HuffingtonPost.com: 4 Secrets to a Perfectly Imperfect Relationship
POSTED ON August 14, 2013
Originally published on HuffingtonPost.com.
“♥ Love isn’t finding someone you can live with, it’s finding someone you can’t live without.” – Rafael Ortiz
On a fateful evening back in December of 2008, I met the man of my dreams. I just didn’t know it yet. It started with a cheesy pick up line — or so I thought — until I realized that he was really that sincere and sweet. He told me that my arms looked amazing and wanted to know how I trained. At the time, I was guarded. I was struggling to put the pieces of my life back together as a newly single mother of two young children, and the last thing I was looking for was a relationship. Chris was working through his own issues, trying to make something of his life and struggling to get back on his feet after losing everything. After the seminar we talked for hours. We discovered how much we had in common and developed a genuine appreciation for each other. For months, we supported each other as friends — I helped him restructure his business, and he helped me through my daily trials and tribulations. The more we got to know each other, the more our appreciation grew for each other. We tied the knot in June of 2010. Little Cash joined our family in 2011, and we’re all anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new little one in November, who will make our Powell Pack a six-pack!
That being said, our life together is not always full of “butterflies and roses,” as Chris likes to say. Oh, no. We have relationship and family challenges just like everyone else! Not only are we trying to be the best spouses and parents we can be, but we also work together 24/7/365 to help guide transformations for some incredible people (featured on Extreme Weight Loss on ABC) and other projects that are so important to us. And while we love every aspect of the life we’ve chosen, it can sometimes take a toll on our relationship if we’re not careful. So how do we keep that spark alive? I’ll let you in on our four little secrets:
• Take advantage of every single moment. From caring for our amazing kids, to nonstop schedule revisions, to running the family business, to being year-long coaches to our transformation contestants, to doing household chores, to dealing with Chris’ crazy travel schedule (he’s gone pretty much 75 percent of the year) — I could go on and on — it can be difficult to find time to spend together and reconnect. I know we’re not alone in this challenge — this is the reality of life! We’ve realized if we don’t create time to spend together, it’s just not going to happen. Some of the time we spend together isn’t what you’d necessarily call “romantic” (although any time with my man is what I’d call “romantic”!): we run errands, do household chores, work out, take walks, and just sit and talk. We’ve discovered that a few minutes here and there can truly strengthen our relationship, and believe it or not these moments of “real life” we get to experience together are the ones that truly define our relationship — it feels so good to know that we can enjoy even the most mundane of tasks together . And how do we do it when we’re on opposite sides of the continent? Simple: we take advantage of technology (video chat and our iPhones) to spend as much time together as possible, every single day. We set “family dates” between breaks to play games, eat dinner/lunch, and just play… all over computer!! We make it work, and make it enjoyable!
• Take time for yourselves. While time together is crucial, it’s equally important to have some personal time to keep our individual souls happy and healthy. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, working out, cooking, writing, or simply relaxing, we make sure we take care of ourselves so we can take better care of each other and our kids. The stronger, happier, and healthier we are individually, the strong we can be as a team and a family ☺
• Be a team. Chris and I are two imperfect people. We both have strengths and weaknesses. Chris excels at some things I struggle with, and vice versa. We’ve learned to combine our strengths to form this amazing team that is so powerfully effective in reaching our common goals. And when one of us is struggling, the other one steps up to the plate to make up the difference. When he’s on the road and I’m left to run the family business and take care of the kids, I do it, because that’s what true teammates do. When I’m struggling with the kids, he steps in and takes over, because that’s what true teammates do. But no matter what, I know he’s got my back and he knows I’ve got his. No matter what. We are a team.
• Be each other’s best friend — always. Chris and I were best friends long before we decided to get married. We had a relationship built on openness, honesty, vulnerability, and an unconditional appreciation of how perfectly imperfect we were, and this best friend relationship formed the foundation for the marriage that we value and fiercely protect today. I know from past experience that when we get close to someone, it’s easy to take that person for granted and fall into the stereotypical “nagging wife” and “lazy husband” roles, or vice versa. It’s also easy to get irritated with your significant other’s imperfections. The solution Chris and I discovered is that we ALWAYS treat each other like a best friend — we even have “My Best Friend” tattooed on our ring fingers as a constant reminder. So the next time your significant other leaves the toilet seat up or the lid off the toothpaste — again — think, “How would I approach my best friend in this situation?” and then do it. When he tells you the truth about how a certain dress looks, even though it might hurt, try to react and respond to him like you would your best friend. And when your best friend talks, really listen to what is said, like a best friend would.
Let’s be honest: all relationships go through good times and some not-so-good times. Put these four little secrets to the test and see if they can not only keep that spark alive, but help those not-so-good times become better as well. Now that’s a win-win!
Happy 3rd Anniversary to My Best Friend!
POSTED ON June 30, 2013
This day, 3 years ago, at 6:43am this man and I were brought together as husband and wife for time and all eternity. Quite the step for me back then, considering at the time I didn’t feel so lucky in love and had made a youthful commitment to never marry again. But I had a feeling something was different about him and this time.
