How To Get Through Hard Seasons in Marriage

You know those “seasons” that people talk about in marriage that are more challenging than others? Well, we are IN one. I’ve come on here not to “air” our dirty laundry, gossip or complain, but instead to share with you the reality we ALL as married couples face, or will face, and shed some light on how we are getting through it.

I remember reading the book, The Meaning Of Marriage, when Kim & I were first dating. Kim comes from a culture that doesn’t really support marriage, and I come from a culture, and family, that celebrates it. We didn’t have the same understanding of marriage and what it all meant, so we both took the challenge to get on the same page and discover what it’s true meaning even was.

In this book, we learned a plethora of things, but one that stood out the most to us was that every couple, no matter how “perfect” for one another they were or how “in love” they are, will go through hard times. The author, Timothy Keller, shared how your spouse’s normal, is inherently not your normal, and eventually, those two realities will cause friction between the two of you.

Pressure reveals the cracks

Perhaps the most impactful piece of wisdom we both took away from that book & that season of dating in our lives is the thought that our challenging circumstances often time reveal the cracks. What do we mean by that? Keller gave the example of a large truck driving over a bridge – when that amount of pressure is put to the structure of the bridge, sometimes, cracks are then exposed. However – the pressure didn’t CAUSE the cracks, they were already there to begin with.

Lately, Kim & I have had some overwhelming circumstances add pressure to our marriage (and ourselves as individuals) that have exposed some cracks in our foundation.

On October 4, we experienced a miscarriage. I was around 12 weeks pregnant when I lost him/her at home. Then, about a week later, our entire family had lice. This was for my first time ever! We were constantly doing laundry & shampoo treatments for days.

During the midst of these weeks, we also had some unfortunate drama with my bonus daughter’s mom that added a lot of stress to our lives. Just when we thought we were getting over the worst of it, around Halloween, Kim & I both discovered that we had Co-Vid. Yep. After surviving a year & a half of the worldwide pandemic Co-vid free, we had been hit. And it hit us hard.

Now, what do we do?

Suddenly, we found ourselves home with two children 24/7, sick & barely able to move, and a business that was slowly but surely getting behind schedule as we struggled just to get out of bed.

Kim & I are both very healthy people. We spend a great deal of time & effort on taking care of our bodies and living an active lifestyle. Thus, in our almost 3 years of marriage, we had never been sick together at the same time. At least, not THIS sick.

While we both needed to rest and recover, we couldn’t. Our children still needed to be cared for, some chores still needed to be done, and we had to somehow keep moving forward. We both had moments of breakdown where we just couldn’t help the other.

For the first time, days went by where we didn’t feel like a team – at all.

It took us about 10 full days to recover from most of our Co-Vid symptoms (although we are both waiting on our full sense of smell & taste to come back), and during that time, there were some major cracks exposed in the both of us and our marriage.

We both exhibited behavior we had never done so before with one another. We both said things & did things that shocked one another. We both, in the end, gave each other grace, but we also knew, something bigger was happening.

All of this pressure from the last month was adding up and we realized, we had some cracks that needed to be healed. We had unspoken hurts that needed to come out. We had some healing, from past relationships, that was still lingering inside. We had established some unhealthy habits in our marriage. Patterns that didn’t serve us or our marriage were exposed.

Time to heal what was exposed.

Now, steadily moving forward into a new month, with Co-Vid gone & some of our biggest struggles behind us, we are actively working on repairing the cracks in our foundation. And let me tell you -it has NOT been easy. Some of the hardest cracks to fix are the ones that have been exposed within ourselves.

Marriage is the most real & raw mirror you’ll ever look into. It causes you to look at yourself in ways you never have, exposes your imperfections & the things you’ve tried to hide, & gives you the opportunity to change the reflection in your mirror.

However, this change must be done carefully and mindfully. What’s fortunate in our marriage, and we believe in other healthy marriages out there, is that when all this is exposed, we have the perfect place to heal it.

Our marriage is not just the two of us – but God is at the center. Therefore, there’s the perfect opportunity for unconditional love to hold us, keep us safe, and walk us down the path of healing.

Some of the things that were exposed to us were old, deep hurts that we didn’t realize were still there. Others, were reminders of where we’d forgotten to keep our foundation strong.

Back To The Basics

Sometimes, during the hard times of marriage, we’ve discovered that it’s best to go back to the basics. It’s not always easy working on life’s most challenging circumstances, while freshly recovering from your wounds.

But since your marriage is for life, and a commitment that is grounded in unconditional love, you can take your time. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – or your spouse.

We sure aren’t. However, we are going back to the basics…and the perfect place for us to start is with the #3DayMarriageChallenge we created.

It’s a simple 3 Day Challenge, that gives you 5-10 min. tangible lessons that you can apply to your marriage that day, to build stronger intimacy and relight that fire.

I’m happy to share it with you also today below:

And stay tuned to our social media, we will be sharing our own thoughts, mindset shifts & results from our challenge.

