If you’ve read the introductory post for this week’s ‘He Says, She Says‘ post, you’ll know that our topic this week is about how Marcia and I keep our relationship vital and alive. Marcia and I first met on a snowy hillside on February 19, 1993, and we were friends for almost two years before we decided that wasn’t going to work out! There was obviously something more for us to discover about ourselves and each other, and it was as if the Universe was gently pushing each of us toward the other – although personally I blame the old Grandmother oak tree who encircled us in her branches and wouldn’t let us go.
As it’s Friday, March 26 as I write this post (although you don’t get to read it until Sunday), we’ve been a couple for 15 years, 4 months and 8 days, and today is our 89th Monthaversary of being married. The last fifteen and more years have been quite an interesting ride for us, and I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it. That’s not to say it’s always been easy. Anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship knows only too well that there can be times of growth, of disagreement, of struggle. ‘Ann Landers‘ once wrote out a list she called “Twelve Rules for a Happy Marriage”:
TWELVE RULES FOR A HAPPY MARRIAGE*
Never both be angry at once.
Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire.
Yield to the wishes of the other as an exercise in self discipline, if you can’t think of a better reason.
If you have a choice between making yourself or your mate look good – choose your mate.
If you feel you must criticize, do so lovingly.
Never bring up a mistake of the past.
- Neglect the whole world rather than each other.
Never let the day end without saying at least one complimentary thing to your life partner.
Never meet without an affectionate greeting.
When you’ve made a mistake, talk it out and ask for forgiveness.
Remember, it takes two to make an argument. The one who is wrong is the one who will be doing most of the talking.
Never go to bed mad.
* Loving relationship between two people.
Those seem to me to be good rules to follow.
Funny, in thinking about what we do to keep the flame of our love alive, it seems like a million different little things. We hold hands when we walk – even after fifteen years of holding hands together. We like each other’s company. We value each other’s opinion – even when we disagree! We laugh. We cook together, and we do the dishes together. When Marcia and I first got together I told her the kitchen was mine and she told me I was welcome to it. Still, she’s an excellent cook too. We dance, making up our own music when needed. In public too. When we were first together, we were in the Ikea store and ‘Unchained Melody‘ by the Righteous Brothers came over the sound system so we danced together in the living room showroom, watched over by a woman with a loving smile. We have sock fights, with balled up socks. Our house plants love it. I read to her. Right now we’re taking a trip around the Meditteranean together with Frances Mayes’ book ‘A Year in the World‘. Sometimes I let her win. Sometimes she lets me win. Neither one of us admits to it. We go to bed together almost every night, and if one of us has to turn in early, the other will stay there until the first one falls asleep. We snuggle. Yes, all you men out there, I am a self-avowed snuggler. And proud of it! We mark our monthaversaries each month, but we celebrate every day. On days we’re going to be apart we write love notes to each other. We have a box of multi-coloured papers for this exclusive purpose. We keep all of these notes, too, although Marcia is better at organizing hers than I am. We get together in the dream time and travel the world together. Sometimes beyond the world. We walk. She reads me her poetry. I show her my photographs. We make each other coffee, and tea. We compliment each other. We complement each other, too. I make origami animals for children and she gives them out. She is the light in my eyes, and I’m the light in hers. We go off on spontaneous picnics. We light candles. I buy her flowers. Sometimes she buys me flowers too. We give each other foot rubs and back massages. We feel triumph in each other’s joys and we share each other’s losses too. We listen. We’re proud of our ‘family’. We have three grandchildren. We also have 281 ‘kids’ – stuffed animals and the like, and they all have names and their own personalities. We try, but don’t remember all of their birthdays. Every night when we get into bed we thank each other for that day. We each see the other as beautiful. We say ‘I love you’ a lot. We also say, ‘You love me!’, and concur.
All of these things, and a seemingly infinite variety of more, all fit into the loose heading of ‘Us’, and what we each do for Us. Being Us is sometimes work, but always a joy. It’s a full-time job, and not a 9-5 job either. Still, it’s work we love to do, because all we do is celebrate who we are and who we are becoming. We feed each other, literally and figuratively. We’re there for each other, every day. We show up every morning, awake from the night’s dreams, and we begin to love each other all over again. Our love isn’t exclusive, either. It pours out of us and becomes a light that others can see too. We get smiles from others as we sit beside each other on the bus or walk down the street. People who come to our home, wherever we may be (and we’ve had 22 homes, individually and together since we first became a couple. So far, anyway) immediately feel at home. They become enveloped in our warmth, and in our love. It’s a gift we freely share.
And that’s a part of what makes ‘Us’ special. We’re unique, but we’re not alone. There are thousands and millions of others who are, in their own ways willing to give what they have and willing to take what their partners have to offer – those who are willing to be called a ‘jackass’. And that’s a very good thing.
Follow this link to read Marcia’s View.