Tag Archives: marriage

The Most Valuable Way to a Happy and Successful Relationship

Kindness is the recipe for keeping a relationship alive. 

The most valuable way to a happy and successful relationship, the last krystallos, relationships, love and marriage, better relationships,

When an article, featuring research from The Gottman Institute about how to make a relationship work, recently popped up on my newsfeed it made me think.

You can read the article, but in a nutshell, couples were interviewed and studied as they interacted with each other, and then re-interviewed six years later. From their research Gottman separated them into two groups: the ones whose relationships fell apart or who were chronically unhappy together – the Disasters, and the ones who were still together and happy – the Masters.

Unexpected kindness is the most powerful...agent of human change Bob Kerrey, Bob Kerrey quote, kindness, kindness quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Their analysis showed that those who were defensive in their relationships suffered and those relaxed and comfortable maintained happy bonds.

He followed his study in 1990 with a retreat in which he invited 130 newlywed couples to relax together while he watched how they interacted.

Quoting from the article: Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife — a sign of interest or support — hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.

The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either turning toward or turning away from her husband, as Gottman puts it. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.

People who turned toward their partners in the study responded by engaging the bidder, showing interest and support in the bid. Those who didn’t — those who turned away — would not respond or respond minimally and continue doing whatever they were doing, like watching TV or reading the paper. Sometimes they would respond with overt hostility, saying something like, “Stop interrupting me, I’m reading.”

Kindness is more than deeds it is an attitude expression look touch anything that lifts another person, C Neil Strait, the last krystallos, kindness quote,

©Lisa Shambrook

Again this made me think and consider my own relationship. How do I respond to my husband’s bids for my attention? How does he respond to mine? This reaches further than just marriage too, how do I listen to my children, who tend to bid for my attention even more than my partner?

Gottman found that: Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had turn-toward bids 33% of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had turn-toward bids 87% of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.

Do we meet our family’s needs?

Kindness has a beautiful way of reaching down into a weary heart and making it shine like the rising sun, kindness quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Our society has become very secular and families find it more difficult than ever to interact with each other. We may be overwhelmed with work commitments, exhaustion, social media, hobbies or just plain disinterest. I was shocked one day when my child attempted to get my attention when I was online. I parried her constant efforts with “Wait a minute, I’m busy right now…” and ignored her protestations against my lack of interest. What was I doing? I was reading online articles, none of which were going anywhere, and none that I couldn’t return to when I had more time. A glance at my daughter made me stop. I closed the laptop and turned to her. Her particular needs weren’t imperative at that moment, but I knew that if I kept ignoring her, or turning away, then she would stop coming to me, which would be heartbreaking. If I ignored the simple things then I’d never get to hear the big things.

The same thing works within marriages and turning toward and recognising the worth of your partner’s need to be heard and loved is imperative.  Read my article How to Feel Loved to learn about your and partner’s Love Strategy, and discover how  we feel loved.

True love a matter of anxious concern for ones companion, Gordon B Hinckley quote, love quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Gottman declared that: contempt is the number one factor that tears couples apart, and Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together.

Kindness, validating, and loving each other is what keeps couples close and intimate. It builds trust and loyalty. Kindness grows. What you give you receive back, and like a muscle it expands and flourishes the more you use and show it.

love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own, H. Jackson Brown Jr, love quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

I’m lucky I have a partner who has always spent time concerned for my feelings. He has an intuition I didn’t appreciate when I was young, that doesn’t mean he always gets it right, but the intention is there and that’s a winner. When we first married I was a very introverted people-pleaser with very low self-esteem and I often felt I’d cheated him by marrying him. I was suffering CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and was ill for the first six or seven years of marriage. Add to that, he had no idea of my battle with depression, anxiety and panic and I spent much of the first decade of our marriage trying to make up for not being what I thought he deserved!

I made sure Vince’s needs were met, I insisted he completed his dream of passing his motorbike test and owning a motorbike, and he gained many employment qualifications on courses, some we paid for and some subsidised, whilst I ignored my needs. I refused to buy new shoes when mine had holes in and I couldn’t see that I was creating an unbalanced relationship. It wasn’t until I sought help for my conditions that I finally allowed my husband’s help in reaching for my own dreams. I had no idea that it hurt my husband when I put myself last, effectively turning away, and I had to re-evaluate my priorities.


1991, 2001 and 2015 Vince and I ©Lisa Shambrook

Creating balance improved our relationship and helped our love grow deeper and stronger.

Again, this is vitally important in all our relationships, not just our romantic ones, but healthy partnerships help strengthen homes.

my bounty is as boundless as the sea, Juliet, Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Shakespeare’s Juliet proclaimed infinite love – maybe we can do the same in all our relationships.
Hubby and I will reach twenty-five years on our wedding anniversary in October this year. I can testify that love and relationships aren’t child’s play, or maybe they are – children are more unconditional?

Relationships require work and trust, depth and compassion, kindness and validation, honesty and love.

If we try – where love is reciprocated – then we can turn toward and meet each other’s needs and live within happy and fulfilling relationships.

Here are the Gottman’s Top 7 Ways To Improve Your Marriage

How do you keep your relationship alive?
What’s the most important ingredient to you for
a successful marriage and/or partnership?


Five Sentence Fiction: Fairywings and Marriage


Fairywings © Lisa Shambrook

Stars twinkled in the indigo sky and the tiny chain of fairies made their way down through the purple aubrietia, just inches from Tally’s dirty knees. A small crowd had already gathered beneath the hawthorn, but Tally’s beady eyes remained fixed upon the tiny fairy that sashayed at the head of the procession.

