Dealing with Decisions? Mid-marriage is defined by too many options.
You could do this… or that. Or another. And another thing.
Analysis paralysis sets in and nothing happens. Nothing. You’re stuck in limbo as a couple because you can’t decide.
Are you and your spouse…
Proactive or Reactive? Or some combination of the two?
With two reactive people you hear a lot of “I don’t know… what do you want to do?” They meander through their days and very few decisions get made until they’re in a corner. Sometimes it’s even hard to choose which movie they want to watch that evening! They may even wonder, “Is this all there is in our life – our marriage?”
In a proactive & reactive combination, they’re usually on the path of the more proactive person – where the reactive person doesn’t feel heard because they’re slower to react/make up their mind, and the proactive person is wondering why as a couple they’re always doing what she/he wants!
The relationship between two proactive people might have a lot of “head-butting” – both husband and wife are taking action and they’re wondering why they’re never on the same page… and they’re saying to others, “we’ve grown apart” because they’re busy doing their own thing.
How can all these types of couples make a decision?
What’s it like in our marriage when we’re dealing with decisions? Well, Robert is the more proactive person and I’m the reactive person. One way we’ve found useful to make an immediate decision is knowing our 3 differentiating Values – those Values we’ve chosen that define who we are as a couple. We look at every decision through the lens of our Values of Loyalty, Optimism, and Discovery (they’re rank-ordered). But that’s us as “Rob and Lori”…
The Values you and your spouse choose will be very different than ours! If you’re interested in determining your own differentiating Values as a couple, we’ve developed a workbook/guide. And we’re in the process of creating videos to accompany you through the workbook.
But there’s something every couple needs when dealing with decisions. Specifically the serious decisions. What is it?
The ability to pray together.
Prayer is necessary when dealing with decisions.
Even with knowing your own differentiating Values as a couple, diligently praying and asking for direction from your Heavenly Father must be a part of the equation.
As humans we don’t know all the details – only God has the big picture view. He’ll lead and guide us if we ask. And if we seek. When we knock and keep knocking to understand and know what He wants in our lives, then the decisions become clear.
What if you’ve never prayed together? Or it’s been a while? We have some suggestions for you HERE.
Just a note: Prayer isn’t a magic solution to get what you want, and neither is God a genie in a bottle. The act of prayer renews your faith. The answers you recieve will shape your perspective. It’s a process that’s simple but not necessarily easy. However, it is necessary.
Pray. Together. Make a decision. Together. Then go for it.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re naturally proactive or reactive. Embrace the opportunity to make a decision together and then go all in.
When your Values drive experiences, you’re on the right track.
We are all different, aren’t we? Unique identities with diverse upbringing, all coming together. There’s every chance you’ll share life with people who, outwardly, are quite dissimilar compared to you – and it might even be in your own marriage! 😉
So how do you find things to do together that you’ll both enjoy – even if you’re so different?
Choose to do things which you both value and let your Values drive experiences.
Mapping your experiences to your Values
If you know what you value as a couple, you can come together so both will enjoy (most) any activity. It’s all in how you frame the experience.
How does that happen?
It’s not about both of you needing to love a specific activity – like running, or opera or learning a new language or enjoying restaurants, fishing, or renovating your home… it’s what the activity represents to you. What do you value about the activity?
Consider these Values:
Each of these Values (and many more – I just chose five) could be found in all five of activities above. It’s not about the activity. It’s about the Values that show up in the activity! When your Values drive experiences it’ll show up.
Husbands and wives who look deeply into their likes and dislikes – what they value and what they don’t value – can come to enjoy (almost) any acitivity together. Really! They just need to understand their own, differentiating Values!
How it works for us when Values drive experiences…
When we were invited to a new restaurant in Raleigh for a complimentary meal, we didn’t know what to expect. Their website says
Rob and I talked a bit about the opportunity, and we had a sense that it might map to our own differentiating Values as couple. We love to discover new things, so having a new menu every season seemed like it would fit our 3rd Differentiating Value of Discovery. Values drive experiences at Seasons52 in Raleigh!
There are over forty Seasons52 throughtout the USA, and are a division of Darden which also owns Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, etc. The General Manager has worked with Seasons52 for more than seven years, and has opened locations around the country.
When we asked for one word to describe the restaurant, the sales manager. Cam, said, “Fresh”. It was fun to find out later that their Values as a restaurant are mapped to the acronym “FRESHNESS”
Values in Action
Rob and I delight to find companies where people are living the Values the company states. (Not just as a static plaque on the wall.) This was true in our experience at Seasons52 in Raleigh at Crabtree Valley Mall where the team lets their values drive experiences.
So… what happened? (Yeah – you’re wondering, right?)
Friendly & Responsive: We were warmly greeted at the front of the restaurant, and seated immediately. I’m a larger person, (I like to say that I’m a “person of size” 😉 ) so seating can be a challenge in some restaurants. Where they seated us was perfect for me! We were at a half booth – Rob had a chair, which he prefers, and I sat on the bench. The table shifted to make me comfortable!
