Episode #55 with Mike and Becky

 

Being Grateful For Your Trials

Mike and Becky seem almost too good to be true... and that's why I love them.

One thing that stood out to me as I re-listened to this interview is the attitude Mike and Becky have towards each other, and the respect and esteem they have for their marriage.

Their marriage inspires them to be the best version of themselves.

I believe they feel so lucky to have each other and have so much respect for their marriage that it has completely changed how they experience life. They don't want to threaten or jeopardize something they deem so sacred, so they put an incredible effort to preserve and nurture everything that is good within their relationship... and they find ways to turn the trials into blessings.

It takes a special kind of person to be grateful for the good in life along with the bad. During the interview Mike mentioned how one of their biggest trials was when his wife was diagnosed with diabetes... then not 10 minutes later, Becky talks about what a blessing her illness has been, and how she's been able to use it to help, serve, and uplift other people struggling with the same disease.

There is a level of love that remarkable couples tend to reach that sets them apart from others. It's a realization that their relationship with each other extends beyond personal satisfaction. Their love carries beyond their partner. It even spreads beyond their children and immediate family.

Truly incredible couples realize that they way they love each other, and they way they respond to their trials and challenges can have an impact on their community and the world. They use their marriage as a catalyst to inspire and uplift others. They set themselves as examples and role models. They see the value in sharing their struggles, and uplifting those who are hurting and suffering.

The lesson I learned from Mike and Becky is that life is what you choose to make it.

What did you learn from this week's podcast? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

[jbox title="Show Notes:" border="5" radius="15"]I hope you enjoyed our conversation with Mike and Becky. Here are some of the things we talk about in this episode, as well as some of the resources that were mentioned:

  • Waiting till marriage to have sex.
  • Burn the ships. Don't use the "Divorce" word.
  • Be grateful for each other and the work you do for each other
  • Child rearing conflicts. Good cop vs. Bad cop
  • The Love Monkey (holds love notes, and they'd hide him from each other)
  • When Becky got diabetes
  • Talking about sex with kids on their level
  • Focus on the Family
  • If you make it through one trial, you can be better prepared and stronger for the next one. There are no back doors.
  • Being grateful for the good and the bad
  • How much joy and excitement marriage can bring into your life
  • Finding your love language

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Stop Waiting To Enjoy Life - Enjoy The Moments As They Come

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As a new student and young father I had to work my butt off to keep up with school, family, work and all the other responsibilities that I had. I was working two part time jobs just to make ends meet and I was in school full time so I could graduate on time and move on to grad school. Times were tough and money was tight. I had to work hard just to keep my head above water. Some months we didn’t make it and had to go without some things. This was the hardest for me as a father. At these times I felt like a real loser and a failure. I felt like I wasn’t living up to my end of the deal in my family. Because money was tight, I had to make sure I stayed at the top of my class so I could go to a good graduate program that would allow me to demand a strong income in my first job. So I put a lot of time into studying. And in the mean time I put as much time into my two jobs as I could so I could pay the rent and buy diapers.

My daughter was less than a year old and didn’t know what our financial situation was. Being that young, she didn’t really care. But her big brown eyes and her innocence made me want to work harder at school and at work just to make sure that she would have everything she needed. My wife didn’t really care about our finances, either. Somehow we continued to get by. But for me it was miserable.

As a poor college student and young father working and studying so hard I found myself in the throes of a full blown, self-inflicted anxiety disorder. I had so many balls I was juggling at once that I planned my time in 15 minute increments. I developed a nervous habit of always checking my watch. Homework took about 2 hours a night - unless a paper was due then it was 2 hours and 45 minutes a night that week. It took about 15 minutes to drive to work. If I got a flat tire or someone showed up late to relieve my shift at work, I had to push back whatever family event was happening that weekend to make up for lost time. If I showed up late for work, it was X amount out of my paycheck (I knew exactly how much it was after tax back then) and I needed to make up for it by staying late. If there was a birthday (or, gasp, Christmas) that month I had to work a couple extra shifts and that meant I had to find time to my homework who-knows-when. I learned that necessities like sleeping and eating were really just added bonuses that people didn’t need that much of – or so I thought.

I was in the thick of things and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hardly saw my wife and baby because I was too busy trying to provide for them. For me, life was work. And not the leisurely kind where you could browse your computer while you do it. It was hard, exhausting, and consuming. I had to get ahead and stay ahead. This is all I could see and it was going to be this way for a while – at least until I graduated grad school in a few years.

Fast forward a few years and thankfully I have overcome those feelings and thoughts that once consumed me. But it’s not because I finally made the income that I was aiming for – I haven’t. It’s because I deliberately let go of the pretension and consumerism and the constant striving to attain things and status.

Instead of waiting for someday to enjoy life I’m able to enjoy life’s moments as they come. I’ve slowed down, smelled the roses and am enjoying pieces of life one simple moment at a time. There were a lot of realizations that I had to come to during my journey In order for me to stop wishing for someday and enjoy the moments as they come. Perhaps the most important realization I had was the role gratitude plays in living a fulfilling and rewarding life.

