Repairing the Breach—YES, It’s Possible to Trust Again After Trust Has Been Compromised

augument2One of the harshest realities that we must face as human beings is the fact that we’re going to make a mistake at some point in our lives.  That fact IS an inevitable truth.  Yes…we’re all going to make a mistake and fall from grace at some point, despite our efforts to hide all the not-so-favorable idiosyncrasies about ourselves …you now…those things we believe make us appear unfavorably through the eyes of everyone around us.

Perhaps the one thing that makes that truth so difficult for us to accept is that there’s another truth that makes it even harder for us to acknowledge our mistakes in the first place.  That truth is simply this—YOU’RE NOT PERFECT.  In fact, no one is.

If we could only stop trying to preserve our self-image long enough to truly comprehend the magnitude of that truth relative to how we understand the reasons why we do the things that we do;  I believe that we’d experience a level of freedom that would enable us to begin the work of embracing our personal flaws so that we can recognize and correct the internal patterns of dysfunction that often show up through the impaired judgment that drives our decision-making in the first place.

Life, in-and-of itself, will remind us of these core truths with every step that we take along our respective journeys throughout this human experience. The problem with this is that, as humans, we get wrapped up in the emotions associated with our respective experience so much so that we often forget that our ability to successfully navigate our way through life is contingent upon our ability to sustain relationships with people who can help us have a more enjoyable experience along the way.

So why, then, is it so easy for us to get stuck in a place of unforgiveness when our relationships have been breached to the point of causing us to lose trust because of the mistakes that were made by the other person during a moment of impaired judgment on their part?  Why is it so hard for us to move past the trespass and work toward repairing that breach and restoring the trust that was lost because of the offense that was committed?  Are there levels of offense that correspond with levels of forgiveness, or is there a way to determine how long it will take for the healing process to enable us to fix what’s been broken in our marriages so that we can move forward together as one?

To answer either of those questions, you must be honest enough with yourself to own your part in anything that happened between you and your husband that could contribute to the trust issues that have either arisen or could potentially arise in your marriage.  Only you can do this work, and it will be well-worth the effort because doing so will lead you closer to your truth, which will liberate you so that you can move forward. You’ll need to take a long look at yourself within the context of what’s happening in your marriage to gain a clearer understanding of the mistakes being made along the way that are causing a rift between you and your husband.

The value of this level of self-assessment is priceless because, if you’re honest with asian-woman-daydreamingyourself, you’ll be able to recognize your character flaws in real-time while creating the space needed to allow you see how your vulnerabilities are contributing to your problems. If you’re not able to identify any flaws within yourself during this process, but can identify all your husband’s flaws, therein lies the problem.  At that point, it’s likely that you’ll always stay “stuck” in that place because you’ll never be able to see yourself outside of the confines of what you perceive to be everything that makes you “good and perfect” just the way you are.

Sure…I could make a list of all the ways that marital relationships and of how trust gets broken in those relationships; I could even spend a considerable amount of time highlighting everything that gets fractured and lost during the depredation of the marriage itself. That list would cover everything from infidelity to dishonesty and just about everything in between and anything that would contribute to the problems that contribute to the problems.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind here is that the TRUST that binds your foundation of your marriage with you husband, and that without a strong foundation, everything that your marriage is built on will crumble. Erosion is a slow yet continual process, and the damage that results can take months…sometimes years to notice. With that being said, Ladies, we must pay attention to the signs because they’re always present…albeit barely noticeable at times…they’ll still be there.

So, the question is: “IS IT POSSIBLE TO REPAIR A BREACH IN MY MARRIAGE; ESPECIALLY WHEN TRUST HAS BEEN COMPROMISED?”

The short answer is “YES.” It’s possible to repair the breach, even after trust has been compromised.

The not-so-short answer is in the process of “DOING” whatever it takes to ensure that the trust is restored.

So, the question then becomes “HOW IS TRUST RESTORED AFTER IT’S BEEN BROKEN?”

The answer is simply this: “THE ONLY WAY THAT YOU CAN RESTORE TRUST IS WITH COMPLETE HONESTY AND TOTAL TRUTH.”

Regardless of what happened to cause the breach or the events that led up to the loss of trust in our marriages, the fact of the matter is that we must own our part in what went wrong so that we can begin to recognize how we contribute to our own patterns of dysfunction in our relationships with ourselves and with our husbands.  The truth of the matter is that our marital relationships are merely an extension of who we are at our core and of how we see ourselves.

We get so caught-up in the idea of finding and spending the rest of our lives with that “perfect” someone that begin to lose touch with reality as we become overly-consumed with having the “perfect” marriage in which there are no problems, struggles, or discord of any type. The only way to combat this illusion is by living in your truth with complete and total honesty. That way, you and your husband will always occupy the same time and space together as one, which will leave little room, if any, for outside interference!

Copyright © 2017

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Should You Be the First to Apologize After an Argument?

man-and-wife-with-wall-inbetween-while-holding-handsIf you’ve ever been involved in any type of relationship with another person, you should know that disagreements can arise that have the potential to cause you to question everything you thought you believed to be true about that relationship. Those disagreements, if not handled properly, can create a rift in your relationship that can be of irreparable consequence.

