If you’ve read any of my blogs or watched any of my vlogs you PROBABLY know I’m remarried and that my first marriage was toxic. I talk very openly about my ex-husband and our relationship. We were a train-wreck! But OMG the lessons I walked away with (and awesome Kalani of course)!!
That marriage is a huge reason why the Christina Xlimit brand exists in the way it does today.
Today I’m going to share with you three things that have been helpful in my ability to recover from a toxic relationship and to move forward into a successful and healthy marriage.
A. Know your partner OUTSIDE of just a romantic relationship
Something that Chris and I believe has been instrumental in our success as a couple has been our choice to be friends before we were ever romantically involved.
My ex-husband and I met initially on the internet, myspace (yeah, I’m that old). First indicator that it’s physical: you only want to get to know me because of how I look. The first time we ever met in person he told me he loved me (I said thanks) and wanted to have sex (I declined). We’re not going to get into all the red flags here LoL but we ARE going to notice how emotionally/sexually charged our interactions always were from the very beginning. We never started out with the intention of just being friends.
On the flip side Chris and I were in the same circle of friends and the first few times we hung out were group settings. When we did start hanging out with just each other it was always very G-rated. Lots of ESPN, talking about our divorces and moving forward, writing music, etc. It wasn’t until 3 months after we started hanging out that we even decided to start dating. We didn’t even kiss each other for almost 2 months. We were intentional about taking our time, being very relaxed, and not making it a “couple thing”. What that did is gave us an opportunity to really know each other. To really trust each other. And figure out if we liked each other as people first. Chris is absolutely my best-friend and we believe our friendship has made all the difference in the way that we relate to one another. You might not tell your spouse the same things you’d tell your bff. Well, when your spouse IS your bff all that changes!
Romance comes and goes within relationships for LOTS of reasons. But if you have a friendship that you can always rely on; THAT’S what carries you in the moments when your “husband” is working your nerves.
B. Just because you can put up with it doesn’t mean you should
From the moment my ex-husband and I were married he was cheating (probably before too). At one point a woman was claiming to be pregnant with his child. I stood by him through it ALL. I went with him to get his DNA testing done, I was making phone calls to the courts for him, pleading his case with his 1st Sgt (adultery is a big deal in the military). And when it was revealed he WASN’T the father do you know this fool would still secretly call her to check on the child?
None of my grace, support, mercy, and love changed him! But it did change ME.
What I learned is: “BOY am I strong! BOY can I deal with a LOT. BOY can I be gracious. But BOY do I NOT have to subject myself to this. BOY am I too good for this. BOY do I deserve better than this!”
Some women are in difficult realtionships and there’s a sort of pride that they’re “making it work”. They’ve bought into the lie that by staying and putting up with it they’re PROVING how much they love him.
NO! What you’re doing is telling him “you can treat me like dog poop on the bottom of your shoe but I’m still not going anywhere baby!” He’s looking at you like boo boo the fool!
When men like that lose a woman they don’t grieve her departure. They grieve her awakening to her worth.
So, just because you CAN deal with his lying, cheating, abuse, poverty mentality, etc. DOESN’T mean you should!
C. Communication is key to your success!
This is a little cliché but I’m not just talking about the easy conversations. You have to be willing to have those conversations that may sting a little bit. You both must to be willing to hear and be heard IN LOVE.
Earlier this year I had to tell Chris that he wasn’t letting me be myself. My words were something along the lines of me feeling like I was his pretty porcelain doll that he wanted everyone to see and admire but not to actually engage with and that I couldn’t live like that. I didn’t want to be on display but never allowed to actually be me. I felt like a flower in his closed fist.
Do I think that was his intention? No. I know EXACTLY why he holds on to us (our family) so fiercely. But that’s how I felt and I told him. And you know what he did? He heard me! He didn’t like it, because that’s not his heart toward me, but he chose to talk it out, come to an agreement, open his fist, and let me bloom! Because that’s what couples do that are healthy!
Just because you’re telling your partner something they may not want to hear doesn’t mean it has to be mean spirited. There IS a such thing as truth in love. When you’re secure in your love there’s a certain way you say and receive things from your partner. No matter WHAT or how I tried to say things to my ex-husband he was always on the defensive. That’s not healthy. And as I respected him less and less I certainly SAID things a certain way. That’s not healthy.
Keep in mind that your objective in communication isn’t to be right but to work toward healthy compromise. Healthy partners respect each others truth, even if they disagree. But if it isn’t worth talking about tomorrow it surely isn’t worth arguing about today!
Put down your petty cape and realize that some things aren’t even worth a conversation. I’ve told you all (I think) before how it irritates me that Chris will walk his trash into the kitchen, by the trashcan, and not throw it away. *sigh* LoL but am I going to say something when he does it? Nope. I’m just going to throw it away when I clean the kitchen. That’s so small on my scale of important things that it’s not any reason for me to even have that conversation.
You need to be having the BIG and IMPORTANT conversations. And not only as reactive but preemptively as well!
Instead of apologizing for being caught cheating TALK to your partner.
“I’m feeling really neglected. I love you. I believe you love me. But you’re not showing me that you do. It makes me want to look for affection outside of our relationship. But I know that’s not what’s best. I want us to fix this.”
Be sure to identify WHAT you would need in order to remedy the situation as well. Give your partner an easily measurable way to meet your needs. It can’t be grey area.
“I’d like for us to spend at least an hour everyday with no tv, no phones, no children. Just us talking and decompressing; connecting.
Don’t think you can skate by the hard stuff. It doesn’t go away just because you didn’t talk about it! Find a way to communicate effectively!
I hope these tips have been helpful and that you will apply them in your current or future romantic relationships. Obviously this isn’t a comprehensive list of things that I’ve done differently from one marriage to the next. But they’re absolutely what I feel have been most crucial! And I’m sure they’ll create lots of positive impact for you as well.
I love you all so much!!! I’m praying for you everyday! And, of course, I’m believing for your limitless lives!