Welcome back! You’re still choosing to stick this out with me and I must say thank you! Without you, I’d only be talking to myself and while that’s entertaining it’s much more entertaining to speak with someone else. If you’re a first-time reader, Welcome! I’m sure you’ll enjoy our time together, but this is most definitely not blog number one so take some time and review the other entries after reading this one, you won’t be disappointed. We’re still in the series “10 signs that you might be wasting time in your current relationship”. This week’s topic is an often overlooked one, but important none the less. If you’re significant other doesn’t (or rarely) make(s) you laugh, you may be wasting time in your current relationship. Now I know what your thinking, “We’re talking about laughing (in my Allen Iverson Voice)?” I know this seems small and insignificant, but the presence and lack of this quality has a huge impact on the health of you and your relationship. We’ve all heard the corny sayings, “laughter is the best medicine” or “laughter is food for the soul”; but what if I told you that there was proof that those corny sayings were true. Before I jump into the relationship talk, let me put on my lab coat for a second and hit you with just a smidge of science. The effects of laughter on our brains has been studied by scientist since the 1970’s. These studies found laughter can stimulate the brain and regulate the hormones that control mood, stress, blood pressure and immune responses (Griffin). By decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells laughter is actually improving our bodies ability to fight off illnesses. Studies have also shown that laughter can even improve your memory. So in essence if you’re sick, laughter possibly really could be the remedy for your healing. Ok that’s enough science in one blog post, I want to be sure not to scare you away.
Let’s take it to a relationship, first off if you’re dating someone who literally NEVER laughs I advise you to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction because you could be dating a psychopath. Now you may have laughed out loud when you read that last sentence; and while it is funny, I’m being 100% serious, not having the ability to laugh should be a huge red flag. But of course, never laughing is the extreme. What does rarely laughing say about a person? Well, I’m happy you asked. If, as science reports, laughter relieves stress and tension how do you imagine a person who rarely experiences laughter will behave? I envision they’d be stressed out, aggressive, dealing with huge anxiety issues, depressed, and not much fun to be around and who wants to willingly sign up to date that person?
If you’re significant other is not able to laugh at themselves it’s likely they aren’t going to laugh at you either. There’s already enough stress in the world, from work pressures, to day to day interactions with people. The last thing you need is to go through a stressful day and then come home to a stressed out and stressful partner. Stress actually takes minutes, hours, days, and eventually years off of your life; so the longer you stay in your stressful relationships the more time you take away from you being on the earth.
Laughter is what honestly made me love my husband. My life has always been so serious; a product of growing up in severe trauma. When I met my now husband we talked for hours and I spent the majority of that time laughing. He made me forget about my hurt and motivated me to want to achieve greater things. He literally saved my life and I am extremely grateful for him. A life partner should be someone who makes you feel like you can conquer the world. You should be excited to see them at the end of your day. They should work to bring peace to your life. They should love you enough to know that your health is important and be willing to do anything to help you obtain optimal health. If that isn’t your reality, it’s time for you and your partner to have a serious heart to heart. Maybe they’re hurting and need help working through trauma in order to be able to find the humor in life. Maybe they need you to assist them with finding peace and serenity in their day to day. Heck maybe they just aren’t happy with you and they need to be with someone else. Regardless of the reason it’s important that you take care of you and if that means ending a relationship that keeps you stressed out; so be it. Ultimately no one is going to love you more than you love you; so I’m begging you to put you first.
Tune in next week where we’ll have another stimulating conversation focusing on Real Life, Real Love, and Real Family. Also if you haven’t already, don’t forget to listen and subscribe to the Real Life, Real Love, Real Family podcast with Words and Melody Taylor (wordstaylor.com/podcast). This blog is just my take on our conversation during the episode, you definitely want to tune into the full thing to get the full picture.
Welcome to the Real Love, Real Life, Real Family blog’s 4th installment. If you’re returning, welcome back. We’re in the middle of the series “10 indications that you might be wasting time in your current relationship” and this week’s topic is a good one. You might be wasting time in your current relationship if your significant other is keeping too many secrets.
Let me tell you a story, there was this 22 year old girl (for privacy purposes we’ll call her Jane) and she was dating this 20 year old guy (let’s call him John). It was early in their relationship, they’d only been dating for 30 days, but Jane was convinced that John was the best thing since sliced bread. They would talk on the phone for hours. They’d often stay overnight at the others house. They literally spent roughly 90% of their hours awake together, daily. Jane was loyal, a good girl, from a broken family. John was a good guy, he too was from a broken family; this was the bond that brought them together. Jane basically moved in with John and she then started to notice some things that concerned her. For instance, when he left the room to go to the bathroom he would always take his cellphone with him. When they slept at night he would sleep with his phone right next to him or sometimes he’d even sleep on top of it! Now cellphone concerns seem trivial when dealing with true love, but there were others. Sometimes he would get a phone call and “have to” step out of the room to take it. John would be on social media, clearly entertained, but when Jane walked up he would log out. The biggest red flag for Jane was after they’d been dating for almost a year she realized he only took her around a few of his friends, even though his family was just a car ride away. He always gave the excuse that his parents worked all of the time and he didn’t have the greatest relationship with his father.
