The One On 2 Ways To Enjoy Being More Intimate With Your Spouse.

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Imagine you plan a really romantic date for your husband.  You are looking forward to it all day and you can’t stop thinking about it.  You go on the date and your husband tells you that he is only doing it for you and he really doesn’t enjoy going on dates.  Would that change the experience of your date knowing that your spouse wasn’t enjoying it and just doing it for you?

This is the same for our husbands when they know we aren’t enjoying being intimate with them.  Many of us women have formed certain beliefs and thoughts around sex that cause how we show up.  Being intimate is a big deal for our spouse.  In Letters to a Young Mormon, Adam Miller described it this way to his son:  “A hunger for sex will grow in you that is just as real, just as native, and just as pressing as your need for food and sleep.  This new hunger is different from others.  You’ll die if you don’t eat and breathe, but you won’t die if you don’t have sex- though. to be honest, you may sometimes feel like you will.”

What are you beliefs around intimacy?  Is is just for your husband?  Being intimate is a very important part of your marriage, not just for your spouse.  It has proven to bring connection and closeness to a marriage.  Here are two ways that will help to enjoy being intimate more:

1-Ask your brain good questions to get good answers.  When you ask yourself: what is wrong with me, why can’t I enjoy it more- it will give you all the reasons why you can’t.  Our brains are good at finding evidence for whatever we are thinking.  However, if you ask a more positive question for it to solve like: How can I enjoy sex more with my Husband?  Many of us LDS women don’t like to go there, but it is crucial to a thriving, enjoyable marriage.  Write out all your beliefs and thoughts around it to discover why you aren’t enjoying it or why you don’t have a desire to do it more often.  It will feel scary, but it is necessary.  Once you see some of your beliefs, decide if it is serving you to think this way.  Does it cause me to feel close to my spouse or does it cause me to be distant?  What can I be thinking to create more desire to want to be intimate with my spouse?

2- Educate yourself.  There are so many resources out there to help in this area.  Many appropriate books to help women understand why we do the things we do and how we think around sex.  Awareness is the first step to change.  This is a gift for your marriage and for you, not just for your spouse.

Everything else in your life will feel like a bigger priority, but I promise that when you make this more of a top priority, it will bring a beautiful connection and love that has been missing.

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The One Where The Lord Gave Me An Answer That Changed Everything In My Life

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Several years ago, I was called as a Primary President in a Ward that got split.  They were merging two wards together to make a new one.  We were sad to leave our old ward and half the people would now be new to us.  I felt very overwhelmed trying to choose callings from a list of people I had never seen before or didn’t know anything about.  I went to the temple to receive some help.  While I was pouring out my heart to the Lord (complaining), I thought for sure I was going to hear: Kendra, you are so amazing, you are doing a great job- pick these people for callings, I love you.  But instead this was what the Lord replied with: It’s not about you.  When you have an issue about the children you are serving, then come to me.

It’s not about you.  Everything I was coming to the Lord about was about me.  What if people think I’m not a good president, what if they don’t like how I do things, will I get along with the teachers I choose, why is this so hard.  I wasn’t saying these things directly to the Lord, but these were my hidden fears- It was all about me.

That day in the temple has completely changed my life.  ANY problem I have in my life, is when I am making it about me.  Our natural woman makes everything about her.  People are just living their lives and we are interpreting the world based on our own perspective, thoughts, and views of ourselves.

Whenever I have an issue with my spouse, it is because I have made it about me.  I like to trick myself and believe it is him.  If he would just change, then I would be happy.  However, I don’t always see that it is me, just like when I went to the Lord, but the trail always leads back to me.

It’s not about you:

Your children can feel disappointed or hurt and it doesn’t have to mean you are a terrible mother.  Disappointment is a part of life, I don’t have to fix this.  This is about my child.

Your husband can complain about dinner and it doesn’t have to mean you are failing at your role as a homemaker.  Doesn’t like pasta, got it.  This is about my husband and what he likes and doesn’t like.

Your mother may not understand why you do certain things and it doesn’t have to mean that something is wrong with you or your mother.  My Mom is her own person and does things differently from me.  This is about my mother and she may be making it about herself and that I should be like her.

