My Advice to a Newly Engaged Man? Never Stop Dating Each Other

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There’s a younger man in my office who recently became engaged. He met his now-fiancé in high school and had been dating her for the past 12+ years. When he told me he had proposed, I congratulated him then asked if he’d like a little piece of advice. 

“Of course,” he replied.

I said, “Never stop dating each other.”

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Relationships Aren’t Made. They’re Grown.

In Parker Palmer’s book, Let Your Life Speak, he talks about how we use the word “make” a lot. We use it when we talk about making friends, babies, and love. But in order for these things to be healthy, we need to be growing them instead. We need to be growing friends, babies, and love. That’s how real development happens.

The same is true for our relationships. Healthy relationships aren’t made. They’re grown. Kute Blackson writes,

“The real purpose of a relationship is about two people coming together to serve the growth and evolution of each other’s soul.”

A healthy relationship is like a plant. It can become stagnant, wilt, or die when we fail to take care of it. Like a plant, our relationships need the following things to be healthy and grow:

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Three Things For Practicing Presence In Our Relationships

Lately, I’ve been trying to practice being in the present moment. I’m learning to accept and be present with both the comfortable and uncomfortable things in my life. This week, I discovered the importance of not only practicing this with myself, but also in my relationships with other people as well.

Here’s what happened.

My dear sister called and was very upset about something happening in her life. I wanted to soothe her and make the pain go away. My mind was racing trying to think of what to say and how to help and I spouted out a few suggestions.

And then she said, “I don’t need you to fix this. I just need you to listen.” 

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Finding the Right Person is Like Finding the Right Mug

Ever notice when you find the right mug–one where the character and quality feel really good–it can positively enhance your coffee or tea experience?

I’ve discovered the same is true for finding the right person. Not that finding the right person will only enhance our coffee or tea experience, but all of life’s experiences as well. And the right person must feel good from the start, just the way they are.

I’ve learned this lesson about the similarities between finding the right mug and finding the right person the hard way by mistakes I’ve made in the past.

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The Tug Back into that Old Familiar Pain

Song lyrics often speak to me like a voice from above. During difficult times, their words both soothe and encourage me. They often have a way of expressing what I am feeling much more poetically that I ever could.

Over the past few months, a few things have happened that have been particularly difficult for me, which brought to mind the lyrics from the song “Every Breaking Wave” by U2. I’ve made an attempt here to weave them into my own writing. I’m not sure if what I’ve written will only make sense to me. If you have any helpful comments, please leave them below. I welcome your thoughts.

“Every breaking wave
On the shore
Tells the next one
There’ll be one more” 

Grief is an odd thing. I feel good and strong one day and the next it hits me like a wave. Grief’s strong current pulls me back in. I don’t think it ever really goes away.
It just recedes for a while. 
Lurking.
Waiting. 
Then, when I least expect it, it comes crashing in.

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7 More Songs for the Last Few Months on Bumble

Photo credit: Sanita Kalnite

After spending over a year on the dating app Bumble, I’ve decided to call it quits for awhile. I’ve deleted the app from my phone and am now using the time I spent swiping, chatting and meeting people to focus on other things.

As I look back and review my time spent on the app, songs always have a way of bubbling up in my head to characterize the experience. In addition to my post, 7 Songs for 7 Months on Bumble, here are 7 more songs that capture the final few months:

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Want Your Relationship to Work? Check Your Connection

Technology can be so frustrating. 

I click “print” and wait a few seconds for the “I’m on it” whirring sound from my printer but instead I get crickets and error messages. Argh. Why isn’t it working?

I could say the same thing about my marriage.

I’d been having a problem with the printer. For some reason, it wasn’t printing. I was sending documents but kept getting error messages. I’m not a techie person, so I asked my former husband to help. But he didn’t seem to understand how much this mattered to me, so it wasn’t high on his list of things to do. In fact, it wasn’t on his radar screen at all.

Crickets.

And so the printer sat in its error state.

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Three Relationship Questions to Ask

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“Are you in a relationship with him?”

This question always baffles me. When I’m asked this, my reply is “Of course I’m in a relationship with him–we are relating to each other.” In my opinion, aren’t we in some type of relationship with everyone in our lives? Aren’t we in a relationship with the people in our family? With our friends? Our co-workers? Our neighbors? With ourselves?

So the question, “Are you in a relationship with him?” isn’t enough for me. There are other more meaningful questions to ask–questions that get to the heart of the things. 

Here are three more meaningful questions to ask:

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7 Songs for 7 Months on Bumble

Photo credit: Sanita Kalnite

Spending the last seven months on the dating app Bumble has been an educational experience.

I’ve been taking a dive into the wild and a bit wacky world of online dating. When I first started this foray, I quickly discovered there were a lot of things I didn’t know. I found myself googling a number of words I’d never heard before. What’s a sapiophile? A pluviophile? And then there’s all the acronyms and terms. LTR. FWB. Ghosting. And what does that symbol mean?!

There was so much to learn.

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Especially the Bed

Living alone has its perks.

Having the whole place to myself, especially the bed can feel like a luxury. I can eat what I’d like when I’d like and play only the music I want to hear. I can be as tidy or as messy as I choose. And when it comes to the bed, I can stretch out across the entire space and the covers are never stolen. 

But living alone can also be a drag.

My place can be too quiet and feel too spacious when it is just me. Sharing a home creates a strong connection with another person. There’s a give and take involved–and when done well–both parties become better people through the experience.

And when it comes to the bed, well, there’s nothing else quite like sharing that space. A intimate connection is created when you sleep with someone. By this I am not just referring to having sex, but also to the act of actually falling asleep with someone next to you. It is a private and personal experience that involves vulnerability and deep trust. There are certain intimate conversations that can only take place in the bed. It’s a very unique space.

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