On February 10, 2018 (my mother’s birthday), I married my best friend (David G. Kuhns) in the Nashville Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s been one crazy road since God first showed me that this man would enter my life. It’s been worth every challenge I’ve faced getting here.
Dave’s family and best friend from high school with his wife flew in for the wedding. My father and Dave’s father were witnesses to the ceremony. But none of my other family members were there.
Normally, when a bride comes to the temple to be married, she goes into the bride’s room. This is a fairly large room with lots of chairs along the wall for people to join her. The typical bride will have her mother, sisters, grandmothers, and friends accompany her. In this beautiful room, the bride is doted on and dressed by those who love her and are excited to watch her marry the man who will be her eternal companion. It’s a joyous time of anticipation and preparation.
I had asked one of my best friends to come with me and be what we call an “escort” in a temple marriage… basically the equivalent of a maid of honor. She ended up being really sick and couldn’t come. Another close friend who planned to attend came down with the flu and also couldn’t be there.
As I walked toward the doorway of the beautiful bride’s room in the temple, I was acutely aware that I was alone on this very important day. I wondered how many brides are alone in this room on their wedding days. Not many, would be my guess. For a flicker of a second, I felt a little self-pity.
The instant I stepped into that supposedly empty bride’s room, I could tell that it was filled with departed loved ones. I knew my mother, who passed away last March, was there. My grandmothers, great aunts and other ancestors filled the room. I had a strong feeling that I was not alone but attended by a crowd of women who loved me.
I also had the feeling there were people there I didn’t even know. Later, when I shared the experience with Dave, he paused, got misty eyed and commented, “My grandmothers were with you.” And I’m sure they were.
I realize that, had there been another living person with me in the room, I probably would not have noticed that my mother and grandmothers and others were with me. Being by myself in the room left me no one else to talk to, so instead I talked to my mom and grandmothers. I could hear my mother in my mind, reminding me to do this or that as I dressed.
I felt their love for me, their excitement, their joy.
My mother’s presence was so near, I chatted with her as I dressed. It was a wonderful, sweet experience. I frequently read Facebook posts where people share how they miss departed loved ones on their birthdays. I spent my mother’s birthday (my wedding day) with my mother in the temple. She was there, as surely as if she had been there in physical form. Her presence was so tangible to me, I didn’t miss her at all.
What a blessing! How many times in our lives do we think we are alone, when in reality concourses of angels surround us, ready to support us and encourage us? It’s so easy to be distracted by what’s going on in this mortal world that we cannot feel their presence. While I’m not grateful that my friends were sick and could not be with me, I am grateful to have had this precious experience with others who love me just as much. It is a sacred experience I will remember forever.
How do you know you’ve met your soulmate? If you know your Meyers-Briggs personality type, here’s how to tell. If you don’t know your Meyers-Briggs personality type, there’s a free test here.
INFJ ENFP Relationship Compatibility
I love this description of how my personality type (Meyers-Briggs INFJ – Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging) knows she’s met her soul mate.
This is how Dave makes me feel. He’s an ENFP (Extroverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving).
“INFJ: You’ll know you’ve found your soulmate when you feel as seen and understood as you make other people feel.
INFJs, the complex, analytical counselors of the MBTI, are known for their tendency to form quick, yet eerily accurate perceptions of the people around them. Friends and loved ones of the INFJ often report feeling as though the INFJ is able to “peer into their soul.” However, the INFJ rarely feels as though others are capable of peering into theirs.
As an INFJ, you’ll know you’ve found your soulmate when the tables turn and someone finally understands you with all of the depth and nuance that you see in others. The feeling will be wildly uncomfortable, off-putting and magnificent. You’ll finally open yourself up to being understood entirely and loved for every fiber of the complex tapestry that makes up who you are.”
“Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.” – Belva Davis
In August of 2011, I caught the vision of the type of marital relationship I wanted to have. At the time, I didn’t know if the marriage I was in would morph into that relationship, but I was willing to give it a try. In time, it became obvious that it was no longer in my highest good to remain in that marriage.
