Normally I try to separate church and state … except on Sundays when I sum up my week.
But today – forgive me followers – I am going to be shameless.
Something very exciting happened on Monday. The website I edit, iVillage, hit 10,000 likes. And things have been steam training ever since. We’re about to hit 10,500 likes any minute now. Hey, I know 10,000 is chicken feed compared to the Facebook love some sites attract, but it feels like an enormous milestone to me. One that I’m pretty chuffed about.
Need a reminder of what love looks like?
At first glance they look like any other happily married couple, it takes a split second before you realise Jesse and Kelly Cottle’s unique bond.
Jesse, a 28-year-old former Marine, stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan in 2009 and lost both his legs. But he doesn’t regret the horrifying incident because “If I hadn’t stepped on that IED I wouldn’t have met her. I wouldn’t take it back ever.”
The pair fell in love during a swim meet in San Diego, she was competing for Boise State and he was getting the hang of using his prosthetic legs for the first time.
“I just remember being very intrigued by him,” Kelly recalls. “He was just very different and not just because of his legs, just who he was.”
During a recent family holiday, “Someone had suggested taking photos in the water,” said Kelly. “I was carrying Jesse back to his legs, and the photographer was like, ‘Oh we’ll get a couple of shots of you together.’ It wasn’t planned or anything.”
When the photo was posted on photographer Sarah Ledford’s Facebook page it went viral, attracting tens of thousands of likes.
“It’s an amazingly inspiring story that has touched the lives of many Americans,” says Sarah. “Jesse is not a hero for stepping on an IED, he’s a hero because of the way he has handled what was handed to him and how he chooses to continue to conduct his life with his positive attitude.”
Jesse’s take on the touching photo? “I actually look at it very much as a symbol for our whole relationship in general. She’s physically carrying me, but there’s times where she’s carrying me emotionally. It’s a perfect representation of who Kelly is.”
Someone hand me a Kleenex, quick!
20 things I wish I’d done to save my marriage
Last month, newly divorced motivational speaker Gerald Rogers took to Facebook and confessed the things he wished he’d done differently to save his marriage. And his heartfelt honesty has struck a chord around the world, scoring more than 98,000 shares and climbing.
Gerald starts by saying: “Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about my divorce being finalised this week that gives me perspective of things I wish I would have done different… After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I would have had…”
1) Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.
2) PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.
3) FALL IN LOVE OVER and OVER and OVER again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.
4) ALWAYS SEE THE BEST in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.
5) IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO CHANGE OR FIX HER… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.
6) TAKE FULL ACCOUNTABILITY for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.
7) NEVER BLAME your wife If YOU get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.
Allow your woman to JUST BE. When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to HOLD HER and let her know it’s ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you… DON’T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE’S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.
9) BE SILLY… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.
10) FILL HER SOUL EVERYDAY… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel like a queen.
11) BE PRESENT. Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.
He concludes: “These are lessons I learned the hard way. These are lessons I learned too late.” And he asks that it be shared with couples who “may have forgotten how to love”.