All of these things individually can be cause for concern but lumped all together this is a 911 EMERGENCY! If I were Jane’s friend I would have told her to run as fast as she can to the nearest exit! John has some clear “Mr. &&Mrs. Smith” double agent/double life type tendencies and unless she wants to wake up in 10 years next to a man that she never really knew; she should get out while the getting is good.
Of course, Jane and John’s story was extreme and it was clear that there were some issues, but honestly these things are common occurrences in many relationships just on smaller scales. How many times have you been in a relationship where your significant other’s actions caused you to question? I know every relationship I had from 13 years old to 26 years old made me question; question me and question the men I dated. By the time I’d met and married my husband my self-esteem was nearly non-existent. I’d been betrayed by EVERY man that had ever set foot in my life. As a result I struggled trusting men, but even worse I struggled trusting myself. This damage started at such a young age that it literally sculpted and molded who I am today. I know today that I’m a stronger, more loyal, more beautiful, more well-rounded woman; but sometimes I do wonder about what life could have/would have been like without the trauma.
A lot of people hear Jane and John’s story and immediately say John’s the bad guy, but that’s not entirely true. Now don’t get me wrong I see where that conclusion was drawn from, but you have to take into consideration that both Jane and John came from brokenness. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it is that “hurt people, hurt people.” We only know how to function at the level that we currently are on and if we don’t know any better we can’t do any better. What we learned in this week’s podcast is that trust can’t be built onto a broken foundation and without trust no relationship will last.
In order to build a long lasting relationship, you have to be upfront and honest with your significant other. What Jane and John learned is that time, transparency, and individual willingness builds trust. Each partner has to be willing to be open, transparent, and ultimately vulnerable to the other. We aren’t saying you have to divulge your life story from day 1, but we are saying major (life altering) secrets should happen very early and overtime the others should come out as well. Ultimately withholding the truth is just a way to try and control the other persons response. It is manipulation at it’s finest.
All of what happened to Jane, happened to me (from several different relationships) and all of John’s behavior was Words behavior (from several different relationships). I tell you this to show that it is possible for two broken individuals to find healthy love within one another, work on wholeness individually and together, and to come out stronger. We definitely attribute our success and healing to God. As mentioned in the podcast, if you’re the one keeping the secrets you have to dig down to the root cause and begin working on that. I
Week 3, you know I’m starting to think that maybe we’ve found something here. I mean, I’m not trying to jump the gun, but this is the 3rd week that you’ve chosen to meet me here in the same place at the same (or similar) time. If I didn’t know any better I’d say you might like me or something. Now I know we’re only in the honeymoon phase, heck we only met 3 weeks ago, but I really appreciate you taking this time out to get to know me. The dream is that eventually we’ll have an interactive space where you can leave comments on the blog and the podcast and we can get to know you too. But until then let’s dig into this weeks podcast.
We’re currently in the series “10 indicators that you might be wasting your time in your current relationship”. This week’s topic “He/She is not actively pursuing you” is one I am all too familiar with. What does “actively pursuing you” look like? In this weeks podcast I defined active pursuit as reciprocal pursuit. If I’m calling you, texting you, trying to schedule time to be with you; you should be calling me, texting me, trying to schedule time to be with me and if that’s not happening that’s a problem for me. In the podcast Words used the perfect phrase for this situation, not actively pursuing you can and will be the death of your relationship.
I firmly believe people make time and prioritize what matters to them. If your significant other truly sees a future with you they will put forth the effort to make time for you. I’m not saying they will immediately return every call and every text, but they will put forth the effort. Every relationship can potentially feel a little one sided at times. I mean life gets busy for all of us. Relationships are a constant balance. I can’t tell you how many times Words has had to pick up the slack for me and I for him.
Actively pursuing your partner makes them feel valued, appreciated, and ultimately loved. People want to be around someone who makes them feel like they want them around. Plus, actively pursuing your partner can up the spice in your relationship. Speaking from experience, when you feel your partners desire for you it makes you want to do more. Be more flirtatious, be sexier, be more adventurous or bolder. I’m telling you this can work wonders for your sex life. Know that I’m laughing out loud as I type this, but I’m very serious.
Don’t allow complacency to settle into your relationship. Complacency is the death of a relationship. Boredom can set in quickly if you aren’t regularly and actively pursuing your partner. This pursuit is going to look different for each couple, but the overall goal is that love is an ACTION so you must put forth the action to let your partner know why and that they’re valued. This will be your relationships saving grace. Tune in next week to hear why having agent 007 in your bed can potentially be a problem.
