Who can provide a great lesson on love? Ask a divorced person.
The average day can be torturous so ‘Hallmark Holidays’, like Valentine’s Day, help us appreciate the simple things. But love ain’t so simple – and life just complicates it.
I recently read an article about a man who hired a hit man to ‘take out’ his wife. Wow, things must have been really bad. That guy is now in jail since she ‘dodged the bullet’, found out the plan, showed up at her own funeral and now that guy is reflecting in jail on how to hire a more competent hit man and love better the next time.
Weekday mornings are hell and certainly not a scene for romance. The kitchen is the center of the cyclone for about two hours. This is true for every household with kids in school. DM me with your secret if it’s not a total cluster cuss.
Running around, waking up kids, checking email, packing lunches, serving up breakfast, signing test, holding three conversations at once, quizzing on spelling words and math facts, all while trying not to stress about the logistics of practices, dentist appointments, grades and every other aspect of life.
The other morning, Pandora Rascal Flatts radio sets the soundtrack for my own version of a Lifetime movie. Trace Adkin’s song, You’re Going to Miss This, came over the speakers and reminded me slapping together thousands of PB&Js, yelling to brush teeth, repeating my rule, “no you can’t wear shorts in winter”, cleaning up messes, hearing about their friends, sports, 100 day of school activities, etc and watching their little faces grow up right in front of me is going to be the sweetest of memories.
I started to cry faster than when I flip on Terms of Endearment or Steel Magnolias. I tried to hold it together but sometimes it’s overwhelming how much love you feel while wanting to strangle them all at the same time.
Isn’t that true for almost every relationship? Even my cats can push me to the brink sometimes. How hard is it to poop IN the litter box?
There is a flood of research and content out there, but I came across one book that resonated with me. The research from Terri Orbuch, a psychologist, research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and author of the book, “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship”, shows most divorced people identify the same top five regrets—behaviors they believe contributed to their marriage’s demise and that they resolve to change next time.
“Divorced individuals who step back and say, ‘This is what I’ve done wrong and this is what I will change,’ have something powerful to teach others,” stated Orbuch. I think its transferable to every relationship.
Orbuch calls it “affective affirmation,” or simply, boosting the mood of those around you. This includes compliments, cuddling and kissing, hand-holding, saying “I love you,” and emotional support. Sounds easy and should be the way we interact with everyone from a spouse, partner, kids, family, work associates and every other interaction. It’s more than a smile and good manners though, here are the five steps to follow:
- Show love often
- Make others feel good about the kind of person they are
- Make others feel good about having their own ideas and ways of doing things
- Appreciate how each person make’s life interesting or exciting
- Do something to demonstrate that individuals are noticed and appreciated every single day.
Cheesy? Not to me. I want to give and receive this from family, friends and the love of my life. I certainly know I need it and it will last longer than a box of chocolates. Cheers to love and seeing the Forest between the trees!