Changes: moving, new opportunities, new challenges

Here it is – another year about to end. It is about two hours away from where I am until the new year comes. Most people are with families and friends. For many, the new year is a time for new beginnings….new hopes….new dreams….a new outlook on things. In any case, it can also be a time to look back and reflect. Thinking about what has transpired over the last year and what might be look forward to in 2019.

Although, before I go further I will say that some of the content for this post is from an earlier post from a few years ago. I thought it was relevant to this one as well. I mean, after all, a new year is almost upon us.

Resolutions are made by many for the new year. I failed to do so this year at this point. But I might make some right before the clock strikes 12 a.m. My resolutions never seem to stick so I found it unnecessary to resign to make resolutions that I may or may not keep. I wrote in 2014 that I was going to strive to make small attainable goals throughout the year so my goals and needs will be easier to hopefully obtain. I’m not sure if I achieved all I set out to do, but I will try that for this new year.

For almost nine months, I have lived in a new place. I made a big move that I thought I wouldn’t make. I am adjusting and enjoying my new life. I also started a new job in October as a sports editor for the county newspaper. It’s been challenging, fun, and exciting. All in all it has been enjoyable. Of course, it has its ups and downs like any job I suppose, but I am happy and living well.

It’s funny. In 2014 when I wrote this new year’s post, I was working in print media. Now I am working in it again. I feel it is a better job than what I had four years ago.

At any rate, I am pleased with my current situation and happy that I made the decision to move. It was a little touch and go a few months down here in Texas, but I prayed and persevered. Now I am in a good place.

I haven’t kept up with my blog like I was going to. Perhaps this new year will prove otherwise. If I can take my own advice and set small, attainable goals, I can hopefully reach those goals. I think that is good advice for anything. And anyone.

Action hails from new heights in ‘Skyscraper’

Rating 2.5/5

Although I found some faults with this film, it was a somewhat enjoyable experience (maybe because it was released on my birthday). More probable is that it had just enough to keep me engaged without it meandering off in many different storylines and subplots.

As one reviewer put it, it’s something of a combination of Die Hard and The Towering Inferno. Which means, it has just enough mindless action to keep an audience entertained for 102 minutes, but not much else to make you go “Wow, that was amazing.” 

Rawson Marshall Thurber wrote and directed this particular piece of movie cinema with the idea of making a summer blockbuster with a big name actor attached to it. The film does provide a spectacle and sets forth an array of action sequences. However, while it does an adequate job of creating the thrilling action scenes, it doesn’t appear to have a good grasp on setting up the major plot. Unless I just missed something along the way. I didn’t fully get the major story point until maybe half way through the film. And of course once I got it, I put the pieces together and I was back in the film. As I said earlier, I was engulfed in the film. It was that initial set up, which should have been early in the second act, that would have made it just a little more clear of why the bad guys were trying to do what they are doing.

First, before going any further, the film starts off introducing the hero Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) as a highly trained Marine and FBI agent who’s in charge of a hostage negotiation that doesn’t go as planned. The suspect sets off a bomb, killing some agents and wounding others. This is the inciting incident that sets the movie in motion. He is rushed to the hospital and meets his future wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) the doctor about to operate on him. Flash-forward several years later, we find Will married with two kids. He has lost his left leg below the knee in that earlier incident. Will now serves as a security consultant where his latest job has taken him and his family – McKenna Grace and Noah Cottrell portray his children – to Hong Kong. His job is to analyze the safety of The Pearl – a self-contained city, stretching higher into the sky within the building. It’s the design of billionaire Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han)

Of course, the audience does discover Will is being set up somehow as his former team member, Ben (Pablo Schreiber) who was also injured in the blast from the beginning of the film, receives a text message indicating he is in some way working with the bad guys.

Roland Moller plays Kores Botha, who leads his team of evil henchmen into the bulding with highly flammable chemicals to set the place on fire. Will’s wife and kids were not supposed to be there, but they have returned unexpectedly because they actually live in one of the residential units in a building that is not supposed to open yet? I guess they get to stay there because Will is the security consultant.

That’s of course the moment that Johnson springs into action to save his family. This propels the movie into the second act. In the wildly imaginative, thrilling action sequences that follow, Will uses his military training (and his prosthetic leg) in creative ways in order to get to his family and stop the evildoers.