Gratitude was what was missing.

As I was going through the throes of my anxiety and working my butt off for someday, I never gratefully appreciated the beauty that was around me. I was absorbed in living the American dream – an external standard that society told me I should be trying to attain, instead of looking inside myself and finding what would make me the most happy and bring me the feelings of satisfaction that are truly fulfilling for me. I thought that society would somehow magically give this to me after I achieved the status I was aiming for. But I realized that satisfaction isn’t given to you. I found it within myself through gratitude.

I realized that in my desire to achieve and always wanting more that I never noticed the great things that were around me and right in front of me. I would get stressed out when I got a flat tire and felt resentful that I didn’t have a better car instead of appreciating the fact that I had a car that could haul me at 65mph to wherever I needed to go. Sure, life isn’t all cherry drops and gum drops and I still have crap things that happen. But in the meantime, it’s gratitude that makes my life fulfilling and rewarding.

There are many gratitudes I discovered along the way that help me to find happiness no matter what my circumstances are:

  1. I’m grateful to live in a country where the bare necessities (water, electricity, etc) are easy to come by. I realize I’m very privileged to have this and I’m grateful for it.
  2. I’m grateful for poetry, music and art that give life its extra flavor.
  3. I’m grateful that poetry, music and art are free on the radio, TV and in secondhand books that cost pennies.
  4. I’m grateful for friends and family who love me for me. Who don’t care what I wear, what music I listen to or what income tax bracket I’m in. They simply love me for me and I love them for them. And together we have a friendship that’s more rewarding than prestige or monetary success.
  5. I’m grateful for a country that protects its citizens and has laws in place to help them achieve, succeed and live in safety.
  6. I’m grateful for children and their smiles that warm you up no matter how bad of a day you’ve had.
  7. I’m grateful for nature and its many wonders and beauties. I’m grateful for easily accessible parks, streams and other places that I can enjoy the magnificent wonders of nature.

Most of all, I’m grateful for others. I’m surrounded by people who genuinely care about little old me with no reward for themselves. They have found something inherently good about me and love me for it. They don’t have to, they choose to. And for that I will always be grateful. It’s the love for me that I see in their eyes that truly brightens my day and makes me feel important.

[jbox title="About the author:" border="5" radius="15"]

Aaron Anderson is a Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He also writes for several great relationship websites including the one you’re reading now, FamilyShare.com and the Huffingtonpost. He gives expert relationship information on his own blog RelationshipRx.net where you can get information for all your important relationship needs.

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How To Make Your Marriage Feel Like a 24/7 Slumber Party

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If I had to name just one practice that is most critical in keeping my relationship with my husband Kiran strong, positive, connected and alive, I would say gratitude. By this I mean not just feeling a daily heartfelt appreciation for the Love of My Life, but expressing it aloud. We tell each other every day without fail, “You are the most important thing to me. I feel so blessed. You are extraordinary. I’m so lucky to be married to you.”

This habit comes naturally to us because we found each other in middle age. Both of us had been married before, divorced, and then spent several years struggling in unsatisfying relationships. When we came together at nearly 40, everything clicked—and we fully appreciated how rare that is. Our marriage feels like a 24/7 slumber party. We have so much fun, laughing, discussing topics grandiose and mundane, and creating together. And when we have to deal with life’s inevitable body slams, we’re there to support one another with compassion and tenderness.

But our attitude of gratitude is vital. What I love most is how gratitude unfailingly connects me to the beauty and magic of the present moment. Gratitude keeps me from dwelling on any perceived slights or injustices—getting upset or agitated if I feel that Kiran has ignored my needs, for example. I remind myself, “I’m so lucky. We adore each other. Surely I misunderstood.” And then we talk through what happened.

Gratitude also prevents me from spinning out into anxiety about the future. What we have here and now is a gift, and we can never know what might happen around the next curve in life’s highway. I can take a deep breath any time and sink into that warm, happy place in my heart where I know that I love and am loved. What else matters in life?

The way we express our gratitude for each other to each other every day keeps us both feeling secure and appreciated in our marriage. Insecurities fall by the wayside.

Trust builds with each passing year, creating a powerful foundation for our love.

You can’t overdo it when telling the people you love how much you love and appreciate them. Express your gratitude out loud every day.

[jbox title="About the author:" border="5" radius="15"] MeiMei Fox is the published author, co-author, ghostwriter, and freelance editor of hundreds of non-fiction health, wellness, spirituality, and psychology books, articles, and blogs, including New York Times bestsellers Bend, Not Break with Ping Fu and Fortytude with Sarah Brokaw. She has edited books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and she blogs weekly for the Huffington Post, and her articles have been published in SelfStanford magazine, MindBodyGreenForbes, and numerous other publications.

In addition to writing, MeiMei works as a life coach, assisting clients in realizing their most ambitious dreams. She believes in integrating mind, body, and spirit into a total wellness program based on positive self-esteem and goal-setting. Please contact her for more information.

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