February 20th –National Love Your Pet Day

Crosstalk newNational Love Your Pet Day


During the month of February people usually write about love, relationships and matters of the heart. February commemorates a different kind of holiday which still shares the spirit of love. Four legged, furry love that is.

One of my first loves as a child was my Siamese cat Meiling. I shared my entire childhood with Meiling. In fact she lived to be 20 years old, sadly, she passed when I went off to college. We all loved her, she was a little four legged bossy cat who ruled the house. She was so cherished that we commissioned a portrait of her which still hangs on our wall some 30-years later. Meiling was very mouthy. My older brothers were always up to no good and inevitably just as they were trying to sneak out she would start to meow at the top of her lungs. Meiling foiled many escape plans during their teenage years.

Pets were a big part of my life growing up. When I was a kid we always had several dogs and cats scampering about our house. Usually three or four cats and three or more beagles punctuated my childhood with memories of puppies, passing’s and special friendships.

I remember returning from a family vacation to Hawaii and one of our dogs had a litter of puppies. My dad allowed me to name one puppy Bubbles after Don Ho’s song “Tiny Bubbles”. All of his buddies would make fun of him whenever he had to chase down my dog yelling at the top of his lungs, “Bubbles, Bubbles”. After Bubbles, Dad named the dog’s rather boring and macho names such as Prince and Huey to save face.

As the youngest child, I had a special relationship with Meiling. She was a friend when I was a little pesky younger sister and gave me comfort when I was scared or lonely. Cats also can be a great judge of character. Meiling didn’t like one of my girlfriends growing up, later I found out she has stolen several items from me.

As we celebrate, National Love Your Pet Day, think of all the wonderful things your pet does for you on a daily basis. The unconditional love and the cute photo opportunities you can post on Facebook. One of my friends rescued a cat and now he has his own page and following just like Grumpy Cat. If your family doesn’t have a pet, perhaps you might want to consider adopting one at a local shelter. 7.6 million animals are sheltered every year and unfortunately approximately 2.7 million are euthanized. We share our home with two four legged family members. They cheer you up when you have a bad day and are always available to snuggle. Pets are a great source of companionship, they relieve stress and some statistics say they even help you live longer. You have the power to save a life and gain a best friend too.

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and writer and can be reached at jcross@crossnm.com.

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The Dark Side of Social Media

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The Dark Side of Social Media


Has social media become ground zero for hatred causing a viciousness epidemic? Recently I witnessed such depravity; I had to take a step back and wonder if there ought to be Geneva Convention Rules for social media.

Eighty one percent of young adults think online bullying is easier to get away with than bullying in person. Forty three percent said they have been bullied before. I wonder where have our young people learned this snarky behavior? Perhaps the source goes back to their parents.

Many of you may have followed the controversial development project in the works in Jupiter. People seemed to have a great deal to say about the project from both sides. If you ask me the online ranting, taunting and, in some cases, defaming people because they had a difference of opinion, went too far. As I followed along to see what both sides had to say, I noticed a spirit of shaming that can only be characterized as a mob-rule mentality. As soon as a post was made the same four or five people would try to shut the post down with personal attacks, antagonistic rants and badgering comments.

I was curious to see what was behind all this hatred and bitterness. I get the fact that people are very passionate about their beliefs and, when pushed, Americans have always been able to mobilize into action. When I went to see what all the fuss was, I found friendly smiling faces some with lovely portraits of children by their side with interests such as church, saving the animals and other assorted noble causes. There were several rapid fire rounds of emotional exchanges sent out across the social media sphere in a mob-like wave. I returned to some of the repeat offenders profile pages and found they had removed most of their personal information.

How brazen the exchanges became from these bullies cloaked in anonymity living out their lives in The Matrix of social media. One person seemed to attack every post within minutes and even went on to attack any person who disagreed with her position. In one exchange, the post writer tried to comment back and was met with this response, “This is America, I can shame and bully if I want to.” Really!

Not only do we seem to have an epidemic of hatred and bitterness on-line but we are clearly having a famine of kindness and love. The whole exchange was just ugly and left me wondering if social media has amplified the bully on the playground to the point where anonymous personal attacks have become the new weapons of mass destruction. I can only hope this is just a small sliver of reality and not what my America has really turned into. Have a Happy New Year and may we all spread a little more kindness!