Although extreme and destructive in nature, those types of disagreements are often preceded by undeniable events that can either take the form of words, deeds, or actions exhibited by one person in a relationship that serve to trigger a strong emotional response in the other person in that relationship. It is within the “emotion” of the response to that event that we as women become trapped in a state of perpetual dysfunction in communication because it becomes difficult for us to let things go—especially when we either feel like we’ve been wronged, or we believe that we’re right.

This dysfunction in communication often shows up whenever there’s a breakdown in our pattern of communication with others, which I believe to be directly attributed to our discomfort with feeling “vulnerable.”  Ladies, if we’re honest with ourselves, we should be able to see and admit the truth about how vulnerability fuels our need to protect and preserve our feelings above all else. Nowhere is this truth more pronounced than in our patterns of communication with our marriages—especially when disagreements arise that give way to the dreaded argument.

If you haven’t reached this point in your marriage, just wait.  One day, you will.  You’ll know that point when you reach it, as it’ll be unmistakable. It’s the point where the air between you and your spouse gets unbearably thick and suffocating; heavy with the stench of foul language and infused with random explicatives that serve to sharpen the sting that you feel as you come to the realization that you’ve never met this part of the person who’s standing before you.

As the words keep flying and the tempers keep rising, you somehow manage to snap-back into reality for a split-second, only to realize that this argument is REALLY happening! Yes, ladies, and this is where we elevate the argument to an entirely different level altogether…to the proverbial point-of-no-return for us as women because we’re hard-wired to win. Nowhere does that fact become more prevalent than in our need to win arguments.

From that point forward, we remain engaged in the argument, simply because we must prove a point—regardless of whether we’re right or wrong. Ladies, this is where we lose our power! At times, we have a tendency to talk too much, and while we’re trying to prove our point, we often miss important information that our husbands are trying to communicate to us. God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak, but somehow this communicative truth eludes us women.

It’s as simple as this—the mouth is a powerful weapon. The words that we speak out of it have the power to either build up or to tear down. Ladies, if we’re honest with ourselves, we know this, and we even try to add a “little bit extra oomph” to season our words in just the right way to make them extra spicy—especially when we recognize that a simple discussion makes a sudden transition from being civil conversation and crosses over into the “Argument Zone.” That transition can happen so quickly that you won’t even realize that the shift occurred, but you’ll know that you’re there because before the argument gets too deep, you’ll wonder “how did we let things get to this point? And why?”

The answer to these questions should be simple enough. For instance, we arrived in the “zone” because we didn’t see eye-to-eye on some issue at some point during our conversation. Now we’re yelling and screaming at each other, engaged in an all-out verbal battle designed to elevate our points-of-view over those of our husbands’ all because we HAVE THE LAST WORD; regardless of how right or how wrong we are. But why? Why do we have to have the last word? Is the argument worth it in the end? What are we really trying to prove, and to whom?

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This, is where we must be completely honest with ourselves in examining the role that arguments play in disrupting our marriages. Arguments serve to perpetuate unnecessary chaos that will eventually drive a wedge of division between you, your husband, and everything that you worked to build together; which is where you begin to surrender your power as a wife without even realizing it.

The truth of the matter is that we could be more effective in maintaining the balance of power in our power in our marriages if we’d be honest enough with ourselves to examine our motives for allowing the argument to “go there” in the first place; and by that I mean to allow the argument to escalate to the place of getting way out-of-hand.

Ladies, this is where we must “Check Ourselves” first. How do we do that, you ask? By simply asking yourself two very important questions, THEN getting quiet enough within yourself to wait for the answer to come from within yourself. The first question that you must ask yourself is “What need did I have met as a result of participating in this argument to get my point across?” The second question that you must ask yourself is “What value, if any, was added to strengthen my marriage as I expended all that energy arguing?”

Two of the most important lessons that I learned as a woman, which proved to be vital to my ability to effectively communicate with my husband, are that I must (1) learn how to disagree WITHOUT being disagreeable, and (2) that I must listen twice as much as I speak. I’ve learned that this process is necessary because it allows you the time to process all of the messages that you receive throughout the communication process, which will greatly reduce the likelihood of misunderstanding the messenger’s intended purpose for sending the original message.

As women, we get so caught-up in having the last word until we miss critical moments in the communication process from which we are to learn—in other words, it is in those moments when we are supposed to learn how to strengthen our ability to become more effective nurturers of the communicative process in all the ways that matters most; especially when it comes to shoring-up the relationship with the person with whom we vowed to spend the rest of our natural lives.

Of all the lessons that I’ve learned and of all the wisdom that I’ve gained up until this point in my marriage, I’ve learned that the power of a simple apology can go so much farther in repairing whatever aspect of your marriage that was breached during your disagreement with your husband than trying to “get even” with him with your words coupled with a flat-out bad attitude.

As women, and as wives, we have to be able to get still enough to take a long, hard look at how we’re using our words in our marriages.  Do your words serve to either strengthen or strangle or your marriage, and how are the words that you choose to say during a heated debate support your efforts to achieve that end?

NOW PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND THE POINT THAT I’M TRYING TO CONVEY HERE—I’m not saying that you should not communicate your concerns to your husband, or that you should allow yourself to be verbally abused, as this is unhealthy. Conversely, you should not be verbally abusive to your husband.

There’s a very fine line between maintaining strong communicative ties with your husband, and letting your pattern of communication spiral out-of-control to the point of hurt feelings, being called out-of-your-name, and emerging mentally bruised and hurt because motives were not examined before initiating the conversation to begin with.

