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Marriage | Christian Women's Guide

The Super Heroes Behind Your Business

Blog ID 60 Having God’s will at the center of everything you do is a cornerstone ingredient to having a supportive spouse in your business and home life.

The Holy Spirit will prompt you in big and small ways how you can invite your husband to stretch and grow in his own faith.  This was the case for some unsuspecting friends – fathers, and husbands – who happened to be at our house for a barbeque at the wrong or right time, depending on how you look at it.

Little did they know what they were about to get in to; they were as vulnerable as lambs.

I promise I didn’t premeditate the plot. The Holy Spirit inspired the master plan only 5 hours before our guests arrived.

For the past several years, I’ve had the honor of being the leader of Kids for Jesus (K4J), a virtue building program) in my parish and school. It carries great responsibility, but getting to be silly makes helping out with K4J be more fun than burdensome.

As part of the K4J School of Virtue, K4J surprises are random, funny, unexpected events that help the school kids joyfully remember and absorb the monthly mission and virtue. They are the “icing on the cake” of the program.

I was particularly looking forward to the surprise we had planned this month during the K4J BE A REAL HERO Mission. Being a real hero is recognizing and accepting God’s grace and doing his will.

Our “surprise” was to have several adults dress up in superhero costumes. They would crash the kids’ lunch or recess, quizzing them on the definition of a real hero.

I was having trouble connecting with the people who had volunteered to help with the surprises. I couldn’t reach the new helpers. Neil, the man who did it last year and recruited them wasn’t responding either. So when I saw Neil  handing out tootsie pops with the Knights of Columbus after mass, I cornered him.

With leadership comes the need to be sensitive to others when they need to step down from their service roles. Tragically, Neil’s wife had been struggling with cancer. The couple who had volunteered to help were having marital problems.

Alas!  I felt sad for them. But I also felt sad for me having to find someone else to help.

Enter the Holy Spirit.

As my family and I were scouring around preparing the house for my two good friends and their families to come for dinner, the inspiration hit me. We could have our husbands dress up as superheroes!

While grilling the chicken, I plotted with my girlfriends. They thought it was a hoot. They were in!

Since the youngest guest peed on his jeans while trying to potty cut the evening short. Just before everyone left, my friend introduced the super hero idea to our hubbies…. And the guys were up for it!

Our superheroes came through!

Your spouse can often end up the superhero behind your business. Although they might not be your #1 supporter at first.

So how to have a supportive spouse? By continuing to give them attention and the TLC they deserve, while developing a real business that helps reduce his load, often you can win them over.

But most importantly, when they see your willingness and effort to make God number one, the shove from the dove (the Holy Spirit) will often push them into your camp.

Catholic Mompreneur’s Biz and Life Tip:  Take one step today to make your husband feel support.  What comes around, goes around.

Destination Definition

Part of learning  how to grow my business is to be coached.  My coach prescribes quarterly review of my success plan / business plan,   in a wholistic spirit I set both personal and business goals.  I’ve been a strong advocate of using the best  technology and proven business success techniques to have a robust spiritual life and healthy relationships from a Catholic perspective.

Setting goals challenges us to grow.  Concrete goals guide us on an unconscious level to move towards our target, even if we never look at our printed goal.  But the act of making the goals is an act in itself.  However, people often commit error for having their bar set too low or too high.  There’s a way to get it just right and apply  goal-setting in your relationships.

Instead of setting a goal, define a goal range.  Make a minimum goal and an “If I achieved beyond my wildest dreams” goal.  In business, the minimum goal could be to generate enough income to pay all of your bills sustaining you and your business.  The stretch goal could be to double or even triple your revenues.

This system applies on a personal level , for example, with  a woman  in a strained marriage.  Her minimum goal might be for stabilization by  eliminating the  threats of divorce in the marriage and reduce the negative interactions.  Her maximum goal might be for she and her husband to regularly spend quality time together, regularly laughing, working as a team, and enjoying each other’s company.

So, it’s time ladies for you to start defining your destination so someone else doesn’t end up defining it for you.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Schedule a time in your calendar to review are create your goals.

Remedies to the Four Horsemen (Part 2)

In my last blog we explored  John Gottman’s first two of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse towards marital failure: criticism and contempt.  We’ll dissect the last two—defensiveness and stonewalling—whose presence become increasingly dangerous to the health of the marriage. As Catholics,  we are a people of hope. So we’ll explore how to exit the stage with your spouse, leaving the confused horseman on stage for a solo performance.

The “defensive” partner sees him or herself as a victim, always warding off a perceived attack.  Some of the signs that defensiveness starts to erode your relationships include: making excuses; cross-complaining, meeting your partner’s complaint  or criticism with a complaint of your own; ignoring what your partner said; disagreeing and then cross-complaining; yes-butting; repeating yourself without paying attention to what the other person is saying; and whining the “It’s not fair” chorus.

Again, secular solutions of learning to validate your partner, claiming responsibility, and shifting to appreciation (having 5x  as much positive feeling and interaction as negative) fall short in immediately addressing the defensive marriage.  Instantly galvanizing a routine of using all of the spiritual tools as your disposal; competent, professional, pro-marriage help; and being fortified by a staunch pro-marriage support systems are essential prerequisites to getting back on track.   Gottman cites “contempt” as one of the dangerous signs most affiliated with divorce.  However, as Catholics, this doesn’t have to be with our Catholic bouquet of resources to save your marriage when defensiveness rears its ugly head.  Once the spiritual momentum activates, assistance to develop the needed improved skills mentioned above penetrate.