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com .

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The Power of Owning Your Choices

The Power of Owning Your Choices

As we cruise into holiday mode, there will be a plethora of choices to make including which gifts to buy, what parties to attend and which family members to visit. For some, the holidays are a joyous time but for others stress can overwhelm you and ruin the season. There may be underlying family struggles or hurt feelings lingering from your past.  There is good news; you hold the power to move forward within you by owning your choices.

I recently watched a segment about a reunion at Alcatraz. Former prisoners and guards from the notorious prison came back for a visit and to share a meal. Admittedly, it was an odd segment but one of the prisoners said something very cathartic which caught my attention. He was talking about his story and how he ended up in Alcatraz. He robbed a bank and was locked up as a result of his crime. During his time in prison, he came to realize that he had chosen Alcatraz. He explained he had made a choice to rob a bank and the choice led him to being captured and then serving time to pay his debt to society, so in essence his own choice put him in Alcatraz. After his release, he never committed another crime again.  He had an awakening and owned up to his choices. The power of owning up to what he did released him. Conversely, another one of the inmates interviewed was now in his 80’s and had only turned his life around five years ago.  He turned away from his decades of crime and a life of wrecked personal relationships to start again.  

Our choices have short-term and long-term effects in our life. There are methods to head off negative choices which start by weighing your decisions carefully. Here are three simple steps to consider;

  • First, intentionally prepare for a decision and avoid impulse decisions. Think about the benefits, downsides and if the choice fits in with your goals and direction. I use this to stop myself from shopping or eating something I don’t need. Would I rather have one more blouse or money in my 40lK for retirement?
  • Second, evaluate the possible outcomes. For evaluating I use the Suzy Welch method described in her book 10.10.10. Consider the ramifications or benefits of your decision today, tomorrow or down the road. In Suzy’s terms, how will your choice affect you in the next 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years? When I think of this in terms of the prisoner example, he was probably living in the 10 minute, 10 month zone but not truly considering how his choices would haunt him for years if he were caught.
  • Finally, follow through and own your choices, don’t rationalize. Sometimes moving forward on some of life’s harder decisions can be difficult. Things such as whether to accept a new job, move across country or start a new venture can create monumental changes in life. Personally, I find emotional decisions to be the most draining. Should you keep a friendship after someone has betrayed you? Are your kids on solid ground?

To help with the decision process you can use a few tools to guide you.

  • Collaboration and asking feedback are a good way to get a 360° perspective.
  • Considering your past experiences and personal knowledge then applying wisdom to create a solid barometer.
  • Listening to your intuition or what I call your internal voice, this can provide invaluable guidance in decision making.

Is there a choice or something you need to let go of this holiday season? Maybe you’re facing a dysfunctional family situation or you need to forgive someone.  Look at your choices with discernment, clarity and from the perspective of will this matter today, tomorrow or next month. Then, move on with confidence. Owning your choices and decisions can be very liberating. Happy Holidays!

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com .

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Day Tripping, Yeah!

 Staycations emerged as a trend a while back and flourished even more when the economy took a dip. When I opened a hotel in Sunny Isles Beach FL some years ago, I was amazed at how many people would come from Weston for a long weekend. Recently, my husband and I decided to do a day trip and overnight at the Eau Palm Beach. Until this brief but wonderful experience I hadn’t truly understood the power of the staying close to home.

Although The Eau Palm Beach is just a short drive from our Jupiter home, it felt like a world away. This little gem is nestled on the south end of Palm Beach which is technically called Manalapan and recently ranked first place in the Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards for resorts in Florida, Atlantic and the Keys. Upon arrival we were greeted by the friendly valet, escorted into the lobby and met with a smiling associate offering champagne. In my opinion, The Eau strikes the perfect balance between authentic service versus intrusive service. We have all been out someplace where you can see people are trying just a little too hard. You take a sip of your ice tea and the server is back with a new glass. Causing you to recalibrate your drink with the appropriate balance of sweetener and lemon when the first glass was perfectly mixed.

As we were escorted to our room we received a briefing from a very informed bellmen. We settled in our room and went to check out the hotel. Luckily for us we were on the club level. We were delighted with the accommodating staff. Phillip who managed the lounge, was a perfect stranger upon check in but felt more like family by the time we left. The lounge offers lunch, snacks, light breakfast food, afternoon & evening wine and cocktails. On the way out you can even grab some retro-candy from a glass sphere filled with Lemon Heads and Hot Balls.

