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August 2020 Newsletter

August 3 2020 | 6 min read

I want to first start off this Newsletter by paying homage to Terry Fox. You should be so proud to have this national hero share the same city of birth with many of us.

Now, as you know my Monthly Newsletter normally consists of some type of interview. I made several attempts over the last week to set up interviews so that I could send this out today, August 3rd, in accordance to the lunar calendar. All my attempts failed, all due to time constraints of the interviewees. No one had the time for me to interview them (light violin music playing in the background 😟)

‘Such is life’ I thought. Everyone is overworked, and when they do have spare time, people are very selfish in the way they want to spend that time. As they should be, I suppose...

But it wasn’t always like this. This lack of time for a conversation, a discussion, a point of connection.

Times have definitely changed over the years, particularly in the area of relationships. The covenant of marriage. What does that actually mean nowadays? What does that mean to you? When you think about it at a deep level, it is a huge commitment. In sickness and in health, for rich and poor, when resentments run deep… When couples are looking into each other’s eyes with these words being spoken out loud in front of many witnesses, I often wonder if anyone actually understand the depth these words actually mean. This is what I feel it means.

When times get tough, you can’t just bail. It seems to be the path of least resistance, but for those that have gone through it in its entirety, they know it is far from it. Especially when there are children involved.

I’ve had a lot of couples in my room. Some remained together while others have split. For the ones that split, it wasn’t always mutually agreed upon. One was willing to work on it while the other was not. This is where it gets sticky. Not the good kind of sticky, like cinnamon bun sticky, instead it is the ‘dropped the carton of molasses on the rug’ kind of sticky.

In my experience, resentment is one of the main reasons for not being able to get past relationship challenges. So how can we shield ourselves from this happening, and if it does, what can we do about it?

The best way to treat resentment is to not let it happen in the first place. When we feel anything BUT love for our partner, because of something they have said, or done…we need to take care of it in the moment or shortly after. The problem is that few of us do that… and it could be for good reason. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, all I hear about these days is how life is busy. When junior is screaming, dinner needs to be made so we can get to practice… it doesn’t seem right to get into a ‘heart to heart’ with your partner. I tell my clients that there are a couple of things you can do in order to get over this hump.

1) Simply say ‘hey, not a big deal, but you doing/saying X just now, it did not fit well with me, can we talk about it later?’

2) Say little at the time but bring it up when you have your daily ritual of connection.

      I can tell that #1 happens the most, and perhaps the couple has both things going on…they say nothing, nor do they have a time to connect each day. I don’t mean a romantic dinner or walk in the park when I say a daily time to connect, what I mean is 5-10 minutes of one on one chance to talk and connect. This might mean cleaning up the supper dishes together… or talking on the phone while driving to or from work…something that you can incorporate daily without kids pulling on your pants or within listening distance. A daily ritual of connection is a must. To get some ideas, head to this post from the Gottman Institute, or simply ask your partner what WE can do to make this happen.

      As I write this Newsletter on the heels of a long weekend, I do so having a chance to visit and talk to my 81-year-old mother. I often think of her 41-year-old marriage to my father and how they managed the ebbs and flows of a relationship. I lost my Dad to brain cancer when he was 63, so she has had many moments to reflect upon her life without him. Her answer didn’t surprise me. It had the same tonality of most of the answers my mom responds with ‘we really didn’t think about it much at the time, we just did it’. That is a summary of what it meant to go through the many hardships that they did in their lifespan. I smile as I write this, since I think this mindset applies to almost everything my mom does in terms of how she made our house a home and how she raised the 9 of us, pretty much by herself. My Dad had an incredible tenacity to work hard, all with good intention. My mom didn’t have time to think. To this day, when I ask her for any of her wonderful family recipes, it is a spoonful of this and ‘about a handful or maybe a half of cup of that’. She doesn’t own a set of measuring spoons and her measuring cup is whatever coffee cup is closest to her when she opens up the cupboard.

      In other words, maybe we have too much time, choices, and information nowadays to ruminate on as to what a marriage should be? What is the definition of a good marriage? Is it about each partner completing the house chores with a 50/50 split? Or do we need to make concessions from time to time as we move through the different stages of the marriage; the infant stage, to the toddler stage, adolescent and teenage stage, the building up the business and saving stage, a change of job or sickness stage?

      I have a video on the Resource section of my website that I really like, and that may help you during the low points of your marriage. Please take a look at all resources, but this specific one is the TEDx talk by Stan Tatkin.

      This post is simply to make you reflect a bit more about your own relationship, or loss of one. Resentment is a term we use to speak of hurt from the past. The mere fact that it is in the past means it is completed. Nothing can be done about this today – other than to say sorry and show remorse. If the act is no longer occurring, and you are no longer being hurt, then perhaps it is time to let go of that resentment.

      So, in summary, this is not the typical Dotting the I’s Newsletter of the past, and for those that look forward to me highlighting a business or individual, I apologize for that. However, if you like for me to you have more discussions such as this one, please let me know.

      I also play with the idea of having an ‘Ask me Anything’ monthly Newsletter in which I answer questions from you on relationships, or perhaps an emotional or physical topic you are struggling with. I would of course never share your name.

      Please give me your thoughts on this idea by popping me an Email, I would very much appreciate your feedback, as always.

      If you like the idea, please send me your question right now. You can do this by simply going to my Contact Page and typing your question in the Message box.

      Have a great Terry Fox day…

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      Luella Jonk Counselling

      305 Kingston Crescent, Winnipeg
      Manitoba R2M 0T5 Canada

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