Our Children Destroyed Our Marriage!

Sounds like the lead for an afternoon talk show, doesn’t it?  Well, it could be.  Every day, all over America, immature two-year-olds are doing and saying things that break up marriages.

What do I mean?

Every one of us has a two-year-old living inside.  The great qualities of this two-year-old are he loves adventure, she uses her creativity to paint, decorate, solve problems at home and at work, he initiates fun, and finds amazing solutions to persistent problems.

But when this two-year-old isn’t given it’s own way, watch out!  He throws a tantrum.  She gives him the cold shoulder.  He recruits his friends and family to be on his side. She uses sarcastic humor to belittle him. They both either yell or endure days of silence.  These behaviors erode whatever love brought them together.  If unchecked, these inner two-year-olds tear apart the fabric of a marriage.

Like every two-year-old, the one inside needs a loving, wise parent to give him a time out when he’s about to do or say something hurtful.  She needs firm control when she’s about to cut loose with biting criticism.  Both need to sit in a corner to calm down when their behavior is about to become disrespectful rather than constructive.

Time outs for inner two-year-olds prevented a lot of damage for one couple this week.  When she said, “I need a time out,” he just said, “OK” and left her alone rather than pressing to continue their conversation.  When he called a time out on himself, and went into the other room to vent his frustration, she didn’t take it personally, but let him yell into the air, just glad it wasn’t at her.

When the air was cleared, and both “kids” had calmed down, they had several sane, calm discussions over the next few days that moved their marriage firmly back into the “loving, and working together peacefully” arena.

This couple was tired of suffering through the chaos and destruction experienced when their two-year-olds were allowed to “act out” in their marriage.  They are both developing their inner, wise, loving parent who will intercept an about-to-lose-control inner child before he or she does damage.

No one wants to act like, or live with a two-year-0ld out of control!  If you’re tired of cleaning up the mess left in the wake of your two-year-old’s tantrums, you can exchange that behavior for loving alternatives, just like my smart clients did this past week!

They learned these skills in MODULE SIX of the Millionaire Marriage Club along with support in their coaching appointments.  You can also purchase a mini-course entitled, “Maintaining Respect 24/7” from my website page under “The Club.”

Wishing you all the love and respect in your marriage (and other relationships)  that you desire and deserve!

 

 

 

Hopefulness Turned to Disillusionment? Krystel Can Help!

Note from Nancy:  I am so excited to introduce to you Krystel Doudera, my new associate coach!  Krystel and her husband Earle  did a massive amount of work on their own marriage with amazing results.  Now she is dedicated to bring those same transformative results to other young couples who want the marriage of their dreams, but don’t know how to achieve it.  Here is her story:

 Although we were high school sweethearts, we waited to get married until after we finished college. We both secured stable jobs. We went through premarital counseling. We read every book, blog, and article about marriage suggested to us. We even interviewed several couples asking for advice or “secrets” to a long-lasting marriage!

Yet on the day we returned from our honeymoon, we had our first fight. And it was ugly.

Thus, began our cycle. We were so full of love when we were happy with each other, but when we disagreed, our poor communication and disrespectful behaviors tore at our hearts and our dreams resulting in hurt, regret, withdrawal, hopelessness and finally, passive acceptance.

We got plenty of good advice, but had no idea how to implement it.  How could we have the happy soulmate marriage we wanted?

Enter Nancy Landrum, a wise coach who taught us how to communicate RESPECTFULLY even when we disagreed.  Once we fully committed to using these new skills, we never had another fight and soon resolved our differences.

Now these powerful skills enable us to successfully navigate every new life-stress including welcoming a new baby!  We enjoy treating each other with respect 24/7 and have consistent love and peace between us.

I am excited to teach you these same skills that transformed our relationship.  You deserve to have the marriage you thought you were getting when you said, “I do!”  Use the calendar link below to schedule a complimentary appointment with me.