Eps. 2 "Stop Avoiding our future" Welcome back! Episode 2, I’m extremely happy you decided to give us a second chance. I want to hear all about your thoughts from day 1. The highs, the lows, and in between. Please tell us what you like and dislike, we have strong shoulders so please be REAL with your thoughts. Now, the topic of episode 2 is definitely a game changer. If your significant other lacks future/goal focused conversations you may be wasting your time. Are we being too harsh with the idea? I mean not talking about the future doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right? As we clearly identified in the podcast, not having these conversations is definitely a big No No. How can your relationship be strong if you don’t know where you’re headed together? What does together even look like in 3 years? Where do you both stand on marriage vs. long-term committed relationships without marriage? Where do you stand on children, to have or not to have? Where do you want to live, travel, set up home? Answers to these and many questions alike can completely change the tide of a relationship. In the podcast we identify what we like to call our 4 S’s to justify why having these types of conversations are important. Those S’s are: • Stability • Security • Strength • Success • Sacrifice Ok, so I know that’s 5 and not 4 S’s, I threw the last one in because I liked it. In the podcast we go in-depth with each ‘S’ so I’ll give you the cliff notes version. Having conversations about your future hopes, thoughts, and aspirations can help to create a firm foundation for your relationship. Having a strong foundation leads to both parties feeling safe and secure moving forward, which ultimately leads to the success of your relationship. I firmly believe that progress equals true success. When you’ve established goals and you’re able to see your steps toward accomplishing those goals you can feel real success. This security also leads to both parties being more willing to make sacrifices for the good of the relationship. To hear the in-depth conversation on each of these S’s please take a second to listen to the podcast. We give some great relationship jewels that can really help give clarity in your relationship. Also tune into next weeks podcast, wordstaylor.com/podcast, to stay connected as we journey through Real Life, Real Love, and Real Family episode at a time.
Eps. 1 "Stop Violating Me"
Welcome to the Real Love, Real Life, Real Family blog. If you’re reading this there’s a high likelihood that you’ve already listened to our podcast, but if you haven’t I want to insert a shameless plug right about here: Be sure to listen to Words and Melody Taylor on the Real Life, Real Love, Real Family podcast on itunes, anchor app, soundcloud, or youtube. This blog is special because while it’s to accompany the podcast, this space is exclusively just Melody’s space. This is where I give my perspective on the podcast episodes and I get the opportunity to dig deeper into the woman’s perspective on life, love, and family. Now that we’ve gotten the introductions out of the way, let’s dig into the first episode. We just started the series “10 signs that you might be wasting your time with your current relationship.” The first episode, “Stop Violating Me!” is about having a significant other who constantly violates your non-negotiables. I don’t know about you, but I spent most of my young adult life entertaining relationships with individuals who honestly just didn’t value me. Men, who spoke to me disrespectfully and treated me as though I was dispensable. This was in addition to having broken relationships with ALL of the men in my family. I’m not telling you this to go down memory lane, but to give you insight into why the young woman my husband met was so terribly broken.
Years of being treated as less than, made mediocrity, self-doubt, and low self-esteem regular houseguests in my world. Have you ever had a houseguest who overstays their welcome? About 30 days before my now husband and I met I’d had an epiphany. I realized that I’d dated various men of all shapes, sizes, complexions, and ethnicities and yet each one of these men still seemed to treat me the same. No one loved me the way I needed to be loved, heck at times I question if any of those men even liked me the way I needed to be liked. So I vowed to take time to learn to love me. To take time to figure out who I wanted to be as a woman, as sister, as a friend. I started my very own “No Men” movement. Of course, 30 days into this movement comes this charming, easy to talk to, loveable man; who 5 years later would become my husband. Now I LOVE my husband and am super grateful for our experiences together and this life we’ve built. But if I can be honest, our relationship stalled my self-discovery progress a tad bit. Love has this way of being a blissful distraction.
As a result, all of my brokenness went into my new relationship with me. It wasn’t until we had some time apart, I said enough is enough and invested in me. Daily I said positive affirmations, weekly I took myself on dates, and everyday I asked myself what I want, need, and like. This was 11 years ago and I’m still growing and learning more about me daily. The key to having your significant other to stop violating your non-negotiables is to first identify what those non-negotiables even are. It’s to set standards for yourself that you aren’t willing to compromise on and stick with them. Some examples of non-negotiables that we discuss in the podcast and utilize in our marriage are: • No cursing at or hitting one another while “fighting” • No using each other’s secrets against one another while “fighting” • No belittling one another • Take ownership over your behavior
So if your non-negotiables are violated what should you do? First have a conversation calmly expressing your frustrations with the violations. Let your significant other know that you aren’t willing to compromise on these few items. If your significant other refuses to change the behavior and repeatedly chooses to violate your non-negotiables love yourself enough to leave. Love yourself enough to know that if a person repeatedly violates you, you don’t need or want that person in your life. Please understand I’m not saying people can’t change. They can and in fact Words and I are a testament to that fact. We are guilty of violating each other’s non-negotiables on more than one occasion. I think the major difference was that when those violations happened we could see that we each were actively trying to avoid making those violations. That’s key, if you can see your partner actively taking steps to change, to edify you, and to make your relationship better; that may be reason enough to stick around. Ultimately you decide but remember no one is going to love you the way you deserve to be loved if you don’t love yourself the way you need to be loved. Tune into next weeks podcast, wordstaylor.com/podcast, to stay connected as we journey through Real Life, Real Love, and Real Family episode at a time.