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Sam Dobson Writes: August 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Motivate The Ones You Love

We all have goals and dreams we aspire to make our reality and this is a beautiful thing. The crappy part of that is that most goals and dreams worth having don't come easy, you only get what you want with a lot of hard work. If you are anything like me, you are lazy twenty-five percent of the time...okay thirty percent. Whatever. My point is that it takes work and a sufficient supply of motivation to continue the uphill battle to achieving your goals. Some perfect people (insert annoyed eye roll here) are self-sufficient when it comes to motivation. They see their goal in front of them and they ignore distractions (Pinterest, Facebook, reality TV, etc.). These people can stay focused on their own without the constant verbal verification from others. I applaud these butt-kissers, because no doubt they were the ones kissing major teacher ass back in school. Nevertheless, they have the focus that I sometimes lack.

My hubby-to-be is pretty much on the same wave length as I am when it comes to self-motivating. We have our goal in sight, start out being super excited and positive, then get distracted or doubtful somewhere along the way. It's okay, totally normal. Happens to the best of us, right? Well, this is where great family and friends can help by nagging...in a good way. I'm not kidding. Maybe "nag" isn't the right word, it's more like "motivate", yet it sure does feel like nagging sometimes. Either way, this is a good thing and we should all be so lucky to have nagging family and friends by our side.

Anyways, my future Mr. has been studying on and off for the dreaded Series 7 exam for at least two years now. For those of you who don't know, the Series 7 is to those in finance what the MCAT is to those in medicine or the LSAT is to those in law. Some even argue that the Series 7 is harder to pass than these other exams, however, I wouldn't know because I have not and will not be taking any of these exams ever. My poor fiance, on the other hand, must pass the Series 7 in order to achieve his goal of becoming a successful financial planner.

The time has come again to buckle down and study with hopes of being prepared to take the exam in a few months. This time, we decided to get him organized. I printed blank weekly calenders and together (he dictating, me writing) we planned out an eleven week study program for him. It's color-coded and everything! Being organized is so much more fun when things are pretty and color-coded.

After we finished, I started thinking about how being organized isn't enough to keep you going sometimes. When that thing we are working towards is freaking hard, organization alone doesn't quite cut it. Aside from verbal encouragement on the regular, I wanted to supply him with something in writing to help motivate him. I went on my trusty Pinterest site and searched for quotes about motivation and success. I printed a bunch of the ones I deemed worthy, cut them out, and pasted one motivational quote on each weekly calender. For each weekly schedule there will be a new piece of wisdom. It's not moving mountains or taking the test for him (I'd fail anyways), but it is a little something extra that may just remind him why he is working so hard.

When you have those days where you are tired and contemplate giving up or at least taking a break, it can do a world of good to see some motivational words. The only thing better than receiving encouragement (written or verbal) when the going gets tough, is getting it from someone you love. Knowing that your significant other, parents, siblings, or best friends believe in you and want you to succeed can get you right back on track. With support from the important people in your life, it's easier to start writing again, study harder, or practice longer. Remember to support the ones you love, especially when they are facing obstacles. Even if you think they know you believe in them, it doesn't hurt to remind them.

Encouragingly yours,


Monday, August 12, 2013

Which Love Language Do You Speak?

A couple of weekends ago, Blake's mother threw us an amazing engagement party. It was the perfect opportunity for our immediate family members and our bridal party to meet. Everything went great, the decorations were beautiful, family members were more than pleasant to one another, the food was yummy, and the drinks were definitely flowing. We had a great time and we got some very generous gifts. 

Blake and I are very lax when it comes to receiving gifts. It wasn't about gifts to us and we didn't really want anyone to bring any. Of course, most people brought something for the engaged couple anyways. We are extremely grateful for every one's support, their presence at our party, and for the unnecessary gifts. Anyways, one of my best friends and bridesmaid gifted us a bottle of champagne (cheers!) and a relationship self-help book. This is a gift typical of this particular friend and I couldn't help but chuckle upon discovering it was from her. 

Blake and I were not the offended in the slightest, however, some people who aren't as open-minded as us may be. In the contrary, we were intrigued. So much so, that the very next day while we were nursing our hangovers and shoving greasy food into our stomachs, we started to read The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. We spent a few hours huddled under blankets on our couch, eating french fries in between answering questions from the "Love Language Profile" quizzes. It was very intriguing, especially because a lot of what the good Dr. wrote proved to be true, at least for us. 

The book begins by explaining how every individual speaks a different "love language". So, those actions you do to express love may not register to your partner and vice-verse. The doctor categorizes five major love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. 

  1. Word of affirmation means just that, expressing your love or desire for your partner with your words. 
  2. Quality time refers to spending time together where you actually acknowledge one another and your focus is on each other. Chapman goes on to remind us that sitting next to each other on the couch while you are browsing Facebook and your partner is watching television is not quality time. 
  3. Receiving gifts sounds like it is. Showing love is to give gifts. 
  4. Acts of service would be things like helping with the household chores or taking your partner's car for a wash and oil change. 
  5. Physical touch is more than just sex. A hug, holding hands, or a comforting pat on the back can be a signal of love.  
To me, this explanation of language barriers in relationships makes sense. If my primary love language is quality time and my partner's is acts of service, it won't register in my mind that when he helps me with the dishes he is expressing love. I would feel loved when he goes on a hike with me or wants to play a board game with me. The concept is simple. 

In reality, my highest scoring love language was quality time, Blake's was physical touch. So if I am too tired to have sex, in my mind it's just that, simply me not feeling up for it. In his mind it means more, maybe even that I don't love him. Lucky for me, my significant other always wants to spend time with me. He frequently suggests we go to a concert or take the dogs on a long walk. That is partially why I always feel loved by him. 

I know that a lot of self-help books are full of crap, but some have little gems of great advice. This is one of those books. I'm not saying that you should take every word written in this book to heart and live by it, but it does make some pretty sound sense in my mind about how we can hit a road block when expressing our love to each other. Remember the saying "your actions speak louder than your words". If your relationship is in a rut or if you are just curious, you may want to pick up this little book and find out which love language you and your spouse speaks. If nothing else, it may open up the discussion of both your needs. Communication is key and if you don't know what means most to your spouse in the way of expressing love, you better find out. 

Feeling loved,