You'd Rather Be Comfortable than In Love

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What You Already Know Could Change Your Life...

... but it probably won't, because you like being comfortable too much.

The cure to obesity is to have a healthy diet and exercise... but it's easier to eat processed foods and be lazy.

The best way to stay out of debt and avoid bankruptcy is to never spend more money than you have... but it's easier to buy what you want, and just put it on a credit card now.

You could write a book, master a new language, or learn an instrument, with just a little bit of practice and daily effort... but motivating yourself to put in the work is way harder than binge-watching a whole season of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.

You could have an incredible, passionate, connected, dynamic, committed, romantic relationship... but you'd rather play it safe and stay in your comfort zone than have the love you crave.

You'd rather use the excuse of being busy with work or taking care of the kids than make the extra effort to plan a romantic date.

You'd rather turn down your partner's advances because you're not in the mood than to entertain the idea of passion.

You'd rather wait for the other person to make the first move than risk looking the fool.

You'd rather watch a movie come up with thoughtful questions that could inspire a meaningful conversation.

You'd rather scream, walk away from a conversation, and slam the door behind you than listen compassionately, and show understanding and forgiveness.

You'd rather read 50 Shades of Gray than a book that could educate you on how to be a better partner.

In short, you'd rather be comfortable than in love!

Winners are those people who make a habit of doing the things losers are uncomfortable doing. -Ed Foreman

If you want to win at the game of love - ok, not just the game of love, the World Series of love - you have to make yourself uncomfortable. You have to stretch. You have to constantly recommit yourself, educate yourself, improve yourself, dig deeper, give more, and practice practice practice.

Or as one of The Loveumentary's past podcast guests said,

Marriage is a continual process. It’s a re-commitment to each other. That it requires continual forgiveness, continual self-growth and examination. -Lara Ward

Allow Yourself to Be Awkward

Whenever you're venturing into new territory, or growing and stretching yourself, you will experience a learning curve... and that can be really awkward.

I remember how awkward I was when I went to my first co-ed dance when I was 14.

I was terrified to even make eye contact with a girl, let alone ask a girl to dance!

I spent the majority of the dance either standing in a circle with my friends, bobbing my head - or if I got really courageous, I might bust out a few of the whitest dance moves you've ever seen.

As I attended more dances, it got less and less awkward to ask a girl to dance. It got to be a lot of fun! I began anticipate when slow songs were going to come on, and I'd position myself next to a girl I had a crush on so I could ask her before any other guys.

I grew to love dancing so much that I took some ballroom classes, and even started looking for opportunities to dance on a regular basis.

Give yourself permission to be awkward and look stupid. You won't be good at something new the first time you try it.

You'll wobble on your bike and crash a few times before you get the hang of riding a two-wheeler. You'll make some really ugly cupcakes, and weird tasting cookies before you can open your own bakery. You'll write some really horrible blog posts before you become an author.

You might have some really funny and awkward experiences in the bedroom before you master sex with your partner. You might feel like a complete idiot trying to change the way you listen and communicate. (The words "Wow, that sounds really tough, tell me more." sometimes feel really weird coming out of my mouth... but they've helped me become a better listener.) Following a budget is going to be uncomfortable at first...

But the people who are willing to look stupid and feel uncomfortable are the ones who will experience the kind of love the rest of us only fantasize about.

So, what can you do today to make yourself uncomfortable? How can you embrace the awkward? What are you really committed to... love, or something else?

When Life Doesn't Go According to Plan

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Sometimes life refuses to go according to plan...

Six months ago I was engaged, and my plan for 2015 was to be married and living in cute little house with the woman of my dreams as we built our future life together.

At the moment, I'm single and sitting in my basement. I've spent a lot of time contemplating what went wrong.

Life obviously did not go according to my plan.

We initially pushed back our wedding date in October to give ourselves some much-needed space and time. Three months later we decided it was best to call off our engagement entirely to allow ourselves to tackle some personal struggles.

I remember waking up the day after our breakup and realizing my worst nightmare had become a reality. (I literally had nightmares about calling off my engagement.)