The film moved along at a decent pace for the 102-minute runtime. The effects were believable, which added to the excitement and thrills. However, they weren’t extraordinary. It did sort of feel like Die Hard in the sense it took place in a tall building as he was trying to get to his family and bring them to safety. Something to note, though, is that Johnson, while a decent action star, didn’t quite seem to fit here. Something just felt out of place with his role. That being said, most of the leading characters (good guys and bad guys) didn’t seem to have much in character development. There wasn’t much there to make you really feel for the characters.

In all, the film did have action and effects and it kept me in just enough to be entertained for a little while, but not enough to make it remarkable.

Dinosaurs, greed are back in ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’

Rating 3/5

It is almost inconceivable that this makes the fifth installment in this dinosaur franchise about scientists sort of playing god and the greedy businessmen who are in it to make a quick buck. But alas, here we are. I know it’s been a little while with this review as I am trying to catch up on a few films. But I will offer some type of reflection for the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it or needs to revisit the film for any reason.

In 1993, Steven Spielberg directed a screenplay by Michael Crichton, which was based on Crichton’s book, Jurassic Park. The film boasted with amazement and wonder, and delighted audiences worldwide. There seemed to be something special and magical with that film. Obviously there was, because it spawned two sequels and now a “rebooted” franchise. The third installment, Jurassic Park III (released in 2001) appeared mediocre at best. Fourteen years later, Jurassic World was released. For some reason, I really enjoyed that film. I thought it brought back some of the original magic back from the first film. However, one thing that I did have reservations about was how many times do we have to see scientists playing with an incredible force of nature, like dinosaur DNA, to create not only replicas of actual dinosaurs, but also genetically create new species?

That question was answered earlier this year with the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. As a film, it was adequate in bringing action, a little suspense, and excitement to audiences. But again, the premise was essentially the same.

The film, directed by J.A. Bayona from a script penned by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, postulates the island where the original park was is in danger of becoming ravaged by a soon-to-be erupting volcano. The question is asked, should they be saved? Jeff Goldblum returns as Dr. Ian Malcolm. He sits before a congressional committee to give his thoughts on that question. He ultimately tells the committee to let nature take its course. And of course there are people on both sides of the issue. Bryce Dallas Howard once again portrays Claire Dearing, who is running a save-the-dinosaurs nonprofit, and is frustrated by congressional inaction. Part of the story involves a supposed safe-haven for the dinosaurs, but the men behind that have ulterior motives. They negotiate a way for Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to accompany in order to help retrieve “Blue,” the raptor trained by Owen in Jurassic World. Rounding out the cast as major players are Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Toby Jones, Daniella Pineda, Ted Levine, and BD Wong.

The action and story moved along at a reasonable pace. There was plenty of dialogue and action to keep me in the film. And of course as in any of these films in this franchise, there has to be a part where everything seems all unicorns and rainbows until some idiot makes a wrong move and releases some ferocious dinosaurs.

The performances were nothing extraordinary, but the actors brought the characters to life with believable action and motivation. They played well off their surroundings and special effects. And speaking of special effects, they were virtually flawless. I mean that in a way where nothing really seemed to appear fake or unbelievable.

Bottom line – this movie was geared to be a sort of summer blockbuster. It had an estimated budget of $170 million. It has garnered a total of $384,164,925 in the United States as of July 22, and a cumulative worldwide total of more than $1 billion as of July 19. These stats are according to http://www.imdb.com. The film used the familiar conventions that have worked in the past. And for me, they seemed to work just fine. Some may not care for that (and I usually don’t), but it worked for me here.

Not another Star Wars Story in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’

Rating 3/5

Famed director Ron Howard took over the director’s chair to bring us another adventure in the Star Wars universe. This time bringing a script, penned by Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan, to life with beloved characters and introducing some new ones.

I am sure by now most people have seen the film (or at least those who wanted to see the film), but it still might be a little tricky to write this review. And not because it’s been a couple of months since its release – and I’m just getting around to write it – but it’s a film that had its ups and downs and a little difficult to formulate a “why?” to this film.

On the forefront, it seemed a bit unnecessary. However, it was still fun to see a little younger Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) as he befriends his trusty future co-pilot, Chewbacca (Joonas Su0tamo), and we witness how the relationship develops. The film also gives a glimpse of how the “friendship” began with fellow smuggler Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover).