So, think about these things: Is the argument worth it in the end? Do you really need to have the last word in that argument? AND…Are you willing to be the first to take responsibility for your actions and apologize for your part; even if you feel as if shouldn’t have to?

Copyright ©2017

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Growth Is A Continual Process

on-the-air-micPSSSTTTT!!!!  Word on the curb is that WifeFilesConfidential is expanding into the world of podcasting!

Our podcast, WifeTalk™ Live with Tawni will feature candid discussions on topics that all wives can relate to, and will feature practical tips and information to help wives navigate the their way through the woes of the matrimonial unknowns to emerge on the other side of their “happily ever-after” WITH their spouse.

WifeTalk Live with Tawni” will broadcast weekly, and will be available for exclusive download on our website.  I’ve compiled a long list of topics to cover, but I want to make sure that your concerns are raised also.  As such, if you have a topic in mind that you’d like to submit, please either leave a comment or send an e-mail to wifefilesconfidential@gmail.com.

I can’t wait to get this podcast up and running!  This will be lots of fun! 

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Oh No She Didn’t—I Know This Chick Did NOT Just Hit On My Husband!!!

talk-to-the-handOf all the e-mails that I receive from wives asking questions about how they should “handle” different situations that arise in their marriages, I felt a strong connection one particular e-mail that I received in which a wife asked about how she should address a situation in which one of her acquaintances made repeated “passes” at her husband.

Although her concerns are specific to her marriage, the question that she raised with respect to how she should handle the situation speaks to the fact that her problem with her husband exists on a much larger scale and likely impacts lots of couples at some point in their respective relationships.  I’ve copied the text of her e-mail below for your reference, as well as to help establish the framework for my reply:

Dear WifeFilesConfidential,

I’m not sure how to start, but I’ll just go ahead and put it out there. My best friend and I have been friends since elementary school. Even though life has taken us in different directions at times, we always managed to keep our friendship intact and pick up where we left off.

An old acquaintance that we both graduated high school with recently reconnected with my best friend, and now that they’ve reconnected, I see the acquaintance on occasion when I see my best friend because she always manages to find a reason to be with her. I never really thought of as a friend, just someone I would make small talk with.

My best friend likes to host family events, and I’m always available to help because our families are very close and my family is always in attendance. So here’s the problem. The acquaintance has made a couple of passes at my husband during a couple of my best friend’s events! My husband told me about her advances, but not when they happened because he knows that I would’ve knocked her out and ruined my best friend’s events.

This is why I decided to e-mail you because I need to hear some advice from somebody outside of this situation. I’m the type of person who will slap first and ask questions later, and I don’t play when it comes to my husband and my children. I’m trying to decide how I’m going to handle this acquaintance because I don’t care for her much anyway. She crossed the line and I know that when I see her Its going to be a problem. What’s a wife to do?

Signed,

I Won’t Be Disrespected

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In response to your e-mail, I will say this: I COMPLETELY understand EXACTLY where you’re coming from! Trust me, I do. I recently found myself in a similar situation; one in which an acquaintance hit on my husband while we were at a party…AND I was in the same room! Talk about bold. What’s worse is that this chick wasn’t my friend…wasn’t even so much as a factor in my life. To be clear, the only connection that we had was through my best friend. Oh the drama!

My husband told me about her “advances” after we left the party. At first, I was like “why didn’t you tell me this while we were still at the party when I could’ve addressed her?”

When I asked my husband why he didn’t tell me what she did while we were at the party, and he told me that he knew that if I would’ve confronted her, the confrontation would not have ended in her favor. Lucky for her, I haven’t seen her since that day, so I haven’t had an opportunity to confront her.

But, in complete and total honesty, I’ve imagined slapping her to sleep one good time. But then again, I stop and think about God’s grace. Then I stop to say a quick prayer for her. Then I ask God to help me to forgive her so that I can go on with my life…the one that she obviously wishes that she could have with my husband.

So here’s the deal…you have to decide just how much disrespect you’re willing to tolerate. You already have the upper-hand because you’re married, and she obviously wants what you have. The key to “handling” your situation is to know how to use the power that is inherent in who you are as the actual WIFE in this situation. You have all the power, simply because you’re the wife. Think about that… about

As a reformed slapologist myself, I know how quickly one can reach out and slap someone for just about any reason. At the same time, I know that you have to stop and consider everything that you have to lose if your confrontation morphs into a brawl that you started when you slapped her and YOU end up with an assault charge. Is it worth it in the end?

My advice to you is that you explain to your best friend how this “acquaintance” disrespected your marriage, and let her know that you cannot be in her presence because of the potential for a confrontation. Reiterate to your husband that you won’t tolerate disrespect. Finally, be clear with yourself about the motives fueling your desire to “handle” this situation, should you ever find yourself in the acquaintance’s presence once again.

It’s far better to forgive her and free yourself of the excess emotional baggage that you’ve been carrying around since you found out about the “passes” that the acquaintance made toward your husband, than it is to keep holding onto a situation and allowing it to steal your joy in the present.

Copyright © 2016

Posted in Advice, Marriage, Sex and Intimacy | Tagged | Leave a comment

Confronting Your Fears and Conquering Them on National “Face Your Fears” Day…

heart-symbol-and-blood-pressure-cuffLet me just go ahead and get this out of my system, and say that this is getting out-of-hand, people! Now, I’m all for finding a reason to celebrate just about anything that is happy and positive, but it seems as if every day we wake up, there’s a new something or another to celebrate: “National Coffee Day,” “National Donut Day,” “National Friendship Day,” and the list just seems to go on-and-on.