Appointment with Krystel

Or you may prefer to call or email me:

424-382-4787  krystel.doudera@gmail.com

 

 

Fertilizer and Respect: What Do They Have in Common?

If you’ve been following me for very long, you know I love to garden.  I have a few house plants that have thrived for more than 20 years.  My rose bushes are flourishing.  My sunflower plants are about twelve feet tall.  My yard has been called “an oasis,”  or, “a park.”  Why is this?

I adequately water for my dry climate, but I also fertilize regularly.  Water is essential, but even with enough water, plants won’t thrive without fertilizer.

Lately I’ve noticed something about the couples I coach.  Some of them struggle along, doing their best to use some of the tools they learn from me.  But others make astounding progress in transforming their relationship from mediocre or unhappy to loving and secure again.  The difference is how consistently they use the skills that enable them to be respectful to each other 24/7.

Love thrives in a medium of respect.  Without respect, love withers, limps along, or dies.

So how is Respect given?

  1. By using respectful, non-attacking language and behaviors.
  2. By keeping your agreements, including those of your marriage vows.
  3. By choosing to vent anger privately and safely, not at your partner.

Does this sound ideal?  It is!  However, many of us come to marriage with great intentions, but without the skills needed to nurture our love with a foundation of respect.

All of us have an immature two-year-old living inside.  She comes in handy when planning a party.  He is delightful when playing with his children.  But when a two-year-old’s anger gets triggered, he will not react with respect.  She will fight back with biting words.  Two-year-olds ruin a lot of marriages!

You would not allow your two-year-old child to run unrestrained into the street.  Neither should your inner two-year-old be allowed the freedom to do or say hurtful, disrespectful things to retaliate when hurt or angry.

Just as children sometimes need a time-out to calm down, you can call a time-out on yourself to calm your inner two-year-old down so you can come back to deal with the conflict as a mature adult.

Need help learning how to do this?  You may now order the Respect 24/7 module separately from the Millionaire Marriage Club.  This mini-course maps out the steps for managing the two-year-old within so that you can maintain respect with your partner 24/7!  Consider this cost-effective and powerful mini-course online at https://nancylandrum.com/the-club

Wishing you plenty of fun and play with your inner two-year-old as well as effective adult supervision when anger is triggered!

Stepfamilies Require Different Strategies for Success

This blog is specifically for MFTs and Coaches who work with couples who head a stepfamily.  Earn 9 CEs  from CAMFT for  attending Success Strategies for Stepfamilies Seminar!

This ONLINE course will be offered once per month for the next year beginning May 1-3, 2020.  Check out information and register for the course at  SSS Course.  

You can register as a member of CAMFT or as a guest.

Alternately, you can email me for a copy of the course flier and register independently without being awarded CEs by CAMFT.  Nancy@NancyLandrum.com

Tell your therapist and coach friends!

 

 

Help! I’m going crazy!

Help! I’m going crazy!

Face it! We’re all going through a crazy-making time.  So how do you move through this time (however long it may turn out to be) without going crazy?  Here’s some tips:

  1. Limit your news gathering time to 15-30 minutes tops. A steady diet of depressing numbers and fearful predictions will only feed fears about tomorrow.  You can’t know how to manage tomorrow until it comes in reality, not in fearful predictions.
  2. Focus on what you have control over today…in this moment. #1 is your attitude.  Keep affirming, “This craziness will eventually come to an end.  Until then I will do the best I can to take care of myself and my loved ones.  For today, that is enough.”
  3. Practice gratitude. Is there a roof over your head?  Is there a bit of money in your bank account?  Is there enough food to feed yourself and your family today?  Are you currently symptom free?  Any or all of these are great reasons to be grateful.  I am so very grateful for two friends who dropped everything to track down a roof leak and fix it yesterday!
  4. Use common sense precautions. You know them already.  Wash your hands whenever you come in from any outing.  Maintain “social distancing.”  Practice air-hugs!
  5. Get outside for at least 30 minutes per day. Go for a walk around the block.  Pull a few weeds.  Trim dead branches off of a tree.  Sit in your patio chair and read a novel.  Breathe deeply.  But get outside!
  6. Take extra Vitamin C with bioflavonoids to support your immune system. Some doctors recommend 2000-3000 mgs extra during this stressful time.
  7. Eat real food. Chips, colas and cookies are not real food.  Prepare a warm meal, even if it’s only soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.  Staples are in short supply in many stores, but fresh produce is abundant.  Last night I roasted some fresh veggies in the oven.  The result satisfied my body and my soul’s need for comfort. (Toss fresh veggies and cut up potatoes in oil and garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. The last few minutes I added two flounder filets. Yum!)
  8. Pray for inspiration about how to spend your house-bound time. One desperate woman with small children had them draw pictures that they then posted to their fence for the neighbors to admire.  Children across the street reciprocated with art projects of their own!  A friend is using this time to sort through all the artifacts saved from her son’s childhood.  She’s creating the memory albums she’s had on her to-do list for years!  I’m piecing together a very complicated quilt pattern in between seeing clients online and working on a presentation coming up.
  9. Frequently send compassion to yourself, your family and our world. We all need extra measures of grace during this unprecedented and unpredictable time.
  10. Vent your frustrations safely, away from your partner or children.  Call a ‘time out’ on yourself while you close yourself in your bedroom and beat a pillow.  Write out your frustrations in a journal.  Bake a hearty loaf of bread and knead it for 15 minutes before letting it rise to bake.  Make a list of activities to keep you and your children engaged.  Learn a new game.  Start a jigsaw puzzle.  Any of these or many more options other than taking your fear and anxiety out on those you love!

You have my compassion as you do your best to deal with the uncertainties we have in abundance right now.

But I want…I need…You should…

Although my first marriage only lasted 4 ½ years due to the untimely death of my husband, it lasted long enough for me to begin to learn some important life lessons.

JG was a good man.  He worked hard, loved his job, turned his pay over to me and never questioned how I spent it, was home every night by 5:30 (unless he had to pick up equipment for repair from Bakersfield or somewhere far away.)  He thought he was getting a sweet, young woman who would complete his life.  I thought I was getting someone who would fill my insatiable need for reassurance, affection and attention. 

We were both wrong.

He worked all day, six days a week and we spent most of the seventh day at church.  Several times every month I would complain, beg, nag and pout about how little attention I was getting from him.  Why couldn’t he take an occasional day off?  Why didn’t he tell me he loved me more often?  The only relief were our occasional vacations where I got to be with him 24/7.  But for 50 weeks out of 52 I was unhappy and made sure he knew it.

I didn’t like the results.  We were both unhappy most of the time.  Not the marriage either of us had envisioned!

I was finally desperate enough to tell God, “I’ll do anything to make this marriage better.  I’m even willing to change if you’ll just tell me how!” (I’m sure God breathed a sigh of relief!)  There were no lightening bolts or voices out of the heavens, but the first little whisper of an idea came shortly after.  “Instead of complaining about how little time you have together, how about being grateful for any time you DO HAVE?”  Hmmm…

So, every evening when his truck pulled into our driveway, I said a prayer of thanks.  “Thank you that he’s home safely.  Thank you that he comes home faithfully.  Thank you for the next few hours that we have together.”  And then greeted him warmly when he came through the door.

A few weeks later, as he was leaving for work one Saturday morning, he said, “I’m planning on coming home at noon today.  Is there anything you’d like to do?”  Shock.  Wow.  I didn’t even know what to say.  If my memory serves, we had lunch, went for a drive, got an ice cream cone…all without any discord…peacefully, lovingly…time that nurtured my need for his attention.

