Learning to fight better, accept more, appreciate daily and stay in love with my husband

I’m Moving!

This is just a note to let you know that mostlikelytomarry.wordpress.com has moved to http://married-and-naked.com/

I have a new name and a new look, but it is the same old me.  Same blog, same writing, same topics about lessons that I have learned (thru my own experiences) about how to keep a marriage strong and lasting.

To those of you who have been kind enough to subscribe to the MostLikelytoMarry feed, I hope you will continue to join me on Married-and-Naked.com where I will continue to share bare lessons in love and marriage and where I look forward to hearing from you and your own experiences in marriage.

In the meantime, make your marriage a priority!

See you soon,

Tammy

Married-and-Naked.com

marriednnaked@gmail.com

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photo from the Connecticut Post, BK Angeletti

I am not a news junkie.  In fact, I avoid the news at all costs.  I have decided that I would rather live my life in blissful ignorance, than fill it with negativity and fear. There are so few positive stories shared these days.

Despite my avoidance of the news, I recently, saw a post on Twitter that had me heading to the Associated Press.  It said, “Meet the Longest Married Couple.” I was hooked.  I couldn’t wait to meet them.

Last month, John and Ann Betar celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary and were declared the US’s Longest Married Couple.  Since then, it seems that other couples have come forth to claim the label for themselves, but that is beyond the point here.

The Twitter feed linked to a video of the couple being interviewed.  I couldn’t wait to hear what kind of insight they had into marriage.  What could I learn from them? The couple sat together on a couch while being interviewed, his hand resting comfortably on her knee.

The first thing I noticed about this remarkable couple, is how young they looked and acted for being people of 101 and 97 years old, respectively.  I hope I can be of such strong mind and body when I am their age, may I even make it to their age.

Listening to this couple talk of their love story, their life and marriage . . . I was so touched.  There was just something about them, so sweet and adorable.  But, there was one thing that was said, that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since.

They were, of course, asked the question that everyone on the planet wants the answer to.  “What is the secret to your marriage?”   Here is what she answered,

“He has always had his hand on my knee.”

So sweet, simple and deeply profound.  As she said it, they both giggled and he quickly removed his hand from her knee laughing, probably not even realizing his hand was there in the first place.  It had become something so natural.

What is the secret to a long marriage?  To her, it seems the answer was connection.  He was always somehow connected to her.  A physical connection.  A simple touch that she could always count on.  Something beyond words.  Something that says, “I’m here.  I love you. You matter. I want you close to me.”

“He has always had his hand on my knee.”

Am I naive enough to think that simple gesture is enough in a marriage? No.   But, I believe there is a very valuable lesson to be learned in that statement.   To me it says, never underestimate the power of connection.  The power of simple gestures that show your spouse love.  A touch that shows contentment and loyalty.  A special gift of love that is reassuring, loving and comfortable.  A touch can often transcend words.  It can say, “I love you” with a simple clasp of a hand, a brush of the cheek, a warm embrace, a squeeze of a knee.

Stay connected.

Don’t take for granted the simple power of a loving hand resting on the knee of your spouse.

Today’s lesson in improving my marriage: Simple gestures of love go a long way.

Here is one of the interviews of them in case you want to meet them too.  Newsday.com

No long post here today.  I just wanted to share an idea that I came across somewhere on Pinterest.  Of course now that I want to share it with you, I can’t find the post again.  But, regardless, this idea was posted from a Mom who did this for her kids.

Everyday, from February 1st to February 14th, she put a new heart on their bedroom door and wrote on it one reason why she loved them.  I thought this was such a sweet idea.  We don’t really have any Valentine’s Day traditions in our house.  Always on the lookout for bringing  tradition to our family, I thought this could be the answer to a new Valentine’s tradition.

But why make it just for the kids?  Hubby needs to hear all of the reasons why I love him too.

So, starting on the first of February, and every day since, I have been adding a  new heart to the wall telling them another reason why I love them.

Cheesy?  Probably.  But really, what more do we have in this world than our love?  And what could be more important that sharing it and making sure that the people who matter the most, know how much you love them.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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That is the title of the book that is currently sitting on my nightstand.

I recently had a small epiphany.  I realized that I talk a lot about my marriage and I spend a lot of time and energy working to make it the best that I can, but I have been missing something. Books!  I had not read one single book on the subject.

Now, I do realize that just because it is written in a book certainly doesn’t mean that it is fact, but there is definitely something to be said about learning what the “experts”, or non-experts for that matter, are saying on the topic.

So I hit the local Barnes and Noble and started my hunt for my first book on “marriage.”  Since I didn’t know what I was looking for, I simply looked for titles that caught my eye.  After a few minutes of searching I came across one that definitely grabbed my attention.  It is titled, “You can be right (or you can be married). ”   Great title and great cover.  I bought it on site without even cracking the cover and, let me say, I am glad that I did.

