5 things I’ve learned be married 10 years

My 10 year wedding anniversary was in May and I renewed my vows back in June.

People always talk about being able to grow with your partner that is what sustains a long term relationship and I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I think being with someone long term is more about being comfortable with how your partner grows and being able to pivot if need be. My husband and I have been together for 17 years. A lot about a person can change in that amount of time. Things you used to think were cute or funny now get on your nerves.

Here are 5 things I learned in being married for 10 years

1.You have to be willing to grow at different paces. I can recall when I felt like my spiritual walk was stronger than my husbands was and that was really hard. I wanted him to be the spiritual head of our household and he wasn’t. I also hadn’t laid out that expectation for him, I just assumed he knew to take on that role.

2. Managing expectations. This is a big one. People always expect themselves out of other people and that isn’t always the case. From what I’ve seen its rarely the case. Your spouse can not read your mind. Are you expecting you things out of your spouse that you haven’t mentioned to them?

Managing Expectations – is it ever too late to do so? | BRS

3. Be supportive. Are your spouses greatest cheerleader? When my husband decides that he wants to start eating healthier its much better for me to get on board with him then just let him eat healthy by himself. When I was more newly married I would sneak and have a burger and fries before he got home from work. He wanted to have salad and baked chicken and I wasn’t trying to have that. Binging in my car certainly wasn’t helping the cause.

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4. I’ve heard single people say that they hear is marriage is hard but nobody explains why. I think that marriage is hard for a few different reasons. The biggest one being that you have to constantly die to self. Marriage is about compromise and you are not always going to be able to get your way. Sometimes your marriage is hard for external factors that nothing to do with either of you. We had three hard things hit our marriage before we had even been married five years, my MIL was sick and passed away, my husband didn’t like his job and we couldn’t pregnant and there was no reason given as to why. The test of a long standing marriage is being able to get to the other side of these hard times. Are you willing to put in the work when times are tough? Can you be compassionate when your spouse is going through, even when it doesn’t have anything to do with you?

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5. Find other married friends. Our married friends have helped us so much. Its not even that they have said anything but just seeing their example has helped me a lot. Being inside of a marriage is different and while your single friends can certainly offer you advice, its nice to have a married person who may be able to potentially understand better what you are going through. My favorite are married moms. They are able to remind me that I am not doing as badly as I think. Is your friend group diverse? Are their people in a similar relationship space as you? Do you have people you can use as an example?

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Stay tuned I will give you another 5 tomorrow.

Until then,

Dominique

Confession: I don’t know

This post was originally published on March 14, 2018. As I was looking for something for Throwback Thursday, I saw that this exactly describes how I feel right now. I definitely feel like everything God has had me learn over the past year I am being tested on right now. It feels scary but that is a good thing because if I am being tested, then he thinks I’m ready for the next step.

Not knowing things is not something I’m comfortable with. I like to have a clear plan outlined with action steps. Things don’t always happen that way in a growing season. You only can do some much planting and then you have to sit back and let it grow.

I’m in a growing season right now and growing hurts. The term growing pains is definitely real. It hurts to be stretched more than you thought you could handle. It hurts to let things go that you thought would always be there.

Growing requires more faith than planting. I believe that because you don’t know how the seeds you planted are going to develop. You can’t see on the the outside how the seed is doing or if any growth is happening. You have to trust the process.

I don’t feel like I have been in a real season of growth in my life in a long time. I have had seasons of change but nothing to this extreme. I feel like I’m going through a metamorphosis. I feel like God is working on me about a lot of things. Sometimes I feel like it’s too much. Why do I have to go through all of is?

I feel like everything in my life is in transition and I am questioning a lot of things that I thought I knew for certain. I thought I was on a solid career path but where I see myself headed is different that what I originally envisioned. I am afraid. Am I ready for where God is leading me? I don’t know. I do take comfort in knowing that he won’t leave me on this journey and will give me what I need to be successful.

God is working on me to take me someplace but I don’t know where that is. I have to just walk beside him one step at a time. I am not going to run out in front of him or move to fast. I have done that before and the results were not great. I know I sound sad or down but I’m not. I’m restless. I sense something coming but I don’t know what is. I’m going to continue to keep the junk out so I can hear Gods voice and know it’s him. I’m going to pray and I’m going to wait. I’m going to continue to do meet God half way and I know he will make up the rest. I will have to just continue to be patient and trust the process.

