That’s What I Like About You

My blog friend G Sandwich wrote a great post the other day about writing.  Sometimes as a journalist she (and every other journalist in the known world) would need to file copy, so they would “milk” an already written article – basically rewrite the story using mainly the same facts.  The other option is to write a “follow-up”.  This is where the majority of the new story is actually new, but just brings up different viewpoints or more info.  Here’s hoping that todays post is a follow-up and not a milk.

Last week I wrote about saying I Love you unconditionally.   My blogging friend Deep As Thought commented that sometimes she would like important people in her life to say, not necessarily I love you (though I think everyone wants that) but “I like you because ….”  That got me thinking.

Growing up, my Mother was very critical.  In 3rd grade, I remember getting a 95 on a test.  I was proud of myself.  I went home and told my Mom.  her response: “Well, if you’d studied harder you would have had a 100.” ( No- my Mother was not nominated for parent of the year that year, or any year since.)  These words from my Mother never got less harsh as time passed, but guess what, my grades got worse.  I stopped studying and doing homework.  How I managed to escape High School with an average somewhere in the B range is a testament to being somehow smart enough to get through a test. What I lacked in actual book knowledge I made up for in an uncanny ability to figure out multiple choice questions.  In my teenage mind, my Mother was not going to appreciate anything I did, so why should I try? No- I hadn’t yet learned the art of doing things for myself.  Again, my Mom was so controlling, I didn’t think having my own thoughts and actions was possible. She did not like who I was. Thanks Mom.

My Mothers words and actions continued to dominate my thoughts and actions.  This lasted for way too long.  I had a long line of mistakes and missteps that can be directly attributed to my weird relationship with her.  Because at the root of everything, my Mother did not like me.  She did not like what I did.  She had comments about my weight, choice in friends, what I wore, what I read, how I spent my free time.  There was little in my life she did not criticize.  As a child and a teenager and young adult, even as a real adult, it did not feel great to think that my Mother didn’t like me.  It sort of zaps your confidence.  Well, not sort of.  It  totally zaps your confidence.  And if you don’t feel confident, then you really can’t succeed at anything,  you really can’t ever be happy.  You walk around with a feeling of not being worthy of anything.  This is not a great path to be on.  It is a dizzying downward spiral.  It is a spiral that is hard to recover from.

All because my Mother never said “I like….”

We all want to be liked, especially by our parents.  Shouldn’t the assumption be that a parent likes their child?  As a Mother, I know I want my daughter to feel loved, liked and appreciated every day.  I make sure I praise her about the things she does well at, give constructive criticism if the situation warrants it, thank her when she does something nice, and tell her I love her.  (Don’t worry- I screw up a lot too- I’m sure one day she will write a blog and tell you all the horrible things I did…)  But I really try.

So here’s your homework assignment.  Really think about why you like all the people in your life.  Think about their positive attributes that draw you to them.  Tell them.  Tell the people in your life why you like them.

Here’s my list:

  1. I like it when my husband takes out dog out for the 10pm walk, because if I’m home I like to be in my pajamas by then.  He knows this is important to me, which is why he does it.
  2. I like it that my daughter comes home and takes care of school work right away.  This makes my life so easy.  I have never had the dreaded homework fight.
  3. I like my best friend S because she is a vault.  I can tell her anything and she will not even share it with her husband.  Everyone needs a friend like that.
  4. I like my friend G because she will always tell you the truth.  Sometimes I need the reality.
  5. I like my friend M because she is completely realistic.  She knows that sometimes life has to be ugly, and she will guide me through the cold hard facts.
  6. I like my friend A because she is truly the funniest, most sarcastic person I;ve ever met.  No matter what the situation, she finds the humor, no matter how dark.  I need this type of person in my life.
  7. I like my friend SF because he is willing to argue with me.  We differ on certain subjects, and he’s never afraid to engage, even though he’s always wrong.
  8. I like my friend M2 because she loves culture.  I need a friend I can go to a museum, concert or whatever with because those experiences are fun to share

I could go on and on and on, but you get the idea.

Tell someone you like them.  It really means a lot.  They will like it.

