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Your Fickle Heart

If you spend your whole dating career making decisions based on “following your heart”, what are you going to do after you get married and you and your spouse go into a [temporary] funk (because it’s going to happen), and your “heart” tells you your in love with someone else?

Are you still going to follow your heart then?  Does your heart supersede your vows?  Then why bother even making them?

No. You’ve got to figure out how to base your decisions outside of something as fickle as your heart.

And trust me, you want to figure this out before you get married.

The New Guy

They recently moved my desk at my office. I’m only there for a few hours every couple weeks, so it’s not a huge deal, I’ve been moved several times. I’ve been put in the middle of administrative assistants, and customer service, and for a long time I sat with the marketing department.

This time, they moved me right in the middle of the sales floor, so I sit right behind a [brand] new guy, who has just gone out on his own. I hear him making cold calls and it’s….well, rough, and it’s awkward, and I know he’s struggling…. I have to fill in the other side of the conversation in my mind, but, I know they are telling him no, blowing him off. But he keeps asking questions and he keeps dialing. I haven’t heard anyone make cold calls since I was in that position myself when I started at TQL 6 years ago.

Last time i was in, I leaned in close while I was walking by and whispered to him “You’re doing a great job, keep it up.”

Hearing him again today, I can hear the marginal improvement and the slight increase in confidence he’s gained (not saying i had anything to do with that), but he’s still getting his footing.

I don’t know if he’ll make it at TQL, but I do know he’s learning some great lessons for his life right now, the most of which is to not take no for an answer, and not to give up. He’s learning perseverance and persistence, he’s learning to relate to people from all walks of life, from all parts of the country, different nationalities…. he’s learning that only he can motivate himself, no one else is going to do that for him, no matter what he decides to do.
By sticking with it and pushing through, he’s earning his own self-respect, which is the most valuable asset of all. Hearing his relentlessness warms my heart.

Good luck new guy! I hope you take everything you can from this experience and remember these phone calls for the rest of your life.

Perfectly Imperfect

“We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path.

Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind… there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey.

I find parallels in nature to be a beautiful reflection of grand orchestration. One of these parallels is of snowflakes and us. We, too, are all headed in the same direction. We are being driven by a universal force to the same destination. We are all individuals taking different journeys and along our journey, we sometimes bump into each other, we cross paths, we become altered… we take different physical forms. But at all times we too are 100% perfectly imperfect. At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey. I’m not perfect for your journey and you’re not perfect for my journey, but I’m perfect for my journey and you’re perfect for your journey. We’re heading to the same place, we’re taking different routes, but we’re both exactly perfect the way we are.

Think of what understanding this great orchestration could mean for relationships. Imagine interacting with others knowing that they too each share this parallel with the snowflake. Like you, they are headed to the same place and no matter what they may appear like to you, they have taken the perfect form for their journey. How strong our relationships would be if we could see and respect that we are all perfectly imperfect for our journey.”

– From Life, the Truth, and Being Free by Steve Maraboli,

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The List

When I was 16, some well-meaning mentors of mine recommended I make a list of the things I absolutely wanted in my husband, from physical attributes to character traits. Four typed pages and 160 bullet points later, I had what a “perfect spouse” looked like to me down on paper. Things like: 2-5 years older than me, 5’8” to 6’2” tall, dark and moderately-short styled hair, nice abs, no visible tattoos or piercings, strong Christian example & leader (or striving to become), passionate with a clear, concise dream/goal/calling, makes me laugh, takes me on picnics, notices & remembers “the little things”…. you get the point. Some valid, some negligible, some ridiculously adolescent.

The good that came from this exercise is it made it very easy for me to date, as soon as I would see something in someone that was a non-negotiable on my list, I would walk away from them before I got emotionally attached or invested. 1970563_10203291719510942_2101713066_n
They didn’t make it through the filter
, I told myself.

The negative part of this exercise was that I trained myself to see the imperfections in every potential suitor I met, without considering my own short-comings. And to keep seeking a fallacy who didn’t exist.

“In the history of the universe, there has been only one perfect person. He remained single all his life and died young. The rest of us are imperfect creatures, deeply flawed, struggling to find our way through the complex maze of relationships and choices we encounter. We make mistakes, we learn and grow, we adapt and move on.” Dave & Lisa Frisbie begin their book, “Happily Remarried” with this poignant thought.