This is a book written by Dana Adam Shapiro, a man on a mission to find out why his relationships never make it to the Honeymoon. His mission took him on a 4 year journey interviewing people who have been thru divorce in hopes to learn from the errors of their ways and attempt to avoid those mistakes in his own relationships.  What a great concept!

This is a candid and sometimes graphic look into other people’s marriages spoken thru their own words.  He interviewed hundreds of people and put the interviews into this book in a dictation type format.  Because the names are protected thru aliases, the interviews are frank, honest and often no holds bar.

It is fascinating to get a glimpse into the lives of others.  To hear first hand what their secrets might be, what regrets they have, what lessons they have (or sometimes haven’t) learned.

Growing up, we don’t get an education in relationships. There are no classes offered on building healthy relationships in high school. Such a shame since our relationships are the foundation of our lives.  Relationships with parents, friends, co-workers, bosses, spouses….

With regards to love, our lessons come from watching our parents.  Watching their marriage or divorce, paying attention to how they communicate, how they fight or face challenges.  If you were lucky enough to have good role models in that arena, you might be among the few.  Many of us come from ugly divorces or from parents who, maybe, should have gotten a divorce.

When it comes to learning how to develop healthy relationships, many of us are on our own.  It is a process of trial and error.  Sometimes with the same person, sometimes not. What I do realize, though, is that it is incredibly valuable to learn from other people’s experiences.  Whether it be from your parents or complete strangers, we all have so much to learn, but so much to teach as well.

That is what I appreciated about this book.  The ability to learn from someone else’s failed marriage.  What did or didn’t work?  Looking back, what would they have done differently?  What  lessons have they taken with them into their other relationships to avoid the same outcome?

One thing that I found interesting, is the similarities in the lessons that were learned and the underlying themes that rang true in so many of the interviews. Things that so many of the divorcees confessed to being vital to a marriage’s success; respect, communication, acceptance, a healthy sex life, a sense of newness and excitement. Through all of the various stories of failed marriages, so many of the mistakes are similar. So many of the lessons were the same.

If you are looking for an interesting read on how to improve you marriage, this just might be a good pick. Listening to other people’s regrets and mistakes can be the best education of all. Truly!

Today’s lesson in improving my marriage: Learn from others’ successes and (sometimes more valuable) their failures.

Image provided by http://www.123rf.com

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“How to Make a Marriage Last”

That was the title of a small article in the February edition of Redbook magazine.  Of course it caught my eye.  How do you make a marriage last?

This little article was simply a handful of tips from couples that have been together since they were teenagers.  Hubby and I have been together, exclusively, since we were 14 years old.  I couldn’t wait to hear what these other couples, with stories similar to mine, had to offer about the secret of a lasting marriage.

There were two pieces of advice that I really liked that I wanted to share with you.  They are lessons I have learned in my own marriage.

The first was from a couple that had been together since they were 17 years old.  They said, “Prioritize time for yourselves. My husband’s hobby is running and mine is performing stand-up comedy.  We plan vacations around his marathons, and he attends all of my shows.  We love our date nights, but everyone needs something that matters just to them.”

As I am approaching 15 years of marriage, I have come to realize the importance of this in my own marriage.  It is so easy to lose your own identity as you try to please everyone around you, especially your spouse.  In the last couple of years, I have tried to be more supportive of my husband’s hobby of playing basketball.  It is extremely important to him to get a few times a week to go to the gym and hit a pick up game.   He loves it!  Who am I to deny him of time that makes him so happy?   Now, I will often push him out the door.  He deserves time for himself.

I have also discovered my own need for time to do something, all of my own, as well.   It feels so good to do something just for me sometimes.  For the past year, my sister and I have been taking a hip hop class once a week and just recently I signed up for a weekly guitar class.  I love them both so much!  It is time, just for me.  For personal growth that is all my own.

I agree with the couple.  It is vital to have something of your own, that is supported by your spouse and that makes you happy.  You are a part of a couple, but you are still you. . .  an individual.  Do something, just for you!

The other piece of advice that I liked came from a couple who had been together since they were 16.  They said, ” Act like your marriage is a job.  Treat it as if you were climbing the corporate ladder.  Address your challenges, work overtime when needed, and plan meetings to discuss how you’re doing.  It’s the most important gig you’ll ever have.”

I love this, because it is so true.  It seems people work their tails off to be good at their jobs, to get the good review, promotion or raise.  Being successful at marriage, takes the same principles.  It is hard work.  That is the bottom line.   I have realized that if I want my marriage to be awesome, then I have to really work at it.  I have to give it attention, I have to work thru problems and get better. I have to talk about what is or isn’t working so that I know how or what to improve on.  Just as in a job, if you stop working at it, then the promotions and raises stop coming.   Even though it can be exhausting at times, working at my marriage continuously has the most incredible payoff.  It is the best kind of promotion!

