[pullquote align=”right”]”I don’t know where we would be without coming to you…we’re no longer getting divorced.” Testimonial from Coach Steph’s last marriage mediation session.[/pullquote] Pre-marital coaching is an area that few venture into. most husbands and wives to-be simply talk to the pastor for six weeks and then walk down the aisle…BIG MISTAKE!
Now that you are married, I’d recommend some post-nuptial coaching and allow us to find you a successfully (and happily) married couple to be your marriage “mentors.” The truth is that most people don’t talk about the challenges of being married, and they expect newlyweds to become a functioning marital unit overnight. It doesn’t happen like that.
Communication is the key. You have to learn each other’s languages and that takes time. If you’ve already had your first argument as a married couple, that’s okay. Conflict in itself isn’t bad–but how you handle it can be.
I am not married (yet), however, I respect the institution and know that every marriage is different. I coach married couples based on the spiritual principles of being man and wife, and on the practicality of having a successful relationship with another human being, which includes understanding both the differences and similarities between the two of you. Finding and appreciating your differences and similarities will mean the difference between “happily ever after,” and “happily NEVER after.”
Before you do…(or if you already did), click here.
Twitter is all a buzz. Entertainment news shows are reporting. Magazine after magazine is covered with the same headline. Who cheated on whom? Who’s dating whom? Breakup shocker! Are Rihanna and Chris Brown really back together? Jaws dropped at the news of Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman’s split up. And every week we rush to the nearest information source for the latest on Rob Pattison and Kristen Stewart. Why are we so obsessed with the love lives of these people we don’t know? We learn about their lives in sound bites and the scroll of the ticker tape. Surely there is something or another relationship perhaps, we can be concerned with.
It’s been suggested that we get so caught up in the entertainment love news as an escape from our own ‘stuff’. I wonder how much we’d really care if we were busy taking care of ourselves. Oh, I don’t know turning the tube off and spending that time learning more about ourselves; rather than dissecting who and why of which celeb should be with whom. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy star gazing as much as the next person. What if we took the time to love ourselves as much as we spend the time worrying about their love lives maybe we wouldn’t have time to do so? Make sense?
That got me to thinking. What do we, can we do to work on the most important relationship we have – our relationship with our selves. I am the VIP of my life after all! Aren’t you? ABSOLUTELY! No? Let’s look at some ways to o ascend in our personal VIP (PVIP) status.
- Window Cleaner. The first step to reaching optimal PVIP status is to get clear about who you ARE and who you are not. One of my favorite lines from the movie, The Color Purple, is “…Harpo who dis woman?” While the question was being asked of a male, the point is to get in your own face and really look at the person staring back at you. There was a time when I didn’t/couldn’t see myself. I couldn’t see all the wonderful things others were saying about me. The time came to sit with who I thought I was and who I thought I was not. Where did those ideals come from? Were the inherited or self-imposed. Once I got clear about the woman in the mirror (feel free to jam your Michael Jackson in the background), I could move on to the next step.
- Permission Granted. Give yourself permission to choose you. Put yourself back at the top of your (never-ending) to-do list. That’s not selfish. It’s necessary. This will be new for some and a reminder to others. You’ve heard the parallel of the in air safety review, that instructs you to put your oxygen mask on first. It truly is just that basic. You can’t be your best in any relationship capacity (personal, romantic or professional), if your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual oxygen level is low. It’s like running a computer that needs more bandwidth – it just doesn’t function at its best. So, how do you add more energetic bandwidth to your life? Think things that will simultaneously a) benefit you directly, b) give you peace within and c) cultivate your body, mind, and spirit. Do things that say I LOVE YOU – to you! Think of it as courting yourself.
- Un-Cuffed. All too often we are bound by I should, I have to, and Yeah but. Saying no to what we feel obligated to or pressured by is not a bad thing. No is actually a beautiful word. It only has two letters and rolls smoothly over the tongue. The thing is sometimes we get so used to saying no, we look up years later and realize somewhere along the way we started saying no to ourselves; in addition to saying those things that feel heavy and don’t feed our spirit. You probably won’t come out of the gate shaking your Yay Me! pom poms. It’s a journey. And you may have to remind yourself. That is perfectly okay. Feel free to repeat as needed.
- Add Three Cups of Joy and Stir. What makes you happy? What brings you child-like giggle joy? When is the last time you did something that added joy to your life? If it helps, think back to what you enjoyed as a child. I remember coloring, gold fish and playing in the water. I still love being in water to this day. Every chance I get, I play in the water. Recently I went to the local pet store to learn about fish. I’ll be adding a small fish tank to my office (a tad different from the single gold fish I had as a kid). Every now and then I still color. Yes, in a coloring book! Don’t judge me –lol. Seriously, what things make you smile from the inside out? It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Keep it simple. Don’t overthink it.
