Picture Perfect

The other day I paused for a second to look at a old wedding photo, a time when the future had what seemed like infinite choices and adventures, when love was blind and most sentences end with “I love you cutie smoggy pie”, when my clothes hadn’t shrunk yet, when face and book had no reason to be in the same sentence, but alas time is a cruel mistress and the reflection in the mirrored frame seemed to have been give a beating by father time and all his homies.

Growing up is not for wimps, being tired should not be seen as a symptom of growing old, but rather a badge of honour, we should be proud that we as parents are raising children and getting it right most of the time (gold badges to single parents), for those of you that skip the midweek gym session and buy a slab of chocolate on the way home and snuggle up with your best friend on the couch and watch a good movie good for you, you deserve it.

The world is not going to honour the good mother or father with an award nor will there be any red carpet rolled out at the end of your performance, but the one thing you can count on is at the end of the day when the street lights switch on and the sun goes down, that every little success and failure, all the adventures have brought you together to this place, in your home with your family.

Where has January gone ?

January is all done and dusted, and if you have started the year running like most of us working people (robots) who earn just enough to float above the debt collectors and bank phone calls, then you probably have spent the last four weeks blurry eyed trying to make out what that 11pm sms or email to your phone says.

Well stop for a second and try to remember what your wife dressed in yesterday and what the name of your kids teachers are? I thought so because I have no idea either , you got to stop for a second and just ask yourself the question who or rather for what are your working for. The answer should be the family and a quality of life, sadly Work and Quality of life very rarely go together, so you need to make the weekends count.

Plan your Saturday and Sunday, goto church and take the family for a drive, surprise them with a Drive-Inn movie or Mountain walk or a packed picnic with Cheese and Wine. Get out the iPhone and snap some shots with the kids and wife. Take the time to sit with each kid and get a little insight into their lives, give them a hug, and let them know you care.

Relationship Workouts

 

If you think that moving in together is going to easy, with double the income, double the amount of people cleaning and looking after the apartment or house, double the fun. Well its all true until the first argument about the dirty dish in the sink. Moving in together or marriage also means double the mess, clutter and just stuff lying around.

My wife and I have worked out that it’s not going to be the kids nor finances and not even the dirty dishes that our divorced friends seemed to have argue about, but rather that they gave up, they simply went one round and threw in the towel.

You see like lightning and most elements found in nature, we humans tend to also take the shortest and quickest route to what we feel is the only answer.

Dont be lazy, work at it, give each other time, the toothpaste left open, the toilet seat left up even the underpants left on the floor somewhere between the bed and the shower are all going to slowly disappear when you realise that life is not about the small stuff and partnerships that build solid healthy foundations are going to last the longest.

Date Night
Date Night

 

Stop being a Parent and Listen

The other night I switched off the mobile and TV, and just sat with my teenage son and for first time simply listened to his day, he spoke about music, interesting sites he had visited, Facebook comments and I just listened I offered no advice nor judgment. Even being a teacher and working with teenagers for 15 years all day and every day I am constantly surprised how complex teenagers lives have become.

If you have a teenager you probably tried and in many cases failed to workout the complexities of your kids who seem to be on trial for their very existence by a jury of their peers through social media, sms’ and emails having to defend themselves from the onslaught of pokes, likes and anonymous tweets of the faceless internet 24/7.

Start listening and less judging, life for us as kids was a lot easier and far less complex, where bullying was left on the playground and you knew when you got home you were safe, our kids need us to be compassionate and caring, don’t force them to switch off their umbilical cord to their social world, but through discussion and by example show them the real meaning of life.

I took my kids to the beach; we bought ice cream and watched the sunset. That night we prayed for a better tomorrow.

The Chains of Chores

Its never about the trash or dishes, but it always seems to be the last straw or in this case dirty dish, that seems to ignite the 24 hour argument. If we as couples simply discussed and resolved the little things before the big blowout how many arguments could have been avoided.

Men tend not to notice the subtle irritations, we dont usually notice that collectively all the little things we do or miss, tend to get our partners all riled up. We would love it if you just told us that nail clippings on the bed are disgusting, or arriving home late after work and griping about a cold dinner, that used to be warm is inconsiderate and tends to come across that we are not appreciative of all that you do for us. We men are simple folk and you need to realise that each every little annoying trait we have probably got passed down to us by our fathers or lack of a father.

If you break the argument chain and gently discuss and put in place better (easier) alternatives most of us are willing to avoid arguing and will change.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. –Leo Tolstoy

Muted

The other day I drove with a man that told me of the pain and emotional anguish he has to endure each day as he lives with a woman who through addiction and emotional blackmail made his life a misery. Don’t be muted if you have a problem or a concern talk to your partner don’t allow them to control you, you owe it to yourself to have a happy and successful life. I truly believe that most relationship issues can be resolved through communication and reflection .

In saying that I also believe that in this world we also have bullies and for them their is no solution but one of control and manipulation and in this situation the best advice would be to walk away and seek professional council and rather move back home to the safety of your folks and start again than stay in the hope that it will get better.

 

 

Wild Horses

Wild horses is a great analogy for living together, when men and women move in together, there can only be three outcomes, the first being the woman takes the wild stalion and trys to turn him into “my little pony”, or the man trophies the woman but he still wants to run free, or and by far the most successful outcome they simply live on the same farm, with no other horses on the inside of the fence, but still allowing each other the room to run and get used to the idea, friends and family left to visiting from across the fence.

The reason men bolt or feel caged-in is the fact that for the first time they are answerable to someone else, who wants them to change immediately, look only in their direction and stop being what every cell in their bodies are telling them feels unnatural.

We know why we chose you as a partner, we want this lifestyle , so give us time to adjust and love you.

Taking for granted

I remember reading a article about an 80 year old man on his death bed and posed with the question “if you had your life over what would you change ?” , his response was I wished I’d loved more.

Dont take your relationship for granted, it seems like the one thing we tend to neglect is family. If you think your partner knows you love and appreciate them so you don’t have to tell them you’re wrong. Hold your partner and kids today let them know how much you love them.

Why is it that we spend more time trying to make sure that our bosses or co-workers like us but spend so little time with our kids and partner whom we love.

At the end of our lives, who do we want at our bedside?

An example to all of us
An example to all of us

Mirror Mirror on the wall

Ever look in the mirror and get the feeling that somewhere along the line you took a wrong turn. I woke up this morning staggered into the bathroom and started to shave and as I placed the razor on the side of the sink I noticed a stranger looking back. One argument too many, bills, kids, insurance, mortgage and work will age a man. If you feel like life needs a reboot take your wife on a weekend getaway, talk on the road and reboot old flames. Dont allow yourself to become that stranger looking back at you in the mirror.

Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.
Leo Buscaglia

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Relationship Seesaw

If you are going to keep your relationship healthy one of the most important things to remember is to stop counting. Stop counting the number of times you argued, packed the dishwasher, lifted the lid, picked up the kids, made dinner or were intimate. Life is not a competition and its never going to balance. Living together is simple, surprise each other by swinging past the deli, fetch the dry-cleaning, buy flowers or by leave a loving note.

If you look hard enough, you going to find the cracks, a relationship needs to be looked at like a unfinished art work, each day you going to paint over the cracked paint and forgive.

An excellent exercise is to take an elastic band and place it on your wrist, every time you want to say or do something hurtful pull on the elastic band and let it slap your wrist. Men each time you lift the brush to the canvas, remember how much you time and love you have invested in your artwork.

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