Hi there good people
Wangari Maina here with another delightful serving of Esteemed talks.
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Today, I speak on a subject very close to my heart. That’s because, after going through our transition phase together, my family life is stronger and more enriched. If you have a family, your transition phase is not yours alone. It will involve your spouse and children, if any. Allow me to share with you, some valuable lessons I have extracted from my own experience, not so long ago.
You are partners fighting a common enemy
Every transition has its demons and its angels. Demons operate and thrive through chaos and division resulting in painful words, actions, thoughts, and behavior. Angels safeguard. The battle is lost when you begin to see your partner as either of these two. When you see your partner as the source of all your pain and difficulty, you will never listen when he/ she is talking. When your partner is your angel, the day they drop the ball on you, even unintentionally, you will begin to evaluate them through the flawed lens of your pain and disappointment.
Either way, your venting when things are tough, will always be targeted at your partner; but when you recognize that your partner is a human being with flaws on one the one hand and value to offer on the other hand, you begin to see their strategic presence behind you because they have you covered in your weak areas.
Just like in the military circles, dissension between partners is a sure sign of defeat in the transition.
Be honest with your kids
This is really critical especially if you are coming from a high paying stable job into the more unpredictable world of business and self-employment. Kids know more and are smarter than we give them credit for. I remember for my husband and I, we got to a place where our first born was asking for the same things she was used to while we were working – pizza, KFC fries, holidays at exclusive places, visits to fun parks and the best we could tell her was “not today”. One day when we were out of milk, she cornered us while we were trying to budget the little we had in hand and she asked, “Mum, dad, why is it that we don’t have food to eat in the house?”
My husband and I looked at each other and realized that this was where we had never wanted to get to, with a sigh, I slowly began explaining the situation, what we were doing about it and how she could help. Today, she is our accountability partner asking us every day if we have achieved 50,000 dollars.
Trust me, if you want a relentless accountability person, look no further than your children.
Intimacy is neither currency nor a favor or gift item
Sexual intimacy increases oneness – physically, emotionally, spiritually (the sources of many soul ties). It’s also one of the commonly abused yet critical components of a successful transition. Yes, it’s difficult to get it on when you’ve both had an unfruitful day. Then the day turns into a week and into 21 days and then a month. Soon enough it becomes a case of “we don’t know where the rain started beating us.” Unfortunately, when some respond to the difficulty in transition phases, it is by converting that intimacy to currency by only offering it in exchange for something they want done or as a thank you.
When husband and wife neglect each other, it is not uncommon to hear statements like, “he doesn’t listen any more”, “you are never there for me”, “you would rather be out there with others” and to some extremes, ”I found someone who cares”. The pleasures of the marriage bed, I believe, are a freely God-given neutralizer of some of the acidity found in transition phases.
Be each other’s safe havens
Transitions are by nature very lonely. Close friends tend to disappear, you avoid extended family and the places you can run to for solace, understanding and celebration for the small wins are few and far between. In my own experience, it was only my husband who initially gave me the feedback I needed to know if I was still on track. While today there are many who give me feedback, he remains my only confidant. Your spouse not only needs to know, but must also experience you as the best choice for fanning dreams, an accountability partner, a shoulder to cry on, or a celebration partner to pop open the champagne bottle. Being each other’s safe havens is about honesty, trust and confidence. These are tenets that are built and sustained one day at a time.
Take stock and reorder your steps together
My husband and I have found a precious gem in stopping to take stock of our journey in life. Those moments are intentionally sought because with kids and business, every moment of every day is going to be occupied with something more important than spending time together, assessing where we are against our plans. It doesn’t have to be costly; (well, it’s great to have weekend retreats especially to exotic places, but when finances are lean, that option is off the table).
So we schedule to go for long walks and we end up on a bench with nothing but a note book, a pen and a bottle of water.
Taking stock allows you to reorder your steps. We tend to apply the Mapping Toolkit available on my website wangarimaina.com (it’s free to download by the way); and if you are reading the transcript of this podcast, then here is the direct link to the kit.
Re-ordering happens because of many reasons – including achieving your goals earlier than anticipated, experiences you have had, reallocation, of resources, failure of an idea and so much more.
That’s it for this set of talks. I have to stop there otherwise we will have a long, long talk.
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