 

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What Are the Conditions

A few months ago I read a thing on parenting.  The writer said that people shouldn’t tell their children “I love you”, they should tell them “I love the way you drew that picture of an elephant.” or something like that.    The theory was something along the lines of giving them specifics, but honestly, it’s been at least two months and millions of read words ago, so don’t hold me to that.  But it was something along those lines.

And yes, that thing has been in my mind, albeit the back, since I read it.  Yes.  I overthink things.  I know.  Yes.  Sometimes I wish I could shut off the switch that makes me overthink things and question every single sentence and word choice.  But that’s why I blog, so I can express the myriad thoughts that run around my brain every minute of every day.

But anyway.

I don’t think love should be conditional and/or specific.  I think it’s OK to just love someone.

Now, that being said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying to your kid,  “I love the way you get home from school, take a ten minute break, and then start your homework.”  to say to your Husband “I love the way you take the dog out on the last walk of the evening because you know I hate that 10pm walk.”  There is nothing wrong with telling the people you love why you love them. (and conversely, to nicely say, it drives me crazy when you leave wet towels on the bed)

So, here’s my point:  even if my daughter didn’t start her homework early, or my husband didn’t do the late walk, I would still love them.  My love is not conditional upon them doing those tasks.  I am still going to say I love you to them even if they don’t do them.  (though- leave enough wet towels on the bed and I might not say it too often…..)

Do you want to put conditions on love?

Do you want your someone to think that if they stop doing “X” or “Y”, you will not love them anymore?

Do you want people to put conditions on why they love you?

Do you want to constantly worry that if you stop doing something, they won’t love you anymore?

I know I don’t.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you should ever take love for granted.  Or leave wet towels on the bed.  It’s nice to be kind to those in your life, and do things they appreciate.  It’s nice to be thankful of all the little things that they do to make your life easier/better.  But that’s just kindness.  Love and kindness should not be mutually exclusive- they should be present at the same time.

Tell the people you love that you love them.   Just say “I Love You”.   I tell my daughter that every day as she leaves for school.  I want her to hear those words before she starts her day, because sometimes life sucks, and you need to know that someone is in your corner.

Tell them why you love them.  Just because it will make them feel good.

Tell them you love them even thought they leave wet towels on the bed.

The Battle of the Relationships

Sometimes my Husband drives me crazy.  There- I said it.

I think this is the case in many long term, monogamous relationships.  Usually things are great, but there are those moments.  And it’s those moments, the moments when our partners drive us crazy, that determine if a relationship will survive.

Husband and I see very differently on a particular subject.  This has been the case for our entire history together.  He thinks he is right.  I think I am.  Now, the good thing is, the catalyst for this issue doesn’t show up very often- so we don’t often experience the strife related to it.  But, the underlying root is always there.  The seed of discontent is buried deep inside.  It frustrates me that he doesn’t see and appreciate my side, doesn’t back me up, so to speak.  I know he is never going to change his stance, I know he doesn’t have the courage to.  I accept that he will never change. Until he expects me to change.  See, that’s the problem- in my mind, what’s fair is fair.  I’m not changing, he’s not changing- we just have to grit our teeth and bare it.  He doesn’t see it that way- he wants me to change.  Our fights aren’t about the issue directly- they’re about his refusal to accept who I am.

That’s where relationships falter- when one partner can’t accept the true nature of the other.  When one partner wants the other to “change”.  This is a wonderful theory- it’s just not practical or realistic.  People don’t change cause others wish it so- people change when the individual wants to.

So what do two people do?  How do they handle it?

Well, Husband and I argued quite a bit.  We had a “discussion” about the underlying issues.  When two people fight, each person goes in thinking they are 100% right.  When another person starts to poke holes in the theory, well, that’s when things have the ability to get ugly.  That’s another test of a relationship- how do the people involved fight.

My Husband likes to say- “Everyone would agree with me on this.”  First off- don’t ever use that as an argument, because unless you took a poll of everyone, this is just not valid.  There is no way to determine what “everyone” thinks. Secondly, it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks- everyone else is not in the relationship.  The only opinion that matters is of the two people involved.  Also, sometimes you’re wrong- sometimes others will not agree with you because your argument is just not “right”.