Today’s lessons in improving my marriage:   Continue to take time for my self doing things that make me happy and never stop working hard at my marriage.  Thanks Redbook! http://www.redbookmag.com/

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/adwriter/257937032/”>adwriter</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Jingle Bells Kicked My Ass

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Excuse my language, but it is the truth.  The holidays took a definite toll.

Truthfully, I can’t blame the holidays.  I am the one to blame.  I just took on too much.  So much that it took away from the joy that you are supposed to find during the season.

Frankly, I was excited for it to be over. Sad, I know.  And the second that it was I came down with a horrific cold that I am still battling today.   I literally ran myself into the ground and my body was pissed about it.

Why did I do that to myself? Why do we all tend to do that to ourselves?

A large part of it, I have come to realize, is my incessant need to make sure everyone around me is happy.  Even if it makes me miserable.

I am blessed to have two children, but not so blessed to have both of their birthdays fall during the holiday season.  My son is right at Thanksgiving and my daughter is a few days before Christmas.

We always have a party for the kids birthdays. Unfortunately, I am not skilled in hosting small parties.  I always find myself making things bigger than they need to be.

This year I made the mistake at having both of the parties at our house.  Those parties along with hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve as well as hosting friends and family during the holidays, made for a very overwhelmed and unhappy Mama and Wife.

I think I do a good job of holding it together in front of the kids and friends and family.  Unfortunately, that means my husband takes the brunt of my insanity.

It’s kind of an out-of-body experience.  I run through each day trying to tick off the things on my endless to do list, snapping at hubby at every turn, only to crash at the end of the day and start all over with the same madness the next morning.  I couldn’t even sleep well because my head was so full of what I had to accomplish the next day.

Sure, everyone had a really great Christmas, but would it have really made a difference if I had baked one less batch of cookies? Or would it have ruined Christmas if I hadn’t gone to 3 stores to find that extra thing for the stockings?  I’m sure it wouldn’t have.

Luckily, it seems that husband still loves me, or at least he says he does :) Maybe all of that hard work that we put into the marriage the rest of the year paid off.  It allowed us to cut each other some slack when we really needed it.

Today’s lesson in improving my marriage: My New Years resolution in 2013 is to not pack so much in during the holidays this year. My husband deserves better from me.  I deserve better from me.

Picture from http://www.inkity.com

I have to admit that when I imagined being married, when I was a little girl, I didn’t picture myself sitting next to the toilet bowl, with vomit in my hair and my husband standing next to me wondering what to do.  It is not the picture of romance is it? . . . . Or maybe it is.

Of the many health issues that I am prone to, migraines is one of them.  A handful of times a year, I find myself at the mercy of pain that debilitates me, has me bent over the toilet heaving, blinded, thinking I am dying, that there is no way to the other side of the pain.

For those of you who suffer from migraines, I know you understand.  For those of you who don’t, I hope that you never have to know the feeling.

Sadly, I had to spend all of Saturday in bed, in the dark, with a washcloth over my eyes, drugs at my beside, unable to keep anything down, praying every second for the pain to pass.

I literally could think of nothing but the pain.  Nothing but trying to stay as still as possible and stop the hurting.  I didn’t think about my kids or wonder what they were doing.  I didn’t worry about if they had food or if they needed anything.  I physically couldn’t begin to think about anything other than pain.

At about 4 in the afternoon, after the pain had subsided enough for me to open my eyes, it dawned on me that I hadn’t given my kids a thought all day.  More than that, I hadn’t had  to give them a thought.  I was secure in knowing that Daddy was there and they would be taken care of.  I didn’t need to worry about anything.

Then I thought, how lucky I am.  I am so grateful to have this person to share my life with, even when things suck.  How lucky I am to know someone has my back.  That someone is there so share in the endless and exhausting responsibility of parenting.

If I had been a single parent, I am not sure I would have made it thru the day. All I could think was, how do single parents do it?  How unbelievably challenging it must be.  To not even be able to be sick for one day.  God bless all of the single parents out there who have to get thru each day without the support of a spouse.  My hats off to you.  You are saints. You are truly amazing.

Thank God, that I have support of a great Hubby.  One that I don’t have to tell what to do.  He just did it.  Without complaint.  He let me recover in the silence of the room, drove 30 minutes away to get me medicine, and brought me french fries when my stomach had settled.

When I was able to think enough to find gratitude, I thought, this is what marriage is about.  It is about supporting each other when you are at your worst. It is about taking over when the other can’t stand on their own feet.  It is about reassuring that everything will be okay.  It is about saying, “Your Beautiful” when they have vomit in their hair.  Now that is love.  Now that is worth fighting for.

Today’s Lesson In Marriage:  Find gratitude for in my most desperate moments for all that Hubby does to help me through.

photo credit: demandaj via photopin cc

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