Above is a photo taken on August 8th, our 15th wedding anniversary. We barely made it to this anniversary.
When, two years ago, I realized it was quite possible I would be living the rest of my life without Felipe, and I was in a third world country with limited resources, I did the only thing I could think to do: I went online.
I typed in: how to save your marriage.
I don’t remember how I ended up choosing Brad Browning’s book, but what I learned from it was essential to me at the time. It is not required that both partners “work” on the marriage to save it, as Felipe was not interested in trying at that point.
I followed Mr. Browning’s advice, which was basically to be kind, and slowly, very slowly Felipe began to unthaw. His actions toward me softened, he opened to the possibility of reconciliation.
When I was invited to Nicaragua, I told my soon to be boss, I had no decent clothes, no makeup, and hardly an idea of how to function in a professional situation anymore. As I struggled in my new position not look like I was raised by wolves, I realized how distant I’d become from my femininity and not just in the superficial aspects, but my sensuality, my warmth, my nurturing side were absent. Not surprisingly, this had a negative impact on my relationship with my husband.
I went back to the internet and I found Rori Raye. She taught me how to be female again, in ways I had never considered, to great results. She gave me permission to be a sacred part of myself I had confused with sex and power and need, in a way that uplifted and supported me and my relationships.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not but, men and women are different. I know, you’d think I would’ve figured that out in my first 50 years. But somehow, in my principal years of feminist reading, I decided it might be true, but it shouldn’t matter. A decision did neither me nor my relationships with men any good. So I asked a man what he thought about it. Christian Carter.
I learned a lot about the male perspective from him, and the running theme through all of these programs was reinforced. You must love yourself. You must take care of yourself first.
It seems simple, but sometimes it’s hard to recognize how much our insecurities impact our relationships. It had never occurred to me that being capable, confident and in control is not the same as valuing yourself, loving yourself, and being strong enough to take responsibility for your own needs.
I learned more about that from these books.
In them, I also learned the invaluable practice of seeing the best in Felipe, regardless of what was happening in the present. By consistently focusing on what I love and admire about him, I saw more and more of his best self and little of the behaviors I felt were tearing us apart. It did not happen because I reasoned with him, or nagged him or asked him to change. I stopped projecting the belief that he would act hurtfully, I stopped expecting the worst from him, and I starting getting his best. It was difficult. It took practice. My mind was focused on my unhappiness with him. I was hurt and angry and it’s hard to break habits, especially from a weakened position.
Are you wondering why I did all the work, are you thinking it’s sexist? That is not the case, Felipe also had to change. My change of perspective only gave him room, desire and a supportive environment to do his own work.
I bounced around these programs, depending on my need at the time, I bought others, and returned some(almost all come with a money back guarantee) . I spent about 1000$ in a year in a half, well worth it. I felt silly at times, the programs are sometimes hokey and sensationalist. But, I also felt supported, and it worked.
Ultimately, it has been a journey in my relationship with myself, and happily, Felipe has decided to stick around for next 15 years.
Other notable mention: Susan Bratton, hot sex advisor to millions! She’s a little campy, but fun and her newsletters are informative and stimulating.
Have you ever used online counseling? Have you ever shared something publically that exposed more of yourself than you were comfortable with?
I love hearing from you : ) And, though not a marriage counselor, I would be happy to give anyone more information about how I used the internet to save my marriage.