You can’t bring up the past.  I’m repeating that.  You can’t bring up past fights or past actions.  When you’re fighting, keep it to the situation.  If you have resentments about past actions, then you need to discuss that separately.  If a past issue is resurfacing, then you have to ask yourself if you are expecting someone to change their behavior.  Because as stated, no one changes because you want them to.  If someone did “M” three months ago, should you be getting mad if they did “M” today?  You can’t make someone change, but you can change your behavior.

Don’t put the blame on something or someone.  This is a cop out.  The chance of an outside factor being to blame is probably slim.  What’s that line, “fault is not in our stars but in ourselves”?  Take responsibility for your actions, and how your actions affect others.  Own your mistakes and miscalculations.  Accept what you did wrong and learn from it.  Try not to blame your partner.  I know this is hard- but once you start blaming people….well…how well can you recover from that?

So- to try to summarize this wandering post:

Fight fair.

Be realistic about the issue you’re fighting about.

Remember the other persons point of view.

Accept your partner as they are.

If you want change, you must be the one to change- don’t expect change of your partner, unless they are 100% on board with changing.

Listen to what your spouse is saying- they just might have a valid point/argument.

Peace!!

 

 

Stop Dragging my Heart Around

So….

I’ve been thinking about love- obviously- I wrote two posts about it last week.  And while there are many positive descriptions and feelings about it, and most people enjoy the feelings associated with it, there are plenty of negative associations.  So today, I’m going to talk about the dark side…..

Unrequited love- when one person loves someone, but the feelings aren’t reciprocated.  I once had a boyfriend.  He told me he loved me (ah swoon) and I responded in kind.  His response back was “Well, I hope so.  That’s how it’s supposed to work.”  He wasn’t being flip, but his feeling was that it’s only love if both sides feel the same way.   He felt that one sided love wasn’t love, but delusion, because love is reflective- you give and you get.  We come to the first question of the day:  is it love if it’s only one sided?

I must admit, I think this old boyfriend was right.  How can you actually love someone who doesn’t feel same way?  Sure – there could be really deep feeling….but is that love, or a crush?  If you’re constantly going above and beyond for someone who might not necessarily be doing the same thing, is it love or obsession? ( I know- we’re now starting to get into the tricky what is love area, but I’m not posting quotes today…..)  Love should be about two people sharing mutual feelings- whatever guise that is.

But at least I’ve answered the cheeseburger dilemma, as the cheeseburger does not love me back, so we can safely say that I am obsessed with cheeseburgers….

Now let’s talk about when love ends….break ups and divorce.  How does love so quickly become so devastatingly nasty?  Well, humans can be pretty crappy to one another- I think we know that.  But how can you treat someone you once loved with so much contempt?  Fighting over objects?  Being overly critical in front of your shared children?  But- I often wonder…..were the two people really in love?  (I know, I know- we’re back to the what is love question again- I can’t help it- it’s a vicious circle)

I got married youngish, and I got divorced.  My ex husband was not a good person.  He did some despicable things.  But in hindsight, I don’t think I ever loved him.  I don’t think he loved me either.  I had all sorts of stupid reasons as to why I married him, which are enough for a 3 volume set, so we’re not going to go down that road today….but suffice to say- it probably wasn’t a love match.  Now, when I actually got married I thought I loved him, but my view of love was a bit skewed, and again, all sorts of emotional baggage at work here.  So next point- if people break up, were they really in love to begin with?

What about cheating?  If you love your partner, why would you have an affair?  Sure, sex is sex- I get that-but  If you have an affair, does that mean you don’t love your partner?

So this sort of brings me to my next point- what if you talk yourself into love?  There are many reasons you might do this: you got pregnant, you want to get pregnant, you want to be married…..for whatever reason- you think that you need love to complete a goal…..Now, you might end up with the baby, or the wedding ring, but are you happy?  Should you talk yourself into “love” because it completes your to do list?

I know there are all sorts of love/ physical-emotional abuse things- but I am not qualified to talk about that.  I do not even come close to understanding the dynamics involved in relationships like this, so that subject is off the table.

So thoughts?  Questions?  What did I miss?

I’m very interested in ideas and questions that I don’t think computers can solve- for now anyway- I’m reading the new Dan Brown and am beginning to think that computers will be able to answer everything-  and RIP Tom Petty…..

Peace and love to all!  Well, maybe love.  Depends on how we define it……

 

What is Love?

