Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ron's List

What are 5 things Gayle can say or do that make you feel loved?

1. Seeing how much she loves my kids and grandkids.

2. A gentle touch.

3. Listening to what I have to say no matter what it is.

4. Seeing her smile at me.

5. Telling me when I’ve done something well or that she appreciates me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What Makes You Feel LOVE?

We’re headed home from 10 priceless days in the mountains with children and grandchildren. I’m feeling happy, sad, and completely filled with love. I’m wondering where loves come from? Of course I have my own ideas and beliefs, but rather than write about it myself, I decided to ask you.

In our work with couples, an old standby homework assignment we give is to make a list of “5 things your partner can SAY or DO that cause you to feel loved.” We’ll publish items from our lists later this week.

Today the question to you is...

What makes you feel love?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gayle's Comments on Generosity of Spirit

I realized that in my original post I told you about Ron’s generosity of spirit - not mine. I did talk some about my own in a weekly pondering on my website. I have my own tapes about not bragging or being conceited. I am an only child and my mother wanted everyone to like me. She was scared out of her wits someone might think I was selfish or conceited. As I got older my mom bragged about me so much that I usually felt like crawling under a table when we were with friends and family.

So I’ll stretch here and walk my talk. I have always been better at promoting other people and products I believe in than I am at promoting myself. I can’t tell you how many doctors, counselors, acupuncturists, and multi-level sales people have me to thank for an abundance of referrals. My spirit was and still is generous with them. I, however, am working on being more generous with myself in this way. Loosely quoting T. Harv Eker author of The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind - an entrepreneur is someone who solves other people’s problem at a profit. He encourages you to see the promotion part of growing your business not only as a way to make more money, but as a way to help more people solve their problems.

For years I was the primary laundress, yard boy, cook, and pool boy at our house (Ron would pitch in from time to time.) I’m now getting some help with these chores. Some of the help is coming from Ron (he’s a darn cute pool boy) and some of the tasks are being hired out. This is so I can spend more time writing. I also love to have parties for people. Ron helps with this, but I am definitely the primary party coordinator in our household. We’ve hosted several milestone birthday events and showers for friends and family.

For our 18th wedding anniversary I legally changed my last name to Lambert. This was, in part, to affirm how much I love and his/our family. In my personal life I wanted to carry the name of my spiritual family. Professionally I still carry my father’s name - Luster - this is my offering of love to him. He was my role model for entrepreneurship. I’ve had to rewrite some of his scripts, but his ability to successfully promote himself thereby helping lots of people solve their problems was second to none. I admire him and hope I can continue to integrate his positive traits into my life.

What does all this have to do with age gap relationships? When the inevitable differences arise in energy levels, generational wisdom archives, parenting styles, hobbies, wants, and needs - generosity is universal and will transcend the gap. The challenge is be generous with yourself as well or you’ll end up be trapped in resentment.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Things We've Learned This Week

For the last week you’ve been talking amongst yourselves or perhaps better said “taking amongst yourself.” Who knew when we picked “generosity of spirit” as our topic of the week it would evoke such an internal response in so many of you?

Some of the things we heard are:
  • I don’t consider myself to be a generous person.
  • I forgot that all those things my partner does for me are acts of generosity. I’m ashamed to say, I’ve come to expect them now.

  • If I mention the ways in which I am generous out loud, isn’t that being conceited?

  • I’m not in a relationship with anyone so I don’t have anything to contribute.

  • I’ve got something to say, but I don’t think it’s exactly what you wanted.
Ah the voices in our heads. We love to make stuff up don’t we? We draw conclusions in our minds and assume our assumptions are correct. We're not exactly sure what we expected to get, but we really didn’t expect it to cause so much inner turmoil in so many of you. We must admit we like it when we stir your inner pots a bit. Frustration and confusion often proceed growth. We’ve decided to leave the topic open for another week. We want more!

Here are somethings to consider:
  1. There are no right answers.
  2. Anyone can “play” - you need not be in a committed relationship to enter.
  3. If you can’t see generosity in yourself - how can you see it in others? We’ve all been told that it isn’t nice to brag or boast. We aren’t asking for bragging or boasting. We are asking for sharing. There is a difference.
  4. We think if we had asked you to tell us what bugs you about your partner, kids, co-workers, etc. it would have been easier for you to comment. Perhaps we are more prone to recognize what we don’t like than what we do. It’s much easier to let your inner critic run wild and say awful things about you than to find admiration for yourself. Please practice being gentle with yourself.
  5. Use any format you choose. (See number 1.)
You can subscribe to the RSS feed or check back often to see what others have to say.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Talk Amongst Yourselves

We'd love for you to share comments with us and the other readers of this blog. So as Mike Meyer's (playing Linda Richman) on Saturday Night Live used to say

"Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic..."