As the afternoon was lingering on we hit the pool for a refreshing dip. Just as we scouted out a couple of chairs in the shade, a pool attendant arrived offered towels and drink options. Again, the perfect balance of just in time service without being overwhelming. Heck yeah, we will take some towels and a frozen drink!

After a dip, we took a walk along the beach. In Manalapan, the beach tends to come and go with seasonal erosion. Walking south you barely see anyone along a stretch of private beach dotted with shells and an occasional jelly fish haphazardly washed up on shore. We cut our walk short so as to enjoy the Eau Spa experience.

The Eau Spa is as unique as the hotel and recently won Forbes Five Star spa rating. Once inside this little sanctuary you quickly see why. From the hanging swings in the common area to the wishing fountain the experiences is divinely decadent and pampering. There are cupcakes, rubber ducky mascots, flowing champagne and steam showers. We booked a couples massage and were treated to a stress busting rub complete with personalized aromatherapy scents, music to our liking and comfortable massage beds which inclined slightly upward upon our back flip providing immediate relief for our nasal passages.

Somehow all this activity had tuckered us out. Maybe it was the long drive, the stress of packing and travelling or the hustle and bustle of getting there. Oh wait, another benefit of the staycation: there is no hustle and bustle! We retired for a nap and then headed to dinner.

The Island of Palm Beach has many choices for shopping, eating and drinking. During our stay we dined at the hotel restaurant Angle for dinner. The food was great and one of their evening specials was a stuffed squash blossom. Yummy. The vibe was friendly and fine all rolled into one. We chatted it up a bit with the folks at the table next to us only to learn they were locals too. They come to Angle on a frequent basis and the waiter knew them by name. There goes the reputation of hotel restaurants and the myth of being overly priced with dull food. Angle exceeded my expectation on many levels.

The next morning we were going to stay for brunch but all this delicious food made us want to get moving. We enjoyed a lavish breakfast display in Temple Orange and hit the road refreshed and raving about the whole staycation experience.

I did enjoy a run through some of the most high-end consignment shops in the country. Be sure to try the Church Mouse and Goodwill on the Island. The stores are loaded with designer clothes, some even have the original tags on them and have never been worn. I picked up a pair of Burberry Sandals for twenty dollars. Score!

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or http://www.crossnm.dev.php56-30.ord1-1.websitetestlink.com

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What Keeps You Up At Night?

“What keeps you up at night”, is a question I usually ask when I work with clients to ascertain what part of their business is the most worrisome. The answers can be very insightful and range from IT issues, to security, to how to remain relevant. In my case, the question started with an obvious answer. The clue, it has four legs, a big mouth and breath smelling of tuna. Unfortunately, my brain kicked into overdrive and ignited a series of thoughts leading to a rather fitful night of sleep.   

The biggest culprit for my latest sleepless night was my Furbaby. Furbabies are the newest addition to Urban Dictionary and refer to over spoiled, pampered pets with fur. As I laid awake listening to the scampering and racing about that occurs around 3 AM with my two Burmese Cats, I thought of a million things I needed to follow up on. We all have those kind of nights don’t we? Those creeping thoughts that won’t let you rest as they crawl around in your half-awake brain. Random but just provocative enough to keep you from dropping into the abyss of sleep that lies just on the other side of those crazy ideas darting to and fro in your mind. On this particular night, Rosie the Riveter and Uncle Sam had wedged an idea in my head. Don’t ask!

So I began, 99, 98, 97, all the way down with a singular focus of mindlessness and nothingness to zero. Maybe this time sleep will come. My eyes and appendices feel heavy signaling their need for rest. Then a yowl and a thump from the other side of the door. I begin again, 99, 98, and 97. As the alarm blares signaling 7:30 all is quiet, I stretch and yawn then lumber out of bed to hit the snooze. The lists start again, to-do, to-call and to-follow up, all registering in my mind. I head to the kitchen for a boost from my best friend, coffee, the ever ready companion, ally of the sleepless night steams through the fog in my head as the hot molten liquid washes down my gullet and soon all is well again.

