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Category Archives: Marriage

Relationship Advice from A Great Spiritual Guru

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation, is celibate… yet people ask him ALL the time for relationship advice. In many public talks, I’ve heard him give the following pieces of advice for couples. Of course, these are my words, not his verbatim, but this is the gist of what he’s always said.

Advice for a woman: Never step on the ego of a man. Yes, he may be acting incompetent, but don’t EVER let him know it. If you make a man feel like he’s not important, he becomes miserable. Always try to make him feel he’s doing a great job. If he is doing something really stupid, don’t ever tell him he’s hopeless. Instead, tell him in some other way to point “Oh, you do such a good job, just nobody sees it.” This point is REALLY hard for women. Yes, I know, believe me. Us women are the first ones to jump down a man’s throat when he’s not doing well at something. So, tame it ladies. Make your man feel special. He will blossom more that way. And, even if he doesn’t blossom, at least he will feel important in your eyes.

Advice for a man: Never squash the emotions of a woman. Don’t blow off her feelings. If she asks to go for a massage, to get her hair done, or to go for a silent meditation retreat because she feels like she needs to be taken care of, give her your credit card. For real. I’ve heard him say that. And, the times when my husband has supported me to do whatever I need to in order to take care of my emotional needs (could be physical to support the emotional) I really appreciate it and I become a much better wife.

Your relationship should be like railroad tracks. The tracks are not focused on each other. They run continuously, in the same direction. Work towards a common goal. If the focus in the relationship becomes too much on each other, then the relationship is doomed. Like, if the railroad tracks cross, you get a train wreck. I’ve experienced this with a relationship, where all we did was focus on each other, and man, that relationship was terrible! Did not last!

The Difference Between Love and Lust

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The Difference between lust and love

I CAN NOT believe I’m writing a post on sex! But, I just have to because I’ve been working at a high school for the past few weeks and the topic of sex has come up more than once. Teenagers (and people of all ages really) can be OBSESSED with thinking about sex. Not so much love, but SEX! A colleague and I were talking about how teenagers must always be thinking about it and it reminded me that… yeah… um… I was probably thinking about sex all day long too when I was that age! Plus, there’s been this big story in the news about a mistress and a man who killed his own wife over a love affair…  Read the rest of this entry

No Fighting in Front of the Kids

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Tonight, my husband and I had a good loooong fight/get-all-out session. The kids were asleep. It was probably forty-five minutes of us rambling on to each about our disagreements. By the end, we had come up with some really good solutions and it was a huge relief that we took the time to sit down and duke it out.

But, my number one rule is that WE WILL NOT do battles in front of the children. ABSOLUTELY will not. I’m not saying we’re perfect. It’s not always easy to stop an argument in the heat of the moment, but we do our best to can it and save it for later. We’ve certainly said a few things to each other in front of the children, that we shouldn’t have. And, that’s just life. But, we both know the rule: there will be no knock-down-drag-em-out battles happening in front of the kids. End of story.

I know, I know… people will say, “But, fighting is just part of life, they need to get used to it.” Well, fighting may be part of life, but my kids can get their dose of fighting from somewhere else. They don’t need to get it from home. Home is the place where they need to feel safe and protected and loved. Fighting is scary and may not be easily understood by children. Young children are still learning and their interpretation of the world around them is still developing. There are certain things that kids just don’t need to be exposed to, and I believe that fighting is one of them.

(On a side note, one great thing about waiting to do battle is that you’re usually coming from a much calmer space and you can talk more rationally because you’re not in the height of your anger. Everything that needs to come out will come out, but in a much more civil manner, so really, it works out better for us in the long run when we do wait.)

So… hard as it may be sometimes because we’re both REALLY REALLY fiery people who need to ‘get things out now’… we wait for it. There will come a time and place when my kids will have to learn about fighting and getting into arguments with the people they love. In the meantime, they can learn from us about skillful negotiation and unconditional love and can enjoy a peaceful household.

*to clarify, when I say fighting, I’m talking about the big ones… not just the daily disagreements that you would skillfully work through with negotiation.*

Disclaimer: If you or your partner are fighting all the time and can’t stop fighting in front of the children, but want to, please consider seeing a professional marriage counselor or find someone to help.

Please Take a Moment to Openly Brag About Your Husband

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All that was on my mind tonight, was giving the kids a tub, brushing their teeth and putting them to bed. But, my husband, had better plans and yelled out, “Let’s go watch the circus!!” My husband is 18 years older than me, and has more energy and enthusiasm than a teenager… True story.