Aside from that, Solo: A Star Wars Story isn’t bad. It’s not great, either. It had some spirited fun and adequate performances, some humor, and a few surprising bits thrown in. It appears that most fans, or theatergoers for that matter, were not particularly interested with this outing from Disney. Considering it had a estimated $3 million budget and only received under $85 million in its opening weekend solidified the notion the film was not necessarily needed. As of July 19, the film grossed $212,174,307 in the US and $385,185,465 worldwide. That doesn’t seem like much from a film of such a honored franchise.

It appears the film was made more or less as a fan service with some of the aforementioned bits to make it just exciting enough to watch, but not enough to necessarily care about the film as a whole. I did enjoy the film, but it didn’t have enough to make me say, “Wow, I really haven’t seen that before.”

Other names like Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Paul Bettany lend their talents to the franchise. And even as talented as some of those names are, it didn’t really seem to add much more to the film. On the whole, the performances were not bad and they each brought something to the character, but they weren’t anything spectacular. Even Ehrenreich’s Han didn’t seem to live up to the established character played by Harrison Ford.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a film in which someone decided to do and thought it would be a good idea, but no one stopped to think if it should be made. With the film’s highs and lows in production to its somewhat mediocre outing at the box office, this film didn’t do much for me as part of the whole space saga, but on its own it was a quiet, tolerable surprise.

 

 

Theater educator brings faith, scripture to acting in book

Setting the stage for this post is rather simple. I was beginning my second year of graduate school at, what it was called at the time, Central Missouri State University, in Warrensburg, MO. Along came a new instructor for the theater department….

BACKGROUND…
John Wilson has been an instructor of theater at the University of Central Missouri (formerly known as Central Missouri State University) in Warrensburg, MO, for nearly 20 years.
He began in the fall of 2000, and in 2015 he became chair of what has now expanded to become the Department of Theatre and Dance at the university.
Before coming to the “little ‘ol town of the ‘Burg,” Wilson was an adjunct instructor at Colorado Christian University from 1997-1998. He directed two shows, Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing, while teaching a few classes. “I taught a playwriting class, motivational drama – which studied a lot of motivational speeches in all genres of dramatic literature – and I taught a movement class.” he said.
He did this all while he was still working in a grocery story. “I was just starting to get experience where I could,” Wilson said. “But I was also professionally auditioning and got my equity card through the regional premiere of ‘Visiting Mr. Green‘ by Jeff Barron.”
He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in performance from Arizona State University in 1990. In the early 90s, he attended the National Theatre Conservatory in Colorado, obtaining a Master of Fine Arts in performance in 1993.
The purpose of this post, really, is to highlight Wilson’s book. You see, a few years ago he published his first book that took several years to create the idea, formulate that idea, and time to write the book – The Actor As Fire and Cloud.

THE GERMINATION OF AN IDEA…
In all his years as an educator and theater artist, Wilson was contemplating an idea. This idea was bringing Christian values and faith to the secular life. “It really happened ever since the enlightenment,” he began. “We get this idea you can have your sacred life and then there’s your public life. You can believe whatever you want, just keep it out of my business. Then this growing, silent agreement for the past 300 years that we don’t bring that sacred into certain professions and into certain work places.”
So the idea began forming more than 10 years ago, since about 2005-2006. He said it started as conversation pieces for trips and things with his wife, Jill, but then didn’t really get around to it until 2013. “So in 2013 I would have been in my 14th year of teaching,” Wilson said. “I could look back and realize I got a number of believing students come through the program and ask me all sorts of questions – ‘As a Christian, how do you feel about swear words?’ ‘As a Christian, how do you feel about sex as a topic in a scene?’ There’s a chapter where I kind of cover that. And it came from all those questions that I was fielding for quite a long time from students.”
Therefore, he contemplated further. His thinking – “I am a Christian, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” He thought God has given him gifts and talents, so there must be a way to bring these things together, faith and craft. “I think God purposes us and equips us to do everything that we do. So part of it was looking for connections,” he said. “Being able to go into God’s word and try and find connecting dots and ligaments that help me make connections between faith and acting.”