Diminutive drops of diamond dew glistened upon the pink London pride that weaved through the imp’s hair, and wood anemone petals draped her body, tied with a delicate belt of gossamer silk. She carried pale speedwell and tiny alpine blooms, and trailed dandelion wishes and baby’s breath as she fluttered her gauzy wings, and elegantly walked down the nodding forget-me-not aisle to her princely suitor.

Six-year-old Tally blinked incredulously, shrugging off the chill as she wriggled beneath the rhubarb, ignoring the shrill call from her mother; she wasn’t going to miss this for anything, and certainly not for bedtime!

000. NewFSFBadge Bekahcat June 2012
Another Five Sentence Fiction…this time dedicated to Lillie McFerrin and her forthcoming nuptials…this is for you Lillie… x


Expressions of Love…♥

Today we have been married for twenty years…here’s why…
Vince:  I remember one of our first dates, a picnic then a wander through woods where we came face to face with a deer…we stood in awe for a few minutes ‘til the deer moved away…

Lisa:  I loved my first ever bunch of flowers, daffodils and tulips, from the 
Temple grounds where Vince was working as a gardener…

Vince:  On our honeymoon to Guernsey we hired a car and went to a petrol station and began to fill it up. The attendant quickly advised us to only put a few pounds in. We soon realised why when we drove round the island visiting all the beaches in one day!

Lisa:  That moment in hospital, after giving birth, when I looked over to see my husband holding our brand new daughter in his arms and tears running down his face, as the early morning sunlight streamed in through the window…

Vince:  Walks along beaches as the sun goes down and holding hands…

Lisa:  Dressing up posh for Youth Prom nights, made us feel like kids again as we never had Proms when we were young!

Vince:  The excitement when we planned a surprise, mystery day for the children which involved their first aeroplane flight and a day in Scotland…

Lisa:  We love romantic dog walks in all weather: seeing blossom on the trees in spring, listening to the bubbling river in the summer, rustling through fallen leaves in autumn and crunching through freshly fallen snow in winter…

Vince:  Visiting the Temple as a couple…both at Preston and London Temples…being in the spiritual splendour of the Temple and its grounds, reminding us of the eternal nature of our marriage…

Lisa:  I love his sense of fun…dressing up at Halloween, playing Bill Sykes in our family adaptation of ‘Oliver’ and just getting involved enthusiastically…

Vince:  I love how Lisa encourages our children to be the very best that they can be…

Lisa:  Christmas time…and family time…I love to watch our family unite in the season of giving and love…

Vince:  I love the support Lisa gives me in everything I want to do…. Even when she knows it won’t work out…

Lisa:  I love how Vince always does his best and conscientiously achieves such high standards…and his support and encouragement makes me feel special, like I can achieve anything…

Vince:  I love the confidence Lisa has in me in achieving anything, she knows my potential far better than I do, I love the way she encourages me when I have doubts….

Lisa:  I love how when I‘m anxious and worry about things Vince doesn’t let anything faze him…he tells me everything will be alright…
and it always is…

Vince:  I love when Lisa cuddles up to me on the sofa of an evening.  I love it when she comes up to me just for a hug…

Lisa:  Those moments when I’m out and see Vince drive by in his bus, or when he gets home from work…still give me tingles and bubbles of love in my heart…

Vince:  I love looking up at the night sky, with Lisa next to me as we contemplate the other worlds that Heavenly Father has created, and how we could one day, create worlds of our own…

Lisa:  I love his strength and protection… I love searching for Vince’s hand and finding it…

Twentieth Anniversary Celebration…

Twenty years ago I married the man I love with all my heart…it was a wonderful day and I love my memories!

But…I was young and naive and we were short of cash…and we would have changed a few things if we’d had the chance. Our invitations were typewritten postcards, couldn’t afford posh stationary, and the reception left a fair bit to be desired! I wish we’d gone with the traditional idea of having the reception catered for by the women of the church, I’ve seen it work so well! We didn’t, and we weren’t happy with the catering, but I was too young and shy to object. So when Vince and I talked about having a twentieth wedding anniversary celebration, I wanted to do it my way! 
First came the invitations, many were sent out on a Facebook event page, but I also designed my own and had them printed…

I loved them, the roses were an almost exact match for the Jacaranda roses I had for my wedding bouquet! Thus our colour scheme was set…

My dress was the same colour, Bekah chose red and Caitlin wore lilac, beautiful jewel colours! Vince’s tie matched my dress and Dan’s was red. I bought reams and reams of ribbons in the same colours and twisted them to make decorations, the cake was covered in berries of the same colours. The sweetie jar was filled with red and purple sweets, and the glowsticks were red, lilac and blue! 
It rained on the day, but it didn’t dampen our spirits! 
So, the invitations looked good, and to rectify the food and drink served at our original reception (spicy food and concentrated carbonated apple juice…I barely ate anything and that wasn’t from wedding nerves!) we went for desserts and lots of them! Trifles, cheesecakes, gateaux, pavlova, eclairs, cupcakes and much more! And we drank Schloer in all its varieties…

The plasma ball and glowsticks went down like a house on fire, and we decided to have some fun with competitions! Guess how many sweets in the jar, a selection of twenty photos to guess our ages, and a list of twenty questions to see how much everyone knew about us! We didn’t realise how difficult it is to guess ages of people from photographs!
We chose to begin by sharing twenty ‘Expressions of Love’, memories and things we love about each other then we played twenty songs for each of our years together! It was great to feel relaxed, something we didn’t feel at our reception, (we were too keen to get away) to dance and just to have fun!
We loved our party, which incorporated my fortieth birthday too, I hadn’t had a party of any kind since I was about eight-years-old, so it was fulfilling in many ways! I loved my dress, I loved the music and the desserts, I loved all my friends and most of all I love (in the present tense) my husband too…♥