For those of you with pets, I think you will agree the companionship outweighs the antics most of time.  I look to the corner of my bed and see two cats huddled and curled up in a conjoined circular ball, sound asleep and gently snoring. I resist the urge to pinch them and brew another cup of coffee while I get ready for what lies ahead.

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and writer and can be reached at jcross@crossnm.com.

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Marketing Your Business Should Not Be Considered Optional

Every day I see local businesses come and go within a matter of months. In the shopping center near our house there have been at least a dozen or more restaurants. They buy equipment, expensive ovens, furniture and complete interior design work totaling thousands of dollars in capital and operational costs in preparation for opening.

The big day comes, they open, put up a banner and some signage and within a matter of months they are out of business. Could it be a bad location? Are the rents too high? Were there just not enough traffic generators? Was it the wrong concept? In one case, I can confirm that the concept was flawed. It was a seafood restaurant that specialized in cold water fish from the Great Lakes.  I have to admit I scratched my head about that one. Some looked like they had a good shot at success; there was an Italian place, a pizza joint, an Asian restaurant and a steak house.

What is the common denominator that prevented these businesses from surviving and thriving? No-one can be certain but if I had to take a guess, I would say they were undercapitalized and did not have a marketing budget or plan in place for long-term success. I actually approached a couple of these businesses to see if I might lend my marketing expertise. Unfortunately, I was too late as they indicated they didn’t need help or had no money for such frivolous efforts.

Here is a new flash, having a marketing strategy and budget is equally as important as investing in the right equipment to make or serve your product. For a business to succeed, marketing is not an optional or frivolous expense. Contrary to belief, if you build it, they don’t always come!

Here are a few start-up tips for new businesses. There are three important phases that lay a foundation for success:

  • Pre opening lasting 3-4 weeks prior to opening
  • Grand-opening lasting 1-2 week period
  • Post-opening lasting 4 weeks

During the pre-opening phase, start to line up all your property level marketing tools, have your web site and social media pages set up. Write your press releases and outline a PR strategy. Prepare your media list by identifying; business editors, local editors, food editors and human interest columnists.

Identify 25 key prospects within a 10 mile radius, map out the locations and contact specifics.

During the grand opening phase, have your display signage and advertising in place, host a neighborhood open-house, use social media to invite key followers, organize a civic breakfast or lunch event for your Chamber or Rotary, align yourself with guest ambassadors to expand your reach and take some goodies to local radio stations and businesses.

The post opening period is the time to have a cohesive marketing plan in writing and ready to execute. Normally businesses experience a honeymoon period during the first few weeks of opening. After the initial jump in sales most business experience a “drop off” which can be disastrous especially if it coincides with off season in Florida.  

A six month marketing plan can virtually eliminate a “drop off” and set your business up with a solid foundation for success. The broad objectives should be centered on

  • In-house zone marketing
  • Driving new trial and frequency
  • Building a solid database and following
  • Establishing customer loyalty

Operating a small business in today’s economy is challenging. With start-up costs associated with opening a business some owners are tapped out. As a business owner, you should consider marketing a cost of doing business and a path to guarantee your long-term success.  If you factor 2-3% of gross revenue toward a marketing budget you will be on your way to success. The question is, can you really afford not to market your business?

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com

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In Honor of Women Everywhere – Happy Mother

As we cruise into May, we celebrate Mother’s Day.  We refer to my mom, now 83, as the bionic women. In the last decade, she has had both her knees and hips replaced.  Throughout it all,  including a  misdiagnosis and severe pain she carried on, did the laundry, cleaned the house and kept on moving.


I often feel women have been underestimated throughout history. We all know about such trailblazers as;  Amelia Earhart, Margaret Thatcher and Mother Theresa but what about the millions of silent mothers and wives who work tirelessly behind the scenes for their families. This year, two of my dear friends were diagnosed with cancer. These women are warriors, bravely fighting every day. As I speak with their husbands and children I feel their pain as they try to give comfort to those who have comforted them over the years. You suddenly realize how hard it is to be the rock to the one’s who have always been your rock. It’s like Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ” A woman is like a tea bag, you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”


My mother not only made our house a home, she instilled values and was an advocate for our education when my father didn’t feel it was necessary. I recently watched a touching interview about Raymond Floyd’s career during the Masters Championship. A great deal of the focus was about his late wife, Maria Floyd and her impact on his life.  He spoke about how strong she was and how she would challenge him when his game needed improvement. On one such occasion he recalled a heated fight with his wife while they were driving to a tournament that resulted in the car being pulled over. A good women should push and challenge her husband to face things he may not want to face. I recall many fights in my own house when my Mom would come up against my Father’s ego and you never knew who would win. She would always advise us to, “Pick our battles wisely.”