Hard times in marriage exist for everyone. But, it’s what you do with the hard times that matters.

Tot ziens,

Cheyanne Cleyman

Boundaries in CoParenting

Boundaries!  

Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

Ah, that BUZZ WORD is everywhere nowadays – isn’t it?!  

But what ARE they actually?  

And how do you know what ones are right for you?  

How do you make sure they stay in place & your co-parent doesn’t walk all over you? 

We’re going to dive deep into ALL those questions here. No worries.  

Perhaps the BEST place to start would be establishing what ARE boundaries.  

Simply put, boundaries are rules you put up that show people how to treat you. When boundaries are not in place, people, even ones with the best intentions, can walk all over you. Perhaps you’ve experienced this in your life…with a boss, your friends or your ex.  

When it comes to your coparenting relationship, it is crucial for the right boundaries to be put up in place. How do you know which boundaries are right for you? One expert we asked on this topic said the best way to figure this out is to look for and focus on the areas where you feel hurt. When you and your ex are communicating, and there’s certain things or situations that you feel hurt or pain, that’s a big indicator that there needs to be a boundary put up there.  

One huge bonus about boundaries – is that your ex doesn’t have to agree with them in order for you to establish them. In fact, you don’t even have to communicate with them that you’re doing it. As Nike says, just do it. And do it consistently. 

Chances are, if your ex has been able to treat you a certain way for many years, they won’t adjust to your new boundaries very easily. But remember, this isn’t about them. It’s not about making them happy or comfortable. That’s not your job or responsibility. They are responsible for their own peace and happiness – as are you for your own. Establishing boundaries in your relationship with your ex is about protecting your peace, your sanity and your marriage.  

What if you ex pushes back with your newfound boundaries? Don’t let up. Be consistent. Over time, they will get the hint.  

What we’ve walked you through above is merely an abridged version, or “Cliff Notes,” of a fantastic interview with just did with single mom & co-parenting expert, Katie Davie. To go deeper, get the full details & strategize your OWN boundaries with us, go check out our full interview at the link below:

Kim & Cheyanne

Why You Should Go To Court

From a StepMom & Bio Dad’s perspective

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Going to court for child custody is NOT an easy topic. Quite frankly, I don’t think anyone WANTS to go there. It usually comes, from our experience personally and with our clients, out of necessity. It takes a lot of time, finances and emotional energy to achieve child custody. However, as much stress & turmoil it may put you & your children through temporarily, we’d encourage you to look at the long term gain.

Let’s paint another picture:

You knew you step daughter would be with her mom for 3 days. Even though the last time it was 4 days, this week it’s only 3. You and your husband make some plans to go away for a romantic weekend. You’re there, things are going good, and then, out of nowhere , after only being with her mom for a few hours, you are demanded to come back and take care of her. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Or the second.

Or, say, you’re a planner. And you want to plan a nice outing as a family, including your stepkids, but you’re continually waiting on their bio mom or dad to give you their schedule. And sometimes, it comes the night before.

That TOO is stressful, right?

As a stepmom myself, I say a LEGAL document is vital. It is necessary. For the stability of your stepchild, AND your family.

Now, Kim & I would be the first to say that doesn’t mean you have to go before a judge and have your lawyers dig up dirt from both your lives and try to convince the judge which one of you is a better or more “worthy” parent. Although, sometimes, it DOES come down to that, there are OTHER legal options that wouldn’t require that situation.

You & your co-parent could instead decide to meet with a court-appointed mediator. This would be someone that would help you both get on the same page and come to an agreement that you both would sign. Yes, this WOULD be legally binding. However, this is the least hostile option and the most inexpensive.

However, we know that in some co-parenting relationships, this is just quite simply – impossible. You & your co-parenting are always arguing and can never agree on anything. This is where a court situation would benefit you both -so, in the future, there is less bickering, less manipulating and straight-forward document that you and both your families can depend on.

As a bio dad, this is what drove Kim to setting up a legal custody situation for his daugther for the first time ever. She is almost 13. For the first 10 years of her life, he and her mom made it work. It was just the two of them (two single parents and their daughter). Now, as a married man with a 19 month old son, the instability of a regular schedule was affecting his family and their peace in their home. He want to bring a schedule that would be predictable for his daughter, and also his wife and new baby boy.

Wherever you find yourself in your co-parenting journey, don’t judge your situation. Don’t feel bad for wherever you are at. Own it and see what you can do about it. You, your children and your family are worth it.

*If during the process of establishing custody and working on your co-parenting relationship, you notice the need for boundaries to be set in place, we have an awesome interview for you to check out. We recently interviewed, Katie Davie, a single mom & co-parenting expert, who shares her insights on co-parenting, establishing boundaries and keeping them for good. Check it out below!

AS always, come say HI on our social & share with us your thoughts! Instagram: @theCleymans

-Kim & Cheyanne