Archive for March, 2010

28th March

Stick and Stones….

Do you remember the kids rhyme ‘sticks and stones will break my bones but names can never hurt me’? Remember your Mom telling you to say that when the other kids were teasing you? I always felt like I had so much control saying those words but afterwards, I would hear their taunts over and over. And those words cut deep.

This was a huge lesson in our couples seminar. We said that over time, you will forget how much the physical pain hurt. Think about it! The last time you stubbed your toe or hit your elbow, it hurt like hell. You know it did but you can not actually FEEL that pain right now as you remember the incident.

But think about the last time someone stabbed your heart with words. You can feel that pain as real right now as it was when it happened. Words and names CAN hurt you over and over again.

I remember one day when I was around 13 or 14 years old. I don’t if it was teenage hormones or what but just as we were sitting down to eat supper my Dad said to me, “Oh don’t be such a stick-in-the-mud.” It was within context to the conversation that was rolling around the table. He didn’t say it to be mean or hurtful. My Dad wasn’t like that.

But like I say, it could have been teenage hormones and I lost it. I got upset, started crying and stormed off to my room. I can still see my poor Pop. He was totally shocked, bewildered and confused as to what just happened. And there was no way I could have explained it to him as I didn’t know myself.

I know there are times when something is said and it is taken totally out of context. The meaning and manner is totally misunderstood. Friend A says something and only meant it in fun while Friend B takes it at face value and feels the sting of the words deep in their being.

The worst part is, that when this happens, Friend B gets angry and decides not to talk with Friend A again. The hurt Friend A delivered was too much and Friend B will with-hold their friendship to get back at them for saying such a nasty thing. At least until they get an appology from Friend A.

In this case, Friend A probably doesn’t even know they said something wrong. Then they get confused about why Friend B is avoiding them. Then they get angy and won’t call Friend B until they warm up and call first. Nasty cycle to get into.

But there are times when a sting is delivered to hurt. There are times when two people are arguing and they say nasty things, hurtful things, things that could destroy the relationship they have with each other.

Ole and I never called each other names. We never belittled each other when we were arguing. We never put blame on the other or pointed the finger. God’s honest truth! We argued but not to hurt the other. We argued our point, our belief or to find resolution to a problem.

I am not a pyschologist and can not begin to understand why people do this. Ole and I had our ups and downs but he was the man I loved and wanted to spend forever with. It made no sense to me to attack him in such a way. It made no sense to me to make him feel less-than or to put the blame on him for our problems. We both felt this way. We just didn’t see that this was useful in our marriage.

Sure we teased each other. But there is a line between teasing and saying something nasty with a smile to rub an open wound with a little bit of salt. And if a misunderstanding arose, we delt with it right then and there. Or at least when we were alone with each other to discuss freely what happened.

These days, we hear so much about Law of Attraction and your thoughts create your life. But maybe we forget this includes what we say too. We hear so much about we have to be aware what we put into our mouths when we eat but we should pay just as much attention to what comes out of our mouths when we speak.

“When you talk you get understanding, and understanding is peace. When you don’t talk, you get misunderstanding and misunderstanding is fear.”                                         – Ole Poulsen 1973-2006

Be kind in your words, deeds and actions. Life is short.

Passionate regards….Brenda

24th March

Pleasure and Pain

What causes you pleasure and pain in your relationship? I think we all know what brings us enormous amounts of pleasure in our relationship. But what about the pain half of the equation?

I agree that arguing with our better-half is a painful experience. I agree that being insensitive to your lover or them to you is painful. I agree that breaking up is maybe the most painful, short of actual physical pain.

I think that in many relationships there comes at least one time, the thought of ending the relationship. I have experienced that.

Our first year was difficult. The ‘honeymoon phase’ is a myth for many couples I believe. I had read so many times that this is the first phase of your marriage. Not ours I tell ya!

