Hey just so you know in advance you won’t be seeing me posting any pictures of a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a new pair of shoes, or an expensive dinner this year because we are going minimalist this year. (I don’t know why but I seem to enjoy them more when they are on sale lol. But if anything it just means we get more quality and meaningful time to spend on each other without any filters!!!!Anyways here are ways we are going to show love to each other in our home this year.
- Valentines Breakfast with the Little Ones. (Breakfasts are so much easier than dinner together its easy to prepare and we get yummy pancakes or waffles and some good old OJ) Or switch it around and have breakfast for dinner
- Thoughtful notes: throughout the month.. My husband loves receiving notes from me and photos of the little ones. So this is nice and easy for us. You can either send them by text, email, or a good old card or even a video there are lots of ways to express your love through words. On valentines we may just stick a few extra hearts on the door to make them feel extra special.
- Service: Look for somebody who needs extra love: Brainstorm a few people that you want to stop by and give them a HEART ATTACK on their front door. Even a simple note of thanks and gratitude works wonders. If you are feeling extra loving a visit to an elderly home or a homeless shelter will go a long way.
- Service Trade: If gifts are wanted gift certificates are always a fun gift to give, such as a massage for 30mins, a foot rub, or even, daddy daughter ice cream date. Valentines is more about quality time together not necessarily a gift of some sort.
- Home made cards: With a hand print and paint or crayons you are sorted!!! Give them to grandma and grandpa, to the mailman to your neighbors, its such a small thing that will help your children get in the habit of giving.
What are your favorite SIMPLE valentine traditions??? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Lets face it, this is just a difficult time to keep the romance alive. You just had a baby, you are still feeling bloated, and your bodies trying to adapt to the hormones and everything post pregnancy whether you are breastfeeding or recovering from a c-section. But all reasons aside we can’t just abandon this aspect of our marriage completely. If anything this is such an important time for you and your spouse as he may be feeling more neglected with the new baby in the house. The truth is if you are not looking after yourself and your marriage first, this will reflect in your parenting. So in order to be a better mother be a better wife first. ( p.s this photo was taken literally a day after we had our 2nd baby at the hospital! first official date night after baby and she was in the nursery just down the hall hahaha)
- Try and have the baby sleep in their own crib or bassinet. This is hard at first especially if you are nursing and fall asleep during it (like me) But if you prefer to co-sleep use one of those attachments to your bed so that you and your spouse still have your own space.
2. Self Care! This is something I always neglect but have come to see the importance in lately. Even just waking up earlier to have a nice shower, even putting on makeup and doing your hair can do wonders for you. For me I just enjoy going for a walk in the morning. It is so easy to get caught up in the drab of being in your p.js all day long. At least dressing up will make you look more cuddly even if you don’t really feel like it.
3. Communicate with your spouse. Help him understand that time together will be less but when you do get time together ensure that it is QUALITY TIME! Talk and plan what things you can do as soon as you get that time alone.
4. Set specific Date nights. Right now we can’t really leave our little one with anyone so we always set at least 10mins aside each day to talk with each other. It really has become my favorite part of the day, even though I get sick of his work stories I just enjoy where our conversations end up. While the kids are asleep pop out the ice cream or the goodies and have a date night in the kitchen or on the deck outside. Creativity is KEY!!
Would love to know your ideas and thoughts. Email me or message me at email@example.com.
New podcast series alert!
Because I am lazy at writing and also getting dressed for videos I have found my perfect medium podcasting!!! Check it out would love to hear your feedback!
p.s be gentle on the sound quality and I also have a really bad cold!!! PRACTICE = PROGRESS!!!
(photography by Conner and Tracy at the Grand Turks Island 2016)
We love going on family trips therefore we always need to factor in family vacations into our budget. We love going from the simple overnight camping trips, to staying at a bed and breakfast to going half-way across the world to visit my family in New Zealand.