Until next time,

Dominique

Have you noticed?

If you have been paying attention you would have noticed that I haven’t been doing my post on Fridays in quite a while. I used to feel very guilty about that. I don’t anymore. Times change and that isn’t a realistic goal right now. I still want to make sure I post every month. That’s not something I have accomplished yet in my years of blogging. We are almost half way through the year and I have continued to meet that goal so I feel good about that.

I have been focusing a lot on my mental health over the last year. It has been good. I have made a lot of strides. However as we have often talked about growth is not a straight line and it certainly doesn’t happen on our own time. Over the past few months, I feel like everything I have learned has been put to the test and I can’t say I necessarily passed each test with flying colors.

I will say that I have tried my best. I do recognize that I need to give myself grace. I need to have patience with my own process. Its hard though. My old perfectionist ways just refuse to die!

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I had a lot of mental health stuff I wanted to discuss in April but it didn’t really happen. That’s ok. May is mental health awareness month so I will do it now.

It was hard for me to talk about mental health when I know I was sometimes running to my old coping mechanisms. There is space for that though. April was a good reminder that I am not a constant self improvement project. I don’t have to keep striving to the next thing. I can sit in this space and be satisfied with where I am right now.

I am enough, just because, I don’t have to be producing anything, I can just be.

I just want to remind you that, while you are growing and evolving, take time to celebrate that you aren’t what you used to be. Remember that God put everything inside you of that you need to be the best version of you. You are just peeling back the layers so it can be released. You are just fertilizing the soil so the seed inside of you can blossom.

Until next time,

Dominique

Stages of change

We talked yesterday about setting intentions and not necessarily sticking with them. You all know that I like microwave growth. When I set out to do something I want the “new me” to emerge quickly. If I decide I’m drinking 70oz of water a day, I want to do that now! Change doesn’t work that way. My therapist told me about the stages of change when I was becoming frustrated when I slipped back into old habits.

TherapistAid.com via Pintrest

Check out the guide above because it has been very helpful.

What stage of change are you in? Are you thinking about changing but haven’t made any moves yet? Have you started to make changes but nothing has really stuck? When I thought about what stage I was in, at the moment I was in the relapse phase. I don’t want you to get hung up on the words relapse. Its not necessarily a bad thing, especially if the change you are trying to make doesn’t involve anything dangerous. For example, I have been working on not over extending myself, that means being able to say no and not just doing things because I feel obligated. When I notice my calendar has started to get full again and I don’t want it to be then I have relapsed. Or if I say I’m not going to get on social media for 21 days, then I binge Twitter and Instagram when the insurrection happens, I relapsed.

Unfortunately, for many missing the mark is a part of the change process.

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Sometimes you have to go through the relapse process several times before you are able to make the change stick. I think the relapse phase is important it shows you can not make the change on your own. It is a good reminder that you not only need God’s help but possibly an accountability partner to help you stick to what you want to do and check on you to make sure you don’t get off track.

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The best goal I kept in 2020 was insuring that I posted every Friday. The main reason I kept that goal because I asked my friends to hold me accountable. I didn’t want to let them down. You also need community to help you with your goals but we will talk about that more next week.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:10

Look at the chart and determine where you are in the change process. Remember to give yourself grace and if you need help find someone you trust, and ask them.

Lessons from 2020

2020 is finally ending. Thank goodness! It wasn’t a bad year but I am glad that it is almost over. It has been interesting year for sure. I definitely learned a lot about myself and about other people. Here are some of the lessons that I learned.

Let go of things that don’t serve me, perfectionism and overthinking, just to name a few.

I am enough.

You can definitely have too much of a good thing.

Pour into people that pour into me.

It’s ok to say no.

I’m not responsible for the choices that anyone else makes.

Self care is not selfish.

Perfectionism is a form of procrastination.

Healing and growth are not linear.

Read the directions on hair and skincare products. It can be helpful.

Trying new things is good even if you suck at it.

Feel my feelings.

Feelings aren’t bad or good, they just are.

Shame is a tool of the devil to keep you from reaching your full potential.

Lean not on my own understanding.

I can break generational curses.

I don’t have to do everything. I can ask for help.

Reflection

The word I’m focusing on this week is reflection. 2020 was supposed to be the year of clarity. I remember everybody being so hype about 2020 coming, year of completion, year of clarity. Did those things happen for you? When I asked myself that question I had to say yes they did. 2020 did a lot of things for me that I certainly wasn’t expecting. I didn’t roll into the year feeling great. I didn’t feel grounded, I felt like I was just floating by trying to keep my head above water.