In August 2013, my marriage of 28 years ended. I set on a proactive path of searching for the spouse who I had seen in vision. The biggest heartaches I faced along the way were because I was afraid of the space between my dreams and reality. I wanted my dream and I wanted it quickly. Because of my over-zealousness to receive what I felt God had promised me, I acted in ways that were not incredibly productive.
I could call those non-productive actions mistakes, but how can I call anything a mistake that led me to the fruition of my dream? Today, I am married to the man God showed me in vision more than seven years ago. Nothing I did messed up God’s plan for me. How many of my choices were necessary for me to grow into the person I needed to be? I may never know.
“Wisdom is looking back at your life and realizing that every single event, person, place, and idea was part of the perfected experience you needed to build your dream. Not one was a mistake…
Yet, along the way, here are some things I did that caused me frustration and pain. Maybe you can keep them in mind if you’re living in the space between your dream and reality.
First, I constantly tried to cram square pegs into star-shaped holes. In vision, God showed me that I would be with a passionate, lively, happy man. I entered at least two serious relationships with men who could play a good Eeyore or “The Born Loser.” Not happy, lively, or passionate!
I was shown a man who could share a stage with me and teach alongside me. While some of the men I dated might have been able to do that, they were not interested in doing so.
There were many more “square peg, star-shaped hole” examples. What did I learn from those relationships? Never, ever marry on possibility. Marry on reality.
Second, I settled for less than my dream. In my second marriage, I completely abandoned my dream. After we were married, my second husband asked me to walk away from my dream, and I did. It was heart-wrenching and literally impacted my body in a negative way. What’s more, I could no longer see my way ahead. The future looked dim when it had looked so bright and promising before.
Why would I give up my dream? I loved him and I wanted to prove to him that I loved him more than my dream. Ironically, in the end, walking away from the dream — which ultimately resulted in that relationship ending — actually enabled my current husband to come in and make it all come true.
Third, I over-invested in men who were not invested in me. I compromised and gave way too much of myself to men who were not making an equal investment in me. When the right man came along, I felt the complete opposite. Since I’ve known him, he constantly invests in me and in our relationship. In fact, I feel like I can’t possibly keep up, he’s so wonderfully generous and kind.
Fourth, I let the relationships, not the vision, guide me. Each time I entered into a relationship, I let the man dictate what I was going to do, how I was going to be, how we were going to be, how my life was going to play out. I somehow thought that maybe if I got into the relationship, then the man I was with would eventually come around to my vision.
That does not happen.
When I finally let go and let God, then the man came along who lived his life in lock-step with my vision. In fact, several times he has told me things that match up perfectly with my vision … before I told him about the vision. Each time that happened, through misty eyes I would tell him “Yes, my vision is exactly what you just described.” Then I would tell him more detail, and he would respond with enthusiasm and joy. We call those our “Yes, and … !” moments, where the visions we both see and develop become much greater than the sum of our individual dreams and desires.
If you don’t have a divinely directed vision, get one. If you have a vision, don’t give it up. Don’t settle. Don’t try to cram square pegs in star-shaped holes. Don’t over-invest in relationships that aren’t investing back in you. Let your vision guide you forward. Measure everything against God’s vision for you. When it’s right, it flows because God is directing it. That doesn’t mean you won’t face opposition or have to work at it, but when it’s right, things eventually line up.
Would you prefer a deep, rich romantic connection? Or are you satisfied with a more surface relationship? If you’re someone who longs to connect with your companion on multiple levels (spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual and chemical), read on…
I believe that no experience is wasted if we can learn something from it, and especially if we can take what we’ve learned and use it to help others.
In my rocky road of relationships, I’ve had lots of experiences, many of which I couldn’t really understand or explain what happened. I just knew they didn’t work. Oh, I had some guesses, but not full understanding. Relationships are complex, and it’s rarely just one thing that goes wrong. It’s often a whole suite of things.
As I’m with a completely different type of man than I’ve ever been with before, I can’t help but use this experience to draw conclusions about what might have been happening in previous relationships.
Perhaps what I’ve gleaned could be of use to someone who has not yet chosen a mate… especially a single person who is a deep thinker. If you’re single and love analyzing situations and personalities, like knowing the why’s of life, and often see patterns in the world around you, this could be helpful to you.
