Unfortunately, one of our favorite Hollywood couples is divorcing. People magazine reported that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing after five years of marriage. According to the actress’ attorney Jonathan Wolfe, “This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family. Katie’s primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter’s best interest.” Soon after Holmes’ announcement, Cruise released his own statement on the split. “Kate has filed for divorce and Tom is deeply saddened and is concentrating on his three children,” his rep told People. “Please allow them their privacy to work this out.” Holmes filed in New York on Thursday, and according to TMZ, she is seeking sole custody and “primary residency custody” of Suri, 6, as well as a “suitable amount” of child support. This is unfortunate news as the Cruise family was one of Today’s Modern Families favorite Hollywood blended families. It seems Hollywood as of late has had an unfair share of divorces. Being in an everyday (re)marriage is tough and takes work, I can only image that adding all of the pressures of Hollywood makes it even harder. We wish the Cruise family well.
Is your spouse the kind of person that loves to hear him/herself talk? Does it always seem like the end to an argument proves to be at your expense because there is never compromise? I am of the opinion that compromise is the single most important tool that all couples should have in their remarriage toolbox.
Partners in remarriage often struggle in the area of compromise because they are under the false impression going into same that “first comes love – then comes remarriage – then comes happily ever after,” hence they forget that you are not just blending your families, you are merging your values. It is very hard to merge values without compromise. Think about it, when you blend families, unfair burdens are placed on stepparents and stepkids from the very beginning. Everyone is expected to get along, birthparents assume you are going to love your stepkids and that your stepkids are going to love you and there you have the first of many misunderstandings wherein you will need to be able to apply your abilities to compromise.
The first step to positive compromise is healthy communication. Life partners often forget when going through tough times that communication begins and ends with “both” the sender and the receiver. Just as it takes two to tango in an argument, it takes two to compromise, hear one another and fix it. When we are not applying compromise to our positions during conversational communication, the receiver never truly understands the message you are trying to send. Kela and I have said over and over and it is worth repeating now, every human being desires to be heard. They want to know that their opinion matters. Emphatic listening to your spouse will take you far in being able to effectively compromise. Keeping an open mind and being open to hearing their side of the conflict matters greatly. It is selfish to shut out your spouses thoughts and feelings just because you want to only get your point across. It never works.
It’s no secret, couples who compromise thrive. The essence of marriage is the ability to achieve an unbreakable bond and closeness that cannot compare to anything else. If you desire this type of unbreakable bond, compromise is not just needed, it is essential. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Appreciate that both you and your spouse have been raised differently. You are not going to always find that you agree on the same things (i.e., parenting styles, finance situations, emotional needs, etc.)
- Respect each other’s views and opinions.
- Kick “pride” to the curb! Marriage is not a contest and compromise should not be looked upon as weakness. It is actually one of the strongest tools you have in your (re)marriage toolbox.
- Give and take. Marriage is not unilateral and does not thrive with only one person doing all of the taking and the other doing all of the giving. You have to always have your spouses best interests in mind and at heart.
- Take a keen interest in your spouses feelings. This will help you when you have to apply compromise. Know their values so you can effectively merge yours into his/hers.
- Be aware and work hard to come to mutual understandings. By doing this, you are teaching each other to be conscious of what your relationship means to one another.
- Pay attention to your language and your tone. I cannot stress enough the importance of “hearing yourself.” How we say things really matters. It is tough when you are going through stress to be mindful of this but it really does matter. Remember, your message never gets across if your approach stinks.
- Always examine the pros and the cons of the situation before approaching your spouse. This way, you are not heading into your communication with just negative cards in your pocket.
I will leave you with this one final thought. In the beginning of every relationship, each person always puts their best foot forward. Your passionate stage is in full effect and we are always on our best behavior. We want these feelings to last forever and will do whatever it takes. A lot of times, after marriage, we tend to forget that the timbers in our fires need to continually be tended to in order to keep the fire burning. Learning the art of compromise allows this closeness to continue and allows both you and your partner to meet one another’s needs together as a couple. At the end of the day, it will always return to you balance and joy if you apply it effectively. Care about your spouses heart and always attempt to apply compromise when faced with tough situations. It will be well worth your effort.
Peace & Blessings,
Kela and I personally want to extend out a huge Happy Father’s Day to all of the wonderful fathers and stepfathers who hold their families together! We know that your job isn’t easy but you certainly deserve to be thanked, not just on this day, but every single day that you work hard to maintain the bonds that you create with your children and stepchildren.
Kela and I grew up very different situations. She never experienced having a stepfather in her life. What she did have was a wonderful, loving, caring and beautiful relationship with her own father. In small talk, Kela and I have shared a lot about the relationship a young girl has with her father and all of Kela’s expectations were attained by the wonderful example her father set for her early on in her life. Kela’s father passed away a few years back but what truly wonderful gifts, pure love and memories he has left with her for a lifetime.
