Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Looks Like We Made It To the End....but it's not over

Right, I'm back. I have resisted writing anything here, until it came from my heart. I don't want to be writing a blog for the sake of it, it needs to be felt in some way.

The thing is, as a bridal life coach who works with people as they plan and prepare to get married much of my passion for this came from my own profound experience. And now, I am separating from my husband so I have had to question where that leaves me.

At the beginning of the year, I read something about Kate Hudson after she split from her husband of seven years. She said, 'I don't regret a second of my marriage. Thank God for Chris. He made me partly who I am. We had a great time. We love each other deeply. We have an amazing son." I also read elsewhere that she great memories of her wedding day and wouldn't change anything.

Well the same is true for me. I wouldn't, for one nano second, wish to change what we did. Our wedding day will stay in my heart forever. There was happiness and contentment then and that doesn't change because we are now choosing to go our separate ways.

We have been in a relationship for over twenty years and I hope that Gary will continue to figure strongly in my life, at the very least as the father of our son. My love for Gary continues, constant and strong and I can't imagine a time when that will stop.

So, really where does that leave me as a bridal life coach? Am I still qualified and credible to work in this capacity? I have come to the conclusion that yes, I am, perhaps even more so. My approach is one of down to earth realism. It is about honorable, truthful intention at the time for that is the utmost that anyone can do.

It is about being authentic and bringing a whole person to your wedding day and into your marriage with eyes wide open. It is also about love in all it's guises, on all levels and love is something that I have come to understand increasingly because of what I have lived through in the last months and the decisions that have been made with absolute clarity and conviction arising from deep contemplation. And actually, I think that such decisions can only really be made out of love. Just as the decision to get married came from love, the one to separate came from the same place, strange as it may seem.

This was never the plan but this is how it is, this is life. If I was living a lie, staying in the marriage for the wrong reasons then I think that I would find it nigh on impossible to coach with an open heart for I would be hiding something fundamental.

I have stated my case, satisfied myself that the end of my own marriage doesn't have to be the end of getting married from the Inside out, but in fact it has added another dimension and another deeper level that can be integrated into the whole.

Getting Married from the Inside Out has evolved! Just as anything with life in it should do.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Let the Good Times Roll-Again

Oh. The last entry was 29th October-not a daily blog, a weekly blog, not even a monthly blog. My birthday came and went, Christmas and now New Year. Here's to 2009 and a much more regular blog!

I have though been thinking about the blog, about topics of conversation and how the face of weddings, the economy and the world has changed since I began this just over sixteen months ago.

It seems that the wedding world really is having to adjust to the fact that there isn't nearly so much money flying around. With the exception of the very affluent, people are having to take it easy, compromise, scale down, be less extravagent and lavish, perhaps more down to earth and real about things. It's making couples consider what's important, what they really do want and many, it's true to say are simply cancelling the whole thing. Will they ever get around to doing it-will they even stay together?

I'm glad it's happened. We are in the age of the recycled, second hand, retro, ebay bargain and it's a much warmer , more fun place to be. Resourcefulness, creativity, gratitude and value-things that had gone missing by the masses are now visible again! It can only be a good thing. How many stories have you heard about the war-about how people pulled together, valued the bits they had, where every gesture and act of kindness had meaning and the simplest things made an impact. OK it's not quite the same but for the spoiled brigade of 21st Century it will be a long overdue wake up call.

Hello 2009 and welcome! It's going to be an interesting year. I look forward to aligning my stories with the ups and downs, celebrations and tribulations and all that occurs in the world over the next twelve months.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

What Not to Buy

OK. The world economy is in crisis. People are losing their jobs and homes and we are all having to think twice, tighten our belts and get by in a more thoughtful, resourceful and much less extravagent manner than before.

So, what does your already cash strapped bride and groom really, really not need? Yes, an expensively packaged survival kit full of basics that they already have and things that they are unlikely to ever need. But, Frit Fru Wedding Planners in Calgary have come up with some anyway and they truly are a cornucoppia of things that will only serve to overload your mind even more.

The Wedding Day Survival Kit is supposed to 'Keep the bride smiling all day long by giving her the gift of peace of mind.' It's list of 30 items includes toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, antacid, facial tissues, static remover(?) and The Grooms Survival Kit -'He may be manly, but he's not immune to last-minute catastrophes,' includes a styptic pencil (obviously) lint remover, adhesive bandages, and wrinkle remover(genius).

We all know that bad publicity is better than none at all and in linking to the site, I will probably alert the attention of a bride or two who decides that they must have one. I'm telling you-ya don't need it! It's all very well being prepared for any eventuality but in this situation it creates hysteria and anxiety about all the things that could, in your head, go wrong.

This is all presented in a humorous, tongue in cheek kind of way so that you feel like you are having a bit of fun while still be practical and organised. It's clever and likeable but resist being reeled in. This is the commercial world of wedding planning dazzling you and stripping you of your common sense. I'm here to save you! If something does go'wrong' you can improvise and bet your bottom dollar that somebody around you will be able to help admirably.

