Relationship Lessons Learned With Gina Fatato

Posted by in Communication, Lessons Learned

Welcome to the third ever Love and Money Matters Lessons Learned!

This is where we tap into the experience of folks who’ve been in loooong relationships. Think multiple decades. 

Couples who’ve been through more ups and downs than an elevator.

Couples who’ve truly learned how to knit their lives together into something beautiful.

The idea being to learn from those who’ve already gone where we’re headed so we can learn how to make it as couples and have the best relationships possible.

Now, to do this we (my early readers and I) came up with 9 questions designed to dissect and examine the inner workings of a great relationship. We’ve been fortunate enough to get deep answers from Lee Mowatt and some poignant answers from Jac Conlon. (Be sure to check those out if you haven’t already.)

Our third batch of answers is below and we’re in for a real treat!

Introducing Gina Fatato

I’ve known Gina for about 12 years now, but it wasn’t until Andrea and I got engaged that we really became close. Andrea and I both wanted to do some pre-martial counseling and turned to Gina and Nick, her husband of ~33 years, for help. 

Even after decades together, raising 4 children, and moving cross-country a few times they were still visibly and hopelessly in love with each other. We wanted to know what Gina and Nick were doing to make their relationship work and they graciously agreed to teach us all they could. They shared many meals, memories, and lessons with us in the months leading up to our wedding. And for that, Andrea and I are forever grateful. 

During our time together, it became clear Gina had a huge heart for couples and a passion for marriage. Her wit, insight, honesty, and compassion are unmatched. I’m thrilled to introduce you to her!

Nowadays, Gina is a Coach with Clearpoint Coaching helping women navigate new seasons of their lives. Gina is also a certified “Prepare and Enrich” pre-marital counselor available in person (in the Boston area) or via video conference.
If you’d like to meet Gina and maybe work with her, contact her at gfatato@clearpointcoaching.com or ginaef@gmail.com

Please enjoy this peek into an awesome relationship!

What mistake in your relationship have you learned from the most and hope to never repeat?

The mistake that I have learned from the most is that Nick is not me.  He does not have my brain in his head, so, he isn’t going to respond like me or think like me or anticipate things that I believe are necessary like me. 

It was so frustrating at first because I believed that things that were “SO obvious(!)” to me should be to him automatically, also. And I would see it as lack of caring about me on his part instead of just lack of seeing things through my eyes. 

What do you believe now that you did not believe earlier which would have helped you in your relationship?

He is pretty much willing to do anything for me, if I will only ask him.  Make him aware of the need.

In the beginning, I believed if he REALLY loved me, he would be able to anticipate what I needed. This caused so many misunderstandings. 

What’s been harder about your relationship than you expected?

Giving each other the benefit of the doubt. 

In the beginning I would have told you “Of course, I only expect the best from him. If he doesn’t say or do something it is because he CANNOT.” When angry, I found it was more often I believed he just didn’t WANT to do something, not that he COULDN’T  do something.

What’s been easier about your relationship than you expected?

Sex.

After almost 33 years I can tell you it just gets better and better the longer you are together (must be all that practice). It was so wonderful in the beginning so if you had told me after 33 years it would still be good, I wouldn’t have believed you, but it only gets better. 

During the child bearing years it can be YEARS of no fun, so you get to thinking it must be over, but its not!

HANG IN THERE!

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself on your wedding day?

Give yourself and each other room to grow and change. 

The person you married is going to be changed by children. Or by not being able to have children. 

The person you married is going to be changed as their career develops.

The person you married is going to be changed by illness and by aging.

Give them permission to change and be who they need to be as the seasons of life roll by.

When you think about your relationship, what are you most proud of? Why?

Nick and I have worked hard at staying engaged with each other.  Connected.  Even when we didn’t want to. 

We made a commitment to each other at the altar that we would love each other until one of us died and we have kept that commitment. 

We LOOOOOOVE each other. We don’t just tolerate each other. We enjoy being together. We look forward to our dates every week. We try new things. Go to new places together. 

When you think about your relationship, what do you regret the most and why?

I regret that I cannot get the days back that I wasted when I stayed angry.

I regret that I wasn’t quicker to forgive. 

I regret that there were days when I CHOSE to make his life difficult to “punish” him rather than forgive him. 

Those were wasted days because I cannot get them back and those were days we could’ve lived in peace with one another. 

What are your thoughts on keeping things “fresh” over the course of a relationship?

Keep trying new things. 

Nick and I went to a Yoga class this week. 🙂

He didn’t really want to, but we take turns planning our dates.  Last Friday was my turn to plan and I planned for us to go to a Yoga class! He was one of only 3 men in the class, but he went!

We find inexpensive ways of doing things together. We watch the show “Chronicle” on Channel 5 and get ideas on places to go that are near us. They don’t have to cost money. 

The point is to be together, and experience new things/places together.

If you could ask the people reading this to do one thing, what would it be? Why?

Be kind to each other.

We face so many difficult people at work, at the store, on the road…let home be a place where you can count on someone being kind to you. Don’t be harder on your spouse than you are on everyone else. Don’t be less patient with your spouse than you are with everyone else.  Don’t be less polite to your spouse than you are with everyone else. Be kind to one another.

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