Effortless Service and Hospitality: I can image that someone with a disability would be right at home with many choices of where and how to sit. There weren’t any stairs and the doorways and ailses were wide. Even the bathrooms included a “family” bathroom along with a Mens and Ladies option with easy access for everyone. The manager explained that this new restaurant has a unique decor with different seating options in comparison to other Seasons52 which have mostly standalone tables and chairs. It felt intimate and comfortable, yet upscale.
To the right side of the restaurant was the bar and booths. Seasons52 carries a plethora of wine from which to choose, and more than 30 local spirits and a great variety of craft beer options. To the left (where we sat) were tables, and chairs, booths and half booths, along with two private dining rooms/areas.
Yes. There’s the option of two private rooms available for groups which can be configured as needed. One of them has AV equipment hidden in the cabinets if needed for meetings. I’m going to be thrilled to recommend Seasons52 in Raleigh for anyone needing a board meeting venue, or wedding shower, anniversary or special birthday!
But, it wasn’t just the ambience and comfort that impressed us – it was the food also…
Because the food was ah-mazing!
Fresh. Unique. New each season. The food was served and displayed with care. When we sat down, our server was so helpful. She explained the menu and options in detail, and answered any questions we had.
We started our adventure as Executive Chef Bryan Florence came to our table with a little amuse-bouche (single serving appetizer) of lobster with a bed of handmade guacamole, and other delectable ingredients. So pretty! (I must admit we weren’t sure we if we should eat it off the spoon… or use our fork… or… now there’s something to research). There was even a tiny little triangle wedge of lime. (Another Value: Detailed)
Next, Haley, our server, brought us one of Seasons52 Flatbread options: All Natural Pepperoni with roasted Roma tomatoes, mozerella and basil pesto. This is one of Rob’s favorite combination of flavors. She couldn’t have chosen better. (Thanks Haley!)
It was huge! Rob and I started imagining that it would be a hoot to get together with a group of couples and order all the choices and share! Hmmmm… anyone game?
What happened next was extraordinary. It was a gift from Haley and Chef Bryan. Three servers came with plates and plates of food for us to try, including an asparagus soup that Rob had his eye on…
Carmelized Sea Scallops on a bed of lemon rissoto, english peas & roasted asparagus.
CRISPY BRAISED SHORT RIB SANDWICH
aged cheddar, pickled red onion, horseradish crema, au jus dip
This handheld sandwich that you dip into the au jus (broth) surprised Rob greatly – he admitted that he would never order this by himself. (mostly becuase he thinks/thought he didn’t like horseradish). Yet this was one of his favorite of all the food we ate!
And you could have rolled us out of the restaurant! WOW!
We didn’t eat the rest of the day. What an experience!
Make Seasons52 work for you…
You might think you don’t like seafood (or some other food) – our experience at this restaurant has demonstrated we need to encourage you to TRY it! Try seafood or your “I don’t like..” in a combination with something else – the Chef and his helpers are experts at making the sum of the grouping of ingredients into a special experience. Trust them. Being in the middle of marriage you can get stuck… try something new and fresh!
You might think this kind of meal is beyond your budget. Lunchtime is a good option. Or try Happy Hour from 4-6:30 Mondays to Thursday. The selection of small plates for $5 each will be a delight you can afford. Fast food does not need to be your only choice on a budget! The middle of marriage has lots of costs – your kids are growing up, you want to do things for them – but you and your spouse are important too! Make time for each other, and it doesn’t need to cost the earth. Celebrate the good stuff in your life. Here’s a place to celebrate.
You might think you’ll feel out of place in this environment. The team at Seasons52 in Raleigh are kind people and they’re going to welcome you. They’ll make your dining adventure something to talk about for a long, long time! Take photos. It’s important to have good memories to talk about and this will be one.
Can you relate with any of Seasons52’s Values?
FRESHNESS: Friendly – Responsive – Effortless – Service – Hospitality – New – Every – Single – Shift!
What would you try that you’ve never had before… Check their menu HERE and leave a comment! 🙂
Full Disclosure – we were given this complimentary experience with the understanding that I’d share our experience with you.
Have you made time to “recharge” – gather energy – lately? What about supporting your spouse if they need to recharge? We talk about how introverts need to recharge in the 7th mid-marriage encouragement video…
Time to Recharge
Susan Cain – who we referenced in this 7th mid-marriage video – has a website called the Quiet Revolution, corresponding to her book, “Quiet“.
You can find her TED-talk video on her website. And she also has a quiz/assessment to give you insight into whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert.
It might be fun to find out – share your results in the comments!
Infertility, special forces and the love and faith to get through it all. Love. + Hope. + Faith. + Prayer. + Action. = Encouragement. The guest post below has it all!
