May 5, 2011 note: Today I went to the tag agency and while I was waiting on my requests to be processed I heard a man next to me provide his home address to the clerk. I was surprised to hear he lived on “Clover Glen,” the street where Mick and lived in our first home. This has been a week of weird coincidences, so I decided perhaps there was more at stake than just coincidence. Therefore, I’m reposting this entry I wrote almost a year ago in preparation for another I’ve been writing for three days. I’ve been writing, and thinking about, and researching, and writing more about the process of falling in, out, and perhaps…back in love again.
The gentleman at the tag agency ended up being a resident of the house you see in this photo on the left – he would have been our neighbor to the south. He said he still gets mail for our former neighbors, and they’ve been gone over 20 years. See you here tomorrow – Red Dirt Kelly
The setting was a cold February, 1986.
My husband and I had been married about six months when the bottom of the oil bust hit Oklahoma. Thousands of homes in Edmond were being vacated after the interest rates within a group of “negative amortization” loans began to skyrocket as the oil jobs started drying up.
For newlyweds living in a tiny apartment like us with adequate income, the housing market was a real opportunity. We purchased our first home from builders who had been paying interest on it for over a year. They were desperate and we felt lucky. We closed on the deal very quickly. Continue reading Live Oak Equals Our Living Marriage→
Calling all couples who are past the DTR talk and are now considering long term commitment such as engagement, marriage or an alternative long-term relationship: this essay is for YOU.
You now have more choices than ever before in terms of taking smart, educational and healthy steps in a “prevention” way to invest in “relationship insurance,” so to speak. Regardless of what you call it, taking the time to get your relationship fine-tuned is one of the biggest gifts you can give each other.
Research shows that depending upon the program you choose, preventative education or premarital counseling can help your relationship stay together, on average, 3-8 years longer than couples who did nothing. This finding isn’t saying that your relationship is simply going to break down at a later date; it means that you’ve helped your relationship beat the divorce or break-up odds by taking 8-12 hours of time together – to think through plans, skills, and meanings of what you’re getting ready to begin. In other words, the odds will be even MORE in your favor than before.
In other-other words? Premarital or pre-commitment preparation is a no-brainer. A hard core, serious, bona fide NO-BRAINER!
I’ve managed three different state or national surveys asking individuals what they think the area is in which they need the most help for their relationship. The answers? Every single time, “Conflict Resolution” comes out as the number one response, and “Communication” comes out as number two. Every. Single. Time.
When I talk to people about what they are thinking when they answer “Conflict Resolution,” their answers basically hone in on the first word: conflict. They feel, sense, are engaged in, or really demonstrate (quite loudly) conflict in one way or another. They’re not really thinking about “conflict” as a problem to be solved. Rather, they’re thinking about the emotions, feelings and dynamics involved when conflict takes place. Is it this way for you? How about someone you know who has talked about conflict resolution…or just conflict? Are they thinking “find a solution,” or are they thinking, “I hate that we’re having conflict and wish it would stop or get better?” Granted, many want solutions and sometimes they try so hard at reasoning or trying to find solutions that it creates even more conflict! By and large, conflict feels horrible. But it doesn’t have to be…
Let’s talk for a moment about “Communication,” the number two issue for the general population. (Ha! I wrote “talk” about communication – smile). How do you describe couple communication? How do you describe GOOD and/or BAD couple communication? Again, many if not most people initially gravitate toward what is NOT working for them when they try to communicate, as opposed to what they’d LIKE to see or be doing. Like conflict resolution, people have emotions or feelings attached to memories or impressions of how they communicate with one another. They want to feel good when they finish a conversation – instead of bad.
People try all sorts of things to make bad communication stop. They avoid, they leave, they press harder, they pursue, they say the same things over with more intensity – because perhaps saying it again and harder will help? However, much about how couples communicate is hard-wired into them from the beginning: their personalities, their physiological or biological make-up, how they were raised and how they learned communication from their own families, etc. So, when it comes down to it, sometimes couples are left with feelings of frustration, anger, disappointment, rejection, loneliness, invalidation, sadness or even defeat. But they don’t have to be…
Friends, colleagues and sometimes people I don’t even know very well ask me this same question several times each year, AND I provide them with a baffled face and stammering answer every single time: “Hey, what book do you recommend for __(enter any couples issue)__ ? I’m thinking about buying a few books today.” OR …“I have a friend who is looking for a book.” OR,… “I want to recommend a book, can you help me?”
I struggle with two main issues when asked this question. First, I have no idea what the person or couple has already read. And secondly, people apply books and personal growth in such unique ways that sometimes what I think is a great read or extremely applicable might fall flat with another person. Or sometimes that flips and what I think isn’t necessarily sound or grounded information is the “key” to helping someone get out of a rut.
Therefore, understanding that you may have already read some (or all) of these books, and, that you may not get out of them what I or some of my clients have gotten, I’ve put together a list of the top five challengesI see couples face on a regular basis and books that might help in direct or indirect ways. However, I’ve also provided a bit of discussion to go along with the books so I’ll be breaking this post into two or three parts. Here we go…
To begin, I want to address the core “top three” basic challenges most couples will experience at some time in their life: opposing views on parenting, financial struggles, and sex/intimacy. In that order:
In today’s society where phrases like “fear of commitment” and “starter marriage” are all too normative, I am inspired by married couples who have persevered through difficult circumstances or otherwise made the deliberate decision to be committed to their spouse and their family.
As you may know, my days are spent overseeing relationship education services and supports to couples and individuals through The Oklahoma Marriage Initiative. As a part of that project, we partner with Oklahoma Publishing Company to make a commitment of our own….to recognize couples across Oklahoma who have beat the odds by sticking together for better and worse.
Last year, we searched for Oklahoma’s most inspiring couples through a statewide nomination process and produced an amazing calendar honoring these couples. Now, we are actively seeking nominations for 2011’s most inspiring couples.
Do you know a couple who exhibits extraordinary traits such as team work, commitment, or has lived a life of infectious fun? Perhaps they have impacted their family, neighborhood or community in an exceptional way or have braved sickness or other hardships as a team?
Please nominate these couples so their stories can be shared! In addition to the calendar, The Oklahoman will publish feature stories on the couples throughout the year.
To nominate, simply submit 250 words about the couple, sharing why you feel they deserve to be recognized, along with a picture. You can do this quickly and easily at www.newsok.com/inspiringcouples or by mail:
Oklahoma’s Most Inspiring Couples
P.O. Box 25125
Oklahoma City, OK 73125
You may also view pictures, stories and video of last year’s Inspiring Couples on the nomination site.
Reading through the nominations was truly the highlight of my last year and I look forward to again hearing about the wonderful couples across our great state! Nominations are due soon, November 22nd, so please submit your nominations now! We will notify selected couples the first part of December and move forward with capturing their stories and producing the calendar.
Showcasing Red Dirt culture ~ authored and managed by contributors with connections to the great state of Oklahoma.