The other day I made the mistake of saying that the Millennials killed love…. big mistake.  My favorite Millennial blogger schooled me about this topic- they do love, and believe in love, but….the definition of love has shifted a bit.  It’s logical when you think about it- love is fluid.  Love is undefinable.  Ask 10 people to define love, and you will get 10 different answers.  For example:

  1. John Le Carre- “Love is whatever you can still betray.  Betrayal can only happen if you love.”
  2. Pat Benatar-” Love is a Battlefield”
  3. Andy Williams- “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” (fyi- splendored means brilliant- don’t ever say my blog doesn’t teach you anything)
  4. Shakespeare- “Love is a smoke and is made with fume of sighs”
  5. Ann Landers-“Love is friendship that has caught fire.”
  6. Aristotle- “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
  7. Maya Angelou- “Love is like a virus.  It can happen to anybody at any time.:
  8. Yogi Berra-“Love is the most important thing in the world. but baseball is pretty good too.”
  9. Nietzsche- “Love is blind: friendship closes its eyes.”
  10. Plato- “Love is a serious mental disorder.”

As you can see- we humans have been discussing love for a long time- but who is right?  All of them.  Who is wrong?  None of them.  Because the definition of love resides in the heart and mind of each individual.  Each person brings in their own unique definition of love.

What’s my definition of love?  Damned if I know.  Is it looking forward to talk and spending time with someone?  Yes.  Is it thinking about them when they’re not around?  Yes.  But I think this way about cheeseburgers, so is there something more?

Sexual desire?  Is that love, or lust?  Does it matter?  Sex is sex…..(but at least I don’t think about cheeseburgers lustily, so we’re ok)

Is love wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone?   I think we all start out like this- “I’ll love you forever.”  Now, we know this doesn’t always work out…so does that mean it wasn’t really love?  Can love be temporary?  Is it still love if it only lasts a few years?  Back to cheeseburgers- I have loved cheeseburgers for the majority of my life, and I don’t see the affection waning……….

So basically, all I’ve established today is that I’m in the middle of a lifestyle change and I’m craving a cheeseburger…..

You didn’t think I had the answer to what is love, did you?

I know I have loved.  I know that I love.  I guess, love is allowing your heart to open so much that it can break.  It’s letting someone into the recesses of your soul, even though logic keeps telling you to stop.  Love is letting yourself be vulnerable- trusting someone with your essence, knowing that the other person has the ability to destroy you- but you do it anyway- because love is worth losing yourself.  To love fully is to experience the best and worst parts of life- and live to tell the tale.

So – what’s your definition of love?  remember- there are no wrong answers.

What’s Love got to do……….

There were four of them in the dorm room that day- 3 women and 1 guy.  One of the girls, Z was sort of dating the guy, (this was the eighties which meant they weren’t actually sleeping together)- the other two girls were there because they were bored and it was Saturday and not a party in sight.  Suddenly the door burst open and 3 guys entered, their sense of entitlement showcasing the fact that they were upper classmen.

“Hey A” the blonde one yelled “We heard a rumor that you have actual females in here.”

And he looked at her, and she looked at him and the world stopped for just a second.  She didn’t care that she was sort of, kind of dating A.  She actually forgot about him for a second, because all she knew what that she was completely besotted by this slightly older boy wearing a Hawaiian shirt.  As he was with her.

Do you think the kids of today experience this feeling from swiping right?

You know.  Tinder.  If you don’t know- Tinder is an app that apparently highlights available mates in your vicinity.  You scroll through pictures and swipe right on the promising ones, left on the ones you wouldn’t be caught dead with.  (Honestly, I don’t know if this is how it exactly works, so if anyone has a better description PLEASE chime in.  I really strive for accuracy in my blogs about sex)

So basically, it’s internet shopping.  You place people in your cart, try them on, and if you don’t like them, no harm, no foul, free returns.

But does your heart skip a beat by swiping right?

Millennials and Generation Z (kids born in this century) are certainly more tech savvy than their elders.  They are more gender fluid.  They are passionate and care about causes.  But are they missing out on love?

I guess you can ask- does the youth of today care about love?  Should they care about love?

Or are they just happy with sex?

