Book Review- The Secret Ingredient

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On the plane ride to and from Puerto Rico and under the dryer at the hair salon, I had a chance to read The Secret Ingredient. (With a very active 4 ½ year-old son, my reading time is very limited). This book had many wild moments. It’s the second book I’ve read by Jane Heller. It was definitely a good read. The main character, Elizabeth, feels that all of the passion has gone out of her marriage. Her, husband, Roger, is distant and not attentive to her like he was in the beginning of their marriage. Desperate, Elizabeth “enhances” him, but the results are not what she wants, which lead to more desperate acts.

As a married woman, I can relate; however, reading this book has taught me to appreciate what I have. Many women (and men also) don’t realize that when you marry someone, change is inevitable, whether physical, personality, wants, needs, or goals. We may gain a little weight, or our hair may turn gray. If you married your spouse based on good looks alone, what’s going to happen when those looks fade?

At times, you may get “bored” in your marriage, but you have to ask yourself do you really want things to be more exciting? Do you want to wonder what your spouse is doing when he’s or she is not with you and who with? If I had to choose, a simple, drama-free life is the better option. Besides, there are things that you can do to keep things interesting, like taking vacations or weekend getaways, date nights, dinner with friends, etc. Just talking sometimes is very good for both of you.

Caring for Kids During a Divorce

Check out this post by Georgina Evans.

Going through a divorce is a tough time for the two individuals deciding to walk in separate directions. However, when there are kids involved, this puts extra strain on the situation. There are ways of dealing with this big event in a sensible and restrained manner. The divorce will affect every kid differently; they may be shocked, frustrated, upset and angry. This is why it is so important to make sure that the kids get every inch of support that they need. It is essential that both parents put their differences aside when dealing with the children. Make sure they know that they are loved and things will get easier. This guide is here to offer a template to how to deal with this situation in the benefit of your children.

Breaking the news

There is never an easy way to break such news, but it is best if possible for both parents to be present in the discussion. This enables the children to ask questions to both parties and offers a clear understanding of the situation. The conversation will be different for whatever age the kids are and their level of maturity, etc. In whatever case, it is vital for the parent to persist that what has happened is between them and is not the children’s fault in any way.

Restrain from conflict in front of the kids

For the sake of the children’s well being, it is best to keep heated discussions away from them. It will just escalate their worries and will upset them further. Legal talk should be kept well away from the kids also. It is not fair to discuss such matters in front of them. To make it easier for the kids, it is important to converse such matters in privacy.

Avoid disruption to routines

If parents stir up the usual daily routines due to the divorce, this disruption will add to the child’s confusion of the situation. Home life will be unsettled at this time, so keeping the usual routine going offers the children stability and structure. Children yearn stability so it is key to continue this. Undoubtedly there will be some occasions that you may have to disrupt the child’s daily routine, but it is vital to keep this to a minimum to avoid further upset.

Both parents must stay involved

An imperative point about caring for the children during a divorce is that it must be an equal and shared responsibility of both parents. They must both stay engaged in the kid’s lives to reinforce their parental figures. This will assure the kids that just because the parents will not be together anymore, this does not mean the child will not see them.

No negativity to one and other

It is important to confine blame about each other to discussions with friends or family away from the home, or therapy sessions if the parents so wish to do so. Conversing about personal issues with one another in front of sensitive ears can impact on the children’s views and feelings towards both parents. Hearing the parents being bitter towards each other will distress the kids and add more confusion to a situation they will find hard to grasp an understanding of.

Do not seek advice from the kids

Adults will need thorough support from friends, family and professionals during this upsetting time of separation. It is unfair to seek out support from your kids, as this will be offering them a biased view on the divorce. The kids may appear like they want to give you support, but for their sakes it is best to restrain from this. Perhaps discuss it with them when they are older and more mature to deal with the topic of discussion.

Dealing with kids reactions

Depending on their age and personalities, all kids will act differently. However in most circumstances, the parents must be prepared for lots of questions. The children may feel guilty and scared. It is imperative to keep the child reassured and be clear about what is going to happen. Some kids may not react straight away, so in this situation it is important to let the child be aware that they can talk to you whenever they feel ready to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for Dating After 35

My single and divorced friends will often call me for dating advice. It’s comforting when they actually listen to it. Some will ask for my advice and then do the opposite thing. Then they come back sad and disappointed. Dating doesn’t get any easier when you’re 35 and older, but you can still be successful. Here are some tips:

  1. There are still good men out there. Some women say that they are by themselves because men today don’t have anything to offer. That may be true to a certain extent, but it works both ways. What do you have to offer? How picky can you be when you’re unemployed, living with your parents, and don’t own your own car? Think about it. You may be hurt by what I’ve said, but you have to consider those things. You may be looking for a lawyer, but that “good man” may be a bus driver taking college courses in political science. You never know.
  2. Pray about it. God knows all of our wants and our needs. Talk to Him about it. There are many biblical references for this (i.e. I Thessalonians 5:17; Psalm 37:4; Philippines 4:6).
  3. Stop obsessing about your ex. You may feel that you invested a lot of time in that relationship, but he did as well. Your ex had moved on with someone new, so you should do the same. That is the reason that they are called “exes”. You forgive them and move on. Don’t keep allowing them to hurt you over and over again. That obsession will take control of your life, and you will not be able to move forward.
  4. Don’t just focus on one guy. If you’re divorced and ready to start dating again, don’t just focus on one guy. You may find him attractive, but you don’t know anything about him. In 2014, a man can be gay, straight, bisexual, or transsexual. Unless he’s up front about it, it’s not good to assume until you get to know him. Get to know one another and see what things that you have in common. If it doesn’t lead to a relationship, you’ll at least have a friendship. This isn’t about sex; the more men that you meet, the better your chances of finding one that you’re compatible with.
  5. Continue to live life to the fullest. Don’t put all of your focus on dating. Typically, if you’re involved in outside activities and causes that you are passionate about, chances are that you’re meeting people with similar interests.
  6. Stop thinking that nobody is “good enough”. It so easy for you to believe that now that you have a successful career, a fantastic house, the car, and the beauty that no man can meet your standards. Whether or not you want to admit it, you need that companionship. You get tired of coming home to an empty house. I’ve heard so many stories of women that always talk about how many men are pursuing them; yet they are not interested in any of them.   Stop faking. Just like you, every man is going to have his flaws in addition to his outstanding characteristics. It’s all about what you can live with.

 

I hope that these tips are helpful. Some of you may not like what I had to say, but these are the things that I’ve noticed and believe should be said. Remember to stay positive. Marriage can work if two people are compatible.

5 Books That Inspired Me

  1.  9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life by Dr. Henry Cloud

Dr. Henry Cloud, psychologist and best-selling author, discusses 9 principles in which to respond to certain types of people and situations. Sometimes things that are so simple are not always so obvious.

  1. Thieves by Trey Smith

Trey Smith is the author and founder of The God in a Nutshell Project. He has many documentaries on You Tube. This book is based on his life, which sounds like it could be fiction, but it is a true story. To me, this book is his testimony; all of those events helped shape Trey Smith into the man that he is today.

  1. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

This is part of a series of love language books. As with most couples, we discussed this book during premarital counseling. It gives you a better understanding of your mate and yourself as it relates to the expression of love. It could be through physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or quality time. Some of us have more than one “love language”.

  1. Miracles Happen by Mary Kay Ash

All Mary Kay Beauty Consultants receive a copy of Mary Kay’s autobiography when they join. On September 13, 1963, Mary Kay Ash started a company with only a dream that is now a multi-billion dollar company. After 11 years, I’m still a believer in the products.

  1. The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David J. Schwartz

My Sales Director recommended this book when I first started as a Beauty Consultant. Just as I believe that words are very powerful, so are your thoughts.

Lately, I have re-read a couple of these books. Sometimes you need a refresher.

Things Do Get Better With Age

I don’t know about you, but I am having a great summer. We’ve had two family outings and I was able to go to the Bahamas to celebrate my 40th birthday. I know that women don’t typically tell their age, but I see it as a blessing. Oftentimes at 40, we become depressed because we don’t feel that we’ve accomplished our goals. We thought that we’d be further in our careers, be married with children, or have more money and less debt.

When I think about my life, I don’t have any regrets. Sure, I’ve made many mistakes, but I’ve learned from them. My prayer is that I don’t make the same mistakes over again. The past eight years haven’t been the most stable career wise, but being a mom is the best job in the world. My son has come a long way from the 1 lb. 10 oz. preemie in the NICU. My marriage seems to get better with each passing year. Until I met my husband, I didn’t meet “nice” guys. They were looking for somebody to take care of them.

Most importantly, I feel good. I make sure that I get some rest and exercise. I also make sure that I eat some type of raw vegetables each day. When I look in the mirror, I feel good about myself. I don’t have a perfect body, but who does? The images that we see on television aren’t necessary the real thing thanks to implants and plastic surgery. I know what I want from life and what I cannot tolerate. I’ve had some of the same friendships for the last 15 to 20 years. Others, I have ended. No regrets. Some people are just toxic and immature.

Looking forward, I want to be an inspiration to others. Don’t use your age as an excuse. As the saying goes, age is just a number. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Things will become clearer to you.

How to Avoid Getting a Divorce

The best way to avoid getting a divorce is not waiting to seek help when things are not going well.  In my profession a lot of couples decide to come in for counseling as a last resort.  It should be the first.  It is difficult to help a marriage if there is so much anger that neither spouse is willing to listen to the other.  There needs to be positive interaction before each can feel safe to share how they are feeling.  If blaming is predominant it is impossible to share because neither spouse is listening.  They are shut down.

Learning to communicate, listen and validate the other person is essential in building safety.  Doing those things are tough if you have not been taught the skills to do them.  I always tell couples you can leave the relationship, but you still take you with you.  You will just take your baggage with you to the next relationship.  Better to stay and try and work it out.