I, on the other hand, experienced divorce at the early age of 6 years old. I believe my mother remarried when I was 8 or so and was divorced again by the time I was 12. My experience was different because I don’t feel as if I was ever really able to have that true bonding time with my dad and my stepfather just wasn’t around long enough to establish same. Without the presence of that bonding, at times I have felt like I “missed out.” However, I do remember how special my dad was to me as a little girl and when I went to live with him for a stint in my early teenage years and I am still lucky to have my dad in my life now.
The lesson here in this post that I am trying to put across is simple. Dads and stepdads, you play an important role in the lives of your children and your stepchildren. They are watching you and learning from your examples. Kela told me something that was powerful. While growing up, she and her dad would have long one-on-one conversations, he always showed her he loved her and her brother and spent time with each of them individually. Her dad sent her flowers here and there, opened doors for her and made her understand that she was to be treated no less by anyone. Kela’s father was not just making her feel good, he was teaching her that she was worthy of love and respect and in a round-about way, how a man should treat a woman. What a powerful lesson!
Kela and I both have fabulous husbands that are fathers and stepfathers in the lives of our children. Our husbands have been there for the long-haul, in the good times and during the trying times in our stepfamily journeys. We are so lucky to have them. I would like to thank my husband for all that he has done for me and my children and for the example he is settng for my boys. Without him, our lives would be very different.
Dads and stepdads, Today’s Modern Family takes their hats off to you! Keep setting those examples and making those wonderful memories for your children and stepchildren. Have a blessed Father’s Day!
Peace & Blessings,
I don’t know about you readers, but to me, it seems as though many of our mindsets have gotten away from forgiveness. Whether that forgiveness be in our relationships, our family units or our friendships, we have lost sight of simply trying to make things better for one another. We don’t own up to keeping our friendships intact anymore. Think about it. We live in a world now where most of our interaction with our friends, family and sometimes our significant others is through social networks, text messages and cell phones. Long gone are the days of making time for one another. Long gone are the days of popping up to check in on our friends like we used to. It has become the “norm” to check in using our Facebook status updates.
I have talked to many people who have found themselves in situations where they can’t seem to find it in their hearts to forgive someone who has hurt them in one way or another. Albeit, I am a firm believer that if there is someone in your life that doesn’t make you a better person, or you are always on the giving end of your relationship and never receiving anything in return, sometimes it is just best to let that person go in order for you to move on to a healthier life. However, there are those instances in our lives where we have found ourselves battling with someone for one reason or another (most of the time petty reasons) and we end up walking away from that particular relationship and becoming bitter toward that particular person. We refuse to allow ourselves to see the differences for what they are and we see an apology on our part as a sign of weakness so we refuse to take that step forward toward forgiveness and healing. We simply decide that it is easier to turn away from the friendship or relationship and deem it unfixable. We allow our stubbornness and our pride to play a role in taking away the “freedom” that forgiving provides to us. As I have said in other posts, forgiveness is for you. It is truly the link to freedom from the pain that keeps you stuck.
Its simple TMF readers, being able to apply forgiveness comes down to one simple word. Interaction. You might be asking “why would interaction be so important?” The answer is easy. Forgiveness comes down to interaction because 9 times out of 10, the person you are holding a grudge against isn’t the same person he/she used to be. Without opening yourself to interaction with that person, you won’t know. You can’t assume that they still feel the way they do. You can’t go on not forgiving and acknowledging that both of you made mistakes and that you both need to be able to pass that forgiveness on to one another in order to free yourself from that pain that the past holds.
Below are some tips on getting to forgiveness and moving on:
- Accept and let go of the past. The past is not going to change. Accept it. As human beings, we are naturally geared toward accepting the negative over the positive. Accept the pain that has been caused and let it go. We cannot move forward while walking backward. Process your emotions and get to the positive solutions.
- Look for the lesson. Every situation we experience is an opportunity for us to learn a lesson. It allows us to see how far we have come in our healing and gives us the opportunity for further growth in our situations.
- Decide. Like in any relationship, you have to make a choice as to whether or not you are going to move forward or let it go. Make sure your mind is clear when making these choices. Make sure you have gone over your thoughts and emotions with a fine tooth comb and then make your choice. There is no room for hasty decisions.
- Apologize. Own your part of the breakdown. Your part may not be significant in your eyes, but remember that we all see ourselves through rose colored glasses. It is very hard to self-analyze without coming out on top. Apologizing is good for the soul. It is biologically important. It heals.
If this post doesn’t give you anything at all, I want you to know this….forgiveness is only a conversation away. Go and get that interaction! Just as removing toxic people out of your life is healthy, forgiving people for past hurts is healthy. Remember, you don’t have to subject or open yourself up to more pain by forgiving someone for hurting you, you just allow yourself to move forward.
Peace & Blessings,