The difference? I had found my best friend. I had found the human being that I could be ME around, 100% of the time…and he still loved me. In fact, after spilling my deepest darkest fears and secrets, this man only loved me more!!! As someone who once searched to say the right thing at the right time to make people in front of me happy, I now (thanks to you, Chris Powell) have NO filter (haha). I have felt what it feels like to be honest and authentic, and have felt what it feels like to be loved for that, and I can never go back.
Chris and I tiptoed around the word love for 6 months after knowing we were in love. Instead, we found a much more fitting and powerful word for how we felt about each other, that we still use to this day. “I appreciate you SO much,” is what we say. And it’s the doggone truth. I do appreciate the person he is on every level – far beyond his insane hotness, believe it or not (which I considered a “con” when I met him!). Chris is a person of honesty, integrity, values, character, humility (SO humble!!!), kindness, hard work, and determination. I knew I’d never find anyone else like him – he’s one of a kind!
Three years now – I’m sure we are like babies compared to some! But with so much in our lives, marriage isn’t easy. Marriage isn’t made to be easy and is full of benefits and costs. Thankfully, we see that the benefits of this once-in-a-lifetime union far outweigh the costs. When times get tough for us, we simply remind ourselves of the tattoo on our ring finger (a diamond ring seemed so unpractical to me when we married, especially because we were still living with my parents and making very little $$!). His ring says “my best friend” in my handwriting, and my ring says “my best friend” in his handwriting. Reason? Because we have seen marriages come and go, but best friendships like ours are a made for an eternity. It is a reminder that above ALL ELSE, we are BEST FRIENDS – - we ask ourselves, “how would I treat my best friend in this situation?” Oftentimes, we treat our spouses differently…especially when they nag . This helps us put our priorities in order and remember why we appreciate each other so darn much.
Thank you to my best friend for loving the root of who I am. I know without a shadow of a doubt that no matter what happens to my face, body, mind over time – because we all age – you will always love and “appreciate” my soul, and I will yours too. I’m blessed, grateful, lucky, happy, in love…to infinity and beyond.
Behind Our Bedroom Door…
POSTED ON February 14, 2013
What in the world are you looking for here? It’s Valentine’s Day! Turn off the computer, put down the phone and go find your best friend and spend some time with them!
Rev Up the Romance
POSTED ON February 13, 2013
So many people ask how Chris and I keep our spark with him traveling most of the year (75 % of the time to be exact). That is SUCH a great question and is one I often ask myself!
Me and my man!
One of the hardest parts of my marriage is being away from the person I love and respect more than any other grown human being (my kids are loved and respected very differently, of course). It’s HARD knowing how great life is with my best friend in it, and then accepting that most of the time he won’t physically be around. It’s hard raising a family together with him sometimes thousands of miles away. It’s hard showing him how much I love him, and for him, showing me how much he loves me when I am in Arizona and he is in Canada, New York, Florida, or Peru (to name a few).
But we do it…and doggone it, I think we do it pretty well, considering our circumstances. We have our rough days (mostly when he is away), but I sure do rest my head on my pillow every single night knowing that my best friend (who happens to be my husband) loves and respects me more than anyone else in the world, and I know he feels the same way. I also know that when he comes home after 2 or 3 weeks away, life always does resume as if he was never gone.
Our lives were meant to be lived together – they were. He is the yin to my yang, my partner in crime, my soul mate and my best friend. Like any other couple though, we have to work at this. Here is one of our biggest secrets of all (that we even tattooed on our ring fingers, as a reminder) to long-lasting romance:
Remember we are BEST FRIENDS before husband and wife – ALWAYS.
“My Best Friend” Tattooed on our Fingers!
Chris and I were attracted to each other for so many reasons. Physically, of course, but at the point in our lives that we met, neither of us was interested in physical attraction. His kindness, compassion, love, brilliance, and uniqueness are what drew me to him. I guess I had a trait or two that he liked as well (wink wink), so our friendship very quickly blossomed into one I had never experienced before. Within mere weeks, Chris and I were convinced we were meant to be life partners. We thought that maybe we were meant to marry different people, but we were CERTAIN that our friendship (built on trust and respect) was irreplaceable. We went on to realize that the mother/father of our future kids was right there in front of each of us the whole time, so we tied the knot!Having seen some failed marriages, and having experienced one myself, I knew that so easily there could come a destructive comfort with marriage. Some of you might know what I’m talking about: when we get so close to someone, it’s easy to make them our punching bag when we’re mad. It’s also easy to soon fall into the stereotypical “nagging wife” and “lazy husband” roles – or vice-versa. You’re smiling because you KNOW it’s true! We begin to forget why we found our husband so endearing after a while, and TRUST me, they begin to forget what it was like when you didn’t nag them!
Solution (and this works like a charm for Chris and I!) – ALWAYS treat your man or woman like a best friend! Forget for just one second that you are spouses, and think of them like the best friend they used to be…and still are!
Next time your significant other leaves the toilet seat up or the lid off of the toothpaste, think “how would I approach my best friend”? When they pass gas if front of you when THEY KNOW YOU HATE IT (I love you, Chris!) or, when they tell you the truth about how a certain dress makes you look (which can hurt sometimes!), just try-oh-try to respond, react, respect, and love them like you would your best friend.
There’s a good chance that once you start treating them like a best friend, they’ll return the favor, and the romance will follow and blossom!