*Cringe* I didn’t want to go… it was late, the kids were tired, and we had already been to the circus TWO TIMES during the weekend! But, this was no ordinary circus, you see. It was an awesomely entertaining acrobatic circus, it was free and it was 5 minutes from our house. Before I even had a chance to voice my opinions about bedtime, the kids yelled out “YAY!!! Let’s GO!!!” We decided that I would stay home. They would have more fun without me, I would have just been grumpy. So, I stayed home, did the dishes, washed the floor and enjoyed an hour or so of peace and quiet. Yes, I said “enjoyed“… tell me you don’t know the feeling of sitting in your very own clean house, even if it only lasts for a few minutes, before total destruction happens (again).

As I was sitting there, enjoying my peace and quiet, I *nearly* posted a comment on Facebook, saying something about how awesomely energetic my husband is when… I thought twice. I better not. Don’t want to offend anyone… Wait what?!?!

I face-brag about everything else! So, why did I hesitate to say something about how awesome my husband is for taking his kids out to have a fun time?

Yes, I know there are plenty of deadbeat dads and husbands out there. And, the internet is FULL of rants against them. But, for every deadbeat guy, I have to believe that there are dozens of awesome ones out there. But how come we rarely hear about them? Guys who won’t complain about a messy house. Guys that mischievously wind the kids up before bed at the risk of getting yelled at by their wives (they just want to have fun!). Ones that tell you it doesn’t matter if you hair hasn’t been brushed or your legs haven’t been shaved or that your shirt is too wrinkly (true story). And, guys that go out shopping with their daughters and magically come home with matching purple tutus (another true story). I know that my husband is not the only one… right?

Words have power and intention behind them. Really! So, which way do we want our energy to flow? I know it’s fun to bitch and moan. And, sometimes women complain about the man in their lives because they are sincerely looking for support and help. Sometimes, there truly is an issue, and that should not be overlooked. But, too often, we find it so easy to complain about small things. Can’t we also say positive things when our husbands do something awesome? Can we *openly* say that our husbands are the best, without feeling bad for bragging?

So, I want to hear it. I want to hear more good things about husbands or partners. If I was holding back from saying something nice about my husband, then I know other people are doing the same! Please, for your husband’s sake and for your own, don’t by shy! Let everyone know how awesome they are! Even if they’re not awesome all the time… surely they have something positive going on? And, if you keep saying they’re awesome, who knows, maybe one day, they really will be awesome 😉

Five Year Aussie-versary. And, I’m Just Getting Used to Vegemite

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The flight

The flight

Five years ago today, Art and I first stepped foot onto Australian soil.  With us, we had 4 suitcases, 5 surfboards and as much carry on baggage as they would allow on the plane.  We left EVERYTHING behind.  Actually, we still have a storage shed full of crap sitting in Berlin, Maryland, if anyone wants to go rummaging around.  The storage shed is full stuff that we frantically packed away as we ran out of time getting ready for our over seas voyage.  I was planning on doing a year of university to get my Masters of Education so that I could become a teacher.  Art was coming for the ride and we weren’t exactly sure about his plan, but he wasn’t going to stay behind in Maryland USA all by himself!  Looking back, it was probably the scariest, riskiest and stupidest thing we’ve ever done in our lives!!!!  Drop everything and move all the way across the world!?!  Yes, we were indeed crazy! Read the rest of this entry

A Wedding Anniversary! On Our DIY Wedding

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DIY ‘The Kiss’ shot

I was told by several people who came to our wedding that it was one of the best weddings ever!  To me, who had only ever been to two weddings in my entire life, I felt like I had nothing to compare it to, so it seemed pretty ordinary to me! I kept it simple. Everything went smoothly and so gracefully and even… peacefully… yes, PEACEFULNESS at a wedding!  Can you believe it!?

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The preparation… all done in house! And look at me… big as a HOUSE!

I organised the wedding myself (except for some awesome help from our marriage celebrant who wrote the script and gave me ideas for what I wanted her to say). We spent about $1500 total on the entire wedding! Including $300 for a handmade dress. That $1,500 included some of the flowers, earrings, a shirt for Art, the marriage celebrant, wedding cake, hairdresser. We had over 30 people come to the ceremony. Twenty eight of them came afterwards to the ‘reception’ (reception was a huge table booked at our favorite sushi restaurant O’Sushi, a short walk from where we got married at Greenmount beach). I did my own make up and nails (yes, can you believe I actually had make up on!).  Oh, did I forget to mention that I was 7 1/2 months pregnant! Probably part of the reason why I felt so hot!