One of the biggest things I’ve heard from men in the past is, “Wow, you really analyze a lot.” I figured this was a nice way of saying, “You’re WAY over-thinking this.” This is probably a true statement many times, but let’s not make a judgement call on that. That’s my personality type that came with me at birth. It’s who I am – a truth seeker, an inquiring mind. There’s not much hope of changing that.
The question to ask is why did I keep selecting men who were NOT deep thinkers? Why did I select men who could only self-examine so far, or only discuss a subject to a certain point (if at all)?
Pools Vs. Oceans
Lets compare conversations and connection in relationships to swimming. Some people are like swimming pools and others are like oceans. The men I’ve chosen in the past were like swimming pools. There was the shallow end, and a deeper end. But once you scoped out the sides and bottom of the pool, that was that. There was no capability of diving any deeper. And, believe me, I want to dive deeper. Give me an ocean of possibilities to swim in.
While swimming in a pool is fun and enjoyable and stable, I’m going to get bored with it in time. Also, the swimming pool guy is going to get tired of me picking at the pool lining trying to see if there’s any more substance below.
So back to that question… WHY did I choose to hang out in pools when I really wanted an ocean of possibility?
Because it was easier. When you are someone whose mind spins nearly every waking moment, it is helpful to have someone you can just veg out with, turn off your brain, and do something rather routine. You know you can’t talk about the work you do or the deeper thoughts with them, so you shut off that side of yourself and get a nice relaxing vacation from the intensity of who you are. You focus on the areas you do connect — often physical or chemical.
Another reason I entered relationships with these men is it felt safer. Pools are safer than oceans of unknown possibilities. There’s no hard conversations, no exploration of hard topics with these men. When you delve into the world of hard conversations, there’s more likelihood some contention could arise. I’ve never been one for contention. It’s easier to glaze over hard subjects, stick my head in the sand, and hope tough issues go away.
The problem is they don’t go away. And when a person like me has no real connection on an intellectual or spiritual level, there is a problem. While the pool guy and I might have an emotional or physical connection, my intellect and spirit has nowhere to connect with this person. I do my best to adapt, but in time, this disconnect erodes the relationship. Chemistry and physical connection can only go so far.
I look at the various aspects of a relationships like pistons in an engine. You’ve got these relationship pistons:
I’ve found that when my relationships aren’t firing on all pistons, I start distancing myself from my partner. I shut down parts of myself because there is nowhere for that energy to go. The result is feeling down or even depressed. Eventually, I reroute the energy into other relationships — like talking to girlfriends, clients, writing, speaking, etc. In the end, I’ll constantly go to my friends when I want to talk instead of going to my spouse.
In my second marriage, I was determined not to do this. I focused on connecting in all areas. I kept talking to my husband about these various subjects. In the end, he couldn’t take it anymore. His only explanation at parting was, “You’re so smart, I don’t get what you do.” In other words, I was sending out way too much energy and information, flooding his engine in areas that simply didn’t have the capacity to handle my intensity.
I’m sure there is some way to strike a balance in relationships that aren’t matched in all areas. There are millions of couples who have happy marriages who do not connect on all levels. I’m not advising anyone to toss their relationship out the window, but if I had it all to do over again from the beginning (which fortunately I do) I would recommend looking for someone who is equally matched in each of these areas.
Thank heavens, I’ve finally found a man with oceans of possibilities in all these areas. I look forward to swimming in deep waters from here to eternity. I hope I can keep up!
Sometimes when you go for big dreams, they have to die first. Here’s my personal story of going for a dream, letting it die and resurrecting the dream.
A Decision for a Better Life
In August of 2011, life was good, my business was thriving, but I was not happy in my personal life. My marriage was completely disconnected and I had gained weight and was tired much of the time. On a ride home from a beach vacation, I made a decision that my life would change. The moment I made the decision, an inspired vision entered my mind of the life I would have instead. It came with such clarity that it propelled me into action.
