us fell. We began having meaningful discussions on what we wanted from life and how we could make each other happier. No, we didn’t solve all our problems. I can’t even say that we never fought again. But the nature of our fights changed. Not only were they becoming more and more rare, they lacked the energy they’d once had. We’d deprived them of oxygen. We just didn’t have it in us to hurt each other anymore.

Keri and I have now been married for more than thirty years. I not only love my wife, I like her. I like being with her. I crave her. I need her. Many of our differences have become strengths and the others don’t really matter. We’ve learned how to take care of each other and, more importantly, we’ve gained the desire to do so.

Marriage is hard. But so is parenthood and keeping fit and writing books and everything else important and worthwhile in my life. To have a partner in life is a remarkable gift. I’ve also learned that the institution of marriage can help heal us of our most unlovable parts. And we all have unlovable parts.

Through time I’ve learned that our experience was an illustration of a much larger lesson about marriage. The question everyone in a committed relationship should ask their significant other is, “What can I do to make your life better?” That is love. Romance novels (and I’ve written a few) are all about desire and happily-ever-after, but happily-ever-after doesn’t come from desire–at least not the kind portrayed in most pulp romances. Real love is not to desire a person, but to truly desire their happiness–sometimes, even, at the expense of our own happiness. Real love is not to make another person a carbon copy of one’s self. It is to expand our own capabilities of tolerance and caring, to actively seek another’s well being. All else is simply a charade of self-interest.

I’m not saying that what happened to Keri and me will work for everyone. I’m not even claiming that all marriages should be saved. But for me, I am incredibly grateful for the inspiration that came to me that day so long ago. I’m grateful that my family is still intact and that I still have my wife, my best friend, in bed next to me when I wake in the morning. And I’m grateful that even now, decades later, every now and then, one of us will still roll over and say, “What can I do to make your day better.” Being on either side of that question is something worth waking up for.


Read more at http://www.richardpaulevans.com/saved-marriage/#I6TB6Fp46rmu350Y.99

I Want a Super Bowl Marriage. Do You?

By: Davida Brown  

Yesterday, I watched two incredible teams battle it out for the Super Bowl Championship. And it was a battle. The first half was all about the Patriots. But in the final minute before halftime, the Seahawks came roaring back, tying the game at 14. In the second half, the 3rd quarter was the Seahawks all the way. They went up by 10 and I really thought it was over for the Patriots. But Tom Brady, quarterback for the Patriots, wasn't having it. He marched his team down the field twice, getting two touch downs and taking the lead, 28-24. I wondered, is it over? Not hardly. The Seahawks battled back, driving to the one yard line. In the last few seconds of the game, Russell Wilson threw an interception, sealing the win for the Patriots.

After the game, I was full of excitement and emotion. I thought about how much work and effort those athletes put into the season, taking it game-by-game, doing their best to get an opportunity to play in the big show. I wondered, how many couples are putting in that same Herculean effort in their marriage? How many are taking the ups and downs? How many are tackling the adversity they’re given, and battling through it? How many couples are, when there seems to be no end in sight to the drama or no way to turn things around, digging in their heels and continuing to fight for their marriage? How many?

There are so many examples in life, like sports, that show that hard work pays off. The Seahawks didn't win, but they are the NFC Champs, an awesome accomplishment that many teams have yet to achieve. So many of us put in countless hours on the job or in school to get that new job or promotion? And the work was worth it, right? It feels so good, maybe even magical, experiencing the fruit of that labor. With the same hard work and effort, you can have the “Super Bowl” of marriages, the one you always dreamed you’d have. The only question is, how much work are you willing to put in?

Are you prioritizing your marriage? If you want the best marriage possible, your marriage should not only be a priority, but the top priority. When you and your partner are in sync, everything else falls into place. Consistent time for each other and the cares and concerns of your marriage will not only produce a positive change or result in your marriage, but also improve your quality of life. So put in the effort daily and watch your marriage blossom.
• Have you mapped out a marital plan for success? That plan lays out your expectations of each other and agreed upon goals for your marriage. It will cover all the major things, like how to communicate effectively with each other, how to resolve or manage conflict when you disagree, your financial goals and strategies for the next year or 5 years, and on and on. In essence, it’s the blueprint for your marriage. You can turn to it and rely upon it to help you get through those inevitable storms.
• Have you become complacent? You did things, perhaps pulled out all the stops, to woo your spouse and win his or her heart. What have you done for them lately? The past is the past. You must continue to move forward and find creative ways to maintain and enhance the connection in your marriage. You should be open to and receptive to change, as your partner will grow and change over time. Then, taking that knowledge, explore new ways to intensify the connection.

A championship marriage is within your reach. So go ahead and put in the work. Then, sit back together and reap the rewards.

The Secret of Introvert Relationships

By:  Simone Boyd

Over the past few days, I’ve found myself defending my introvert husband from my family when he doesn’t show up to one of the millions of family gatherings, basketball games, or social commitments that are thrust upon us.

And questions like “Where’s Morris?” “Why didn’t he come to the basketball game (insert raised eyebrow)?” and “Does Morris like us?” are beginning to annoy me.

The Secret of Introvert Relationships

The secret is this: introverts and extroverts charge their batteries in different ways.

  • Introverts get energy from being alone.
  • Extroverts get energy from being around people.
  • And if we don’t make allowances for each other…we both end up drained.

So while my husband loves me, my family, and friends dearly…being around a ton of people is draining. I learned this earlier in our marriage when I dropped a last minute BBQ on his plate and was hit with the almost-silent treatment.

The Introvert Solution

The good news is that you can avoid giving your introvert a dead battery with proper planning. Morris and I have come up with some solutions for balancing the needs of introverts and extroverts.  And, I want to share them with you.

The Social Calendar

At the beginning of the month we make a calendar with all of our social commitments i.e. dinner parties, bar mitzvahs, BBQ’s etc.  And we decide what events are a priority…it helps my introvert to know waaaaay in advance that we have a social commitment.

Give your introvert plenty of notice about social events, it will give them the chance to mentally prepare.

Go It Alone

For example, just last night I joined my family for a basketball game and Morris stayed at home. It’s not that he doesn’t like my family or basketball. But, it was more important to me that he recharge for the work week ahead.

You and your introvert are not conjoined twins. So, when possible let them recharge with some alone time.

Save Your Social Commitment Capital

Twice a month I get to pick two of my social events (i.e. dinner with my friends etc.) that Morris will join me for. And it makes those events super special for me because Morris is giving me the gift of his presence. I think it makes the events special for him because he knows they mean a lot to me and he’s being an outstanding husband.

Choose social commitments wisely. It’ll cut down on unnecessary draining of your introverts battery.

The Worst Thing You Can Do

The worst thing you can do is to treat your introvert like they have a disease. Patronizing questions like “Are you okay my little introvert?” “Are you sure you can handle being around the Jones for the entire afternoon?” are sure to incite rage.

Treat them like you always have.

Just make plans that allow them to recharge.

 

**Simone Boyd is a guest blogger.  She is a writer and speaker on relationship issues.  More information about Simone and her work can be found at http://myfamilyfantastic.com/blog/?page_id=67