I try to make a good-faith effort to understand the “what” and the “why” of it all so that I can appreciate the reasoning behind and the purpose for what’s being celebrated, which is why I had reason to pause when I learned that today is “National Face Your Fears” Day.

I didn’t pause because I became “fearful” in that moment. I believe that the reason for my pause is directly related to the fact that I recently came face-to-face with my own mortality when I learned that I have Hypertension. I didn’t become fearful because I lead an unhealthy lifestyle or because I’m significantly overweight or anything like that.

I became fearful when I realized that I have a very strong family history of hypertension, more commonly referred to as high blood pressure, and heart disease, which made me more likely to develop this condition. So there I was, predisposed to this condition, simply because of my genetics, but more susceptible to the effects because I wasn’t adequately educated about the impact that my family’s medical history could have on my personal health.

Wives, here’s the key take-away: pay close attention to your family health history because you could be genetically predisposed to a serious medical condition and not even know it…until it’s too late.

I thought that I was doing everything that I could to prevent this health outcome in my own life. Proper diet. Regular exercise. Etc. Etc. However, because I l took the time to look back over my busy life as a wife, mother, businesswoman, friend, confidant, etc., etc., I can see where I neglected to prioritize REST.

We all know that REST is a vitally important component of a well-balanced, healthy life, but it’s the one thing that often gets sacrificed because as women and as wives, we get so caught-up in getting-things-done in our marriages…in our careers…in our families…to the point where we don’t realize the damage that we’re doing to our own bodies until we get sick.

What’s worse is when we know that we’re sick, yet won’t prioritize our needs enough to create the time and space that we need so that we can get the  proper amount of REST that we need to allow our bodies to repair themselves naturally.

One day I woke up, and started to feel really sick. I was in a lot of pain, and decided to go to the emergency room when I couldn’t get an appointment with my primary care physician. What I learned about my blood pressure and how it’s related to my overall heart health during that visit literally caused me to put myself on pause as I began to recognize that I, too, can, and will die. Right then-and-there, I made up my mind to do whatever I could prolong that process as long as humanly possible.

In the months that followed my diagnosis, I did everything that I could to learn about hypertension and heart disease, and took the steps that I needed to get my blood pressure under control without the assistance of prescription medication. Perhaps the most interesting thing that I learned about hypertension and heart disease is the impact they can have on a woman’s health and the impact they have on mortality rates among women.

The one thing that I learned that literally made me face my fear of my own mortality is that hypertension is considered to be the “silent killer,” simply because you can have this condition and not even know it until it’s too late because you can have it and not experience any symptoms. I went to the ER because I had what I felt the worst headache of my life. I’d been experiencing headaches up to that point, but little did I know that my headaches were a warning that something within my body was going terribly wrong. I’m so grateful that I listened to my body, and was able to get some help when I did. Otherwise, I could be dead right now.

So here’s the truth: we all fear something. Perhaps it’s a profound fear of heights. Or maybe your fear is of something more practical, like spiders…or snakes…or clowns. Regardless of what your fear is, the key to overcoming it is to confront that fear head-on. You have to confront that one thing that makes you the most vulnerable and leaves you the most exposed so that you can move on with your life. Doing so will diminish the power that your fear has over you, thereby liberating you to be present in your life as opposed to being a prisoner within it.

Copyright © 2016

Posted in Advice, Marriage, Self-Care | Tagged | Leave a comment

WifeCode™ Key 5: Keep It All In Balance

5colorkeysnumberedUp to this point, each of the preceding keys to the WifeCode™ spoke to different issues that arise in marriage and cause us wives to stumble into a place of uncertainty within ourselves—a place that often leaves us confused and unsure about how to navigate our way through those issues without disturbing the delicate balance of power within our marriages.

Those issues can have a strong influence on our overall thought process, which can be to our detriment because they can make us question just about every aspect of our how we see ourselves as wives. If we’re not careful to maintain a strong connection with the identity of the woman we were before we got married, those issues will impact how we see ourselves as wives, how we relate to our husbands, and how we understand the power that we have in our marriages.

In the preceding keys to the WifeCode™, we addressed the importance of maintaining open, honest, and healthy patterns of communication with our husbands, of standing in absolute unity with our husbands at all times, of ensuring that our husbands know that they have our full support in everything, of “taking care of home,” and of presenting the most authentic version of ourselves in everything…in every way…and in every situation.

The fifth and final key to the WifeCode™ will serve to anchor each thought expressed in the preceding keys by shifting the focus from maintaining your power in your marriage to preserving it.

So…how does a wife do that, you wonder? Preserve her power??? The answer is quite simple: through BALANCE.

Marriage is, in-and-of-itself, one big balancing act. As a wife, you have to find a way to find a way to strike the balance between being everything that you need you to be, everything that your husband desires you to be, everything that your marriage demands you to be, and everything that society dictates you to be—all at the same time AND above and beyond being the woman that YOU were created to be.