Catching the Vision
I saw myself in a loving, connected relationship with a high energy man. We would travel together, share a love for nature, and work, teach and speak alongside each other. We would fix up my home and property, and create a place that was self-sustainable, a haven of hope, healing and refuge for those who needed it. While this vision came from somewhere outside of me (I believe from God) it was also something that pointed to the core desires of my heart.
I had always wanted to turn my home into a retreat house once the kids were grown and had lots of ideas for ways to fix it up. My family was well-aware of my ideas for home improvements, but I shared with no one the vision of the place of refuge our 7 acre property would be. I had both night dreams and daytime visions of this.
Taking Responsibility for My Own Life
Since my husband at the time enjoyed traveling, I thought he might be this person… that he might change his ways, that we might be able to reconnect, and that the life I envisioned might happen with him. I doubted it, but I certainly was not going to rule that out.
I knew I couldn’t control my husband, but I could control me. I didn’t have the energy to keep up with who and what I envisioned. I needed to get in shape, get healthier and work on myself. I thought perhaps if I did these things, my husband would follow suit.
Within a month or two I was going to the gym on a regular basis and eventually dropped at least 50 pounds over the course of the next few years. I paid for my husband to get some medical help with his weight, but that only lasted a few weeks before he lost interest. My vision was not his vision.
While I journaled much of what I envisioned, even more of it was in my mind… and none of the grand vision for the property got shared with anyone else.
When things did not work out in my first marriage, I fully anticipated entering the dating world and finding the “dream man” I had seen repeatedly in visions beginning with the first one in 2011. I had this feeling he was out there waiting for me and that we would find each other soon.
Man after man became a candidate. I met men with certain aspects of what I envisioned, but never all of them. None of them seemed interested in my property or what I anticipated doing with it. While I never shared all of my vision with them, there were a few I told about my desire to turn my home into a retreat house.
Settling for Less than the Vision
Every man I was with wanted me to move from my property. Finally, I gave up on my dream. I decided what I wanted most was a connected relationship with a good, honest, hard-working man. Everything else I could let go. My heart had been hammered during the dating process, and I just wanted some peace.
I had a personal knowing that I couldn’t fully be who I am here to be until I wasn’t a single ox hauling a cart, but worked in synergistic tandem with a partner. That’s not true for everyone, but it was true for me. I’m a headstrong woman, and I’ve paved my own way for decades. So this wasn’t neediness or dependence on my part. It was an inner knowing that would not go away.
The Death of the Dream
The problem was, in all my dating, I forgot my vision. I gave up on it and assumed it was only my silly imagination. I lowered my expectations. The exceptional life I had been shown got replaced in my expectations with a desire for a decent, peaceful life with someone who would be good to me and wouldn’t make me carry the load all by myself.
I remarried with this dimmed-down objective in mind. I didn’t worry if the man I married caught my vision or even cared about it. When he insisted we move away from my home and property, I reluctantly relinquished my vision and let it die. The vision was wrapped up in the property, and now the best I could envision was perhaps retiring to the beach with my second husband someday, since we both liked the beach.
After about 18 months of marriage, he had the courage to do what I should have known to do — get out. We were two people who did not have a shared vision or objective. I may have given up on my dream, but God had not. Sometimes I think my second husband was inspired to end the marriage — a radical idea — but I cannot deny the miracle of the timing.
I eventually thanked my second husband for ending our marriage. He was a blessing while he was in my life and he was an even greater blessing in letting me go. I was not supposed to travel that path anymore.
Resurrecting the Dream
Roadtrip with Dave in his convertible
Not even a month after my divorce was final, I met a man who loves traveling, shared my vision for doing writer retreats, is in a similar line of work as me and shares my faith.
The first day this man stepped on the property that I had given up on, he articulated the identical vision that I had in my head — without me ever telling him anything. I was so floored by his vision of the property as a place of healing, refuge and hope, I broke down and wept. I could not believe my ears.
In time, after dating for several months, this man asked me to marry him. My answer was an enthusiastic, “Yes, hell YES!” I could not begin to deny he was the man I had seen coming. I had contorted and tried to make every other man fit into the vision. There is no need to make this man fit. He IS the vision. He proves it constantly by his actions and continual investment in me and our goals.