10329036_10204285497234764_888582416658277390_nMy husband and I chose to open our wedding ceremony with the same quote because it is such a paradigm shift on how to look for a marriage partner. When you begin with this foundational building block in mind – that we are all flawed – then you seek a spouse and maintain your relationship with an unprecedented level of grace. Knowing that no one is going to be perfect, when your partner misses the mark, it’s ok. It does not mean they are defect and you must now walk away, or if already married, live with the miserable knowledge that you chose the “wrong one”.

Author Stormie Omartian offers some additional advice on this, “I think if I could help a new wife in any area, it would be to discourage her from coming into her marriage with a big list of expectations and then being upset when her husband doesn’t live up to them. Of course there are some basics that should be agreed upon before the wedding date such as fidelity, financial support, honesty, kindness, basic decency, high moral standards, physical and emotional love and protection. When you don’t get those things, you can ask for them. When you still don’t get them, you can pray for them. But when it comes to specifics, you can’t require one person to meet all of your needs. The pressure to do that and fulfill your dreams at the same time can be overwhelming to a man..facebook_1417411476108

If we try to control our husbands by having a big list for them to live up to and then are angry and disappointed when they can’t, we are the ones in error.”

In “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts”, Les & Leslie Parrott quote a divorce attorney who once told them, the number-one reason two people split up is because they “refuse to admit they are married to a human being.”

“In every marriage, mutual hope gives way to mutual disillusionment the moment you realize your partner is not the perfect person you thought you married. But then again, he can’t be. No human being can fill our idealized dreams. A let down is inevitable,” the couple says.

The remedy for all of this is keeping the right expectations going in to marriage. But don’t take my word for it, I’m not the expert. I recommend delving further into the methods and advice these authors recommend in their books. You can never be too prepared for marriage.

10154283_10203291721831000_1263712862_nTo put the gravity of this in perspective, here’s the Introduction to “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts”:

“In the 1930s, one out of seven marriages ended in divorce. In the 1960s, it was one out of four. Of the 2.4 million couples who will get married this year in the United States, it is predicted that at least 43 percent will not survive. For too many couples, marriage has become ‘till divorce do us part’.

Every couple marrying today is at risk. More than two-hundred thousand new marriages each year end prior to the couple’s second anniversary. After they toss the bouquet and return the tuxedos, couples often assume they’re headed for marital bliss. But a study of those who recently tied the knot revealed that 49 percent reported having serious marital problems. Half were already having doubts about whether their marriage would last.

The truth is, most engaged couples prepare more for their wedding than they do for their marriage. The $50-billion-a-year wedding industry can testify to that fact. ….More than one million copies of bridal magazines are sold each month, focusing mainly on wedding ceremonies, honeymoons, and home furnishings – but not on marriage itself.”

Here’s a more beneficial list for preparing yourself for marriage.  The most helpful books I’ve read on the topic so far:

  • “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” by Les & Leslie Parrott (there is also a 2nd marriage version)
  • “Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married” by Gary Chapman
  • “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emmerson Eggrichs
  • “Personality Plus” by Florence Littauer
  • “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman
  • “His Needs Her Needs” by Willard F. Harley, Jr.
  • “Captivating” by Stasi Eldridge (the men’s counterpart to this is “Wild at Heart”)
  • “Happily Remarried” by David & Lisa Frisbie
  • “Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage” by Kenneth Hagin
  • “Second Marriage” by Richard B, Stuart
  • “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian
  • “Men Are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti” by Bill and Pam Farrell
  • “The Invisible Bond” by Barbara Wilson
  • “1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married” by Monica Leahy (this is fun to use on date nights and talk through together)

I Am the Master of My Emotions

I have had this posted on my desk for years and is such a great reminder every time I see it.

I am the master of my Emotions

If I feel depressed I will sing.
If I feel sad I will laugh.
If I feel ill I will double my labor.
If I feel fear I will plunge ahead.
If I feel inferior I will wear new garments.
If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice.
If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come.
If I feel incompetent I will remember past success.
If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals.

Today I will be the master of my emotions!


– Scroll VI.

[Excerpt from Og Mandino’s “Greatest Salesman in the World”]