I went back and read my old journal from the beginning of this year and I had a lot of goals which I did end up accomplishing most of them. After reading my old journal, the biggest thing I noticed was that I felt a disconnect from God. I wasn’t feeling his presence. My emotions were very up and down. I also wasn’t going to church as much as I should and I wasn’t doing any bible study. I changed those things in the second half of 2020 for sure.

That’s the beauty in writing things down. January-March (pre-Covid) feels so long ago. I definitely feel differently about it now then I did when I was in it. While I felt a little lost going into 2020, by the time the end of December got here, I recognized I needed to make changes going into 2020. I wrote down all the things I wanted to do and I eventually did them. It just didn’t seem like they were happening fast enough. I didn’t really start implementing the changes I wanted to do until April 2020. I was forced to change because of Covid but it was for my good. Quality takes time.

I also made a vision board and found scripture to match up with the goals that I had. It was super helpful.

As we finally! finish up 2020 this is the time to reflect on what you have done and prepare for what you are doing next.

The great thing about change is that you don’t have to wait until the New Year to do it. You can start right now, today. Even if you only move a centimeter in the right direction. Its movement, it counts.

Ways to go from planning to action

I hear a lot of people who talk about they read something good in a book, or heard it on a podcast or YouTube video but they don’t know how to execute it in real life. It can seem overwhelming when you have learned a lot of information but you are unsure how to implement it. Here is a list of things to try. The list is long so you can figure out what works best for you, it may be on thing or a combination. Keep trying until something sticks!

Write it down-Hearing something is not always enough. Jot a note in your phone, in a journal, somewhere you can reference back. Your brain remembers things better when you write them down.

Do one thing at a time– You probably hear good stuff all the time. You can’t do all the things, at the same time. Pick one good thing you heard and see if it works.

Carve out time with yourself -How busy are you? Have you set assign time to get things done? Are you exhausted after work? What changes do you need to make to give yourself more free time?

citrus and style: How to Make Time for Yourself in College
Citrus and Style

Change your thought process– even if you have started and stopped before, believe that this time will be different. You are different. You are coming at this with renewed energy and focus.

Treat yourself how you would treat a friend-Give yourself a break. Remember you are doing the best you can.

Set timers/alarms on your phone-this is a great way to get an external reminder. I set an alarm on my phone for 3pm everyday to write. I don’t need it anymore but it was great in helping me establish a routine.

Put post its up in your house or car to remind yourself of the things you learned

Make a Note to Do Great Things! — The Memo
Being Mary Jane

Get rid of distractions-Set blocks on your phone for notifications. I put my Instagram and Facebook on a timer and when my time is up thats it. My friend just completely deletes the app off her phone. Whatever it takes.

Get to the root of the problem what are you afraid of?

The fear of success and the fear of judgement are REAL — Brigitte Linford

Only person stopping you is you. Do you think that it won’t Really happen? Is what you want Gods plan or yours? You may need to double check. Do it despite how you feel, the more you do it you’ll start to get used to it.

The key thing with all these strategies is being intentional. Its waking up everyday and deciding that I am going to do better than the day before. You already did the first part which is the research. You were able to look into resources, that’s a good thing. Celebrate that small win. Now you just have to do the next step. The harder step, which is putting in the work. I believe in you. You got this!

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Do you need to say anything?

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.
Proverbs 19:11 NLT
I know this is something I need to work on. I never thought I was a sensitive person and I still don’t think so. My hormones are definitely all over the place considering I just had a baby, a little over 30 days ago. I think people forget that. I probably am more sensitive and I already think too much so the last few weeks have been challenging. I was pretty upset with family members for certain comments they have made or jokes. I didn’t know what to do or how to handle it and then this scripture popped in my reading. I felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks.

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God doesn’t believe in confrontation all the time. Everything you are thinking doesn’t need to be said. There is something to be said about letting things go. I have never seen this verse in the bible before but I understand the sentiment. It takes a big person to let things go. It’s like turning the other cheek in an argument which is much harder for me because I used to like to argue.

This scripture is also good to keep in mind when we are thinking about being a good partner. My husband often reminds me that I don’t need to say what I’m thinking. I’m getting better. Now if I could only control my face. One thing at time Lord, one thing at a time.