I remember falling in love.  It was the greatest feeling in the world- I would not trade those memories for anything.  But am I a dinosaur?  Has falling in love become a thing of the past?  Is love going to go the way of eight track tapes and VCR’s?

Think about where kids read about love these days?  The Hunger Games- dystopian.  Divergent- dystopian.  Twilight- weird.  Pretty Little Liars- well, I know there was some murder and some stalking and I think characters hooked up……but you get the idea- are there even love stories for this generation?

So- here’s the question:  Is love over?

Discuss.

Not So Over It

The other day I hijacked responded to a comment on someone else’s blog- because I don’t only give my opinion on my blog, but on other blogs as well.  The post was about how we should choose to be happy, and work towards that- a sentiment I highly endorse.  A reader commented “How do I get over my ex boyfriend” (which really didn’t correspond to the blog, but I felt compelled to butt in)  I responded, “You may never get over your ex.”

You may never get over an ex.

Now- what does this mean?

Some people enter your life, your brain, your soul.  They become a piece of you- their essence is tattooed onto your heart.

Now this is something coming from a non-romantic curmudgeon like me.  First, you find out I believe in love at first sight.   Now I think you might not get over an ex.  Next thing, I’ll be telling you I believe in soul mates……Has the world stopped spinning?

No.  I’m still pretty cynical about all things love.  That was the fault of the horrible first husband.  He sort of crushed my spirit, but he doesn’t remain in my heart, or anyplace else in my life.  And he is not the person I never got over- trust me- I got over the love part with ex-h pretty quickly.  Like while we were still married quickly…..

But now to the pesky person still lodged in my soul.

Cue the harp music……I met a guy in college.  I fell in love- my first love.  I was young and stupid- my Mother had way too much control over me.  You know how people ask, if you could have a redo in life, when would that be?  I don’t believe in do-overs, I think everything happens for a reason and makes you the person you are.  Every single action in my life led me to my daughter.   I’m more than OK with my life- it’s pretty damn good.  But- if you pressed me- I would tell you that I would like to take another stab at 1984- Big Brother or not….

Some people make a lasting impression.  I have looked for the qualities I loved about this person in every man I dated.  If someone liked Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I would go out with them.  This made for a lot of interesting experiences, but I was never able to replicate that feeling I had with “B”.  And the missing piece of my heart remained lost.

So what do you do?  What did I do?

I just got on with my life.  I dated, had sex, married a crappy guy, divorced, remarried, had a kid.  I worked, worked harder, got promoted, had a career.  I played tennis, met some new friends, went to movies….I got on with my life.  I continue to have a full and rich life- good times and bad.  Because I couldn’t wallow around in misery forever.  I didn’t want to be sitting in a dusty house wearing  a wedding dress- I had great expectations……And I filled them.

However, 30 years later, I have never filled that little hole in my heart.  And while I don’t think about him every day, sometimes, he creeps into my thoughts.  And for a second, I smile.  And maybe I smile because I remember being young, or because life was simpler then.  Maybe it’s because there is something special about first love.  Or maybe it’s because some people are just meant to take a little piece of your heart.  Fade out- cue the Janis Joplin……..

 

Change: A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there lived a Princess.  This Princess had lived her life fairly effortlessly, but she had some self esteem issues.  She didn’t realize that she was basically a decent person, so she was always trying to prove her worth.  She always tried to be nice to people and went out of her way to help others, but not out of a sense of altruism, but because she felt she needed to, so people would like her.  She did not feel worthy on the inside- she was looking for validation from external sources.

One day the Princess met a Court Jester.  He was not a nice person.  Most people did not like him.  He was smart, but arrogant.  He was attractive, but did not take care of himself.  He was quiet, but not shy.  He thought everyone around him were his inferiors. He drank way too much.  He did way too many drugs.  Of course, the Princess thought this would be an excellent project.

The Princess saw all the bad qualities that the Jester possessed.  But she kept thinking, if only he would change, he could be a great person.  He has all the positive attributes one needs in the world, he just needs to change.  And she kept thinking – he just needs to change, and she was the one person in the world that could make this possible.

And the Kingdom laughed.  Because the Kingdom knew that people don’t change just because the Princess wants them to.