While the wedding industry keeps on sending the message to buy, buy, buy, I will continue with my message to not, not not. In these frugal times , especially, Keep It Simple-strip it back to basics and you will be pleasantly surprised not just by how much money you can save but by how unencumbered and liberated you feel!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Love Alone Is Not Enough

Yesterday, October 21st was our 8th wedding anniversary and it is true to say that it was a difficult day. It would be easier to gloss over things and report that the day was filled with fun, laughter and celebration but that would be a fabrication and nothing short of hypocritical considering that my entire business premise rests on authenticity and being true to oneself.

To put it simply, we are quite different to each other. Our outlook on life, expectations and perception of the world that we live in is often way out of tune. My glass is always, at the very least half full and Gary's is ...yes, that cliche. I love life and all that it has to offer and Gary, with his poetic bent and artistic talent and temperament is consumed with all that is wrong with our world. We exist and experience life in a most polarised fashion and it is makes harmony and compatability difficult to attain.

I love him and he loves me and, we love our son who, in turn loves both of us. We are a family and this makes it even tougher to admit that below the surafce, there is serious dissatisfaction. Eight years into our marriage and 21 years after we first had a secret date, our future together is not assured.

I am relieved to have the courage to confront the truth which means that we can attempt to deal with it. It is out in the open. We are not putting a band aid over it and hoping that it will just heal itself. It won't.

I'm sure this situation is not just my reality but an echo of many marriages especially of those unions that cross two or three decades because we change, do we not. Individually and together. That is why the promise of being with one person, forever is an almighty comittment and one that needs more consideration then it is given. I believe that the best that you can do is have honourable intention and the wisdom to live each day as honestly and truthfully as you can. Use your marriage to nurture your friendship with each other, practise acceptance and exercise non judgement. That will all lead you to somewhere worth being, somewhere positive.

My wedding vows come back to me, over and over again. I have always stressed their importance and the need to really connect with the words and draw them into your body. Mine had a profound effect on me on the day and they still do. I said.... ''I'll be true to you as I will to myself and never, intentionally hurt you... I promise to endeavour to be the best I can both as a person and as your wife....''

I chose my vows very carefully and resisted being carried away on the fairytale element of a wedding day because I wanted the significance of the day to be a strong foundation of our life together -and it has been. I continue to strive to uphold my vows and that is why we are here.

Our 8th Anniversary turned out Ok. It was loaded with emotion, punctuated with searing poignancy and as always, where my husband is concerned, not without humour. I bought Gary a book about surviving life and he cooked us dinner which we ate by candlelight... with our 4 year old, who insisted that he was hungry and should be involved. That night he learned the meaning of the verb to gatecrash.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Name Game

The nuptial journey decision to keep your name, change your name, double barrel or merge your names is causing quite a dilemma. Unless you are an uncomplicated, traditional type of which there are dwindling numbers, then you will be wrestling with letting go of your single name especially if you are more mature. There are forum debates galore about it where the feminist inclined voices say strongly and clearly, No! This is my name and I'm keeping it .FOREVER!

How do you decide what's right for you? Is keeping your name a bit like keeping one foot firmly in your single life and then are you truly committing as much as you can? Or, is that a very simplistic view that undermines female equality. Is our world now just too contemporary that taking the mans name seems archaic, an outdated, chauvinistic leaning that only men in the deepest , darkest north of England have?

Well, I'm an independent sort of girl but rather liked taking my husbands name. It was the kind of change that I needed to make me realise that I really was married. It was fresh and new and different. I still use use my single name of Stratton and both names as a writer and coach. But my family name is Hughes. I'm all of them-happily.

In deciding I think that it's necessary to delve and work out how deep the name identity goes for you. What are your values, your morals and your attitude to being married? How do different names affect the children-if at all? Or, if you go for the double (barrel) how does that work out in the future when Chloe Sefton -Webb wants to unite with Thomas Holby- Derbyshire. What on earth will they do? It's a very real problem looking at the names of kids in schools these days there's more double barrels than at the average polo match. The local comp has gone all aristocratic and though it sounds quite natty and creative -it's not very practical. It will be a nightmare to trace lineage. And right there is a very sound and sensible reason for taking the blokes name-if only for family purposes. And to that people will say well why not the womans name-to which I answer -why not the blokes-it's traditional, quite romantic, what's the problem with it? Keep it simple.

Freedom to choose is good-yes it is , we all deserve it and we need to do what is true for us. It's just that I think given the chance, some people are prone to making a big fuss and drama about that which they are not really too bothered about just to be noticed that little bit more. I also think that some are resisting the so called less glamorous side of being married. Mrs to some isn't very sexy sounding but it will be what you make it. Take Mrs. Robinson, for example...