The Leaders you are in charge of don’t like the way you are running things and it doesn’t have to mean that people don’t like you.  They would do it differently and is there something I can learn from them.  This is about the teenagers we are serving together.

If you take yourself out of the picture and focus on who you are trying to love and serve, then your life will be filled with an abundance of love.  We don’t lose ourselves or put ourselves last, in fact the more we love ourselves the more love we can offer others and not make it about us.

 

The One On Why It Is So Hard To Grow-up

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My Kalli

Today I picked up my 7 year old daughter from school.  She forgot her lunch at home and I kindly brought it to her school in the morning.  Here was our conversation:

Me: “Hey, Kalli.  You are welcome for bringing your lunch today.”  (thinking I’m pretty much world’s best Mom)

Kalli: “Yea, why did you forget to tell me to bring it this morning?”

Me:  “Kalli, I asked you in the car this morning if you had your lunch and you said yes.”

Kalli:  “You should of checked inside my backpack.”

Me: “I don’t think so.  Take responsibility that you forgot.”

Silence.  We start to get close to home.

Kalli:  “You are just so lucky that I ate my lunch.”

What?!?

Why is it so natural to blame other people and not take responsibility?  Kalli is a child, who still knows better, but still a child.  Many of us adults still act like a child and blame others for how we feel.

We are responsible for how we feel in every moment.  We are in charge of how we think, and we are in charge of how we feel.  When we are functioning as emotional children, we are blaming other people for how we feel, for how we act, and for results we get in our life.

We want to blame our parents for how we turned out, our spouse for us not loving ourselves, the teachers for not handling our children, and God for things we don’t understand.  As adults, we are literally capable of reflecting on our thoughts and therefore, we can decide what to think and what to feel in any given moment, no matter what anyone else does in our lives.

This is so much easier said than done.  Blaming feels like there isn’t something to beat ourselves up about.  Blaming turns the spotlight off of ourselves and onto someone or something else.  The problem with this is that when we are blaming, then we aren’t able to grow and change because we have convinced ourselves that it is out there.  This is a very powerless way to live.  When we take responsibility over our own feelings, then we can feel empowered and know there isn’t any situation that we can’t handle.  We are in charge of our feelings.  A lot of times we give over our power to the last person we would want to have it.  An ex-husband, a father who was never around, a person in our lives who has an addiction.  We allow them to dictate how we feel.  God gave you the power think about your situation however you want.  Our thoughts always create our feelings.

When Kalli blamed me for her forgetting her lunch, she missed out on her coming up with a way to figure out how to remember.  She missed a chance to feel gratitude.  She missed a chance to see the reality of the situation and what she could learn.

Here is how you know when you are being an emotional mature adult:

*Take responsibility for your pain and also your joy

*Don’t expect other people to “make” you happy

*Don’t expect others to “make” you feel secure

*Appreciate that you are the only one who can hurt your feelings by your own thoughts.

So easy, right?  Many times I catch myself throwing a tantrum and wanting to blame someone for my unhappiness, but then I remember managing my mind so I am not dependent on other people for how I think, feel, or act… feels empowering.

You are just so lucky I wrote this.

 

The One Where Your Husband Doesn’t Have To Remember Your Birthday

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Did you know that you don’t have to do anything?  Many people don’t.  You don’t have to brush your teeth, make dinner for your family, or change any diapers?  Most of us choose to do these things because we would rather not have the consequences that may follow: cavities, hungry family, or a diaper rash.

There are no “have-to’s.”  Everything single thing we do is a choice.

It is the same for your husband.  He doesn’t have to do anything.  He doesn’t even have to remember your birthday.  It is nice when he does and he would most likely rather not suffer the consequence of forgetting, but he doesn’t have too.  He chooses too.

We have all created rules in our minds of what is expected and try to control others with our rules.  When they break our rules, then we feel like that person doesn’t love us.  The truth is, they chose to not follow our rules and suffer the consequence.  I use to have a rule in my mind that my husband should sit next to me when we watch a movie together.  He should rub my feet and snuggle.  (I think that is a great rule)  He seemed to always choose to sit where he felt the most comfortable on the couch and it wasn’t always next to me.  I made that mean that he doesn’t love me.  It really had nothing to do with me, he is just choosing to be comfortable while watching  a movie.  Really it is that simple.  However, I would still try to make him feel real bad for not wanting to snuggle with me.  So, he would come resentfully snuggle instead of hearing me complain.  It would appear that I controlled the situation, but all I did was cause resentment for him and not allow him the space to choose what he really wanted.  He still made his own choice.