That lesson…being grateful for what is, rather than unhappy about what isn’t…has continued to be a life-lesson theme for me.  This lesson repeatedly calls me back to what Ekhart Tolle calls “the present moment” in his book, The Power of NowIn this moment I am safe.  In this moment the main bills are paid.  In this moment I have food for myself, my chickens and my dogs.  Living in the moment, and being grateful for what is RIGHT NOW, is a powerful spiritual practice that continues to challenge and enrich my life.

Being grateful for what is good NOW seems to go against our natural inclination to worry about the future, fret about how a bill will be paid, focus on our partner’s failings, create imaginary scenarios in which we fail, or are disappointed.

But the payoff for gratitude is a more peaceful life, more peaceful relationships, a quieter mind, an opening that seems to attract more miracles like JG’s offer to come home at noon, or unexpected income, or help such as the woman who offered to help me transfer groceries from my loaded cart into the trunk of my car this week.  Gratitude seems to grow the good in my life.  Will you take the challenge?

What is true about your life NOW for which you can be grateful?  Are you willing to join me in the discipline of pulling our attention back to RIGHT NOW and being grateful for the good that is ours in this moment?  You have my respect and support if you answer “Yes!” and my compassion and understanding if you refuse…  It’s hard.  It’s not a once and it’s done event.  It is a practice, a journey, a calling that must be answered over and over again, moment by moment.  

All I can add is that the practice of gratitude, although certainly not done perfectly, has brought many more blessings and miracles into my life than I couldn’t have gotten by complaining and nagging!

I’m Into Purging These Days…

I’m really into purging right now… Since the temp outside is 105 I can’t call it Spring Cleaning… But I am making room for some changes in my life.

As I look back on my life, I see that every time there was a major change in the air, I purged.  Cleaned out cupboards, got rid of clothes I no longer used, disposed of books I no longer needed.  Redecorated a major area.

Logically it seems like you would acquire something new and then get rid of what you no longer needed.  But in my experience, the purging comes before something new arrives…especially when I have no idea what the something new will be.  There has to be space available for the something new to have a place.

I am seriously, even desperately ready for some areas of my life to change.  Donating six big bags of clothing I haven’t worn for years, cleaning out and reorganizing a dresser or my messy house-tools drawer, repairing and repainting a huge bird house that was showing signs of weathering…all of these are metaphors for the interior house-cleaning I’m doing.  What old, unexamined beliefs have been unconsciously creating their predictable reality in my life?  What things have I stubbornly been holding onto that compromise my health and wellbeing?  What must I examine that isn’t working for me and with what do I replace it in order to get the results I want? 

Several months ago, Steve and  Jeanine decided they were ready to try to improve the quality of their relationship.  As you read this brief report, notice what they removed and what they added in order to enjoy a much higher level of satisfaction (love and peace) between them…

Steve and I came to Nancy at a critical time in our relationship.  We had been fighting so much and things just continued to get progressively worse and more intense.  We both decided we needed to seek help or our relationship would not last.  

“Nancy was amazing.  She welcomed us and made both of us feel so comfortable that we were able to open up about things we never even thought were issues.  We both knew that our communication skills were lacking but we didn’t know how to fix it! 

“Nancy’s program showed us how to do something as easy as listening to each other. Listening to one another broke the cycle of arguing and allowed us to have our own feelings heard and understood.  We now have true conversations instead of arguments.  

“Overall, we have developed so much more respect for one another.  We both highly recommend Nancy’s coaching and her Millionaire Marriage Club.”

Jim and I went through the same exchange process.  It took a lot of pain for us to, finally, be willing to let go of some relationship habits that were creating unrelenting conflicts…and then make the effort to learn and practice new skills that actually created the loving, peaceful, even joyful marriage that we both wanted.

If you’re ready for some changes for the better in your relationship, let’s set up a complimentary appointment to see how this can happen for you, as well.  https://meetme.so/SpeakwithNancy

Meanwhile shall I tackle the guest bedroom closet next?  Or the pantry? Or maybe the barn?  I am relentlessly committed to this process.  As I make room physically, spiritually and mentally, what will come now that there is room?  I got started with a new client last week…Did she show up because of all this space I am creating?  I think so…

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

 

Is it Groundhog day in your relationship?