As women, we tend to fall into the trap of working twice as hard to live up to all of the expectations that get superimposed on us by people whose opinions about how we handle any aspect of our lives or our marriages shouldn’t matter because, after all, it’s really none of their business. As a result, we start believe that we have to be able to handle it all so that it APPEARS as if we have it all together, or else we run the risk of being perceived as “less-than” or “not good enough” in the eyes of people whose opinion of you shouldn’t matter. And just like that, we leave the door wide open for the outside influences to walk into our situation and upset the balance that keeps our lives flowing smoothly.

Eventually, those outside influences begin to demand more of our time, effort, energy, resources, and attention. When they do, we begin to divert time, effort, energy, and attention from the most important areas of our lives to supplement those things that now demand more of our attention. This is the point where everything that we have going on in our lives begins to fall out-of-sync with the overall balance that’s required to maintain and sustain healthy marriages. That’s why our power in our marriages often hangs in the balance, and, in most circumstances, causes our power to get tipped out of our favor.

Why??? The answer is quite simple…it’s because those outside influences have the power to make you question the two of the most important aspects of your identity as a wife: (1) your worth in your marriage and (2) the value that you add to your partnership with your husband. Herein lies the problem, Ladies.

The problem is that we continue to question ourselves. We stop believing that we’re enough. We start believing the hype about what a wife is, and about what she’s supposed to contribute to marriage. Then, we start believing that we’re not enough just as we are. We stop looking to the Spirit that guides us from within for the answers that we need to navigate the complexities of marriage. Instead, we begin to look to, to seek out, and to uphold what other people think, believe, and say about how we should handle ourselves in our marriages and how we should operate in our roles as wives.

Herein lies the problem because our sense of self gets devalued as we continue to fall further out-of-balance through all of our doing. Ladies, if we are to preserve and maintain our power in our marriages, we have to be able to strike-the-balance between the many roles that we play as women both within and outside the confines of the institution of marriage.

In other words, the key takeaway to this installment of the WifeCode™ is that our ability to preserve and maintain our power in our marriages is directly proportionate to our ability to preserve and maintain balance in every aspect of the many roles that comprise our lives as women. Yes. It is possible for us, as women, to have it all; but we must remain cognizant of what, if anything, we’re willing to risk as we work to achieve that end.

 

Copyright 2016

 

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WifeCode™ Key 4: Guard Your Marriage…with ALL Diligence

5colorkeysnumberedRegardless of how long you’ve been married, you can trust and believe that there will come a point in your marriage when some outside force will try to penetrate the foundation that you and your spouse worked so hard to fortify.

This is why we, as wives, must remain vigilant against these ill-intentioned foes because they can and will assume many forms. That’s what makes them so tricky to identify because, like chameleons, they find a way to blend into the surroundings of our lives so that they can wreak havoc and stir up turmoil before they move-on…all while we’re left trying to figure out the source of the chaos and confusion.

These masters of disguise will present themselves in many forms; however, their purpose always remains the same—to take or destroy what you have because they want it for themselves. Whatever the motive that drives those outside forces, the end-result is always the same. So what’s a wife to do to combat these outside forces, and how does she go about protecting her marriage from them??? The answer is embedded in the Fourth Key to the WifeCode™, which is simply to guard your marriage with ALL diligence.

Maintaining the balance of power in your marriage and in your relationship with your husband are of paramount importance to shoring-up the structural integrity of the foundation of your marriage. You and your HUSBAND worked hard to build what YOU have together; I repeat, you and YOUR HUSBAND worked to build what you have TOGETHER…not you and other forces outside of your marriage like you and your BFF…not you and “Sister Super-Christian” from church…not you and your mother…not you and your sister…not you and anyone else other than your husband put in the time, energy, and effort to lay the foundation upon which your marriage is built.

So why would you allow anyone or anything to come into your marriage that: (1) does not directly contribute to the success of your marriage; (2) that does not directly contribute to the happiness of your marriage; (3) that does not directly contribute to the intimacy of your marriage; and, (4) does not contribute to your marriage in any real, meaningful way threaten what you have?

At first, you might not even recognize the outside forces when they show up, knocking on the door of your marriage because they could come disguised as the caring friend who always lends a sympathetic ear as you talk about everything that’s going wrong in your life or as the bottle of wine that you find yourself reaching for every time a problem arises in your marriage with your husband.

If you can hear the forces knocking, here’s the most important thing you can do to keep those forces from gaining entry and cracking the foundation of your marriage—NEVER DISCUSS YOUR MATRIMONIAL BUSINESS WITH ANYONE OTHER THAN YOUR HUSBAND! In other words, keep your private life with your husband private as your marriage should ALWAYS be off-limits as a topic of discussion between you and anyone other than your husband.

Ladies, this is the most fool-proof way to guard your marriage. We have to do a much better job of airing our grievances about our marriages with the person that we’re married to, and no one else. This is the best way to close the information loop between what’s happening in your marital situation and the outside forces that are waiting for the perfect opportunity to shake the foundation of your marriage. The truth of the matter is that no one outside of your marriage can fix the problems that are happening in your marriage, except for you and the person you’re married to.

Every time you discuss the problems in your marriage with someone other than your husband, you surrender certain aspects of your power as a wife—aspects that affect your credibility with your husband, which can be hard to regain, depending on the information disclosed and to whom.

Unless you and your husband are experiencing problems that require a level of intervention that, other than God himself, only a licensed and certified counseling professional can provide, you should not go around telling your matrimonial business to anyone who will listen! You must know that everyone with whom you are an associate does not have your best interest at heart.