Becoming your PVIP is a learned way of life, not taught to everyone. Some of us need a refresher course. Wherever you are on your PVIP journey, you are not alone. There are others on the same journey and luckily for you, you have me (smile) to help you on the way!
Have questions or just want to share part of your journey? I’m an email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, if you don’t define you, someone else will. And that’s too important a job to leave to just anyone.
X’s and O’s
This last Celebrity Love Note is dedicated to NeNe Leakes. The loud mouth “Housewife” whom Bravo saw fit to make famous continues to do her level best to make my good black woman stock plummet. In the midst of it all, she is now going through a divorce, and so this love note is written in hopes that other newly divorced individuals do not make the mistakes that I believe she is on the verge of making, among others.
NeNe’s marriage was allegedly destroyed by fame. Now, that doesn’t mean that her husband was perfect. I actually believe that he is a clear demonstration of her father issues, and the need for control, but I digress. This marriage may have stood a chance if the Real Housewives franchise hadn’t come a’calling, but it’s not the show, it’s the fame that NeNe has received courtesy of the show that is the start of the problems, in my opinion.
But fast-forward to the present. NeNe and Greg are separated and my assumption is that divorce proceedings are going to be taking place. Note: Taking place. They are not divorced…yet. While some would tell her things such as, “the best way to get over one man is to get undera new one,” this is farthest from the truth. In fact, this isn’t the time to get over anything, it’s time for you to figure out your role in the breakup of this marriage (how many times have I said this this week). And furthermore, this is not the time to date…anyone…for any amount of time. Sorry, sweetie, but you are still married.
Now, I understand that you have dysfunction all around you. Cynthia’s farce of a marriage is enough to make anyone think that if you do better than that, then you’ve done okay; however, don’t be fooled. We all saw your tirade regarding the treatment that you’ve received in this marriage. But, NeNe, I doubt severely that you know how to be a wife. If you treated your husband even remotely as badly as you have treated some of your co-stars, and fellow Apprentices, I can say with all conviction that being married to you was no walk in the park (more like a walk over burning coals). Besides the stripper-esque sexual prowess that you’ve bragged about, what else did you bring to the table besides a child and a need to get out of Athens, Georgia? As such is the case, perhaps this marriage was doomed from the start–TV just expedited the inevitable.
If she were my client:
I’d need a Valium. Ok, let’s be fair. If NeNe Leakes came to me for relationship coaching. I would take away her ego, and put a muzzle on her. Not literally. However, NeNe has to learn how to communicate like an adult woman, or she doesn’t have to worry about relationships–platonic or romantic. I believe that she wants people to prove that they love her by walking through fire, and not getting burned. That’s quite a fete, even for a Cirque du Soleil cast member, but I truly believe that is what she desires. For those without fire-walker capabilities, there’s NeNe’s Worship Club. These individuals exist to answer her beck and call and maintain her ego. The President of the Worship Club? You guessed it, Cynthia Bailey. We’ll see how that relationship works out in the coming weeks. Hmmmmm…
Now, the fire-walking mandate is just plain ridiculous. No one can live up to those standards. No one has lived up to those standards.
Until we (she and I) can push through these unrealistic relationship expectations, NeNe shouldn’t even think about dating. She should keep her focus on acting dignified through the divorce, and being the parent that her children need. Not being “rich;” not buying $9 million homes in Miami; not appeasing her fans with over-the-top theatrics, and not criticizing everyone in Atlanta, but crying “haters” every five minutes.
I need her to do better.
What we can all learn from this:
Separation is not divorced. Getting divorced is not divorced. Let’s be clear.
What else we can learn? Our mouths can kill every relationship that we have. There is no way that anyone can convince me that NeNe hasn’t unleashed hers on her soon to be ex-husband. But beyond that, we should all learn that we should pay very close attention to the behaviors of the people in our lives, before we become involved with them.
Men: If the woman you’re involved with has no problem telling people off, guess what, you are not immune to receiving the same treatment (please share this with Lamar Odom about his beloved Khloe). If that’s not an attractive proposition, then don’t get involved. If you want to test the theory, then let the first time she emasculates you with profane or insulting words be the last time. This is not something that gets better.
Women: Being the girl who will tell everyone off is amusing, but it’s not attractive. A real man will not be attracted to your ability to cuss everyone out at the drop of a dime. I realize that you are a strong woman and want to let people know that you don’t put up with anything, but consider working on how you deliver such messages, and only “go there” when the situation truly calls for it. If you are around people who always seem to push you to that point, then get some new people in your life, and leave this dysfunction behind.
In the end, we have to respect each other–words and all. Otherwise, we are all doomed to walk the path that NeNe is walking right now. And even in the cutest Louboutins, its not a journey that anyone wants to take.