But the Princess kept on dating him.  And married him.  And she kept trying to change him.  She made sure his clothes were always clean.  She made sure he had grooming necessities.  But he did not care.  He still left his beautiful clothes in a pile on the floor.  He still let his hair get unfashionably long.

She told him he needed to stop drinking.  She would pour bottles of alcohol down the sink.  He just bought more.  With her money.  He laughed at her and told her she was useless.  But she still tried.  Because if he would only stop drinking, he would have a great life.  Couldn’t he see that she was going to make a great life for them?

She ignored the sight of him drunk on the toilet, sleeping against the wall.  She ignored the cigarette burns on the floor of the den.  Because he was going to change.  Because she wanted him to change.

What the poor, sheltered Princess didn’t realize was that people don’t change if they don’t want to.  She didn’t realize that the change has to come from within one’s self, that the jester was never going to change because she wanted him to.  She didn’t realize how sad she had become.

The Princess had money.  She had a nice car.   She had made a pretty apartment and had beautiful clothes.  The Princess had all the things she had ever wanted.  She didn’t understand why she was so sad- because she had everything.

One night, a fairy godmother appeared in her dreams.  (Another version says that it was a pea under the mattress, but we’re sticking with fairy godmother.)  FG told the Princess that she needed to change.  Yes- the Princess needed to change her thoughts and actions, because the Jester was NEVER going to change his.  The Princess didn’t deserve to be sad and unhappy all the time.   The Princess felt conflicted at first- to leave the marriage would be to admit failure- she had failed to make the Jester into a Prince.  She had wasted so much time and energy on this person…..Was leaving her only option?  Was walking out the door the only thing that would make the Princess happy again?

Yes.  The Princess realized that yes, leaving was the only possible solution.  The Princess had to pack her pretty car with her pretty clothes and her cat, and the Princess had to flea the dungeon that she had been living in.  She unlocked the chains that kept her shackled to this farce of a marriage, and walked across the drawbridge to a different kingdom.

And she lived happily ever after.

 

Pre-Marital Counseling: Renovation

I am sort of obsessed with HGTV.  I an awed by the creativity and thought process of the design professionals.  They are able to see a vision in their head, and then make that idea come to life.  I am also intrigued by the interpersonal dynamic of the couples purchasing a home.  I like to see how they interact, compromise, and get through difficult situations.  Because of this,  I feel that pre-marriage counseling should be in the form of a home show.

It would start with the host/real estate agent giving the engaged couple some fake money in order to purchase a house.  The catch is- they give them 10% less than what houses can be purchased for in their desired neighborhood that match their exact criteria.   We then move on to Stage 1- short answers.

Step 1:What type of house does the couple want?  If they’re both  craftsman, they can move on to step 2.  If not:  Can a sleek contemporary marry a cozy Victorian?  Will she go crazy when he uses her doily as a dust rag?  Will he go crazy when his marble console table is overrun with frog statues?  Can a two story colonial be content with a ranch?

Step 2 Closet space.  Has one partner already claimed the master closet?  Has the other partner commented more than once about the number of shoes owned?

Step 3 Open concept.  How does partner A react when B says…”I know this looks like its a load bearing wall, but just imagine if this wall didn’t exist.  Look how open it would be!  How much could it cost to take down this wall?”

Step 4 The backyard.  Partner A says “How hard could it be to maintain a five acre, sloping yard?  Look how much room for entertaining.”  What does B think about mowing a hill?  And entertaining large crowds?

Step 5 Color.  “OMG look at that gorgeous shade of yellow in the living room!  I’ve always dreamt about living in a room that looks like the sun” says A.  B, dressed in black, thinks what?

So now the couple has completed the first stage of pre-marital counseling.  If they still want to get married, we move them onto Stage 2- the practical exam.

Step 1 Begin by making the couple share a single vanity bathroom for a week.  Frankly, if they can survive sharing a sink , they can face any obstacle life throws at them.

Step 2 Then let them renovate the bathroom together.  Have them remove toilet and trail toilet excess throughout house.  Have one partner accidentally break tub, the only thing they were keeping from the bathroom.  Let them miscalculate how much tile they need, and after laying it down, let them realize they are lacking tiles to complete job.  Then tell them tiles are now backordered for 8 weeks.