In fact, some of those folks may be secretly plotting to remove you from your situation, in hopes to claim your position, and your loose lips are giving them everything they need to do just that. Remember, loose lips sink ships, so don’t let your mouth be the reason why the ship that is your marriage starts taking on water.

…and just like that, we’ve come to the final Key to the WifeCode™! This key is all about the importance of striking the balance between ego and self-esteem, and their relationship to the power that we have in our marriages.

Copyright 2015

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WifeCode™ Key 3: Present The Most Authentic Version of Yourself at All Times

Ladies…Ladies…Ladie5colorkeysnumbereds…the importance of this key cannot be underscored enough because it is certain that there will come a time in your marriage when you will begin to question who you are, the woman you’ve become, and why all of the things that used to matter to you have just about all but lost their appeal.

This line of self-interrogation usually happens sometime after the honeymoon phase of your marriage has ended, which is typically when you begin to settle into the routine of marriage. You’ll know when you get there because that’s the point when everything about YOU—specifically, all of the things that make you “YOU,” get eclipsed by your efforts to meet and exceed the expectations that you now have to live up to all because you got hitched.

You see, these “expectations” get embedded into our subconscious as little girls and, at best, serve to provide us with a false sense of identity as we grow older because we are groomed from the earliest point in our lives to believe that in order to be regarded as both a “good” woman AND a “good” wife, we must “present” ourselves in a certain type of way.

As a result, we strive to be everything that is regarded as “good” and “acceptable” in the eyes of everyone around us while we subconsciously suppress, surrender, and sacrifice bits and pieces of ourselves that don’t fit into the image of all that is “good and acceptable” until the authenticity of who we are gets replaced by routine, learned responses to the demands and expectations that get super-imposed on us.

If you’ve arrived at this point in your marriage, you’re probably seeing the routine that you’ve settled into…you know…the routine way that you live day-in and day-out…the routine that dictates everything that you do and how you do them…in the same way…at the same time…day-in and day-out…each and every day.

It’s a sobering reality that’s sort of like imagining yourself standing on the edge of a chasm looking over to the other side, trying to reconcile the difference between the woman you are now that you’re married and the woman that you were before you embarked upon your matrimonial journey. The valley is that place that you must cross to reconnect the dots of your existence in that regard.

So, why is this? Why is it so difficult for us, as wives, to strike a balance that allows us the time and space that we need to maintain our sense of self…that is to maintain those things that are important to us…our unique personality traits…our identities, our hobbies…our interests…our thoughts…and whatever else that makes us unique, different, and special; all while being everything that we need to be to everyone in our lives WITHOUT sacrificing the essence of who we are? That’s the question, and Key #3 to the WifeCode™ will answer it.

The duality of our existence as wives can be tricky because we each have to navigate our way through the process of becoming a good wife without the benefit of prior knowledge of how marriage really works or without any subsequent preparation for the role. There is no course on how to be a wife beyond the traditional introduction to marriage that typically comes through pre-marital counseling, coupled with the “advice” that many of us receive from other wives.

Most of us receive our initial introduction to wifehood by observing how other wives operate and how they relate to their spouse in the context of marriage. We see their happiness…their joy…their laughter…their excitement…their love. We see whatever it is that we think is consistent with our beliefs about how we should be as wives. Then, we hone-in on it, study it, and let it serve as a frame-of-reference for how we should be as wives.

Problematic? I believe so, and here’s why. When we begin to model our behavior and our actions around what we think and/or perceive to be the “right” way to either be or do things in the eyes of those whose opinion about us shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, the elements of us that make us “us” get masked and often go unnoticed—more often to our detriment because we’re left feeling unfulfilled…dissatisfied…disillusioned…dejected…distanced…and so-on because we cannot be free to be and express ourselves authentically.

Ladies, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that there’s a part of our being that exists deep within…you know…that’s the place where we keep our vulnerabilities hidden from folks in an effort to protect ourselves emotionally.  That’s the place where we hide our fear of rejection, our fear of not being “good enough,” and, the worst of all, our fear of not “measuring-up,” regardless of the context. Whenever we “play things safe” and remain vulnerable to those things that limit our ability to be our authentic selves we lose our power. Nowhere is this truth more pronounced than in marriage.

The truth of the matter is that your power in life, in marriage, in your place as a woman, and in your role as a wife is all connected to the authenticity of who you are at the core of your being. You have to be you—authentically and unapologetically—because no one else can stand-in and live your life for you. You have to make the time to nurture the balance between you as a woman with interests, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions and you as a wife who is a partner in a marriage where your interests, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions are just as important as those of your spouses.

The key take-away here is that no one should ever have to blow the flame on your candle out so that the flame on their candle can flicker brighter. In the same way, you should not have to sacrifice bits and pieces of who you are to fit into an unrealistic mold of a woman with whom you’re not familiar just to be accepted by folks whose opinion of you shouldn’t matter in the end. Remember—your husband married you, which is why the Fourth Key to the WifeCode™ will focus on the importance of protecting your marriage!

Copyright 2015

Posted in Advice, Communication, Marriage, Personal Relationships, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WifeCode™ Key #2: “Reconnect With Your Inner Helpmeet.”

