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

Posts tagged ‘marry’

Meet the Longest Married Couple

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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

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Many Ways to Say “I Love You”

Valentines idea for spouse. One heart everyday from Feb 1st to Feb 14th

A post shared by Married And Naked | Tammy (@marriednnaked) on

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!

You Can Be Right (or you can be married)

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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

Vomit In My Hair, Love In My Heart

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

My Pity Party In the Closet

Lately I have been standing center stage with the spotlight blinding me at my own pity party. There are only two people on the invite list, myself and my husband.  And my husband wishes he could just ignore the invite all together.  It is embarrassing to say, but it is true.

I am not sure what is up.  I just think that sometimes the stars align just right. They align in perfect order so that I can look at them and find everything wrong with the world.  Just in line to turn a normally positive and optimistic girl into a pessimistic stranger.

That is me.  The unrecognizable girl, laying in her husband’s lap in the closet, bawling for no real apparent reason, unable to pick herself up off the floor.

The stress of a bad business decision, unknown finances, an excess 10lbs that wasn’t there last year,  the undeniable stress of work and parenthood.  Stacking on top of each other all at once and, WHAM!  The once strong and happy woman of yesterday is the dark cloud of today.

I know that regardless of my list of excuses, sitting in the closet checking off all that is wrong is ridiculous.  In my moments of clarity I know that.   I know that I am quite capable of getting up off of the floor, dusting the carpet lint of my clothes and wiping the mascara smudges off my face.   In the heat of the moment though, I need to be reminded.

In comes husband, who provides his clothes as a snot rag, his lap as a pillow and his hands to move the hair out of my face.  Soothing and listening. Reminding me that I am better than this.

When I said, “I don’t know what to do.”  He replied, “Just start with what you do know.”   That simple statement stuck.  Start with what I know.

What did I know?  I knew I needed to get up off the floor.  I knew I needed a little time to myself and I knew I needed to move my body some so that I could start to feel good again.  That is all I knew, but it was enough.

I am still short-tempered and falling into tears easier than usual, but everyday is a new day.  I set new exercise goals, ones simple enough to do with minimal effort.  I cut some pages out of a magazine for inspiration and posted them on my closet wall where I can see them everyday.  I asked my husband to take over with children a couple of nights a week, so I can have some peace to think, I started writing in my daily accountability journal again.  Little steps that move me in the right direction.

Through all of this, there is one thing that I found easy gratitude for.  My marriage.  I am so grateful that husband and I have spent so much energy strengthening our marriage.  What would happen if our marriage was rocky on top of all of the stress that my meltdown has put on us?  It could be disastrous.

But, all of the work we have done has helped prepare us for times like these.  It has given us a real foundation that keeps us balanced when it feels everything else is going to crumble.  That foundation boosts me.  It gives me hope.  It reminds me that I have done something right. . . . .  A strong, loving, supportive, forgiving marriage.  That definitely has to count for something right?

Today’s lesson in improving my marriage:  Keep up the hard work.  It will pay off in ways you can’t imagine

photo credit: Evil Erin via photopin cc

I Have A Crush!

photo by freedigitalphotos.net

I recently read an article in October edition of Redbook Magazine titled, ” Get Ready to Crush on your Husband.”  The title sold me.  I was in!

It talked about things that you can do to revisit that spark that you felt for your spouse in the beginning.  It made me think back to our beginning and reminisce about the things that started my crush in the first place.  Granted, when my crush started I was going thru puberty, but regardless there were certain things that made my heart race.

I remember, way back then, being crazy about his hugs.  My husband gives great hugs.  They are not half-assed hugs.  They are both arms wrapped around, body close, head tucked close to mine, tight squeeze kind of hugs.  They used to make my knees go weak.

I remember crushing on him because of his sense of humor.  He was always silly.  He knew how to bring a lightness to a room.  He was always joking.  He would do things that would make me shrink with embarrassment and laugh at the same time.

I remember having a crush because of his energy.  My husband is the kind of guy that can walk into a room and people look.  He draws people to him.  He always has.  He can bring a power and buzz to a room and make it shine brighter without even trying.

I definitely had a crush over his looks.  He was a hottie, at least in my eyes, way back in our Freshman year in high school. I remember thinking, Wow!  How did a guy like him, pick a girl like me?   I felt so  lucky.

What happens is, thru the years, you lose sight of all of those things that made you have a crush on the man to begin with. Not only that, but many of the things that you used to find attractive, now can be completely ignored or can make you absolutely crazy.

How often to I pay attention to his hugs?  Do find his silliness attractive?  Do I laugh at what I used to find adorably funny.  Do I notice when he walks into the room?