Ole and I both had strong ideas, opinions and needs when we became a couple. We both wanted different things perhaps. By that I mean where we wanted to grow and what we wanted to accomplish as a couple. It was very difficult for both us to have some of our needs met and this caused problems.

I can remember thinking I can’t go on this way. All we did was argue. At least that’s what it felt  at that moment. Then I would think about leaving and just getting out of this bad situation.

I would think about where I would live. What would I do for a job? I would think about what would Ole do? He was in a foreign country. He spoke excellent English but he didn’t know all the laws and rules land. What would happen to him?

That caused me a lot of pain. But the worst was yet to come. I would begin thinking about not waking up with him everyday. I would think about not laughing with him and not making love to him. I would think about not having him next to me to talk to when ever I wanted.

Then my heart, my pleasure center, would step into the conversation and would ask me “how could you EVER think you would want to live without him?” The anger would instantly stop and I would sob and howl at the thought that I was thinking about leaving my wonderful husband.

This shocking realisation made me think more clearly. Not acting out of my emotions but from my heart and head. I was willing to work through the problems and difficult times. I was willing to change in myself what I had to, to be able to have a better life with Ole. I was committed to our union and the love we shared. We both were.

In that first year, even when times were really hard for us which reflected in how we were handling our relationship, the pleasure I got from being with Ole was greater than the pain of thinking about leaving him. I have NEVER loved anyone as much as I loved him. And still do.

We talked a lot about what troubled us. We cried when we were frustrated and angry. We loved when we found a solution.

When Ole and I first moved back to Denmark, he was working with a company and he was gone from Monday morning until Thursday afternoon. I hated that we were separated like that. He hated it too.

Here I was, in a foreign country and the person I wanted to be with most was not available to me 24 hours everyday. So I watched a lot of movies. The worst were the sappy love stories or romantic comedies. By the end of the movie when the guy gets the girl and they were in each others arms, I was sobbing. Not just crying but SOBBING.

The pain of being away from Ole, even for those few days each week, was horrible. I would sit in our house and all I wanted was to feel his strong arms around me and his soft lips on mine. And yet he was in Copenhagen working and hating it as much as me. At that point, we had no idea how little time we had left together.

The pain of Ole’s death sits in my heart everyday. But the pleasure of having loved him for 9 years and experiencing a love like ours is greater than the pain I feel.

A least most days it is.

Passionate regards….Brenda

18th March

I Appreciate You

I want to tell all of you that stop by to read my posts, how much I appreciate you. I love writing about our marriage and giving you ideas how to have more love in your relationship. The comments you leave are so encouraging knowing  that Ole and I are helping.

It is so important in any relationship to let the other person know how much they really are appreciated. And this goes double for intimate relationships because sometimes, over time, we forget to say the nice stuff. The other half should just know by now how much they are loved and appreciated. Right!?

Learn from my mistakes. You can never say “Thank you”, “I love you” or “I’m sorry” too many times in your life. You can never tell your sweetheart too often how much they mean to you and how you could not go on without them. Trust me on this.

The many times Ole would just say “I love you” out of the blue…for no reason other than to let me know I was in his heart. I was scared that he would say it too often, that those words would loose their impact and meaning. I really can be stupid sometimes.

Those are the most powerful words in the the world no matter what language they are spoken in. “I love you. I’m sorry. Thank you.” 

Those words can heal a broken heart, take away the pain from physical injuries and make a person feel needed, useful, wanted and appreciated.

Those powerful little words can heal a nation. Serious!

Think about how many lives could have been saved from bad decisions, fits of anger, rage, and possibly even death by just hearing that someone cares and was willing to be open and speak from their heart. How many relationships could have been saved by only saying “I love you. Thank you. I’m sorry.”

Pride makes lovers, brothers, sisters and friends fearful of releasing the healing power in those words. Pride steps in to hold you back. Pride keeps people stuck in the illusions that they are weak and less-than or they lost the fight if they say those POWERFUL words.