5colorkeysnumberedI do realize that some wives reading this post will argue that the title for the second key to the WifeCode™ will set women’s progress back at least fifty years, but hear me out on this one. Regardless of what your personal beliefs and opinions are on what a helpmeet is or if the term is still applicable to the role and responsibility of a wife within the context of marriage in today’s world, the reality is that each of us became a helpmeet by default when we said “I do.”

While the concept of marriage has remained constant over time, the concept of a helpmeet has become somewhat skewed as the definition of marriage and thoughts about traditional marriage roles have changed.

You may be wondering what this has to do with you, and you may even be asking questions like “why do I need to reconnect with ‘her,’” and “what value does ‘she’ add to who I am as a wife?” I would argue that the answers to those questions are really simple in that the origin of our creation as women embodies a certain level of duty and responsibility to the purpose for marriage that transcends time. It is in that duty and responsibility where we, as women, must look to unlock our power in our marriages; hence the reason why Key #2 to the WifeCode™ is on the importance of reconnecting with your inner helpmeet.

When we think of the term “helpmeet,” our thoughts tend to lean toward the Bible because of the association of the term “helpmeet” with the story of Adam and Eve and Creation. In the traditional sense of the word, we’re taught that as wives, our primary responsibility is to be a “helpmeet” to our husband—that we are to be his helper…his companion…his partner…his “other half”…etc…etc. In striving to be all that the term “helpmeet” implies, we as women get so caught-up in trying to be everything to all of the people in our lives simultaneously that we lose sight of the importance and the value that we add to the one person who matters most—our husband. If we’re not careful to check our motives and our intentions, all of our “helpful” actions will create an imbalance that, if unchecked, will cause a serious rift in our situation, Ladies.

So how will reconnecting with my inner helpmeet help me to unlock my power in my marriage, you ask? The key-to-the-key here is to RECALIBRATE the balance in your marriage by simply doing the things that “helpmeets” do! Begin by rethinking the motives and intentions that govern the way you interact with and relate to your spouse. Are your motives and intentions being driven by your underlying desire to get your way in a specific situation, thereby causing you to act a certain way or say certain things? Then, in an act of completely honest self-examination, determine whether or not you are truly serving to help or to hinder your marriage, based on what you discover about yourself as you look within to begin this work.

In understanding how traditional marriage roles have evolved over time, I’ve learned that being a helpmeet is not so much about bowing-down in subservience to your husband’s every whim as it is about understanding the context and virtue with which women were created while recognizing that that’s the source of our power. Here are two ways that you can subtly reintroduce your husband to your inner helpmeet by showing him that you respect his role and what he contributes to the marriage in much of the same way as you want him to respect you and your contributions. Trust me, he WILL notice your efforts, and he’ll love you even more for doing so!

  1. Stand by Your Man: Ladies, in the same way that we want to feel supported by our husbands, our husbands need to feel that same level of support from us. We need to make sure that our husbands know that we’re there for them, and that they’re not alone in the struggle—whatever the struggle might be. Although you might not agree with everything that your husband might say or do…and vice-versa…you should always stand in unity with your husband; ESPECIALLY concerning any issue that serves to threaten the foundation of your marriage or your family. In other words, keep outsiders on the outside of your marriage, and never let them witness you not having your man’s back.

 

Your focus should be on building a relationship with your husband that feeds his spirit and nourishes his soul in such a way that he won’t have room to question your loyalty to him because your loyalty will be reinforced by everything that you do to help him to be a better, stronger man.

 

  1. Take Care of Home: When women of a certain age hear the phrase “take care of home,” there’s an unspoken tidbit of advice embedded in the wording that basically suggests that, as a woman, you should keep your man satisfied, pleased, and fulfilled because if you won’t, someone else will. While a healthy sex life is of utmost importance in any marriage, taking care of home is about more than making sure that you serve up hot sex on a platter every night. While our husbands need us to fulfill our wifely duties and take care of their sexual needs, they also need us to take care of the needs of the house itself. A man’s home is his castle, and, as wives, we have to have the skills and the ability needed to maintain his castle.

 

Ladies, we need to literally take care of home; flex our domestic muscles so-to-speak…keep the house clean…keep the laundry cleaned and pressed…keep the stove hot with home-cooked meals…attend to your children…maintain a stress-free environment in your home…etc. etc. In short, we need to cover ALL of our bases, Ladies. Although taking care of home might sound like something out of the 50s with all the talk about housekeeping and all—ESPECIALLY to the modern woman of today—but again, this is what’s really real when it comes down to it. Oh…and never leave your husband uncovered because there will be another woman somewhere standing at-the-ready to offer him a blanket.

And that’s basically what we need to do to begin the process of reconnecting with our inner helpmeet! The key takeaways here are rather straight-forward: (1) that our husbands must be able to feel that we support them;  (2) that our husbands must know beyond a shadow-of-a-doubt that we’re in-it-to-win-it with them; and, (3) that our husbands must believe that ALL of their needs are being met by their helpmeet. Ladies, we have to get back-to-basics when it comes to shoring-up the foundation of our marriages by being the one thing to our husbands that no one other woman can be—his helpmeet.

Stay tuned for the Third Key to the WifeCode™, which will focus on the importance of YOU!

Copyright 2015

Posted in Advice, Marriage | Tagged | Leave a comment

WifeCode™ Key #1: “Master the Art Of Communication.”