There has been a lot of talk lately about putting a woman on our currency. The three final candidates to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill are, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt Harriet Tubman and Wilma Mankiller.  I can’t help but wonder, what has taken so long? It’s about time women get some recognition for their contributions, maybe we should be on the $100 note instead.


Women are the unsung heroes, they teach us how to nurture and take care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. Mother’s teach us how to give comfort, to be accepting when all hope is lost and to love ourselves when no one else possibly could. As we get older, we never outgrow the need for someone to hug us, tell us how special we are and let us know tomorrow is a new day.


As we celebrate Mom’s Day, spend some quality time with your Mother or other strong women in your life. Like many of you my Mom doesn’t need any more trinkets, but she did ask if I could come home and spend some time with her. How many more Mother’s Days will I get to enjoy that treasure?  

Happy Mother’s Day!


Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or on Facebook or Twitter at jcrosstalk. 

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No More Grousing


I stumbled across a new movement taking hold on the Internet. Check out this link to learn more about the specifics: Complaint Restraint Project. The initiative was established by Thierry Blancpain and Pieter Pelgrims,  to create a more positive life by eliminating negative statements for 30-days.

“There’s no secret sauce,” the website says. “Simply stop complaining.”

Unfortunately misery just loves company doesn’t it?

I thought I would give it a whirl, so I enlisted some of my inner circle for a team style project. My sister said it sounded interesting but she couldn’t commit to starting until after the 19th of month. Huh? Can it really be that difficult to stop grousing?

Fast Company picked up the battalion and even wrote a post that lists ways to make not complaining a realistic goal: 

Start by defining what a complaint is:

Turns out there is a difference between an observation and a complaint. Maybe I just tend to be very observant in my daily life. Especially when I notice coffee dribbled on the floor or laundry piled up. Perhaps people in my house just aren’t as observant as I am. Is that possible? Or did I just slip back into complaining? Seriously, a complaint brings about a negative undertone and makes the energy drain out of you.

Track how often you complain and what about:

This opens the mindfulness cavern and really gets your brain tuned into how habitually you fall into a pattern of complaining. One morning while watching the news I had 5 slips in a matter of minutes. Yikes, turn the television off, light candle and tune into some spa music.

Don’t engage:

Skip grousing fests and avoid friends who tend to over-grouse.  If you have to attend a meeting or event, try to stay on the fringe or add something positive. Just last week, I opened my mouth to say something and a certain person pounced on me like Tigger in Pooh. The rant of expletives, and “that is the stupidest thing I ever heard,” followed. Ouch!

Use the “but-positive” technique:

We all know this little trick helps you turn a negative into a positive. Another way to phrase things is by turning a “but” into a “get.”  Try turning, I have to pick up the dry cleaning, into, I get to pick up the dry cleaning, which happens to be right across the street from my favorite store. I have to go up north in the middle of a storm… but I get to spend time with my parents.

Just remember, ridding yourself of negativity takes work. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip. Slips happen, just keep trying to find the rainbow in the midst of the storm. I am working on taking the challenge one day at a time. Won’t you join me?


Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com

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Lean In or Bend and Flow?

Could Life’s Perfect Formula Be Mirrored By Trees? 

The wind picked up during my morning walk and I noticed a sudden shift in the air. As I looked around I could see the palm trees swaying and bowing as the wind slapped at their branches. The mighty oaks seemed to lean in deliberately taunting the wind as it challenged their aged sturdy canopy. Living in Florida we often see heavy winds, hurricanes and an occasional tornado. After the storms pass the debris can be seen for miles. Isn’t this just an analogy for our life? We hit a rough patch, a Tsunami of sorts, we get hurt, broken and the debris of our lives spreads out for months and sometimes decades.  