I know, people break up all the time. Every day couples are calling off their engagements, or getting left standing at the altar, or going through struggles of infidelity, bankruptcy, loss, or even dead bedrooms.

Life goes on, right?

Well, none of those people have a project called The Loveumentary dedicated to learning and practicing the things that make amazing relationships a reality. (Or at least that's what I told myself.)

Needless to say, after the breakup I was really angry, confused and scared. I felt like a fraud. There were moments where I felt completely unworthy of love or that my heart would never heal.

It was pretty bad.

Breakups are horrible. Life is sometimes really really hard. Love is risky...

But getting hurt is not what this post is about.

This post is about having a plan... and what happens when that plan goes horribly wrong. Like, the opposite-of-the-way-you-thought-plans-would-go kind of wrong. The what-the-heck-just-happened-are-you-freaking-kidding-me kind of wrong.

I have a foolproof plan...

I recently realized that every time I've had one of those shake-your-fist-at-the-sky-and-scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs moments it's because I've been attached to a specific outcome. I wanted something to happen really really bad... and despite all of my valiant efforts the thing did not happen.

I make plans all the time... and here's what it sounds like inside my brain:

"I'm going to say/do A, and then she's going to say/do B, and then I'll respond with X, and then she'll see things my way, and we'll all be happy!"

Plans are simple, easy, straightforward.

If everyone followed my plans, life would be so much less painful, and everyone would be so happy!

Then I read this amazing quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower which led to a moment of exquisite clarity for me:

Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.

Plans work the opposite of the way life works.

Life is chaotic, complex, and random... and when pitted up against my plans, life always wins, and I lose.

Planning vs. Having a Plan

As I've reflected on the chaos that has been my life over the last several months, I've learned a valuable lesson: Getting fixated on a plan generally leads to disappointment... but there is HUGE value in planning.

Planning involves preparing, considering all the possibilities and contemplating potential outcomes, then formulating a response for all of these circumstances.

Our love life is probably the area where we make the most "plans."

We have "a plan" for our honeymoon. We have "a plan" when we're going to buy a house. We have "a plan" for how romantic vacations will unfold, when we'll have kids, how many kids we'll have, and how well-behaved they'll be. We have plans about how our bodies will look, how much energy and money we'll have, and how our love will always feel easy.

If all we get attached to a plan of how we think life should be, our marriages and relationships will be fraught with disappointment, frustration, and conflict... because life happens, and our plans get destroyed.

Or as Mike Tyson said, "Everybody has a plan 'till they get punched in the face."

Instead, if you are rigorous in your planning - if you prepare and avoid getting attached to "a plan," - you can roll with the punches when it rains through your entire honeymoon, or when you can't afford a house in the first 5 years of your marriage, or when traffic or sickness threatens a romantic getaway. You can still find joy and happiness when you are surprised with twins... even very rambunctious twins, or when you put on weight or lose your hair... or even when your engagement falls to pieces.

If you're finding yourself being constantly disappointed or stressed or looking around wondering how the heck you got where you are and what happened to the life you thought you'd have, ask yourself the question, "Am focused more on planning, or on living out my ideal plan?"

What can you do to start planning and preparing for the curveballs and bombshells of life? How can you educate yourself to handle jarring, unexpected situations with grace and poise? How can you develop the habit of seeing the good in everything... even when life doesn't go according to "the plan?" Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Don't Be Afraid To Be The One Who Loves The Most

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Today I'm grateful to announce that I am officially a published author! My friend, Tyler Ward, author of Marriage Rebranded, has been collecting marriage advice for Millennials, and asked me to contribute. I happily obliged, and now my work is being published alongside some of my heroes, in his book called Marriage Hacks. The following is my contribution. I wanted to share it with you. If you like it, you'll love the rest of the book. Check it out here:

How I Discovered Love Is Not Weakness

On December 11th, 2013 I found myself in a car driving through the back roads of Georgia with a stiff back and weary eyes. I had spent the last two months of my life sleeping on couches, driving from city to city with my friend, Melissa, as we searched the United States for the most passionately in-love couples we could find.