The only way you loose, is to not say “I love you. I’m sorry. Thank you.” And let anger eat at your stomach. Endure sleepless nights after a fight because you are right and will stick to your guns. That is how you loose. By not telling the ones you love how much you love and appreciate them.

Wayne Dyer was a favorite speaker and author of Ole’s. Wayne always says it is easier to be kind than it is to be right. Think about how many arguments could have ended sooner if you would have stopped and told the other person that they were right. It does not mean you agreed with them only that they are right. Which in their mind they were right.

When we found out Ole had cancer, I apologised for all the times I had hurt him or had argued. Not that this was the first time I had apologised for all this but I needed Ole to know how deeply sorry I was. He said he forgave me a long time ago. It was me still holding on to all the pain. He had let it go.

I kept asking that Ole would live because all I wanted to do was show him just how much I loved him and needed him. I felt I could have done a better job at it and I wanted that second chance.

Learn from my mistakes.

I am not trying to make Ole sound like a saint or anything but he was the most remarkable man I had ever know. He was kind above all, loving, caring, interesting, smart, funny, handsome…I would love to go on.

But most important was that he loved me and I loved him and we were not afraid to show it or say it. And we did our best to let each other know how much the other was appreciated and loved.

Yes, we argued. Yes, we got angry at each other. Yes, there were MANY times we did not agree. Yes, we had a lot of fun, laughs and good times. 

But the foundation of it all was we ALWAYS loved each other.

I appreciate you. I am sorry for the hurts you have endured and will in the future. Thank you so much for being a part of my world.

Tell those closest to you how much you love and appreciate them. When you see them light right up and smile from ear to ear, you will know you are a true healer and winner.

Passionate regards….Brenda

13th March

Games People Play-The Silent Treatment

There has been such a great response to my post Games People Play, I thought I would expand on it. So let’s explore The Silent Treatment. I am an expert at this one!

There are many silly little games we play with our lovers, friends and family and this one is a classic. Rules of the game are as follows:

1. Someone pisses you off so you withhold all forms of verbal communication .

2. You may communicate your anger and crankiness with disapproving looks, scowls, and snarly facial gestures.

3. You many not break the silence until you feel the receiver has suffered enough from the painful absence of your sweet voice and loving nature. Very important rule!

4. When you do break your silence, it is with full volume and speed. All that pent-up anger is allowed to come out with the force of a hurricane. Don’t hold anything back.

5. Accept apologies and allow the receiver to kiss your butt.

Isn’t this the rules of The Silent Treatment game? Yeah, whatever…

As I said, I am an expert at this game. I was trained by one of the best…my Mom! She would get angry over something and not talk for days. In the mean while, we would try and figure out what she was upset about. When we thought we had a hit we would ask her. She would just stare us down, toss her head and walk away.

I remember one particular time, Mom had not spoken to Dad or me in over 5 days. It was getting to be a bit silly. Dad and I were trying to figure out what she was angry over and we started to laugh. THEN Mom was really cranky. But at least she started talking to us. Alas, this was not the first or the last time we played this game.

Being a product of your environment, I too played The Silent Treatment game. With my family, friends and with Ole. That first year of marriage was such a great learning tool in so many ways. But it was the hardest year we spent together.

I have said in the past when you are angry to walk away and come back in 20 minutes or an hour when you have calmed down. Then you can talk more rationally and not out of anger. That is not the Silent Treatment. That is defusing a bomb and marriage management.

Nothing is solved when you don’t talk. What happens is there is distance created between you and the other person. If left long enough, this distance becomes greater and more difficult to cross over. Then you are left alone and hurt and still angry.

But the answers come when you can talk about what is troubling you in a calm manner. Absolutely the anger can still be there when you talk but by allowing yourself time to be still inside, you can communicate better about the problem.

I am the youngest and my sister is 16 years older than me with 5 boys in-between us. I loved our family. Well I still do but I miss having a family. We had so much fun together and when the grand kids started coming, it was wonderful.