When you can let your rules go and give people the space to be themselves and understand that you really don’t have any control over other’s behaviors- then you will set yourself free and them.  You are never the victim and there is nothing you have to do.  You are choosing everything.  You can always put in requests or share how you would like something to go, but love gives space to allow others to make the choice they really want.  Now, I wait for my husband to get real comfortable, then I make my move and go snuggle with him.

 

The One On: What Is Your Love Tied Too?

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I am very competitive.  I’ve spent most of my life tying my love from others and God to my achievements.  If I do more, achieve more, then I will be loved more.  The problem with being competitive is that there is always a winner and a loser.  It means someone is on top and someone else falls below, you no longer see people as equal.

Although it feels good to be recognized for achievements, you are constantly left feeling like it wasn’t enough.  There was more I could of done.  Or worse when you fail, then you no longer feel worthy of being loved.

Many of us know intellectually that we are a child of God and that He loves us, then why do my actions show me striving for others approval still?  Because my deep belief is that love is earned through achievements and how I behave.  I may know many things, but I believe other things when it comes to myself.

I picture heart balloons tied to my wrist.  Written on these heart balloons are what I have tied my love too, how I feel love is earned.  Some of my balloons say: being funny means I am lovable, being liked by many people means I am lovable, winning, achieving, never getting upset all mean I am lovable.

One day I realized that if I un-tied all the balloons from my wrist and was left with nothing, that God still loved me.  I could quit all my responsibilities and be a blob on the couch and He would still love me.  It may not be what He would want for me, but it couldn’t break His love.  It will always exist, no matter what we do or don’t do.

So now when I catch myself still trying to get other’s approval and not my own, I look up at my wrist and see the heart balloon tied to me.  I untie and let it go.

I’m already enough.  And so are you.

The One Where The Lord Revealed A Formula To Help Me Not Feel Stuck Anymore

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Us living in Utah on a beautiful Spring day.

I was stuck.  I felt like I was living the same horrible feelings day after day.  I tried many different things to change those feelings, but ultimately I would end up feeling the same way.  One night I broke down to the Lord that I didn’t know how to move forward and feel better about my situation.  I literally felt trapped in my life.  This is the formula that He revealed to me.  I use this formula in every situation when I don’t know how to move forward and when I feel helpless.  First, let me take you back in time…

We had just moved to Utah from California.  Neither of us (my boo and I) wanted to leave our lives in California.  We had many misconceptions and judgements about Utah without ever living there before.  I had a really hard time when we moved there, for many reasons.  Here is the formula that I was taught that changed everything for me:

1- SAY GOODBYE.  First the Lord told me it was time to say goodbye to California.  It was a beautiful place filled with many good memories for our family, but our time there was done.  I needed to say goodbye to the story of us living there, the story had ended.  Many of us hold onto the idea of how we think things should be.  I should of got that job, I should not be living here, I should not of married this person, I should be just like this other person, my child should not have these challenges.  This is us arguing with our reality, this causes immense amount of pain for ourselves.  I kept re-living my life in California over and over again, just recycling the pain of the fact that I no longer lived there.  I literally wrote out a goodbye letter and thanked California for the amazing memories and friends we had met.  (Writing is a very powerful tool that helps our brains with awareness).

2- EMBRACE WHERE YOU ARE.  Once I said my goodbyes to California, the Lord said it was time to embrace Utah.  I was so focused on all the things that were wrong, that I was missing out on all the things that were going right.  We were living in a beautiful place, hiking every weekend as a family, and having new adventures.  It was time to embrace  my reality.  Embrace means to accept or support a belief or change willingly and enthusiastically.  I don’t know how enthusiastic I was about my situation, but for me embracing meant to take it all in.  The good and the challenging parts of it, but now I knew they were for me, not happening to me.

3- COME TO THE LORD FOR HELP.  Once I could see that it was time to write a new story and embrace my situation, then the Lord ended with telling me to come to Him every time I felt weak.  Come to Him for help, strength, reassurance, comfort, and my favorite- love.