Ken and Kim had been having the same fight, over and over again, for thirty years.  Can you relate?  He does (or doesn’t do) something, she says…., he reacts defensively, she brings up previous examples of how he’s failed her, he counters with accusations of her “stuff…”  It goes downhill from there with both parties repeating their memorized roles to perfection.

Last Fall Ken and Kim decided to take a chance.  They enrolled in the Millionaire Marriage Club including coaching with me.  Click on this link to hear how they’re doing today:  Ken and Kim’s Update

The Millionaire Marriage Club is an online course teaching the communication skills that have enriched and even saved thousands of marriages.  It is supplemented by e-chapters from the book that my late husband and I wrote entitled, How to Stay Married & Love It! Solving the Puzzle of a SoulMate Marriage.

Choosing the package that includes coaching with me multiplies the effectiveness of learning, practicing and finally turning these new skills into lifelong habits.  When asked, clients have said that the Club and book information totaled about 30% of the value with my coaching making up the other 70%.

Schedule a call today so we can meet for an initial, complementary appointment to see if this option is right for you.  I coach clients in person and also as far away as Australia or Canada using an online program called Zoom.us   Access Nancy’s Calendar

I look forward to speaking with you!

(OR call me at 714-931-3910)

How Are Your Plans Coming Along?

Is your life looking like the blueprints you had in your mind ten or twenty years ago?  Is your marriage living up to the dreams you had for it?

Or are you suffering with a marriage or relationship that isn’t matching your plans?

“When life doesn’t match your blueprints, you suffer.”  I’m sorry I don’t remember where I picked up this statement, but isn’t it the TRUTH?!

When my body isn’t in the shape I want…When my partner doesn’t act lovingly toward me…When my child doesn’t live up to the potential I see in him or her…When my income isn’t what I’ve dreamed of…When… (fill in the blanks.)

And then perhaps you want to shoot the friend who says, “Everything works out for the best,” Or the spiritual leader who says, “We are providentially given the lessons we need to learn,” or, “Life is a school with lessons custom designed for each of us.”

I’ve had a few lessons that I wouldn’t have wished on my worst enemy, (if I had one!)  There were times when, truthfully, I just wanted my life to be over.  Sometimes THIS life is just too hard…too unbearable.

I’ve been widowed twice.  I’ve had major challenges in relationship to my children and step-children.  I’ve gone through a few seasons of financial strain.  My body has broken down and periodically caused me great pain, both emotionally and physically.  I’m experiencing aging…and facing what might be seen as the final decades of my life.

And yet, every tough season, every lesson learned, has delivered or brought me closer to my childhood dreams of (1) enjoying a loving, peaceful relationship with the love of my life, (2) having five children, (3) participating in loving relationships with each of them, and (4) writing books to help others have loving relationships.  The bonus has been my practice of personally coaching couples and seeing an online course published to help those, and other couples become more loving.

What were your life blueprints?  What areas of your life look like a building plan gone awry?  Who are you blaming for “mistakes” that have brought you a life that is a disaster in some area or another?

If you (or I) are suffering, it is because we long for a perfect construction being built according to our blueprints.  When our life doesn’t match our plans, we suffer.

I have the advantage of looking back and appreciating how perfect the lessons have been that I needed to achieve my childhood dreams.  I still have circumstances I don’t particularly like, but I am not fighting them as desperately as I used to.  So, what am I doing instead?