My husband and I live a pretty simple life with one car, one phone and occasionally go out for a pizza or thai food once a week. We also live on a pretty tight budget since he is the only provider right now therefore we may have to scrimp at times but we never lack. We also have pretty strict rules on debt and the only debt we have is that of our house. We will never do trips or purchase anything if they put us in any financial burden. We maintain a good emergency fund of 6 months and find other ways to invest the rest. (So let’s say we scrimp on daily spending so we can enjoy more fun family vacations.) So there’s some background for you. Today I thought of sharing some ways that we budget for our family trips.
- Get a Vacation Calendar – This isn’t always the easiest when sometimes we end up going with other family members. But at least getting out a yearly calendar and slotting in the times when you want to go on vacation especially the big ones that you know for sure. Seeing the different times you want to go and where you want to go will help you allocate a budget to each vacation
- Budget – Now you know how many times you are going out of town and roughly estimate how much you will be spending at each place. Once you know how much you are spending at each place divide that by weekly or bi-weekly however you get paid to know how much you have to put aside each week for the trips.
- Get Creative – I am a firm believer if you don’t have the money for it and you want it then go out there and get the money for it. Life’s too short to go without! (to a certain degree) If the vacation is out of your budget then don’t just end it there, get creative!!! If this is something you really want you will make the money for it. Whether you pick up extra hours doing something on the weekend, sell extra things out of your house or start up a new craft to sell.
- Research – So for me I can go pretty extreme. I don’t care about where we stay…Just as long as I am there I will hitchhike to get around or sleep in my car if necessary . (it’s all part of the fun adventure for me) But do your research into all the free activities and all the discounted places you can find to eat, sleep and activities to do while there. The more research the better idea you have and how much money you will need to allocate to this place. Many times they will charge you for having a tour but if you walked around yourself it would be free. Some people enjoy living luxuriously and that’s great every now and then but if I can save enough for another trip I am down for that!!
- Scale – If big trips are just out of your budget just opt for smaller trips around your hometown or a few cities or state away! These vacations are just as fun, they don’t need to be elaborate or fancy. The most important thing about vacations is dedicating extra time to be with the people you love the most and strengthening those bonds.
Vacations and Holidays are times for us to build family memories and to bond on a closer level. Therefore we value this time together as something extra. Yeah the photos are fun and posting it on social media has it perks but it’s no fun if you are going to be in debt for it. So be smart!
If you have any questions or comments feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to talk to you about strengthening your marriage and family and creating a vision for your family that you have dreamed of and making it a reality.
“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” -Gandhi
You may wondering what is all this self awareness stuff got to do with relationships and marriage.Being self-aware in marriage or any relationship is an amazing skill that will allow you to communicate effectively and truly understand your environment and be able to take control of your own emotions. I guess for me my understanding is that if you don’t know yourself how are you able to get to know and love anybody else. Love comes from within, we need to give love to receive love and therefore being aware of who we are can help us develop love for ourselves. (Wow that’s some deep stuff right there haha) But for real though. All healthy relationships come from a deep understanding of self.
Self-awareness (sometimes also referred to as self-knowledge or introspection) is about understanding your own needs, desires, failings, habits, and everything else that makes you tick. The more you know about yourself, the better you are at adapting life changes that suit your needs.
We are literally like a onion we have sooo many layers to us to uncover and understand. I seriously find that the more I go on in life and continue to self reflect the more I connect the dots to why I do and think the way I do.
- Understanding our emotions—what we’re feeling and what triggered it—so we can effectively work through and transform our emotional responses (instead of using them to justify unhealthy choices)
- Recognizing our destructive thought patterns so we can redirect them
- Tuning into what’s going on in our bodies so we can learn from it and access our intuition
- Noticing our behavioral patterns and habits so that we can make adjustments to change negative ones
- Understanding our beliefs, assumptions, and expectations, and how they influence what we choose to do
- Accepting that we are responsible for our actions—even if we developed certain patterns in response to events from our past
Here are some activities that you can practice and implement into your life to help be self reflect.