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Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Colossians 3:13 NLT

Update: I wrote the above words about a year and a half ago. I still agree with this sentiment. Probably even more so now then I did a year ago. I have been working on controlling my tongue, not only monitoring what I say but also how I say it. I know this is something that I am going to need constantly work on. My mouth often moves a lot faster than my brain. I am better than I was in high school or college but I know I can do better.

I think now more than ever we need to be careful of what we are saying and how we are saying it. Everyone seems to be ultra aware and ready to pick a fight over anything. I am not saying to not stand up for injustice. I am also not saying to question peoples intentions. I am saying to pick and choose your battles. Especially with your loved ones. Our patience always seems the shortest with the people who know us the best.

The next time your MIL questions the cleanliness of your house or your grandpa says you look fat, or your husband asks you a question he Knows the answer to, think before you respond.

60 days is plenty of time

I stole this from my friend, who stole it from Instagram.

My friend dropped this in the group chat the other day and it was great reminder. Even though we are at the end of the year doesn’t mean God can’t show out. Its funny in our human mind it feels like there isn’t enough time left to start something new or break a bad habit or let something go. Not true.

New living translation.

With that in mind, I decided to pull out the vision board I made at the beginning of the year.

my vision board.

Did you make a vision board this year? Do you still look it at? If not pull it out. Now is a good time to evaluate and see the progress you are making on your vision. I completely understand that this year probably looks nothing like you had originally planned it to be. That’s ok. This is a great time to make adjustments if you need to.

One thing I plan on doing with my vision board before the year is over, is finding scriptures to match the pictures and phrases I cut out. I believe it helps to have a biblical backing that way you know what you want is confirmed in the word.

I also need to tweak some things I put on there. I was in a different headspace back in January/February then now. This is ok. We are not people who are meant to be static, change is fluid. We aren’t locked in to anything.

I have something easier for you if you don’t feel like making a vision board. I wrote out a prayer and then I found a scripture to match my prayer. Having that scripture to go along with my prayer helps me when I feel like what I am praying for isn’t happening or its moving slow. Having the scripture as the foundation lets me know that what I am asking for is in God’s will because it is in his word. For the word of God will not fail. Luke 1:37


Prayer

We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. Colossians 1:9-12 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/col.1.12.NLT

God please give me wisdom to be a good wife, mom and leader. Help me instead of taking on my friends problems pray for them more. Help me count my blessings and be thankful for everything I have. Help me not compare my life to anyone else’s. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Unlearning

One thing I’ve picked up during this odd year of 2020 is unlearning.

What have you had to unlearn? For me it’s been a lot. I used some of these thought processes for protection to make sure I wouldn’t get hurt. Im learning to be more vulnerable, to trust more, and I realize I don’t need to think this way anymore.

1. Everything is not what it seems. Sometimes our perceptions are wrong. We are making decisions based on limited knowledge, our bias, our feelings. All those things could potentially not be right. Keeping this in the back of my mind has helped me look at things from all angles before making a decision.

2. Everything is not black or white or even gray. I was very much a person who thought things were one way or not. No shade but, it is what it is. In the this world of COVID-19 I’ve learned things are not always one way or another. There could be a third option that I never even considered.

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3. Everyone doesn’t have to move at the same pace. I used to think I was behind everybody in spiritual knowledge, in having kids, fancy careers. However I have to remind myself that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. God put me in this place. It’s not a race. I’m not competing with anyone, not even myself. There are no timelines or schedules because God’s timing is always perfect.

4. What works for you, may not work for me. This is another small thing but changing my thinking has been huge. The first thing that made me think of this is the natural hair movement. You can watch tons of tutorials and it still not turn out right. Follow someone’s regimen to the letter and still not get the changes you were expecting. What worked for them may not work for me. That can be applied to just about anything in life.

5. People aren’t judging me. People aren’t looking at me. Or even thinking about me. Folks are more concerned about themselves than they are with what I’m doing, wearing etc. Letting this go allows me to live more free.

6. Its never too late. For anything. Ever. The older you get the more people start to tell you your too old for this or that. Not true. It’s never too late. If your good, it’s going to come through in what you do. You want to make a career switch? Do it! You want to move out of state? Do it! Nothing is holding you back but you.

These lessons have been huge. They may seem like simple changes but they represent gigantic changes in mindset. As we get to the last quarter of the year think about how you might need to change your mindset. Its never too late.