  1. I express gratitude for every lesson…sometimes through gritted teeth, but GRATITUDE.
  2. I look for and expect to be given teachers, guides, skills that will enable me to move through the suffering to a solution that works for me.
  3. I trust that there is a Guiding Force, the Universe, God who is orchestrating a PLAN that is perfect for me…and supporting me as I do my best to cooperate with my journey.
  4. I celebrate every success: each time that I choose food that is healthy for me, each coaching session where couples are excited about less hurt and more love because of skills I’m teaching them, every loving interaction with a family member or friend, each offer of help or evidence that I am, indeed, being guided.

I can’t help with many things that may be causing you pain, but if your marriage or love relationship isn’t matching your dreams, call me.  I may be able to show you how Jim and I achieved the marriage that matched our blueprints!  We’ll start with a complimentary appointment to see if your needs match my skills…and if they do, we’ll work out a plan to move toward enabling your relationship to come closer to the dream blueprint you had in mind!

https://meetme.so/SpeakWithNancy

No thanks! I can do it!

Our American culture highly values independence…self-sufficiency…resourcefulness.  Lately there’s been a trend toward living more simply—tiny-houses, living off of the grid, etc.

There’s no doubt that gaining appropriate independence is an essential growth marker to reach!  I believe one can never fully feel “adult” without gaining confidence that can only be experienced with self-sufficiency.

Yet, beyond independence is inter-dependence…the awareness that we need help from another…and then to relax into that highest level of human interaction.

The lesson of gracefully appreciating help from others has been a lesson occasionally experienced in my life.  I used to find it hard to give up my prideful independence…my insistence that “I can do it myself.”

Lately, however, I’ve had weeks of severe pain from a pinched sciatic nerve to encourage me to surrender into the exquisite pleasure of accepting help…even asking for help, when needed.

The teen son of a friend volunteered to drop by one morning a week to do any chore I need.  Yes! Thank you!

Two precious women have delivered groceries to me ...and put them away!

My son and his wife volunteered to donate a few hours during their visit with me to do three big yard jobs that had been nagging me for months.  Wow! What a relief to have those eye-sores gone.

I absolutely had to run three errands last Saturday.  I called Mike, my tax preparer and asked, “I’m in a lot of pain.  Would you be offended if I honk my horn for you to retrieve these documents you need?”   He was happy to fetch them from my car.

I went to the bank, hobbled into the lobby and sat in reception.  When the greeter came to see what I needed, I requested a teller at a desk so I could sit down to complete several transactions.  They were happy to oblige.

My last chore was buying chicken food.  From the pet store’s parking lot, I called the manager. I again explained that I’m in a lot of pain so walking and standing to check out is very hard for me. I requested the bag of food be delivered to my car with payment being given through the open car-door window.    This woman was so gracious about helping me.

Asking for help when it’s needed is a gift to myself for sure!  And asking for help is also a gift to the help-giver.

I once asked my highway patrolman son what he enjoyed the most about his job.  It thought he might say, “Chasing the  bad guys,” or “Stopping a drunk driver.”  But what he instantly said was, “Helping people.”  He often does that by air lifting injured hikers to a medical team, or assisting the officers on the ground to safely track a fugitive.

In my coaching of couples, I am surprised at the resistance some have to asking their partner for help.  Sometimes the barrier to asking is the irrational belief, “He/she should know what I need without my asking for it!  So I won’t ask and I will nurture the resentment that results from my stand.”

Sometimes reluctance to ask for help comes from believing that you don’t have the right to ask…you should just do it yourself.  And sometimes the refusal to ask for help comes from the painful experience of asking…perhaps even being promised help…and then being let down when the helper dropped the ball.

And yet asking for help is opening a door of grace for both the giver and the receiver. We experience the best interdependence when we trade our ego’s need to be in control, for the sweetness of being helped.

I am grateful for the opportunities to help others.  I am grateful for each one who has helped me in the past, and now when my ability to do some physical tasks is limited.  May we all be open to blessings as we give…and receive.

If you’re interested in getting Nancy’s help to relieve the suffering in your relationship, book a complimentary appointment with her by clicking this link to her calendar: https://meetme.so/SpeakWithNancy