- List You: What are your beliefs? What do you stand for? What are your likes and dislikes? What are fears? What are your goals? What do you believe your relationships should look like? What qualities do you have to contribute to your relationship?
- Question your thoughts or beliefs. Look at what you have written about yourself and now its time think objectively. For example ask yourself why do I prefer to demand that my partner come straight home after work? Why do I want him always with me? Why do I get mad when he wants to spend time with his friends? Ask yourself these questions whenever those times come up when you are frustrated at something your partner does. If you can’t in the moment then do it when you have calmed down. Is your belief legit or where does it stem from. You can dig deeper and deeper and find the root cause of your beliefs. It may be helpful to do this with a trusted friend, coach or therapist to guide you in the right direction.
- Keep a Journal: Not just what you ate for breakfast but include feelings and anything that will help you understand and reflect on yourself more. Like including what you ate for breakfast or why you didn’t how you were feeling in the moment can help when you go back to read and reflect. Writing a journal helps you identify patterns a lot more easier. So being consistency is key for this exercise. Journals are most effective if done over a long period of time from 6months-12months will give you some good insight on yourself.
- Evaluate: Now you have seen some of your qualities and recorded your behaviour in your journal. Set some goals on what you want to work on to improve your marriage or relationships. You can always keep on track coming back to your goals on a weekly basis to see how you are changing your behaviour. Some people need this written down others can just work on one at a time so it’s easier to keep track of. Remember you will not change overnight so keep working on it. Make your goals easy to monitor so you don’t feel too overwhelmed and give up.
Lets face it we will never be completely and fully ready for anything in life? How many of us were ready to go to school for the first day? Or start a new job or college or anything. I know I wasn’t ever ready but I did it and I became better because I jumped in it with faith and hope and an attitude to work at it. Marriage is a big step and although we may never be completely ready for it there are some things that we can do to better prepare ourselves for this lifelong commitment. Here are some general questions to ask yourself if you are wondering if you are ready for this marriage thing!
Is my relationship with God priority above all else?
If you do not have solid foundations you will not be able to stand. Do you feel your relationship with God is superficial work on it? Your relationship with God is the foundation for any marriage if it is strong you will be able to withstand whatever trials that may come your way.
Have I fallen in Love with Myself?
One of the worst things a girl can do is going into a marriage being self-conscious, jealous and emotionally unstable. We need to love ourselves first. We need to have a deep knowledge and understanding and love of who we are wherever we are at in our life. When we can find love from within us we don’t need to compare ourselves to other women and feel insecure about ourselves. Many women break down and fall apart when their spouse isn’t there for them but as we know how to love ourselves wecan handle these situationsWe enjoy love from others but also know that we don’t heavily depend on it because our love from inside is greater and we know that we have a greater source of love which is God and His love is unconditional.
Am I willing to be Selfless in all aspects of my life?
Marriage is selfless. You need to be doing things for the sake of the marriage not for your own personal gain. From the children to your sexual intimacy marriage is doing things for each other.
Am I willing to be open and vulnerable in my marriage?
When we are open and vulnerable this is where REAL TRUST is built. When we communicate our true feelings and emotions it builds strength in your relationship. Some people may look at this as a sign of weakness but know that when you do this your partner will be able to confide in you as well and you start building true foundations of trust, love and commitment all because you were willing to be open and vulnerable.
Am I humble enough to admit fault and learn?
Humility is big if you are humble enough to know when you are wrong and also willing to admit fault this will take you a long way. Communicating is vital to let your partner know how you are feeling and expressing it in a loving and calm way.
Am I committed to being with this one person through thick and thin and accept where they are at?
Who you decide to marry is not going to change overnight. Too often we want to change them but the fact of the matter is we can’t change anybody. It has to come from within themselves. We as partners need to love them for where they are at and how far they have become. It does not mean we lose sight of their potential but we love them along this journey.
What would you add to the list? Would love to hear your thoughts? If you are working on some of these and would like to get some more personal advice I would love to talk to you. Email me at email@example.com.
