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Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! As a busy mom, Mother’s Day can sneak up on you with the chaos of end of the year school activities, home projects, and travel plans. Moms have a heart of gold and do not have expectations of presents, but we still love the gesture of gifting to make the day special and show our appreciation for everything she does for the family.

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

  • Patti Hatton

Q/A Communicating with a Quiet Spouse

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Q: My spouse comes from a family that does not share their feelings with each other. He is quiet which makes it difficult to communicate. I come from a family that shares everything. How can we better communicate with each other?

A: Opposites attract, and I can see why you were drawn to one another. If you learn to meet in the middle, a beautiful balance can be obtained. Not knowing the full situation, I will give one word of caution. Sharing “everything” is not the norm for healthy relationships (depending on what you mean by “everything”). Once a word is spoken, it cannot be taken back and there are some things that are sacred between husband and wife that need to be treated as such. When it comes to sharing information about our own life, we can take liberties, but we need to seriously discern if information about our spouse is ours to share. A good test for this is imagine your conversation with a parent or friend is being video-taped. Would you want that videotape being replayed for your spouse? Would he be happy with what you revealed? If not, we need to hold those conversations to ourselves. Otherwise, trust issues will arise between the couple, which causes a quiet spouse to become even more quiet.


Regarding your question in getting a quiet spouse to speak, open-ended questions are a great way to offer a person a platform for conversation. For example, asking a person if they like or do not like something is asking for a yes or no answer. Whereas, asking what a person thinks is an open-ended question. The spouse cannot answer with a yes or no. They will be prompted to share their feelings about the situation. If your spouse is not quick to respond, he may be a slow processor. He needs time to think about your question and formulate his answer. This is when you need to practice reflective listening. Sit quietly while your spouse takes time to answer. When he speaks, repeat back to him what he said. This demonstrates you are actively listening and allows him to clarify his point if there is any misunderstanding. Many times, the talkative spouse will ask an open-ended question but lack the patience to sit quietly while the quiet spouse thinks, contemplates, and formulates his response. If the talker asks a question of her spouse, then proceeds to offer her own thoughts, and answer her own question, then the quiet spouse will sit quietly while the talker just continues to talk. He may even wonder if his opinion or counsel is desired or if the talker just needed a sounding board. Talkers often ask questions, give their opinions, and come up with their own answers, all before the spouse has a chance to answer. Before the husband can speak what he has formulated in his mind, the talker has moved on to another subject. Bringing conversation cards to date night is a fun way to have guided opportunities for connection.


Conversation questions could be things like:

1) What motivates you? What stirs your heart?

2) What does it mean for you to feel nurtured?

3) What is a favorite memory from high school?

4) What would days 1, 2 and 3 of your ideal vacation look like?

When it comes to a quiet spouse verses a talkative spouse, the talker needs to learn to ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with yes and no. The talker also needs to learn patience by sitting quietly after she asks the question, giving her spouse time to answer.

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC

www.pattihattoncounselor.com