I don’t know what happened. It has been so many YEARS since one has spoken to another and so on and so on. I keep asking my family to have an intervention. Yes, it has come to that. But they won’t have any part of it. How sad is that? The Silent Treatment game has produced a riff the size of the Grand Canyon in my family.

Is it my Mom’s fault? No! I am sure she learned to communicate this way from someone else. And, as with the rest of my family, they have never explored other ways to express their anger and problems. The Silent Treatment is their game of choice. They have gotten used to the pain and learned to live within its boundaries.

What I was very grateful for was that I woke up and realized that it is not a useful game to play with my husband or anyone else for that matter. It solved nothing. It only added to the problem and created a chasm between us.

I thank the heavens that I/we overcame playing such a stupid game. I have never in my life been so close to another person. There were times when we would hug that Ole and I could literally feel our bodies melting into each others and we were one entity.

THAT WAS THE MOST INCREDIBLE FEELING!

Do you think we would have experienced this if I would have continued to play The Silent Treatment game? I think not.

“When you talk, you get understanding and understanding is peace. When you don’t talk, you get misunderstanding and misunderstanding is fear.”         – Ole Poulsen 1973-2006

Keep your lines of communication open and clear. The connection you will have with your lover, friends and family will be such a reward.

Then you really will have won the game.

Passionate regards….Brenda

5th March

Little White Lies

We all tell Little White Lies…I didn’t eat the last piece of cake….I sent the cheque last week….I think you look great in neon pink. The list is long and the reasons many why we tell them.

For the most part, there are really only 2 reasons why we tell them. The first being is we don’t want to get into trouble so the Little White Lie will save us or at least buffer the blow. SO we think!

The second is so we don’t hurt someone’s  feelings. As honorable as this is, it really is not a good strategy. Somehow it seems that this Little White Lie comes back to bite you in the ass.

Both reasons are pretty lame. I know I would rather hear the truth. If I value your opinion enough that I would ask you what you think, then I can expect nothing less than the truth. If I want a sugar coated response, then I wouldn’t ask. I can make that up myself to make me feel okay with my decision.

One of the things we would hear in our seminars comes from couples with money issues. One is a spender and one is a saver, just like Ole and I were. Can you guess which I was?;-) But the thing is, I NEVER told Ole anything but the truth when he would ask what I spent. I might hedge a little but the truth would come out.

I mean, he would have found out anyway and then it would have caused a bigger problem in our relationship of trust issues. So why not be up front and face the music? Made more sense to me and Ole.

Not only that, if one of us went and spent a lot of money (that we probably didn’t have to spend), we would have talked about it first. Absolutely, there was the possibility of us disagreeing on the subject. But we talked about it first. And there were times when we would agree to disagree but the money was still spent…or not.

What I am trying to say here is that to hide stuff from each other does not empower your relationship. You are building on shaky ground. EVERY relationship needs a firm foundation to build on. If you build on Little White Lies or Big Out and Out Lies, you will have nothing more than a house built of straw. One strong wind and your relationship goes *POOF*.

Truth and trust are foundations for EVERY relationship that you will ever have in your life.

I had a very close friend growing up and we would go shopping. I can remember one day we were trying on clothes and Janice would critique what I tried and I would do the same.

Our comments weren’t sugar coated. If I thought she looked pregnant in the skirt, I told her. If she thought I looked like a big, green balloon in the dress, she told me. And as we were laughing and shopping a sales clerk was listening to us. Finally she asked, “Do you two shop together often?” We laughed even harder and said all the time.

The sales clerk was a little shocked I think because we did give an honest opinion to each other. Not a hurtful opinion but truthful in all good fun. Maybe the people she was used to would offer the ‘you look great in neon pink’ answers.

It was the same for Ole and I. I love hats. I have bought many and worn few. When Ole and I would go out shopping, I would try on hats. Some for shock value and to make him laugh and others I really liked. He would just shake his head and tell me, “You should NEVER wear a hat.”