Heavenly Father sees me and He sees you.

Here is what it may look like for someone to apply the formula.  They have a child who is challenging and needs extra effort.  First this parent has to say goodbye to the idea of what she thought motherhood would be like.  Her story of how her children were going to behave or turn out.  Or maybe it is saying goodbye to the days of when the child was younger and it was easier.  Next she will have to embrace that this is where her child is at today.  Her child may or may not change.  Embrace all the good and challenging things and accept it.  She could argue that her child shouldn’t be this way, but there is no upside to this and it only recycles the pain over and over again.  Acceptance brings understanding.  Lastly, the days where she feels weak as a mother and wants to give up, she turns to the Lord for help and strength.  She prays for the help to embrace what is.

I have a 4 week parenting course called Brave Parenting.  We go in depth on how to apply this and other tools to help create more peace around parenting.  There are many things that can help parenting to feel more enjoyable and less stressful.  For more details email me at: kendra@bravestlove.com

The One On: 2 Ways People See You

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We all want to be seen.  Even the shy introverts may want to be seen by a parent or a loved one.  There are 2 ways other people see us.  One is our outside.  People watch, observe, judge, and think about what they see on the outside.  They see how we look and how we are acting.  The other way we are seen is on the inside.  The way the Lord sees us, our true selves.  We allow very few people to see us on the inside.

We are always compared to the temple in the scriptures so I am going to compare them to how we are seen by others.  Many of us who have been on the outside of a temple know that it is very clean and well-groomed.  The outside of the temple is simple and beautiful.  The inside is just as beautiful and orderly.  Many people describe it as peaceful.  The inside matches the outside.

Imagine a temple that had flashing neon lights saying “open”.  There was tagging and graffiti all over the walls.  It was painted bright colors and had lights strung all over it.  This temple definitely wanted to be seen.  When you go inside the temple it is dark and many of the rooms are empty.  There is a maze trying to find your way around, easy to be lost.  These are the people who feel empty inside and lost.  They work so hard to be seen for their outside, but don’t know who they really are on the inside.

The next temple is like many members of the LDS church.  The outside is beautiful.  It is very well-groomed and looks all put together.  Nothing looks out of place.  When you walk inside this temple it is completely chaotic.  There are workers running all over the place, papers flying around, trash on the floor.  No one knows what they should be doing and everything feels like it is falling apart.  Many of us work really hard to appear that we have it all together, that everything is perfect.  But on the inside we feel chaos, confusion, and anxious.  We don’t understand why we aren’t happier when we look so great from the outside.  We spend so much time focusing on the exterior, that we neglect the inside.  We feel anxious that someone may open the door and see who we really are.

The last temple is like the temples we have on the Earth today.  The outside is in alignment with the inside- this is what brings peace.  What you see is what you get.  It doesn’t mean that everything is always running smoothly on the inside, but all the workers are trying their best and know what their purpose is.  There are still storms that crash on the outside of the temple, but after the storm is gone, the outside gets repaired and continues to do its work.

The best way to be seen is to work from the inside-out.  Focus on who you really are and the light within will reflect out on the outside.  People will breathe around you because they know that when they open the door, they know what is inside.  True connection happens when we allow ourselves to be truly seen.

I spent most of my marriage as the second temple.  I worked so hard on my physical appearance and how I was acting so my husband would see me.  I ended up exhausted and resentful.  I kept pushing down who I really was, how I really felt, in fear that I wouldn’t be loved.  As I have slowly learned to be more open and allow my real self to be exposed, I feel more free.  It is scary, but has resulted in both my husband and I connecting on a deeper level.  Brene Brown is the master on vulnerability. I love this quote by her, “I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.  With that definition in mind, let’s think about love.  Waking up everyday and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow- that’s vulnerability.  Love is uncertain.  It’s incredibly risky.  And loving someone leaves us emotionally exposed.  Yes, it’s scary and yes, we’re open to being hurt, but can you imagine your life without loving or being loved?”

Many times we are acting in a way on the outside that feels out of alignment, but we don’t always understand what is happening on the inside, this is where coaching helps.  The right questions can help bring understanding to why we behave in a certain way.  I really like to ask questions!  Email me.  Kendra@bravestlove.com