Dave’s bargain area rug find for the house
Currently, we are working together toward our shared vision for the property. We are both headstrong people with different ideas about what that should look like. At first I was stuck in my ideas about how the house and property used to be (in better days), whereas he has ideas about what it can be. I got frustrated because things were run down and overgrown. He sees it as a blank canvas to create upon.
Together we are co-creating a new shared vision. While the overall objective is the same, the details (which I never really saw) are something we’re co-creating together. The great thing is he is talented with landscaping, natural habitat creation (his father was a forest ranger), and he loves to bargain hunt and find the best buys on everything from flooring to furniture.
Dave clearing a path to the creek
As a woman who has spent her life in the driver’s seat, it’s a new (and sometimes challenging) experience co-creating with a companion. Fortunately our communication is exceptional, and we are willing to have the hard conversations (something that did not happen in my prior marriages). I have great hope that two strong people with a shared vision (which we both believe comes from God), a deep love and respect for each other, a desire to stay close to the Lord, and open communication can forge ahead and make big dreams a reality.
The great thing is we’re doing it… we’re in the thick of the weeds doing it… and the vision is there … unfolding as we go.
The song “I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You” by Savage Garden sums it up …
I know that it might sound More than a little crazy But I believe
I knew I loved you before I met you I think I dreamed you into life I knew I loved you before I met you I have been waiting all my life
Let me be a resource to you as you work toward your heart-driven dreams! Click here for details.
I’ve always considered myself an easy going, low maintenance person. I get along with most people and I’ve wanted to keep the peace. I do have my opinions on some things. While I’ll listen to other views and sometimes adjust mine, I can be insistent on things that are key values for me. Yes, I’m strong-willed and can be stubborn on things that really matter to me.
I’m in a relationship with a man with a strong personality, opinions and values of his own. About 90 percent of the time we’re having these great conversations where we build off what each other has to say to new understanding and epiphanies about emotional, spiritual, intellectual and business topics.
As we spend more time together, we run into the other 10 percent where we don’t immediately see eye to eye and we butt heads or something rubs us the wrong way about the other person’s personality, or way of processing emotions.
And then we stop and discuss that, really share how each of us is feeling, what’s coming up for us, what we feel is going on. It’s raw, vulnerable and totally honest.
We respect each other’s views and feelings, and eventually we come to this place of rich understanding and deeper place of connection and love. It’s not one person caving or compromising. It’s creating mutual understanding and win-win solutions.
It’s work, hard work, but it’s incredibly rewarding. It pays off with the deepest love and connection I’ve ever known.
I think back on my last marriage where there wasn’t a single argument. Maybe a difference of opinion, but not one that went into a conversation that worked through deep concerns.
I thought I was in a peaceful, loving relationship. He obviously had something that was festering beneath the surface unspoken. 18 months in, one Saturday morning he was done… without explanation, without a chance to work anything through, without an opportunity to clarify or create understanding or a deeper love. Maybe I wasn’t so “low-maintenance” and easy to get along with as I thought I was. I’ll never know.
I’d rather have the relationship that is alive and brings up the occasional issue or emotion that is worked through together, than constant “peace” that is merely an illusion.
I’m 51 years old and I feel like I’m finally learning to communicate. Not because I’ve figured it out, but because I’m with a man with incredible communication skills. And there is something about “us”… these two independent, head strong, amazing people… that makes mediocrity and “settling for good enough” impossible.
I’m finally with someone who feels like a partner in the adventure, a companion on the mission God is calling us on together. We’re both open to wherever God chooses to lead. I’ve never been with a man who is so quick to fall to his knees, and invite me to join him in seeking God’s input or express gratitude.
This level of collaboration with each other and with God takes two people who are willing to put Him first and willing to have the tough conversations to create 100% unity, trust and honesty.
I’m discovering that peace at any price is not peace. True peace comes when both parties are willing to pay the price to respectfully create understanding.
I’ve got a lot to learn, and I’m grateful to have an amazing man in my life to learn it with. It’s not anything I could ever learn as a single woman… which is what I had full intention of being for several more years. God had other plans
I woke up this morning with an interesting insight into my marriage that relates to the music I've been playing with my family since my mother's death.