Businessman looking at faith door

But there was also another connection that had to do with his wife. Through their previous conversations, there was a time when Jill was in graduate school and her professors were having difficulty finding any kind of a textbook that dealt with those two items. “It just didn’t exist. They would be like read this book that’s kind of about this and then just try and translate it the best that you can. Or maybe read this article or what have you,” he said.
Then the real thought process and imagination spurred about writing this type of book about acting. He realized there wasn’t really anything on the market, so through conversations with his wife more ideas and thoughts stirred. Wilson said his wife was really the inspiration for the idea. “We bounced a lot of ideas off of each other,” he said. “I started writing when I was on sabbatical. I got through a show and some commercial work and then it was spring break in the educational calendar and I was like ‘I’m off until August.'”

IN THE BEGINNING…
So he set out to start writing. However, he has never written a book before. The process is somewhat similar to writing a thesis or other educational piece of writing. But with a book, it’s a little more grander in scale as far as content. “I think the writing process is similar. It’s just a matter of volume,” he said. “How much you’re writing when you write a book as opposed to a thesis or a paper. I felt the process was similar to how I would go about writing anything academic. I just needed to be really well organized about it. I needed to collect a lot of my resources. But I don’t think my approach was necessarily different than any other academic writing I’ve done. There’s just so much more to do.”

09-10-17-daring-faith-six-phases-god-uses-to-grow-your-faith

The idea for writing a book like this needed to actually be in the book. So eventually that material became the first chapter, he said. He set out to work and there would be short days of about eight hours, and his long days would be about 12 hours. He would explore the Bible and then work on a draft, completing a chapter, and then a lot of “prayerful consideration” and other reading as to what the next chapter would be.
“I wrote the majority of it in six weeks,” Wilson said. “And then I spent two years going back and revising, editing and fine tuning and expanding and adding. And it felt really inspired, like it poured out of me. That’s a lot of material to write in six weeks. I was easily done before the spring semester was over. I started in March and was done before commencement.”
As any writer could probably tell you, it’s a process.
But then the more difficult part came in the writing project, editing. Editing is also a process. And as they say writers don’t write, they rewrite. It’s true in a sense. “I had to go back and think about structure and vocabulary and train of thought,” he said. “I worked with one of Jill’s friends, whom I never met.”
Miranda Dunning was attending the same school his wife, Jill, was attending. She was in the MFA program for performance. Dunning was also a lawyer, according to Wilson. She does a lot with law but is also an editor. So Wilson asked her to come on board because she had writing skills and was an MFA actor. So it was a “great, phenomenal, serendipitous opportunity” to send the manuscript to her.
He said they only had phone and email correspondence through the editing process. But it still worked for them. He felt he had something with her when, regardless of any grammatical errors, etc., she would write back and say “conceptually this chapter is kind of blowing my mind.” Sometimes she would say, on the concept level, “I get what you’re saying but I think you could make it clearer,” he said. “So she would be really honest and challenge me.”
He not only brought scripture and faith into this book, he also intertwined his own experiences or Jill’s experience into it as well. Additionally, he included different plays he read. “I kind of felt like my career as an actor and educator just kind of prepared me for this moment,” Wilson said. “I could have been inspired to write this book in 2000. And I would have no clue what the heck I would be writing about. In fact, I think that’s why it took me so long. I think I wrote it at the right time. I don’t think I was the actor or educator or the Christian back in 2005 or 2006 to write this book.”

THE FINAL STEP…
The final step was to get a publisher. That, for Wilson, also became somewhat of an obstacle. He contemplated self-publishing or going the traditional route. He said if self-publishing would have been more affordable at the time, he would have done that just to get the book out there and complete the project. And by a year or so later, there just didn’t seem to be anyone interested in the book.
Finally, after some thoughtful prayer and consideration, an answer emerged. “I happened to come across a Christian writing conference at Wheaton College, outside of Chicago,” Wilson said. “I thought I got to do this. I got to meet people who know what they’re doing. I need to network. I need to figure this out. I hadn’t spent a lot of money at this point, so I went. I made an investment. That was the game changer.”
He was able to meet several writers and the conference was being hosted by publishers. He signed up for two half-hour pitch sessions. One session was with Bold Vision Books, not quite as big as the other one, but still a good one. “They were both really interested,” he said. “But Bold Vision, at the time, wanted to start developing a new brand and that would focus on the arts. They would do art, music and include theater and they started with this book to launch this new brand,” he said. “I didn’t hear back from them until September or October of 2014. And then we spend another several months editing and then it came out in April or May 2015. Almost two years to the month that I had finished the first draft.”
He was happy and pleased the project was complete. He had much support from his wife and others, but the most important help came from somewhere else. “It was all the Lord,” he began. “I don’t even know where I even started. What I even Googled out of my desperation. But when I found Christian writing conferences, I thought that’s the answer.” With that, he knew that was it. All of the time in prayer and peaceful thought resulted in this discovery. “I felt like once I committed to doing something, then I think the Lord really brought me to it. It made perfect sense. Obviously I found the right one,” Wilson said.