The DNA of Relationships, by Gary Smalley, is a great book that identifies ways to build a strong marriage. We all have core fears and we react to those fears when we are triggered by events or people.  If we grew up in an unsafe environment then we will view our relationship with others as unsafe.  It is a subconscious belief that we usually are not even aware that we have. It is destructive and it effects the way we see our world.

Drs. John and Julie Gottman identify the 4 predictors of divorce and calls them “The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse”.  They are criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling.  These are all signs of dysfunctional interaction in relationships. If you are experiencing any of these then it is a sign that your marriage is in trouble.  Get some professional help.

If you want to avoid divorce, treat your spouse with love and respect.  Don’t have unrealistic expectations and don’t expect them to make you happy.  They make mistakes and we can’t fall apart every time they let us down.

Good relationships don’t just happen. It takes work to build solid, lasting, secure, and loving marriages. Use the resources available to empower you and your spouse and do the things you need to do to heal your relationship.  It will be worth it.

Vickie Parker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

To read more of my blogs or make an online counseling appointment visit my web site @ vickiemft.com

Number Seven

Today, my husband and I celebrated 7 years of marriage.  We both think back to how much we’ve both become better people.  It is a blessing because we both have friends  who have been through or are in the process of getting a divorce.  Some of them  were only married for 4 years while others were married for 20 or more years. The thing is that infidelity or abuse are justifiable reasons for divorce, but that is not the case with many couples.  Some couples “grow apart” or each person wants something different.  Sometimes, it’s the “little things” that cause huge problems.  Problems that weren’t addressed because of a lack of communication.  You’re walking around angry and giving each other the “silent treatment” and you don’t even know what you’re mad about in the first place.

When we got married, it was with the intent of having children and growing old together.  We’re not perfect people, but we know that communication is important. We work as a team to care for our son, who needs and loves us both.  We take time to have fun, whether it’s dinner, a movie, or planning a vacation.  We love each other.  Most importantly, we put God first.  The enemy does not want your marriage to succeed.  I always look at ways that I can be a better person; I try to find ways to spice things up.  Any relationship takes work, which pays off in the long run. Be content with all that you have because like I’ve said before, the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.

Is the Grass Really Greener on the Other Side?

People often look at their situations and wonder if the grass is really greener on the other side….  It may seem like the grass is greener, but it’s really not.  The enemy makes the grass appear greener on the other side.  For instance, even once we get married, there is still that threat of sexual temptation.  Some women may look at their situations and think that they’re missing out on something.  Does he make more money?  Is he smarter?  Is he better in bed? You don’t know what he might be working with.  I always keep that in mind.  Just don’t even go there.  I don’t care how fine he is.  Especially if you have a wonderful man to go home to everyday.

Marriages can start out rough because you’re trying to get used to being married. However, with time, it gets better. We all go through “seasons”. One couple may be going through spring while another is going through winter.

I appreciate the simple activities, like going shopping with my husband because everybody does not have a husband to go shopping with.  So before you think about wanting to be single again, think about how it was when you were single……you wanted a husband.  In spite of the difficulties that will arise (because that’s life), be content with what you have.  If you disrupt that in any way, you’re going to get more drama than you need.

Finding A Mate

A lot of single women ask me my opinion about finding a mate.  There are a lot of single women, whether divorced, separated, or never been married, that would like to have a great guy in their life.  The first thing that I tell them is to know what you want.  I made a list as a matter of fact when I was single.  I remember a godly man with intelligence and a sense of humor topped the list.  I must say that he exceeded my expectations.  Sure, no man is perfect, but neither are we. If you’re divorced, don’t blame yourself.  Learn and grow from the experience.

We can sometimes overlook a good man because we are so wrapped up in the physical.  No, I’m not saying that you should date a troll, but  give a guy a chance if he’s a little chubby or a little shorter than you.  Especially if you have a lot in common.  I’ve met many men that are sexy, but they are very flawed in other areas.  Sexy doesn’t pay the bills.  Sexy won’t matter if he’s cheating on you or taking his frustrations out on your face.  I tell women as long as you find him attractive, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.

It’s wonderful to have a man that is also your friend.  You can talk for hours when you’re together, no matter how deep the conversation.  You should have similar religious views, values, and the same attitude about family. If you want to have kids, you don’t want to be with someone that doesn’t want them.  Also, if your man wants you to be a stay-at-home mother, but you want to have a career, those are vast differences.  If you’re having major issues before you get married, they’re only going to get worse.  Also, you want a man to be supportive.  He shouldn’t bad-mouth you behind your back or embarrass you in public. You should be respectful of him as well.  Marriage is a team effort.

Lastly, when you finally meet that special man, make the marriage work.  Remember that you take vows before God.  When problems arise, communication is very important.  Don’t be selfish and beware of the many temptations that are out there.  (That’s another discussion).