I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Nina. We met many years ago in Texas, and our friendship has blossomed. Nina writes over at Millions of Peaches and her first book is out this month. I wanted her to tell you her story…
I should’ve known that saying “yes” to a man with baggage would lead to an interesting life. It wasn’t always easy, but we quickly found that supporting each other instead of blaming each other worked much better in finding resolutions to problems.
Because of his military career, my husband couldn’t always be present. As a matter of fact, he missed more holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries than I can count. While he was gone all things like finances, yard work, household chores, parenting, and more was on me. However, when he was around I always tried to include him in all tasks and make sure he had things to take care of, so that he would feel like he was part of our little family.
When he was deployed I always listened to what he had to say before I would go down a list of things I had in mind. Missing a phone call was detrimental and sad because I never knew when he could call again. SAT phones aren’t very reliable not to forget time differences and hazardous locations.
I picked up the slack when he couldn’t. Nevertheless we always supported each other’s wishes and dreams. It was my dream to travel the world, get a college degree, deliver babies and eventually have a child of my own. My husband made sure that we always had enough money to pay for all of these wishes and dreams.
In turn, it was his dream to become a U.S. Army Green Beret and later a Physician Assistant. I made sure he had time to train, study, and prepare for his chosen path. I supported and helped where I could through hidden notes, weekly goodie bags, home cooked meals, being present when there was a ceremony or promotion, watching him jump out of airplanes and helicopters, picking him up or dropping him off at the airport, sending care packages to let him know I miss him, keeping all added stresses away from him, and always making sure that our bank account was in better shape than when he left.
Yet, I can’t forget the times we spent praying together. Praying for his safe return, for guidance in co-parenting his children, and for a child – one that we could keep forever. At first, we chose days of the week when one of us would pray. But because his job required him to be away from me often, we prayed separately as well. We prayed with our rector from our church. We prayed while snuggling in bed, on our knees, in church, in the car, in airplanes, at airports, and our kitchen table. Praying is definitely something we take seriously as a married couple.
The Path Forward – with LOVE and FAITH through INFERTILITY
And it is because of our faith and the strong belief in prayers that we have come to this point in our life where I was lead to write down our path in “Love, Faith, and Infertility – A Story of Hope and Special Forces” – the struggles, the good and the bad, to show that our God is good and no matter what my life or yours entails with Him nothing is impossible.
Nina was born and raised in Germany, and is a medical assistant, doula, lactation counselor, and Reiki practitioner by trade. She has earned a baccalaureate degree in management studies from University of Maryland University College while she lived in Germany and the United States. Her husband served in the United States Army for 20 years before retiring and becoming a Physician Assistant (PA). He has two children from a previous marriage and together they have one rainbow baby and three angels in heaven. You can read more from Nina on her blog Millions of Peaches, Her View From Home, and Huffington Post Deutschland.
Opening Our Hearts
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Nina and I have known each other for a number of years. I had a small view into her life as a stepmom to children who didn’t (always) live with her. I knew she loved them with a mother’s selfless love, regardless where they resided. I also could only imagine how difficult it must be to see them come and go, with no control.
Then Gary and Nina’s little rainbow baby entered the picture. He’s the boy pictured on the front of Nina’s new book. I had a tiny, infinitesimal understanding of how difficult the journey was to holding this little son in their arms.
Yes. WE. All of us -those who have never experienced infertility, parenting step-children, living as a military spouse, and adjusting to a new country, have no idea the havoc (and joys) these events can play on a life – on a marriage.
Many people will not experience a miscarriage, infertility, a military marriage, step-parenting and relocation to another country. And yet we encounter people every day who do. We might think we understand… but we don’t. We do not have a clue.
Read this book for them. And yourself.
Read this book so you can have a kernel of understanding and to try not to say something to shoot an arrow into their hearts. (Unintentionally, of course.)
Maybe your daughter or daughter-in-love has experienced infertility and/or a miscarriage? You need a view into this grief, desire, and fight for a child that is beyond what many can imagine. Nina’s story will give you insight and hope.
Is there a friend who is longing for a child? Read it for her. And him.
Do you know a military spouse? Read it for him or her.
Do you know women going through medical procedures to get pregnant? In-Vitro Fertilizations, Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injections, frozen embryo transfers and all the other physical aspects of trying to become pregnant?
Is someone you love grieving over a miscarriage. Read it for them.
Think of all the step-parents you know – read this book for them and their children.
Do you write to encourage? Then this book will open your heart in new ways.
Are you in ministry? Or do you know a pastor who seeks to understand step-parents, those longing for a baby, military spouses, and parents grieving over a miscarriage? This book is for you all.
There are many reasons why this book will be a journey of discovery – of yourself and what you believe. You’ll probably cringe when you remember some of the phrases that have come out of your mouth. (Yeah. We’ll be together in that.)
What if you have experienced any of these life-altering experiences? Why should you read this book?
Read this book because it will fill you with hope.
(I just want to say thank you to Nina for gifting me a copy of her book! Yes. Even though we don’t collect many physical books because of space issues in our little-house-on-wheels, I’m so thankful to have a physical copy!) 😉