FINAL THOUGHTS…
His final thoughts on the project still remain with God. It was such an important part of this whole process for him. “No matter the subject. When your main resource is the bible, then you’re in it every day,” he said. “I found that to be all I needed.”
He spent considerable time in the Bible to connect faith and craft because faith is connected to God’s word. “God was really telling me something in whatever passage or chapter I was reading. Like that was really a tough psalm, or that was a Proverb that pierces.”
Of course, he said there were also some favorite authors, apologists, and theologians he would read to become inspired through the process.
What’s next for Wilson? Of course he’ll continue being an educator.
As for writing… well he might look to another type of challenge.
“I’m still inspired by playwrights today. Probably the next thing I’ll write is a play,” he said.

Leaner-challenges
There’s also an option of creating a second edition from his notes if that opportunity presents itself. “But playwriting and screenwriting are phenomenally more difficult than a book. Coming up with the plot, character, and story is difficult and to me, that’s the next great challenge.”

Renewed Spirit

A couple of weeks ago at my church (of which I have been getting involved with again), there was a mission. It was a three night series and was designed to get back in touch with God. It was a great experience and was led by Fr. Ron Hoye, a Vincentian priest of the Congregation of the Mission. They are based in St. Louis and conduct missions across the country. The Catholic church I attend brought him to lead the mission. And in presenting this post I am not in any way establishing one way to look at things or one thing to believe. If you have differing beliefs or thoughts, that is fine. I am just presenting my thoughts, my beliefs. This, by all accounts, is my journey.

Background
Let me preface this by telling a bit more of myself. I was born and raised Catholic and always have had a belief in God, but not because it was what I was taught, it’s what I believed. But I guess it is, sort of, in a way because of what I was taught. But anyhoo, I always kept that belief and I’ve always had my faith.

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I carried that faith with me through my youth, through college, and then adulthood. There have been periods where I have felt I “lost my way,” and was looking for ways to get back in touch with my faith. I went back and forth like this in my early college years, and then in 1995 I transferred to the University of Central Missouri (then Central Missouri State University) in Warrensburg to finish my undergraduate college work, and eventually my masters.
I was able to get back in my faith by going on a retreat about mid-way through the first semester. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I never experienced anything like it before. I attended several of these retreats as staff to help others maybe gain an awesome experience as I did on my first retreat. For a while I stayed true. After college, I went back and forth for several years with my faith and attending mass when I finally stopped again for about another seven years.

Leaner-challenges

This year has been a year of changes for me. I moved out, away from my marriage (4.5 years at that point) and slowly began to find myself again. I have been attending weekly mass again and have changed jobs. I am much happier now than I was during the last half of my marriage. When this mission was announced, I decided to attend.

The Mission
The mission was entertaining, informative, spiritual, and uplifting. It brought me back on the path toward God and having a relationship with Jesus. That’s what the mission was about, developing and maintaining that personal relationship with Jesus.
Fr. Hoye was wonderful as he presented stories about personal experiences that challenged and strengthened his faith. He was personable to his audience and brought a recurring theme to mind when I attended those retreats in college. That theme was “Let go, let God.” Believe that in God, all things are possible.