I loved him for his honesty. That one was of the most endearing traits about him that I fell in love with. I always knew Ole would tell me the truth and exactly what he thought. He was never mean, crass or rude to get his point across. But his truthful nature was loved and appreciated.

I grew up with 5 brothers and 1 sister so I learned about saving my own ass early. I told many a Little White Lies in my youth. But meeting Ole changed all that. Not over night but it didn’t take long. I learned that the truth was the only way to go. Made our lives a lot simpler and we had a very strong foundation in our relationship.

Take responsibility for yourself. 100%! If you make a mistake, so be it. To admit your short-comings is a strength that only true leaders have. To error is human.

And that’s the truth!

Passionate regards….Brenda

Brenda and Ole Poulsen

1st March

The Difference Between Romance and Intimacy

Not many people know the difference between romance and intimacy. Many people think if you have one you have the other but that is far from the truth.

First, I think so you can understand what I mean, I will give you the definition of both. These definitions come from the Gage The Senior Dictionary.

Romance: a love story, a story of adventure, a story or poem telling of heroes, real events or conditions that are like such stories, full of love, excitement, or noble deeds, an interest in adventure and love, a love affair, a false or extravagant story.

Intimate: very familiar, known very well, closely acquainted, close, very personal, most private, far within, a close friend.

Intimacy: the state of being intimate, close acquaintance, a familiar or intimate act

To be intimate with another person means to KNOW them. Know what they think, what they feel, what they believe, what they wish for. Being intimate means to know another persons fears and what they love. Being intimate with someone means you know everything there is to know about them and continue to learn more.

When you are romantic….well do I need to tell you? If you don’t know what it is to be romantic, go to the book store or library and get educated. Become a student of the fine art of seduction and romance.

I want to focus on intimacy though. We can be intimate with many people in our lives in many ways on different levels. Think about your closest friend. Are you intimate with them? If they are your CLOSEST friend, I would have to say yes. I am not talking about sleeping with them, but I bet you know things about your friend that others don’t.

Now think about your lover. Are you intimate with them? Really think for just a minute. You are intimate on the physical level but do you really know them? Do you know what they fear, love, wish for and so on?

Ole and I had a great advantage when we were ‘dating’. Our dates consisted of talking on the phone because he was in Denmark and I was in Yukon, Canada. So we would talk for at least an hour per phone call and sometimes twice a day. We talked almost every day for 3 months before I went to Denmark to celebrate New Years with him.

After I came home from a 3 week holiday, we continued to talk for another 2 months before I went to Denmark to live and see where our relationship was going.

I got to know Ole better than most people who see each other every day because we romanced each other with our words which led to the deep intimacy of our relationship. Now understand that our conversations were not all flowery and smoochy and all that kissy stuff.

WE TALKED. WE LISTENED. WE WERE INTIMATE.

I felt so close to Ole in a way I have never felt with anybody before because I got to KNOW him. We would be talking about something and I would be blown away with his depth and knowledge. I would ask him, “How can you know that? You are only 24 years old!” He was amazing. He opened my eyes to look at the world in so many different ways.

As we talked, I opened myself to him also. I let Ole into places within me that others have never heard nor seen. He knew by looking at my eyes that my mood had changed. We heard so often that our relationship was closer than some couples that had been married for 50 years.

Ole definitely made me a better person because of who he was. I am forever grateful to have had him in my life. He is still and always will be in my life. I have never been so intimate with anyone before. Both physically and emotionally, as well as spiritually. I feel so lucky to have shared so much with such a (I am struggling for a word here because there is not one word to describe my husband) wonderful,amazing, intelligent man.

I found this quote shortly after Ole died. I would have love to have shared it with him as it was exactly how I felt.

I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out. Elizabeth Barret Browning

Romance alone cannot make a person love. INTIMACY is the true way to the heart.

Passionate regards….Brenda

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