Messy, imperfect, true love

family, finding love, jewelry, marriage, the meaning behind the jewelry By November 22, 2021 No Comments

I used to think I could create the perfect life. I had an image in my mind—our home, our children, our perfect marriage. But then real life happened and I quickly realized perfection doesn’t exist.

Leaning into what is real, embracing our flaws and strengths, and loving each other in that place is where the magic happens!

True love is not neat and tidy. True love is wild, amazing, and complex. Living together in the beautiful mess of every day makes life meaningful. I choose us!

I cherish our love. It’s messy and imperfect, but oh so true! I wear my Cherished Hearts Initial Necklace as a reminder of us. Pick a charm and an initial for each of your loves and create a necklace representing the wild and beautiful love that fills your life.

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All About Love: we are Better Together

finding love, jewelry, marriage, steve, the meaning behind the jewelry By October 11, 2021 2 Comments

We’ve worked really REALLY hard for this love. And just in case it looks easy or you feel like everyone around you has it figured out—it’s not easy and none of us have it figured out.

We’re learning a healthy relationship needs two whole people who show up and engage honestly.

I can’t make him happy.

I can’t make him whole.

I can’t make him feel loved.

He is responsible for himself.

And he can’t make me happy, whole or feel loved. I’m responsible for me.

God is the giver of these big, beautiful gifts we look for in a partner.

Happiness, wholeness, love—those are gifts God gives. They come wrapped in packages of brokenness, heartbreak, pain and uncertainty.

I know it makes no sense. It’s upsidedown and messy and I don’t have it figured out.

But I can tell you this—somehow as we lean into our brokenness we find wholeness. As we lean into our pain we find healing. As we lean into the mess we find a new, deeper beauty.

This is love. And we’re working really, really hard to love each other well.

Through it all, I know there is no other place I’d rather be than together. That’s the inspiration behind my “Better Together” necklace. Isn’t it adorable?? I’m giving it away as a gift with every order right now at my shop, but only for TWO. more. days!!

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The risk of being me

finding love, marriage, the meaning behind By September 6, 2016 33 Comments

I was unhappy. Steve was unhappy. I began to feel afraid. We were unhappy so I must be doing something wrong. I was certain I could do better and try harder. I’m a pleaser. I want to make others happy—sometimes to a fault. I want to make my husband happy, my kids happy, my friends happy, heck I even want to make the cashier at the grocery store happy. I’ve long believed if I could make others happy, they would love me.

Steve and I fell in love. Initially we were just friends, hanging out in groups with other friends.  But as we spent time together I saw his integrity, insight and compassion. Once I saw his heart, I fell hard. I knew he was a good man. We dated for a few months, had a short engagement and said our marriage vows with confidence. I was determined to be the best wife I could be. I believed with all my heart, I would make him happy and he would love me.

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We’ve walked through some of the most difficult things two people can face; losing a job, depression and having a child with a severe disability. Through these storms our friendship has been a strong foundation. Inevitably though, when two flawed people spend an extended amount of time together, conflict happens. Things get rocky. And for us, things began to get very rocky.

We weren’t connecting. I was unhappy. He was unhappy. My fear was paralyzing me. I believed if Steve was unhappy he would stop loving me. I believed if Steve was unhappy it was my fault. I believed I could control his moods and emotions. I was certain I could do better and try harder. I kept a mental list of the ways I could please him. I put his needs before mine and tried to think of my own needs less. I tried to control our marriage, avoiding conflict at any cost. The more I tried to please him, the more I lost myself. Steve didn’t want a wife who lived to please him, he wanted the strong, confident woman he married. My fear of losing his love was putting walls between us. The harder I tried to make him happy the more frustrated and discouraged I became. I falsely believed if I focused more on him and less on myself I could heal our marriage.

I went from unhappiness to exhaustion and desperate sadness. No matter how hard I tried, nothing changed. I was reaching a breaking point, so I decided to risk it all and tell Steve how desperate I felt. He had no idea I was so deeply unhappy.  I’d been trying to save our marriage on my own—and I was losing myself in the process. We met with a therapist and both shared honestly and openly. She helped {and continues to help} us work through our blind spots. We began listening to each other more. I began to say what I wanted instead of trying to please him all the time. I started taking better care of myself and cutting things out of my schedule. I stopped trying to be everything to everyone and began to focus on being me—even if it meant rejection. I needed to be me, not knowing if Steve would love that person.

And something miraculous happened. It wasn’t easy or magical but it was truly amazing. Together, with tears and humility we began breaking down walls. Together we grew closer. Together we shared more, we listened more. Together we stopped casting judgement and being defensive. We set aside our fear of losing each other and began choosing to stay together.

I believe there are cycles within a marriage; we give all we have but love still breaks down. In the breakdown both partners have a choice: go through the pain and fear of reconnecting or continue to pull away. If in our brokenness we can be humble and honest, a new love begins where the old love left off. Love is risky. Showing up is risky. But a healthy marriage consists of two people, each showing up and being their truest self. Two people who adore each other despite their flaws and imperfections.

the risk of being me lisa leonard aodred ring

Slowly but surely I’m learning I can’t make someone else happy. I’m working daily to overcome false beliefs that I can control another person’s moods and feelings. I can only control my own emotions and my own actions. Caring for my own heart enables me to love better.  An ignored heart loves incompletely, a nurtured heart loves deeply. I want to be in a marriage where instead of avoiding conflict, we engage honestly, work hard, daily choosing to be together. When love breaks down, we begin again. I’m still a recovering people pleaser but I’m growing. I’m learning to feel my feelings and stop managing other people’s feelings. I’m beginning to understand love isn’t based on emotions or changing circumstances. Love isn’t one sided. Love thrives when two people choose kindness, patience and forgiveness.

Being me is risky, but losing myself is even riskier. Brave love is risky and beautiful.

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