My dad, cousin Jody and I have been playing music together. My dad plays the harmonica. My cousin Jody plays the guitar and sings, and I sing along. I've spent my life playing the piano while people sang or played another instrument such as the flute. So I never really understood the dynamics of playing with other instruments -- especially instruments with limited key ranges.
For example, I've learned that harmonicas come in specific keys. My dad has G, C, A, D, and F harmonicas. He usually carries his G around in his pocket because most of the songs we sing and play are in G. It's a good key for the guitar and it's in my singing range. If we come upon a song in another key that Daddy wants to play, Jody will often transpose it into G on his guitar.
But sometimes a song is hard to transpose and Jody will say, "Jack, you need to bring your other harmonicas with you." But my dad usually forgets and won't bring more than a couple of his harmonicas.
If my dad tries to play along with a song that isn't in the key of his harmonica, it sounds horrible. We know immediately, he's got an inharmonious harmonica. There's nothing wrong with his harmonica and there's nothing wrong with my dad's playing. It's simply the wrong key for the song. He's got a harmonica incapable of going to the notes that need to be played for the song.
Marriage and Music
So, here's where I'm going with this. It occurred to me this morning that relationships can often be like playing a song with other people. We all have our favorite key signatures. I sing really well in G and my dad loves his G harmonica. So as long as Jody can get the song into G on his guitar, we can harmonize.
We have so much fun. With a little practice we can make some beautiful music together.
But if a song is written in a complex set of chords or changes keys throughout, the guitar is not going to be the best instrument for playing the song. A piano, with it's full spread of 88 keys can play any song out there.
I have always had a wide range of interests in life. I love to study a sweeping variety of things from deep spiritual concepts to psychology to technology to writing and music.
In many ways it's like I'm playing a piano with 88 keys. I'm spanning the keyboard with music. Yes I have my favorite keys but I'm not limited to a few chords and because I read music, I can eventually play anything fairly well with practice.
Let's say my husband showed up to the marriage with G and C harmonicas, we sounded great together as long as I stayed in the key of G or C on my piano.
But heaven help him, if I start playing in Em or Bb. He would feel like he's doing something wrong, can't keep up, or is inadequate. Or maybe he would feel like I was playing the wrong notes and that I was out of key.
The truth is neither of us were doing anything "wrong." We just weren't in the same key. There were many times in the marriage where I could see we weren't on the same key, so I'd transpose to match him.
I can be quite a chameleon if I need to be. I don't feel it's being deceptive. It's just adapting to meet someone where they are and harmonize with them in the key they're playing.
Even with adapting, I'm not going to be satisfied limiting my keys forever. He might walk in the door one day and find me playing in a completely different key that he's never played.
Perhaps this is why I felt comfortable in the marriage when he did not. I was happy to adapt and find the harmonizing keys where he simply didn't know how. I also realize there are some songs that take a LOT of practice for me to get good at. For example, if there are a lot of sharps, it's going to take me a while. So there were keys he was good at that I was not. But I do love to learn and if someone is patient enough, I will eventually be able to do a half-decent job or at least be able to relate to them.
We both lacked a clear understanding of the relationship dynamic between us. Our communication obviously wasn't there. Instead of communicating the difference, I'd just adapt my key signature. Perhaps he was scrambling to keep up and suffering in silence. Or maybe my pathetic attempts to match him on difficult notes were too annoying.
Had I fully understood what was happening, I would have been happy to talk out the situation with him. I would have been happy to find a way to work things out and find the common notes. But, he was too frustrated. He threw down his instruments and kicked me out the door.
It's helping me see I need to pay closer attention to the times when I'm adapting to another person's key and perhaps communicate better that that is what I'm doing. Or, at the least, if I ever enter another relationship, I need to find someone who isn't intimidated by the keyboard I love to play.
Welcome to My World
Here's a song Jody transposed into a key my dad could play on harmonica. We were just practicing here, so it's certainly not polished, but we had fun playing and singing it. Half the fun of music is the practicing and polishing. I think marriage can be the same way. It doesn't have to be perfect, you just need people willing to practice.