The DIY Dress

The dress had to be hand made because I couldn’t find a pregnancy one in the shops and I was HUGE. I didn’t want to order one online and I wanted to it to be made from cotton because,,, um… hello… beach wedding… who wants to wear polyester to the beach in the middle of summer?!

The DIY Photos

We had all of our friends take the photos (kudos to Darren for supply the awesome fire dancing shot). I mean, if your husband is a professional photographer, what else can you do? He’s into street photography and used to be a photojournalist for the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun. He is anti-cheesy-posed photos of any kind! Candid shots are his most prized photos and I have to admit, I’ve converted to an anti-posed photo snob myself.

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See my basket of frangipanis!

The Mostly DIY Flowers and Cake

I wanted my favorite flowers, frangipanis (plumeria) for the wedding, but the florists don’t sell those kinds of flowers…. they don’t keep well. So, I sent out an email to all of my friends to see who would go frangipani hunting for me on the day of my wedding. A woman whom I worked with was happy to find them for me and brought a big basket to the ceremony, full of my most favorite fragrant flowers. Later I found out that she had to do some serious hunting for them because the weather was too dry that summer and there weren’t many around.  I heard that she even got yelled at by some man for taking the flowers off his tree! Oops!  The bouquet, orchids for my hair, and Art’s flower thing on his shirt (I know that has a name…) we bought from the florist. The cake, I had ordered from a Hare Krishna restaurant. Not specifying that it was a wedding cake. And, then we ate our cake on the beach straight after the ceremony, that way no one would miss out!

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Here comes the bride… around Kirra point.

The rings we bought for total less than $40 and were really just for the ceremony… You see… I did a lot of research about wedding rings beforehand.  I thought I wanted to wear them, but there were three main reasons why we decided to just buy cheapy ones.

Three Reasons Why I Don’t Wear a Wedding Ring

Reason #1 Ethics:  We’ve all heard of ‘blood diamonds’… well you should have, and if you haven’t, now you have. There are several places where diamonds are mined.  Some come from Canada, and are mined on land that once belonged to indigenous Canadian people. The aboriginal communities there are in a constant power struggle with the diamond mining companies. Some  diamonds come from Africa, where bloodshed and war mars the diamond trade industry. You can buy manufactured ones and with recycled metals… but by the time I did my research, I was over the whole ring thing.

Reason #2 Environment: any mining at all, diamond, metal, etc.is putting a scar on the earth’s surface and polluting Earth’s natural resources. I feel bad now that I even bought the cheapy ones and I also feel bad that so many precious metals are used in electronics, even the computer I’m typing on now! Ugh!  Well, we can only do our best and reduce what we use, as much as we can…

Reason #3 Work Place Health and Safety: A long long time ago, I was dating a guy in the Navy.  Before 9/11, I was allowed to go on his ship if they were in port. They had this sign on the wall with a picture of this guy’s hand, who had been wearing his wedding ring and had had an accident… it said… ‘And, then there were four‘. Gross! Ok, enough, won’t go on anymore about why I don’t want to wear a wedding ring! I love how they look… but I guess they’re just not for me.

Back to the DIY wedding… The dinner was pre-ordered vegetarian sushi platters and water… we forced 28 people to eat a vegetarian dinner! Bwahaha! No alcohol because we don’t drink.  In lieu of wedding presents, I just asked that if people felt inclined to bring something, that they could just bring something for the baby, cause I wasn’t going to have a baby shower.

Best photo ever!!!  After the ceremony and before the reception.

Best photo ever!!! After the ceremony and before the reception, a little entertainment, with a drum and a big gong!

It was a friend’s idea to have fire twirlers for after the ceremony as her wedding gift.  It really added to the magical-ness. Fire and drumming and the beach. Oh yes, very cool indeed. By the way, the ‘venue’, the beach… was free, just had to give the city council a head’s up!

It was all done a little different to the usual wedding, but not really. It was perfect and only a little unusual all at the same time. Everything came together and after only 3 weeks of planning, I was pretty proud of myself for pulling it off. Orginally, I thought we would have just gone to the court house, but when we found that the celebrant cost the same, we decided to go for a ‘real’ wedding.

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The Truth Comes Out: ‘I Hate Doing the Dishes!’, He Says.

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It doesn’t LOOK like you hate doing the dishes, honey.

I didn’t cook much today, except dinner.  But, somehow, just before I went to go put the girls to bed, I realized there was a mountain of dishes next to the sink!  Where did those come from, I wondered?  Where is that dishwashing fairy, I asked Art… He said, ‘I don’t know who you’re talking about.  I don’t know any dishwashing fairies’.   Waah waah… We don’t have a dishwasher in our place… I guess that means I’m doing the dishes tonight. Read the rest of this entry