Step 3 Let them hire a contractor to fix kitchen.  Have contractor work for a week, enough time to take everything out, then have contractor not come back for two weeks.

This would be the end of stage two.  If the couple survived this, they are lucky enough to make it to Stage 3-timed reading.

Purchase five items of assemble yourself furniture, including a bookshelf that must be secured to a wall.  Leave them in middle of floor. Place instructions in front of them.  Give them one hour to complete.  Use of internet or phone a friend not allowed.

I firmly believe this form of pre-marital counseling would help you decide if your partner is indeed your soul mate.  If you could make it through this, you can survive anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love is Easy- Marriage is Hard

Today is my anniversary.  Sixteen years ago the husband and I stood under a flower strewn gazebo in a non-descript hotel in Vegas and exchanged vows.  And what a ride it has been.  This is not my first rodeo- I was previously married- but that obviously didn’t end well, so here’s some things I have garnered from my life experiences.  These are totally my opinions – not researched or scientific by any means.  And this is really not advice- it’s my thought and musings on the subject of marriage.

1) All marriage’s are different.  Do not judge anyone else’s union.  (To be clear, I am not talking about marriages that are marred by any kind of abuse- that is a subject I am not qualified, nor wish, to discuss) Every marriage is made up of two distinct individuals- how they choose to merge the two halves is entirely their business.  Do not judge. Do not give unsolicited advice.

2) Remember- you are married to an individual before all else.  Yes- there are always outside influences, but make sure you consider what is best for you and your spouse. (My friends Mother has been hinting that she wants to move in with my friend and her husband.  She loves her Mother, but knows there is no way her 28 year marriage could survive that)

3) When making decisions, compromise is always a good path to follow.  But sometimes, one person has to have their choice, even is their partner doesn’t entirely agree.  If no one ever gets exactly what they want, both people are going to be continually dissatisfied.  How do you think your life plays out if you feel like you compromised on every decision?

4) Choose your battles.  Is it really worth arguing about a duvet cover?  Stick to the things that are truly important to you.

5) It’s OK to go to bed angry.  Yes- I said it.  All fights can’t be fixed with an 11pm deadline.  Sometimes you need to think about something.  Sometimes you need to cool off.

6) Life is not tit for tat.  Things are not always fair.  I don’t mean that each half shouldn’t pull their weight in a relationship. Both partners must assume responsibility for all aspects are their lives- but sometimes one person has to take the lead.  If you’re tallying up hours worked, how strong is your relationship anyway?  Is that how you want to spend your time- “Hey- you only unloaded the dishwasher twice last week.  You owe me 1 1/2 unloads.

7) If you’re angry, consider taking a time out.  Five minutes in the corner could stop you from saying things you will regret the moment they come out.

8) Being a parent is stressful and hard.  Having children will not save a marriage in trouble.

9) Money is nice, and one needs it for basic survival- but just because you have money doesn’t insure happiness or a successful marriage.  It will insure a long and complicated divorce though.

10) Don’t compare your spouse to anyone else.  Ever.

11) In-laws.  I could write a book.  They are harder and more stressful than children.

As to my anniversary, the Husband and I will be going out to dinner.  Not something fancy- we will be getting cheeseburgers at a place I’ve wanted to try.  I think cheeseburgers are the best thing ever invented, and my goal is to try as many as possible over the course of my life.  This is romantic to me.  This  is special.  To me and the husband.  Others would disagree.

We will not be exchanging gifts.  I don’t need jewelry or an expensive trinket to mark the day.  I would rather allocate the funds to experiences- things that we can do throughout the year.  Instead of a pricey piece of jewelry, I would rather go to the theater, or take a couples cooking class, or do something that creates a memory.  Memories are more important to me.

It’s nice to highlight a special day.  But you need to create other special days in your married life.  Since our last anniversary, I remember our trying Sri Lankan food for the first time, and loving it.  I remember concert and plays.    Painting class and wine tasting.  Backgammon games and dart games.  Walks around Manhattan looking for wave sculptures.  Staring at sunsets.  And all sorts of other things.  Because being married means trying to make every day count- giving it your all.  Because being married takes work.  Because loving someone is easy- but living with them every single day, taking the good and the bad is hard.  And anything worthwhile is hard.