The article talks about how even after so many years together, you can still get that feeling of butterflies at strange and unexpected moments.  The point is, when that happens,  make sure you pay attention.

Since reading the article, I have thought a lot about the whole crush thing.  I realized that I get this feeling all of the time these days. It can be from taking in a good deep breath of how good he smells, to watching him on the floor playing with our son, to taking in a certain way he looks at me with his incredible blue eyes, or watching him walk toward me across a room with his goofy little grin.

It seems that the key to keeping the butterflies is to not only notice the moments he makes my heart beat a little faster, but to make sure I don’t let it pass without acting on it, or at the very least sharing my feeling with hubby.  He should know that he can still make me feel like a teenager with crush.

Just after I read the article, my husband went to run an errand.  He took the Jeep.  The Jeep is our favorite car.  In the summer, he takes the top and the doors off of it.  I was watching thru the window as he hopped in.   He put on his shades, turned up the music and sped out of the driveway.   All I could think was, “Damn, that Jeep looks good on him.”  He looked so sexy driving away in that car.  He looked young and free and so hot! And, I made sure to tell him so when he got back.

Today’s Lesson In Improving My Marriage: Yeah, I still got it!  I still have a crush on my husband. The key is to continue to work to keep it that way.

I am curious, what makes you crush on your spouse?

photo by freedigitalphotos.net

Hit The Road, Jack!

As promised here are some things that I have learned from the many family trips we have taken. Maybe you will find a little tidbit useful to incorporate in your upcoming family travels.

– Save ahead of time for the trip. It is great to have money that you have already put aside for vacation. We stash a little bit here and there every year so that by the time vacation rolls around we have what we need to do what we want to do. It would to have sucked to have traveled to Galveston, but not have had the funds to play on the pier. Even if you don’t have a lot of money for travel you can take a road trip closer to home. You don’t have to travel 4500 miles to reconnect with your family and get time away.

– Planning ahead is best. Some of the biggest arguments husband and I have had on vacation have been over which hotel to stay at. I just want a clean bed and shower he wants it to be the cheapest bed in town (clean or not). I say, come to an agreement on where to stay before you leave and book the rooms early. There is nothing worse than looking for a place to rest your head when you are tired and hungry. It just sets you up for arguments.

– Learn about your destination ahead of time. Is it expensive? Will you have to pay for parking everywhere you go? How far is it from other places you may want to visit? What is the weather like? I feel it is best to know these things ahead of time. It would be awful to find out you have to spend $25 a day in parking when you get there and realize you didn’t budget for that.

– Bring lots of activities for the kids. For road trips and long airplane rides you need distractions. It doesn’t have to be continuous, but something to help pass the time is very helpful. This year I brought road trip games that I had prepared before we left and I brought goodies for the kids to periodically reward them for good behavior. I also bought a few new things in the dollar section of Target (like little white boards and road atlases for each of them) so they had new things to look at or play with on the drive. We also let them listen to their IPod or watch movies on the IPad, but I did make sure that this time was limited. The point of a family vacation is to connect and communicate. You can’t do that if you are plugged in the whole time.

– Be still for a while. We like to travel somewhere and then stay for a few days before we move to our next destination. It not only gives you time to explore certain places, but also breaks up the monotony of being in the car for so many days. A vacation should feel like a vacation. Time to relax and unwind a bit. If you pack too much in, you will only feel exhausted and unrested. Make sure you take some time to chill. Have a day with nothing planned. Those are always my favorites.

– Get the kids their own room. For me, this is key for a happy vacation. Husband and I must have time to connect too and can’t do that easily in a hotel room with the kids in the bed right next to you. We always try to get a suite that has a door so that the kids can have their space and grown ups can have theirs. If we are in a place for a week or so, we will rent a house on VRBO.com. It usually ends up being around same price as a hotel would be, but you have a lot more space. The kids love it too. They need a break from Mom and Dad too!

– Plan activities for everyone. Give everyone a say in what they would like to get out of the vacation. In Texas, my daughter wanted to swim, husband wanted to visit Dealy Plaza, son wanted to visit the Nasa Space Center, and I just wanted to sit in a quiet space and read. We accommodated everyone.

Most of all, just treasure the moments. Each is so special. Even the times you are arguing you may look back on with a grin. Like remember that time that we took that dirt back road through Arizona that took us 5 hours longer than we anticipated and we were thoroughly pissed at each other by the time we it pavement? I will never forget 🙂

Today’s lesson in improving my marriage: Continue to take family vacations and build precious memories.