Welcome to my guest and Connection Messenger* today, Carol Mathias, a professional marriage and family therapy counselor in Georgia. She is recently widowed and has been sharing her “Carolisms” on Facebook about her journey of both loss and discovery. This piece was so poignant—and such a helpful guide for strengthening the connection with the significant others in our life. It behooves each of us to consider whether our behavior in the presence of those we care about expresses indifference or a true desire to connect. * [See right sidebar for a definition of Connection Messenger]
When people ask me “how I am doing” as a widow, especially during the holidays, I can only describe it as a time of great adjustment, compulsion to get things done, and figuring out how to shift the load of life that my husband and I shared for 37 years. Each accomplishment is empowering in that you see things from a new normal, and your perspective is always undergoing changes. Something as simple as dining alone becomes a milestone and getting on with life rather than dwelling on the pain of loss as a daily psychological workout.
On a recent “people watching” solo dinner, I saw three different couples that reminded me of the needs of relationships, the value of working on being present for your partner, and the damage created by neglect and anger. One couple was happily engaged in conversation—laughing, touching, sharing food, and giving each other affection and attention. A second couple appeared miserable, angry and disconnected, with hostile closed-off body language and no eye contact. They never spoke a word to each other. The third couple texted and gave their undivided attention to their phones, distracted and in their own little world—apart.
The moral of the story is simple: How we do anything is how we do everything.
If one of you wins and the other loses, you both lose. Be kind, thoughtful, playful, and forgiving to the ones you love. Rather than wish your partner would change, work on changing how you react to them. Yes, sometimes our spouse can get on our last good nerve, but if you are fortunate enough, you will also be with them as they take their last good breath in your arms.
Never miss a second to make memories, nurture the gift of relationship, and express your love.
Carol Mathias is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Certified Hypnotherapist (CHT) at Southern Behavioral Services in Macon, Georgia. A Cum Laude graduate of Wesleyan College, she received a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mercer School of Medicine. She also received training from MentorCoach ™ and is a certified DreamCoach”. As a seasoned therapist, success coach and trainer, Carol has established a reputation for her interactive and energetic programs. Specialties include life transition issues, depression and anxiety, trauma and loss and relationship issues. Carol is also a Certified Anger Management Facilitator and is co-founder and co-owner of Anger Management Services.