Pauline and Maverick Kaufusi met in high school they were in the same history class. She goes to say “We stayed good friends. I went to BYUH and returned as a BYUH intern to Tonga in 2013. We hung out again. And he randomly asked me to marry him. I didn’t know if it was for real and so we ended up playing it out like he was just playing around. Long story short i didn’t finish my mission papers and we got engaged and got married oct 2014”
- What was your top qualities in looking for a spouse?
So my top qualities i was looking for in a spouse was someone who I could see myself as close to him as I my mum am to my dad. I wanted good conversation, someone I could just be myself with and it wasn’t a chore to try make conversation or try and pretend like I wanted to hang out. I don’t know if that makes any sense. Also it was top priority that i got married in the temple, if it wasn’t the temple then sorry mate you’re not for me! I wanted to make sure he would always treat me well in public as well as behind closed doors. He needed to respect me as well as other women regardless.
- What has been the biggest adjustment for you being married?
I think the biggest adjustment for me was having to consult someone about my decisions big or small. I moved out of home at 14 and boarded then went on to university and flatted so I was always used to making my own decisions, spending time/money on whatever I wanted. So adjusting was a learning process. Simply remembering to include my husband in decision making. It was also difficult for my husband too because he felt I was independent and I didn’t need him enough so I had to balance and include him in our decisions
- What was the best advice someone gave to for marriage?
My young women’s president in youth told me “Don’t give up an eternity of happiness for a few moments of satisfaction” this helped me in the dating stages to hold my standards high and wait for someone who is ready for the temple.
- What has been the most enjoyable part of marriage?
The most enjoyable part of marriage is being over the “playing hard to get” stage. Once you are past that it’s all fun and games. Also the best is not have to say goodbye at night and he go home or I go home. That was always a pain when dating
- What have you done to get through your tough times in marriage?
Tough times in our marriage has been a learning process but when we can’t stand each other my husband would just say we are in this forever so either way angry or not I’m still the one you will wake up to in the morning. So we just take time to cool off I always want to talk about it but sometimes we just get over it and it’s easier that way. In the end it doesn’t matter who’s right.
Marriage is a fun and great experience, I thought I loved my husband when I was dating and when I married him. But I learn more and more about him every day and even after knowing his flaws I continue to love him. Like he says we are in this forever. There’s no going back!!!
Last month I talked about emotional abuse and the fear that this kind of behavior fosters in home and family environment. There are many ways emotional abuse can be rendered but today I wanted to touch on having open communication and creating this environment in our homes. Homes that are emotionally abusive can instill fear into members of the family which don’t allow for open communication to each other or even to people outside who may be able to help them.
I know firsthand how it feels to live in this fear as a child and how desperately afraid I was to say anything that would go against my parents beliefs. I was fearful of whether I would get the belt or a lecture lasting for several hours. In my parent’s defense they have been amazing to me and I am so grateful for all their sacrifices yet their parenting style was still of the old school ways. It was mainly my way or the highway and it was you listen to me because i’m older and i’m the boss and I know more than you. (Which in most cases when you are between 1-16years old proved to be right.) But as we got to be teenages we started pushing back and starting having our say, probably not the best way because all we did was try and replicate our views as forcefully as they did their views on us because that was the only way we knew how to communicate our views.
Fast forward to my marriage life I noticed me replicating many of these same behaviours. And it was hurting my husband emotionally especially because he knew there were better ways. I knew that I needed to communicate my views in a positive and more loving way. I knew that I had to create an environment in my home where my spouse would feel safe to communicate his feelings about our marriage and family without being afraid he will be teared down or that I will instantly lash out in defense. I also want my children to feel the same way to, that they are have a space to express emotion and be allowed to feel that emotion without ridicule or belittling.