The last horseman, stonewalling, is akin to nailing shut the coffin. It is a code blue requiring potent counter strategies.  Gottman states that in “stonewalling” the person withdraws from the relationship as a way to avoid conflict.  The partner may think they are trying to be “neutral” but stonewalling conveys disapproval, icy distance, separation, disconnection, and/or smugness.

The same strategies apply with defensiveness: make sure you are working on yourself and fully engage your spiritual and emotional support system.  The Evil One wants nothing more than to destroy your marriage.  With stonewalling, perseverance often brings victory.  Learning to continue to reach out to your spouse despite rejections and coldness and practicing being undefended (allowing your partner’s utterances and passive-aggressive behavior be what they really are: just thoughts and puffs of air) and drop the negative ruminating can over time warm the heart of the stonewalling spouse.

Gottman’s research, like the Catholic Church, is not about a list of “don’t do’s”.

Tune in next time to understand the “Marital do’s” we can learn from Gottman.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Remember that with God everything is possible, so don’t lose steam and courage at the site of a few apocalyptic horsemen.  Play all out with your Catholic arsenal; it’s your marriage, too.

Remedies to the Four Horsemen (Part 1)

To understand  John Gottman’s research  on why marriage succeed, you must familiarize yourself with the outcome on his research on the signs a couple will likely divorce.  Observing the  Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the couples Gottman and his team interviewed enabled him to boast of 91-94% accuracy rate in predicting divorce.  Here you’ll learn to spot them  and how to prevent them taking  root in your marriage.  The four horsemen are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. Today we’ll look at the first two of the four—criticism and contempt.

Gottman defines “criticism” as attacking your partner’s personality or character, usually with the intent of proving someone right and the other wrong.  Generalizations such as “You always…”, “You never…, ” “You’re the type of person who…”, “Why are you so…” pave the critical road. Criticism leaves the other party feeling attacked.  Unless the partner is exceptionally self-controlled the criticism invites a, “Well you’re not so perfect yourself” response.  This unproductive  tit-for-tat exchange leads to frustration and lack of problem resolution, often transitioning into the next horseman, which is “contempt”.

Contempt is attacking your partner’s sense of self with the intention to insult or psychologically abuse him or her.  The contemptuous bag of tricks includes insults and name-calling; hostile humor, sarcasm or mockery; and disrespectful body language and tone of voice, including sneering, rolling your eyes, curling your upper lip, etc.  Believing one is superior to one’s partner is the root of contemptuous behavior.  This air of superiority, as Gottman describes it, is like sulphuric acid for love”.  Love requires respect.  Not only is contemptuous behavior lethal for your marriage, it is deadly for your body as well.  Studies show that living with contempt in a relationships erodes the immune system.

But don’t lose hope.  The climb to a healthier marriage is less steep than you think.

Complaining well remediates “criticism” from your relationship.  Explain your concerns and request what you want by saying, “When _____ happened, I felt ___, “ or “I want ____.”  Uncharitably criticizing  or stuffing conflictual  feelings infect a relationship: 180 degrees from sick is still sick.  Healthy couples learn how to handle disagreements and delicate situations with respect and grace through practice and trial and error.

Gottman cites “contempt” as one of the dangerous signs most affiliated with divorce.  However, as Catholics this doesn’t have to be with our arsenal of resources from the Catholic Church.

Contemptuous relationships flag deeper spiritual and emotional problems that require spiritual and emotional assistance.  A renewed prayer and sacramental life inject  needed grace into a marriage in trouble.  Counsel with a competent, marriage-friendly therapist or spiritual mature friend provides perspective needed to work around our blindspots under the fatigue of an abusive relationship.  Good self-care offsets the attacks on the immune system inherent in a contemptuous relationship.

Tune in next time to learn more about the last two horseman and  how to keep them at bay.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Periodically, evaluate your relationships so you can make proactive changes.

Nerdy Affection

It was obvious Dave Ramsey has been delivering “financial peace” to individuals and couples for decades. Within 20 minutes of his first or second video he pulled the bow of his arrow and hit the target of the challenges of couples working together on money.

Ramsey said most couples consist of a “nerd” and a “free spirit”.  I’m a proud “nerd”, although a tired one. The “nerd” has multiple spreadsheets of income and expenditures and chases— sometimes beating his or her partner with the budget club at varying intervals.  Nerds are not necessarily tight wads, but rather like control. On the other hand, the “free-spirit”, my husband, is the spouse who half-heartedly comply or sometimes refuses to participate in the budgeting process—at times  doing everything to sabotage efforts toward an improved financial picture.

Then Dave said the “free-spirit” and the “nerd” need each other.

I thought Dave Ramsey was employing some psychological technique.  He must have been skillfully patronizing the “free-spirit” to make him not feel so bad.  Everyone knows the “free-spirit” is at fault for all of the financial problems in the family.

Dave’s words, marinating in his humor, defrost my heart.  Awareness of the good things Joe has contributed to our marriage and financial life arose like the beginnings of a sunrise.

With my family background of working hard, few to none vacations and limited entertainment and recreation, my spouse opened a new world of wonder and fun—and at times irresponsibility. Coming from three generations of entrepreneurs, my husband understands you have to spend money to make money. Now try to explain that to an accounting type when you are trying to build your business.

Little by little I imagine what my life could have been if I would have married another nerd. I started to see that Joe and I both have positive things to contribute to improve our financial health.

With the blame moved aside and my heart warmed, Dave Ramsey’s words had rekindled my nerdy affection for my free-spirit.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Interject new information to get unstuck.