Generosity of spirit

Tell us what you do for others and/or your partner that comes from your generous spirit. By all means, let us know what your partner (or friend, relative, co-worker, etc.) does for you that reflects his or her generous spirit. If you need a little something to get you rolling, our last two blogs were on this topic (read Ron's or Gayle's.)

No need to be in an age gap relationship to play. We'd like to hear from as many of you as possible. You can share your name, make up a name, or remain anonymous - it's the sharing (not your name) that counts.

Thanks for being a generous spirit....

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Generosity of Spirit (By Ron)

About 80% of the couples in my practice come in with communication, sex, or money issues. Every now and then a couple presents with step-children problems or questions. These can be from blended families or those in which only one partner brought children to the relationship. Regardless of the circumstances, the problems are often significant.

When Gayle and I married I already had four children, the youngest of whom was in her teens. Not surprisingly, none of them were happy that their mom and I had divorced. They also weren’t happy that I was marrying Gayle (or anyone else for that matter.) Gayle knew it was likely she would face problems like most step-parents.

So, how did she approach the potential for problems with my kids? She "loved" (a verb) them. Over time she grew to "love" (a noun) them. She went through quite a bit of “not being accepted” behavior and did not let it turn her away from me or my kids. I could see how it hurt her but she continued to hang in there. She knew there was no “us” without them.

It takes a great deal of generosity of spirit to be able to persevere in the face of non-acceptance. She could see they simply didn’t know how to handle what had happened. Although it felt like it at times, she knew it wasn't personal. Her arms were and are always open to them and their families. Doing it in their own different ways, they have also come to love (both the verb and noun) her even though she isn’t and doesn’t try to be their mother. They recognize how giving she is and are able to give back to her.

We consciously made the decision to not have children together. My kids are her “bonus” children and she loves them dearly. Together we have 12 grandchildren. They know "Gigi" only as their grandparent. They don’t question it. They know the depth of love and generosity of spirit that Gayle has for them.

Ours is not a particularly unique situation. Quite often, however, relationships fail because a partner cannot endure the isolation that comes from being the “outsider.” It takes a strong and generous spirit to survive and thrive as has Gayle.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Generosity of Spirit (by Gayle)

One of the secrets to a lasting relationship is to find ways to honor and deepen your commitment to each other. I’ve found that practicing a little generosity of spirit can go a long way toward bridging the age gap (or any kind of gap for that matter) within a couple. For starters, I want you to identify the gaps that exist between you and your partner. Not only do Ron and I have a significant age gap, but we also suffer from “time gaps.” Our busy and demanding schedules get in the way of our quality couple time.

Ron has a very generous spirit. It’s not necessarily that he is generous with things (although he is) - it’s more about being generous with himself and taking care of little things. I hate alarm clocks. I find it “alarming” to be rousted about of bed by the sounds of buzzers and bells. Thankfully, my loving husband is willing to facilitate the process of waking me each morning. I am greeted by a lovely cup of coffee, two beagle dogbabies, and my husband’s generous spirit each morning. The dogbabies lick my face, the husband kisses my face (not where dogbabies have licked) and the coffee goes into my face. This process makes it much easier for me to start my day. I sorely miss the ritual when Ron is out of town. What is especially amazing is that the ritual continues even when Ron and I aren’t getting along so well (yes “stuff” happens even when you are deeply committed to each other!)

If I ever question how much he loves me or how committed he is to us, I don’t have to look very far. There are breadcrumbs of his generous spirit everywhere along our trail.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ron's Top 5 Ways of Being Present With Gayle

I came into our relationship with at least two serious problems when it comes to being present with anyone. First, my mother was always present. By the time my siblings were all gone and I was old enough to have much to say - my mom was usually saying it all, over and over. So, I developed the skill of "listening" without hearing. You know how that goes. Yes and no or uh huh every now and then, listening for my name, etc. In other words, I was not really present.

Second, while reading books on the subject of ADHD to help diagnose a client, both Gayle and I realized the books were describing me and many of my behaviors. I finally understood some of the difficulties I have always had being truly present for anyone.

So what are my top 5 ways to be truly present for Gayle? They are:

5. Look at her when she talks to me (except when driving, of course.) Making eye contact ensures my presence and minimizes distractions.

4. Spend the first 30 minutes of the day drinking coffee and planning the day with her.

3. Don't start asking questions or trying to make plans with her just as she finishes with her last client of the day.

2. Get away from the phones, tvs, and computers and have quiet time together.

And my number 1 way to be truly present for Gayle:

1. Don't interrupt when she's talking.