Is it better to be like a palm tree or an oak?  Turns out a palm tree is more like a flowering plant, a monocot. The center is made up of cells, a watery flexible sheath like substance which allows for nearly a 90 degree bend. At the base is a root ball system that teeters and tauter’s with pliable roots that rebuild after a storm.  The oak on the other hand is a dicot, a heavily rooted hardwood, which grows massive roots and elaborate canopy systems providing shade and light to pass through similar to an umbrella. I love Oaks, they are confident and respected, but I am not sure I want to be like one when the storms of life hit.

Growing up I would have sworn that the sturdier and tougher you were the better chances you had to weather the storms. As they say, the older you get the more you know. There are powerful forces and seasons in life that require flexibility rather than rigidity. In some cases you must bend or you will break under the pressure. The palm tree’s greatest strength lies in their ability to be pliable when storms come and to regrow and rebuild when they pass. The oak can dig deep, cling on and grow to a massive girth, yet if pushed too hard the tree will uproot and fall.

The winds of change are ever present and my first inclination is always to lean in, pull from my roots and hold steadfast. But life has a way of teaching us lessons and sometimes we learn by toppling over leaving a wake of mass destruction with an empty hole left for weeds to fill. I will never forget one poignant message a friend of mine shared after her husband had passed away. Her biggest regret was that she spent her time scurrying around researching, trying to solve the problem and getting multiple opinions for the cancer that was eating away at her husband. In the end, she had wished she had just been still, sat with him and honored the time they had left together.

When the storms of life hit you, I think the perfect formula may be to rely on your roots, turn to God for comfort and gracefully sway, bow and dance so you can be the thing left standing when the sun shines again.

Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and writer and can be reached at jcross@crossnm.com.

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Everlasting Love



The month of February always symbolizes love. We all have read the statistics about divorce rates and I am sure many of you have experienced heartache and may be part of the statistics. I am certainly no expert on how to keep love alive but as we near our 10 year anniversary there are certain things I know for sure have contributed to our happy marriage.


One of my first love lessons occurred during a season of loss. Just before our wedding and a day before my birthday, my husband to be, lost his father after a long battle with Leukemia. It was a sad time for everyone. I wanted to comfort my husband and during that process learned a profound truth that we still rely upon to this day. We are in this relationship together, we have each other’s back and working as a team is better than going it alone. Difficulties either drive you apart or bind you together. One of the most prolific pieces of advice we received before we were married centered on our vows. A dear friend said, “You know there will always be a worse, a poorer and a sicker.” As an optimist I really had not thought of the opposite side to better, richer, and healthier until that poignant reminder.


During our engagement, I wrote a love letter to my husband recounting all the things I loved about him. My husband did the same, we still have the letters and the list we created with simple adjectives that described our most cherished qualities.  Once a year, we review our lists which helps us both remember why we fell in love. This reflection exercise takes us back to the beginning and softens our hearts toward one another. Bitterness struggles to exist when there is no fertile ground.  Love and compliments are lethal weapons to deploy against anger.


Right after we married, we signed up for a couple’s weekend. Over the course of the weekend we learned a great deal about each other and how to manage conflict lovingly. The Weekend To Remember conference provided us with tools that we keep in our arsenal and use when needed. One of the biggest Ah Ha moments for me was pertaining to self-centeredness. They talked about how so many people underestimate selfishness and how it can destroy your relationship. Selfishness leads to a critical spirit, which leads to disappointment, bitterness and finally isolation. One way to counteract going down the rabbit hole is to concentrate on your spouse’s positive traits. Once you shift your focus off your spouse and on to yourself, you can often catch bitterness before takes over. When you start to become critical of your spouse, inevitably there is something within you that needs to change. Turning the microscope of perfectionism and cynicism inward creates a shift in understanding differences along with a commitment to resolve them in a mature way.  


There is no secret formula or magic pill that creates everlasting love. If you opened my husband’s wallet today, you would find a tattered and torn piece of paper that contains his handwritten heart felt, wedding vows. Here is an excerpt, “I devote myself to creating a marriage of affection, love, laughter, encouragement and understanding.” Those are not just empty words, staying in love requires a great deal of work and commitment. We plan to stay the course.


As we approach Valentine’s Day, think about one small thing you can do to compliment your partner and breathe new life and love into your relationship.


Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and freelance writer and may be reached at jcross@crossnm.com or www.crossnm.com


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