We were nearing the end of our journey, and as always, I had no idea what to expect from the couple we were about to meet. I had no way of knowing I would receive the most important love advice of my life.

When we arrived at Joseph and Anne Gaston’s home, we were treated with 60+ years worth of stories and experiences. They told us how they met and how they fell in love. They recounted the struggles that came with working in the medical field while raising a family, how they had to sacrifice important things so the other could pursue their dreams.

Conversations like this are what I live for—rich in stories, personality, and practical advice. These are the reason I started recording these stories in the first place.

As we were winding down the conversation, we asked the Gastons if they could leave the world with one bit of love advice, what would it be?

Without missing a beat, Anne said,

“Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most.”

I felt the air get sucked from my lungs as the power of her words sank in.

I had always been taught that “the person who cares the least always has the most power.” We tell ourselves that not caring—not loving—means we get to dictate the pace of the relationship and the level of commitment. We believe the person who cares the least worries the least, stresses the least, and has the most freedom to do as they please.

We say that loving makes you weak and vulnerable. It makes you a captive in your own relationship, subject to the feelings, moods, and desires of the one you love.

One simple sentence by an 80-year-old woman changed a lifetime of belief for me.

I suddenly realized that love is not weakness. It’s power.

Love is the fuel that makes relationships work. Loving someone more than they love you is not stupid or crazy or foolish. It’s the bravest thing you can do in this life.

True love is given without conditions or expectation of reciprocation. We can love others even when they are imperfect and flawed. We can cherish them, serve them, and forgive them even when they break promises, say unintentionally hurtful things, fall short, or forget.

Love is unfair… and that’s what makes it so amazing and beautiful.

When we aren’t afraid to be the one who loves the most, and we find a partner who is also committed to loving big, we get the experience of receiving love even (and especially) in the moments we least deserve it.

That is what true love is all about. Don’t miss out on true, deep, meaningful, connected love.

Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most.

Don't forget to check out the book Marriage Hacks with contributions from Gary Chapman, Danny Silk, Gary Thomas, your's truly, and many others.

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A Blog About Love

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Did you know September 26th is Love Note Day? In preparation for this lovely event, over the next week we are going to be featuring some of our favorite love notes, and love note projects... because love notes are awesome! If you share your enthusiasm for love notes, you should participate in our Last Love Letter Project. Help us spread the love.


One of my favorite love-themed blogs is A Blog About Love.

Part of what makes Danny and Mara's blog so special is how they've publicly documented their love story. They were introduced via email, and wrote each other back and forth throughout their courtship. The letters are sweet, honest, vulnerable, and a great window into the type of communication it required them to have to build the type of loving and healthy relationship that they now share.

Here are some of my favorites:

How It All Began

Mara and Danny were introduced via a mutual friend. He lived in Boston. She lived in New York City. Both had recently gone through divorces, but Danny's was more recent. It's obvious that they had chemistry after their first emails were exchanged.

Vulnerability

Before Danny and Mara had met in person, they had the chance to open up and be incredibly vulnerable with each other. They affirm that that vulnerability was and is a blessing in their marriage. This set of letters shows the sense of relief and joy they both experienced at feeling fully accepted and loved... especially after both having gone through difficult divorces.

It's obvious that they hadn't yet broken the "I Love You" barrier, but they were both feeling it. It's funny to watch them say how much they love about the other person without actually saying the 3 little words.

I Love You

Yup. They drop the "L-bomb." It was fate that these two would come together through their hardships.

Not to mention this:

Will this not be the absolutely coolest set of emails to look back on/share with our kids?

Reading these letters made me realize how important it is to document our lives... especially the good parts. Love letters are such a fantastic way to relive some of our most beautiful moments. They stand as a testament of how we feel about the people we love most.

How powerful to have a physical manifestation of love.

Life is short. If you love someone, let them know... and don't forget to take part in Love Letter Day, and participate in the Last Love Letter Project.


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