The Main Thing
Something he did during the three days he spent here was at the end of the first night. He brought along several notepads of sticky notes. He told us to write three things down that we’re thankful or grateful for from the day before going to bed. Then, upon waking up in the morning take the note off and stick on the bathroom mirror (or some place where it would be accessible). Additionally, he said it has to be three different things each time. We can’t double up. It would be for about 25 days, because that is how many sheets of paper were possible in the notepad.
The exercise becomes more difficult to do as each day passes. I am a little more than half way through. It really makes you think and does put your priorities in perspective. In doing this, it also puts my faith in check. It keeps me on the path to do all I can to maintain that personal relationship with Jesus, despite what life brings my way. Even though I may get busy with work or other life issues (as has happened since the mission), I still stay true in my continuing journey with God.
One more thing about Fr. Hoye. He has written a book called “Awake.” It is intended for those who would like to grow more closer to God and have that more personal relationship. The book contains short stories and reflections on faith and following Christ. It is an enlightening and spiritual addition on the journey with Jesus.
For more information on parish missions, visit http://www.parishmissions.org.

Relationship Lost

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, I ended the first (and longest) relationship I have had. I’ve had friends get married, divorce, remarry, and so on. I’ve seen and heard of friends, family, and other people stay together for 10, 20, 30 or more years. So in light of my recent divorce, I thought I would share some thoughts about my relationship, and relationships in general.
I will start with a little bit of background.
Honestly, I have only had a few dates in college and some after, but it never really went anywhere beyond a first date (don’t ask me why).
Several years ago, (a little over 15 years) I moved back to Marshall from Warrensburg, where I went to finish college after transferring from State Fair Community College in Sedalia. I had jobs here and there and then began working at the Habilitation Center here in Marshall, and worked there for six and half years. During the course of my employment, I began a “relationship” with a coworker and only lasted a couple of months or so. We went out a few times. We spent some time together. Then all of sudden she just stopped talking to me. When we were together, the communication wasn’t there anymore. I don’t know what happened. Then, one night we made plans for me to come over to her place and spend some time together. I went and no one was home. Come to find out she went out with some other friends without saying a word to me, and she didn’t even invite me after I found out. So apparently that was that.
A couple of years later I begin another “relationship” at the Hab Center. That lasted just a few weeks. We spent some time together and enjoyed each other’s company, but didn’t want to rush into anything “serious.” So it was casual. We didn’t want to “label” it. But, apparently at one point we discovered that we just weren’t in the same “place.” We went our separate ways and that was that.
I came to the conclusion that relationships at the Hab Center just didn’t work out.
At least for me.
However, a couple of years later (end of summer 2009), I added a friend on my Facebook. I knew her in high school. We had a few classes together over the years and graduated together. As we commented and made posts on each other’s page, I found out she worked at the Hab Center (and has been there for quite some time). She worked in a different unit than I, but we carried on getting to know each other again and sharing high school experiences and memories.
After her divorce, we decided to step up our relationship, and that I would move in with her and her three children from previous marriages. Shortly after, we were talking about marriage and spending the rest of our lives together. So, one day I finally popped the question. We were married about a year and a half later. At this point, I was her third marriage and this was my first. We started off pretty good by spending time together, talking, doing family things with the children, vacations, and so on. She was telling me how much she loved me and posting messages and little “lovey-dovey” memes to my Facebook page. It was all good.
Then nearly two years into the marriage, our communication broke down, she didn’t seem that into me (although she did tell me from time to time she still loved me), we didn’t do a lot things together anymore, and she excluded from things. She spent more and more time away from me. So I got to a point where I didn’t know how to talk to her anymore. The more time she spent away from me, the more I spent time away from her. And the distance grew. At least for me.
This went on for a while, and I was going back and forth if I should leave or stay. Ultimately, I decided to leave. I thought the only way I could do this is if I just did it quick like a band-aid. I know I probably could have handled it differently (and should have), but at the time that’s all I could do. It was causing me stress and I had to look out for me too.

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Bottom line was I think we were just too different. So I guess my relationships, which began at the Hab Center, didn’t work out for me.
I knew those differences we had going in, and I could get past them at first. But when the distance between us grew for me, those differences seemed to get amplified and I just could not go on. She apparently still wanted this relationship and still seemed to love me, but her actions were not telling me that. So I moved out.