5colorkeysnumberedWifeFilesConfidential is all about providing a forum through which wives can address many of the common, yet uniquely complex issues that can only be acquired through the process of growing into the role of a wife. Regardless of the many reasons that guide our decision to get married, becoming a wife is a process that requires a significant amount of personal growth and internal sacrifice to develop the character needed to not only sustain the marriage, but also to sustain the commitment made to our spouse.

While the process of growing into a wife might not be exactly the same for every wife, the process itself does not change as we all experience certain aspects of the process at one point or another, regardless of where we are in the various stages of wifely development. With that being said, there are a few fundamental key truths that undergird that process of becoming—key truths that I’ve dubbed “WifeCode™”. This post is dedicated to taking a closer look at the first of key to the WifeCode™, which is to master the art of communication. Why is communication so important, you ask? The answer is simple—it’s because communication is key to EVERYTHING! That answer is especially true if you want to sustain everything that is a happy marriage.

It’s been said that the biggest problem with communication is that we don’t listen with the intent to understand; we listen with the intent to reply. Ladies, if we’re honest with ourselves, we should be able to hold a mirror up to ourselves, acknowledge, admit, and see that there’s some truth to that statement alive within each of us. We should also be able to see how that truth is reflected in the way we communicate with those around us—especially in how we get our point across to others. As stereotypical as it may be, the reality is that women tend to project more emotion when communicating. That emotion, when it reaches a certain point, causes us to stop listening, which is usually the main culprit when the communication process breaks down.

Reaching the point of breakdown in communication is detrimental because this is the point where we become closed to seeing or understanding any point-of-view other than our own. Logic and reason give way to emotion, and we end up yelling and screaming and crying and name-calling and belittling and so-on and so-forth. This is when we lose our power because we get so caught-up in having the last word that we miss the learning opportunities that empower us to resolve conflicts as they arise when we’re engaged in the communication process.

The bottom-line is this: if we are to unlock our authentic power in our marriage, then we need to take a long, hard look at how we communicate with our spouse. Then, and only then, will we be able to own our part of what makes communication a stumbling block in marriage…and in life for that matter. After we do that, we need to do whatever needs to be done to fix it because our marriages depend on us doing so.

The key take-away here is this: if you ALWAYS feel as if your spouse doesn’t understands you…or that your spouse is against you…or that no one—especially your spouse—ever listens to you or knows where you’re coming from…or is always nit-picking, nagging, or getting-on-your-nerves…yada…yada…yada, then you need to look in the mirror and understand that the way you’re communicating with our spouse is serving to either strengthen or strangle our marriage…for better or for worse. This is the reason why communication is so important in relationships—ESPECIALLY in marriage. If you don’t have good communication in your marriage, then your marriage will fail on so many different levels.

That’s why the First Key to the WifeCode™ is Mastering the Art of Communication. I can see the question forming in your mind…and it looks something like…”well how, exactly, do I do that?”  I’m so glad you asked. Keep these three tidbits in mind whenever you think about what communication looks like in your marriage. If implemented correctly, these three strategies can help you to get your needs met whenever you communicate by shifting the focus of the exchange from “you” to “understanding” the purpose for the exchange in the first place. Doing so will help you to keep your emotions in-check, and can help you resolve any conflict that could potentially arise BEFORE things get out-of-hand…

  • Say It Like You Mean It: Oftentimes, we end-up feeling frustrated and defeated in communication because we miss those key opportunities to say “what we mean and mean what we say.” We either don’t want to say something that will hurt our spouse’s feelings or we don’t want to say the wrong thing. So what do we do? We “sugar-coat” what needs to be said so that we can spare our spouse’s feelings because after all, we don’t come across as being the ultimate bitch. Listen, I’m not talking about engaging in any type verbal abuse or anything extreme like that. I’m merely suggesting that you stop tip-toeing around what needs to be said and that you say what you have to say like you mean it with tact, diplomacy, and the utmost respect.
  • Disagree WITHOUT Being Disagreeable: Just because you and your spouse don’t see eye-to-eye when communicating at times does NOT give you the right to lash-out in a passive-aggressive, demeaning, or combative way. Your spouse is not wrong just because he doesn’t agree with you…and vice-versa. You can disagree without adding unnecessary stress to your marriage, which often sneaks in through the unkind words spoken out of anger in the heat-of-the-moment. That’s what we do when we “agree to disagree.” Also, stop being negative because negativity feeds a disagreeable spirit, and that’s just not cute.
  • Express Your Expectations Clearly: Miscommunication happens because we do not clearly state what we expect to happen. Although the world would likely be a much better place if everyone had the magical power of “mindreading,” the reality is that we were not created that way. You cannot expect for everyone to know what you thinking, feeling, believing, intending, etc., etc. Therefore, you cannot get upset when you find yourself in situations or conversations that take a turn for the worse because you “thought” that you were on the same wavelength with your spouse when, in reality, you were not. This will happen whenever you do not clearly express your thoughts, ideas, talking-points, expectations, etc. etc. up-front. Doing so will level the communicative playing field, at minimum.

And that’s it! Stay tuned for the Second Key to the WifeCode™, which will focus on the importance of reconnecting with your inner helpmeet and reintroducing her to your husband. Trust me, he’ll love you even more for doing so! In the meantime, keep the conversation going. Please comment below.

Copyright 2015

Posted in Advice, Communication, Marriage, Personal Relationships | Tagged , , | Leave a comment