The SoMoms had another life coaching session with Coach Pia recently. After my first coaching session with her, I realized how important it was to have a life coach that can look at your state of life and concerns from an objective and FEMALE (important!) point of view.
Coach Pia mentioned several factors that make a relationship with one’s spouse a healthy one:
(1) I can be myself – I can still be myself while nurturing my partner (AUTHENTICITY)
I can trust myself – I can trust my partner (BASIC TRUST)
(2) I feel respected – I respect my partner (BASIC RESPECT)
I feel understood – I can understand my partner (DEEPER UNDERSTANDING)
(3) I can nurture our children – Our children feel nurtured by us (BASIC PARENTING)
Finding your authentic self is so important
What really struck me out of everything Coach Pia said was the first one – being able to be true to yourself while continuing to nurture one’s partner – AUTHENTICITY. I’ve been a caregiver for almost a year now to my husband. It was difficult to give so much of myself. It’s not that I wasn’t willing but it took a toll physically, emotionally and psychologically. Now he is so much better.
Caregiving has been a learning experience for me. I’ve learned not to neglect myself. In fact, it became even more important for me to pursue my own passions and seek support from my SoMoms family, Coach Pia, soul sisters and my best friend. I knew I had to continue doing what was close to my heart and be true to myself while still caring for him and the kids. I told my kids that I needed to recharge by meeting friends and continuing yoga classes, blogging and advocacy. One can only give if one continues to receive.
Being respected is not the same as being understood
In many marriages, partners respect each other but do not necessarily understand each other. Wow, oo nga no? In my case, for example, my husband has stayed the left-brainer that both of us once were as accountants. When I got into blogging and social media, suddenly my world became alien to his. I knew there were times when he could not understand what I was doing. It has been challenging trying to explain what I do now but by trying to explain some aspects of it from a left-brained point of view seems to work.
Coach Pia also said that a big gap in age between partners can be a source of misunderstanding simply from a maturity level perspective. A big age gap when in the younger years often means a wider disparity in maturity and in outlook but over time, that tends to grow closer and closer. Hopefully, by the time both are in their 40s and 50s, there is a closing in of that misunderstanding gap. It doesn’t always happen though. I have read about couples who decided to go their separate ways once their kids have grown up and grown roots on their own. Each story is different.
Children can only be nurtured when they feel nurtured by us
Coach Pia’s advice: Let your child feel nurtured before you discipline him/her. If your child doesn’t feel nurtured, you lose on the discipline aspect. She cautions parents to be the ones to understand our children and it is not for them to understand us. At a young age, children need to have limits and boundaries. I read somewhere that actually telling them they can or cannot do things makes them feel secure that you love them. Of course, how it is delivered is also important. But once they hit the teen years, our influence over them starts diminishing. They will do what they feel like doing. That is why it is so important that before they hit the teens, we have already made a mark in their lives as far as building up not just their self-esteem but also their values.
Willingness and ability matters in having a healthy relationship
So, after learning those 3 items above, Coach Pia goes on about 7 aspects to a healthy relationship but first, we must be willing to do them and secondly, we must have the ability to actually do them. Uhhhhhh, Coach Pia, does it really have to be ME to be willing and able first before my spouse? Unfortunately for me, her answer is YES. Hooboy, good luck to me. Are you ready to hear what we must do to make that relationship work? Here goes….
We must be WILLING and ABLE to –
1. Maintain and develop trust in a relationship (constant nurturing)
2. Learn continuously – true intimacy is very impt. It takes maturity to admit there’s still much to be learned. I say, the first to admit they need to learn more is the more mature one.
3. Communicate openly – Coach Pia says in any situation, we need to suspend judgment while communicating with our partner. We need to ask ourselves: What if I am the one being judged? This is where communicating our authentic self comes in. Our partner must get to know who we really are deep down.
4. Cooperate and create a plan – The timing of women is different from that of men, said Coach Pia. If we need something done, we must both cooperate and decide on a plan. But…if one wants something done and can’t wait for the other to move, whoever is ready to move should do so but only AFTER consulting the other and getting an agreement to do so.
5. Adapt and be flexible – It takes a lot to nurture a man, says Coach Pia. Oh you can say that again, Coach Pia! With 3 boys in the house, I know exactly what you mean.
6. Let go and forgive – Coach Pia reminded us that when our partner hurts us, they don’t really do it willingly. True. But sometimes they do not even know they are hurting us. That’s the hard part. But she says we need to keep letting go and forgiving…
7. And lastly, sacrifice – each relationship needs a hero, Coach Pia emphasizes. Sometimes it’s you; sometimes it’s your partner. But for us to willingly do this, she says the first 3 on the list need to be present: trust, continuous learning, and open communication.
So there. I just realize that even after more than 2 decades of marriage and 4 kids, I can still work on so many aspects of relationships. Life is indeed a classroom and we are forever students. I just hope at the end of this life class, I can truly say I passed the test. That sounded profound, but I guess it’s true.
And all these would not have been possible at all if not for BPI, the SoMoms’ sponsor for this life coaching session. When a bank invests its money to make parents better parents, you know you’ve chosen a good bank. We went home also with BPI’s My Financial Wellness Journal – a great way to learn how to budget and allocate expenses.
Another round of thanks also goes to our lunch host, Ombu Restaurant, at the ground floor of Sequoia Hotel where we feasted on delicious Filipino dishes. Too bad I was unable to take pictures of the food served to us because in our table everyone was so hungry, we went right for the kill. But really, their menu is something you should try.
Ground Floor, Sequoia Hotel
91-93 Mo. Ignacia St. cor. Timog Ave.
Tel (02) 441-1789