From my personal experience here are 4 ways we can foster open communication in our homes:
Schedule a time with your spouse and children when they know that you are there completely listening to them. I know as a couple we need to have at least an hour of “marriage inventory” A week to have deep conversations about our concerns and goals etc. It’s not just the conversations of how was your day, but it’s the deeper questions that gets them to open up and express their true emotions. It’s great talking to them daily about their day but ensure at least once a week you can dedicate some time for serious alone conversations. If they know there is this time that they will get with you and it is consistent they will be able to develop this trust to open up to you.
Listen with Validation
Validation is allowing people to feel their emotions. I just read an amazing book by the lunds called I don’t have to make it all better where it talks about the power of validating others. Not trying to fix their problems but really listening with empathy. When your spouse say I have my boss is controlling maniac!, don’t respond like my normal response which would be don’t say that about your boss! That’s not a nice thing to say instead. we can respond with, sounds like he making your job harder, being told what to do is not pleasant at all. Allowing others to express their emotions allows them to feel through them and eventually be able to vent it out and can easily be led to finding their own solutions.
React with Understanding and Love
To often when we hear something we don’t like or disagree, we directly go into defensive mode or attack mode. In these times our family members need our love the most. They need our support at this crucial time as they are very vulnerable at these times. This is not the time to ridicule, teach or prove a point. This is the time to listen with empathy and love.
Be the Example
If you feel that there is terrible communication in your household BECOME THE ROLE MODEL. That’s all it really takes is one person showing how communication in the really should be. In my home it was my husband, he showed me how it was to have open communication with love. It took me awhile to get on the band wagon but it finally clicked and now our communication is a million times better than it use to be. (occassionaly I forget) Our children watch us the most if they see the way that we communicate is through force, harshness, they too will do the same.
Recognizing whether somebody is in a physically abusive relationship is a lot easier than noticing if somebody is in an emotionally abusive relationship. As time goes on we may become tolerant to this and accept the emotional abuse and make excuses for this. To a certain extent we don’t need to tolerate this but we can find ways to help them learn better habits. If they don’t see there is a problem and a need for them to change then seeing professional help may be the next step.
- Humiliation, degradation, discounting, negating. judging, criticizing:
- Does anyone make fun of you or put you down in front of others?
- Do they tease you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you?
- When you complain do they say that “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive?
- Does anyone regularly ridicule, dismiss, disregard your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, and feelings?
- Domination, control, and shame:
- Do you feel that the person treats you like a child?
- Do they constantly correct or chastise you because your behavior is “inappropriate?”
- Do they remind you of your shortcomings?
- Do they give disapproving, dismissive, contemptuous, or condescending looks, comments, and behavior?
- Accusing and blaming, trivial and unreasonable demands or expectations, denies own shortcomings:
- Do they accuse you of something contrived in their own minds when you know it isn’t true?
- Are they unable to laugh at themselves?
- Do they have trouble apologizing?
- Do they make excuses for their behavior or tend to blame others or circumstances for their mistakes?
- Emotional distancing and the “silent treatment,” isolation, emotional abandonment or neglect:
- Do they use pouting, withdrawal or withholding attention or affection?
- Do they not want to meet the basic needs or use neglect or abandonment as punishment?
- Do they play the victim to deflect blame onto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes?
- Do they not show empathy or ask questions to gather information?
- Codependence and enmeshment:
- Does anyone treat you not as a separate person but instead as an extension of themselves?
- Do they not protect your personal boundaries and share information that you have not approved?
- Do they disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?
- Do they require continual contact and haven’t developed a healthy support network among their own peers?
If reflecting on these question you see many in your relationship. It may be time to be open with your partner. It could be as simple as doing this test together and evaluating the outcome together. I am grateful my husband had the courage to be open with his feelings with me and to let me know that he was hurting from how I was treating him. It didn’t come overnight for me to recognize my behavior but in time it did. But if it goes beyond your abilities there is plenty of support out there to work through this.
Would love your feedback and comments about this. Let me know what you think. If you or somebody you know is going through something like this I would love to talk about or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be Amazing!!! xo Tracy