Rosemary West is our honored guest on the blog this week. She is a marriage blogger who is incredibly thoughtful and wise.
Her interview is such a loving reminder of the importance of living with intention, putting thought into how we want to act and who we want to be both in our lives and our relationships.
You will see my favorite sentence come at the end of the interview, but I have to include it at the beginning, because it’s so powerful: “Relationships thrive when we are mindful and involved.”
As you read through Rosemary’s wise words, think about what you can do this week to be more mindful and more involved.
The word involved seems so simple but it is hugely powerful. Its definition, “connected or concerned with someone or something, typically on an emotional or personal level.”
Connected is my personal word of the year. I have set a year long intention to be more connected – to my dreams, goals, body, friendships, definitely even more deeply connected to my hubby, my writing and my life. So this jumped out at me as a loving reminder that connection is something we create every day.
I hope you find this interview as inspiring as I did….
Here we go!
MM: Tell us about yourself in 5 sentences…
As a natural optimist, I believe in the power of possibilities. Both literally and figuratively, I’m always curious to see what’s around the next bend in the road. Sometimes it seems that I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up, because I’ve never been ready to settle for just one thing. I don’t ever want to stop learning and trying new ideas. And my favorite ice cream is Rocky Road.
Editor’s note – Rocky road is my favorite too!
MM: Tell us about your latest project…
For Better – Or What? is the book that grew out of my blog. This project is close to my heart because it allows me to share what I have learned, not just through the experience of a long-term marriage, but through study and research, and from all the amazing people I’ve met online who have shared their insights with me.
Although every marriage is unique, there are some basic principles that apply to all relationships. For Better – Or What? is full of practical ideas and inspiration to help couples avoid problems, repair damaged relationships, and make good relationships even better.
I want people to know that it is possible to create a happy marriage that lasts a lifetime.
Now that the book has been published, my husband and I are in the process of downsizing our household as we prepare to take our lives in a new direction.
We plan to travel extensively before moving to a different city, far from our comfort zone. We’ll be making big changes in our careers and way of life.
This is important because we will have the opportunity to fulfill the big dreams we’ve talked about for years.
Working together toward a goal, large or small, strengthens the bond between two people. Our shared vision of the future has enhanced our sense of purpose and meaning.
MM: Why do you do what you do?
There are two primary forces that motivate me. One is to challenge myself. Wanting to learn more, achieve something new, become a better person, and surpass my personal best gets me out of bed in the morning. My other great motivator is the desire to help people improve their own lives. Whether it is teaching students how to write college essays, sharing the latest marriage research, or just encouraging people to believe in themselves, this is what gives my life a sense of purpose.
MM: One of my favorite management principles is “Stop, Start, Keep” the idea is that there are things we should stop doing, start doing and keep doing that will make us successful. What should we “stop, start, and keep” to make our relationships stronger?
We should stop making negative assumptions. In the wild, our physical survival depends on automatically assuming that the thing rustling in the bushes is a dangerous beast.
But on an emotional level, expecting the worst is a relationship killer. It may take some effort, but we can learn to relax, keep an open mind, give others the benefit of the doubt, and assume that our partners have good intentions. It makes an amazing difference in the quality of the relationship.
We should start allowing ourselves to be more vulnerable. Being open and authentic is risky, but it is the only way to experience true intimacy and create a deep connection with another human being.
We should keep on doing what works. That sounds obvious, but it’s much too easy to lose focus, get lazy, and let things slide. Instead of resting on our successes, let’s build on them.
MM: The secret to a happy marriage is…
If there is one secret to a happy marriage, it is this: Be there. A great relationship is built on small, intimate moments that happen only when we are truly engaged with each other.
MM: What I know is true about love is…
What I know is true about love is that it is worth fighting for.
MM: The single most important thing we can do for the person we love is…
The single most important thing we can do for the person we love is to be trustworthy. This goes beyond the basics of truth-telling and promise-keeping. It means that your partner feels truly safe with you, both physically and emotionally.
MM:The biggest myth about marriage is…
The insistence that marriage is hard work is not exactly a myth, but it can be misleading. Anything worth doing requires work, but too often it sounds as though being married requires relentless drudgery. Think of it instead as a creative endeavor; when you are fully engaged it flows, and you no longer experience it as work.
MM: I can create a life I love by…
I can create a life I love by being mindful and intentional in my daily actions.
MM: How do you stay connected to your spouse?
We were once told that a lot of people thought we weren’t really married, because we were “so nice” to each other.What a sad commentary on the expectations some people have! We’ve always emphasized togetherness, affection, and consideration.
MM: Anything else you would like to add?
Complacency is the enemy. You cannot neglect a significant part of your life – marriage, family, and career – for long, expecting that everything will stay the same in your absence. Eventually, people and circumstances will move on without you. Relationships thrive when we are mindful and involved.
A professional linguist with a passion for world travel, Rosemary teaches English to international college students in Southern California, where she lives with her husband of thirty years. You can find her on Twitter: @forbetterorwhat.
POWER ACTION – How can you be more mindful and intentional about your marriage this week?
Our community of enlightened love grows thanks to inspired hearts like yours – please share this post with love and intention. XO