When+and+Why+Relationships+EndSince I have left, I found myself again. I think the marriage (especially the last couple of years or so) really boxed me in. I became withdrawn in myself. With the help of some coworkers from my last job, I broke free from the shell I was in and became more myself. I could tell a difference a few weeks after I moved out. And there is a huge difference in the way I feel now as opposed to the way I felt then.
After taking time contemplating divorce, I finally filed and received the judgement of divorce. I want her to be happy. I just don’t think I could do that anymore and still be able to be truly happy myself.
And I don’t want to sound like I’m jealous or upset, (maybe a little frustrated), but if it weren’t for the fact that all the things she was doing with me when we were first together, she is doing with him. Posting pictures, etc. on Facebook, giving him compliments, and so on and so on. Maybe if she still seemed that interested in me, we might still be together. But who knows.
I just want to say I’m happy for her. If she is truly happy, and has moved on, that is great. More power to her. I moved on too, a few months after I moved out.
In writing this, I also wanted to explore a little about what makes a good marriage. Or what are the essential “ingredients” for a happy, healthy marriage. You might hear advice from many people and so-called experts, but it is just sifting through everything and applying what you can to your situation or marriage.
The following information is from an article by Jeffrey Drew, Sonya Britt, and Sandra Huston in “Examining the Relationship Between Financial Issues and Divorce.”

6 Keys to a Good Marriage
Worship and Pray together

  • To begin with, this was a big difference. She was Wiccan and I am Catholic. A lot of people asked how that would work. Well it seemed fine at first. We didn’t impose each other’s religion on one another, so it seemed to work. I think it became more like a “what’s hers is hers and mine is mine” type of thing. (Which I also think became one of the big problems in the marriage). We didn’t really grow spiritually or have a strong faith foundation upon which to share.

Communicate

  • As I said, communication began to falter. The more she stopped really communicating with me and excluding me from things, the more I distanced myself from her. As the distance grew, the less I felt a part of the marriage.

Leave and Cleave

  • This has to do with establishing your own home as a married couple, but not forgetting your parents. I think, on the whole, we did that. We still visited or did things with her mom because she lives in Marshall. My parents live in Texas. We still visited them in the summer a couple of times, and all in all, we remained close with them. But our home seemed to be more HER home. I emphasize her because it seemed like she would make all the decisions for the family and it didn’t seem like my input was valuable or necessarily needed.

Date Your Spouse

  • This is something we did kind of frequently early on in the relationship, but then nearly two years into the marriage we sort of stopped. And the few times we did go out together, there was a silence between us. At least I felt it. And if she was fine with not spending time together, not doing things together, not really communicating, then that’s on her. But that’s not how I view a happy, healthy marriage. And like I said, I didn’t really know how to talk to her anymore about these issues, so they were never discussed.

Budget

  • This was a big issue. And it really became an even bigger issue as time went on. I go back to the “what’s hers is hers and mine is mine” mentality. That’s how she wanted to view our money and finances. I was fine with this at first. But towards that midway point again it really started to become an issue with me. I tried to talk to her about creating a budget and going through our expenses, but she didn’t seem to want to talk about it so I left it alone again. She still wanted to do these fun things with her kids like go to concerts, or spending what seemed like hundreds of dollars on the kids every Christmas and every birthday, and such, and then complain about not having any money. But again, I left it alone because I didn’t feel I could talk to her about the issue.

Compliment

  • She used to do this in the beginning for me. I would return the gesture. But like everything else, she stopped doing it or didn’t do it as much. Sometimes it appeared a little forced to me. And as the distance grew, the more I became withdrawn and unhappy so I didn’t necessarily want to compliment her, although, at times I tried.

There are other tips and advice for a successful marriage to be found. Books, articles, blogs, neighbors, family and friends are all sources in which you can get information and advice from, whether voluntarily or not. This was just a small list I found through a newsletter from a local church I thought to be appropriate and accurate in this instance.
And maybe they don’t work for everyone. And this is probably not a complete list, so don’t just think that this is all it takes. There is love and commitment, intimacy, patience and a host of other factors for a happy, successful marriage.

Divorce+Divorce+occurs+for+many+reasons,+such+as-
So that is all now. I believe I have rattled on long enough. If your marriage (relationship) is working, then kudos! Keep it up! But if it is failing on any level, and you still have somewhat good communication, talk things through to help save it if you can. But after some work, if it is still not helping the situation, then it may be time to part ways.