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

Posts tagged ‘relationships’

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!

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

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

Thank You!

It is funny how there are times in your life when things just click. When you find something, that you didn’t really know was missing that fills a hole that you didn’t really know was there. That is what blogging has been to me. I feel blessed to have come across this wonderful community of people who are supportive and giving.

As many of you did, I started blogging to fill a nagging need I had to write and to share my experiences.  I hoped that someone might read it, appreciate it, and learn from it,  but I wasn’t overly optimistic.  I just wanted to write.

Here I am, 5 months later and so happy I wrote that first post on my birthday.

I wanted to say a very special thank you to Dounia, lovely writer of the blog Next Stop, a beautifully written blog about nature and life from the view of a third culture kid.   I also want to thank Sarah from the blog Anything But Academia, a fantastic blog about a doctoral student trying to take the time to focus on “anything but academia.”  I know I am a little late on these thank you’s, so I apologize for that, but I am very grateful to you both for nominating my blog for the Versatile Blogger award.  It means so much that someone not only took the time to read my blog, but also appreciated what I wrote.

As most of you know, once nominated for this award you are to tell 7 things about yourself.  So here it goes:

Hello, my name is Tammy and I am an addict.  I am completely addicted to Diet Pepsi.  It is one of the true pleasures in life,  an ice-cold Diet Pepsi from tap.  I know, not one of the healthiest things in the world, but I figure it could be worse.  At least there are no calories, that makes it okay . . . right?

I love to dance.  I have been taking dance classes for many years.  Even though, I am now the oldest person in the class, I try not to let that deter me.  Someday, I will be able to do a full split. I will! I will!

I have a recurring fantasy of sitting on a subway ( even though there aren’t any where I live) and I look over to the woman sitting next to me and she is reading a book that I wrote!  Wouldn’t that just be the ultimate?

I love to cuddle up with a good book.  There is little that compares to snuggling in a warm blanket with “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”

I judge all mexican restaurants by their salsa.  No restaurant is worth talking about if they don’t have good salsa, right?  Don’t go claiming to have the best tacos in town if you don’t have a killer salsa to drown my chips in.  I am thinking El Ranchero for lunch.  Now that is good salsa!

I am a total sucker for a great chick flick.  I have been known to watch the same movie so many times I know if by heart.  My recent go to is “Just Go With It.”  It just doesn’t get better than Adam Sandler and Jennifer Anniston.  Ok, maybe it does, but nevertheless I love it!

I have a near paralyzing fear of flying.  To get me on a plane, I need to have a significant amount of Zanax in me so I can black out and wake up when it is over.

As a result of this award it is also my duty to nominate 15 other blogs for the same award.  Since I still have yet to follow that many blogs myself, I will do this one in chunks.  Here are a few of my favorite blogs:

The Smart Cookie Cook –   I don’t know how she does it, but this woman posts a recipe nearly every day!  Not only is it full of recipes, but I have tried several of them with great success!

MommySaidASwearWord – A wonderfully honest, funny and well written blog about life, love and parenting.

Jenny Is Wright – Jenny is a wonderful photographer and writer that has a funny and witty sense to her writing about whatever strikes her fancy.

Mostly Bright Ideas – Charles is by far one of the best writers I have come across.  His random thoughts make me think and laugh out loud.

Raising My Rainbow – An absolutely beautiful blog about raising a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son.

Cheers to the wonderful world of blogging!

Caution: Rough Road Ahead

Why is it that the learning never ends?  The second you think you have got it all figured out, Wham!!!!  Guess what? You don’t!

It would be so nice if the road of marriage was similar to driving on the highway.  At least on the highway there are endless signs to warn you and prepare you for what is to come.

Marriage, not so much.  How nice that would be!

These past couple of weeks I wish there had a been a sign to warn me. Caution: Rough Road Ahead!  At least then I could grip the steering wheel and brace myself.

Here is the problem; the second that I start to get a little cocky thinking, ” I’ve got this.  I have this all figured out,”   I am smacked over the head with the realization that, frankly, I have a lot to learn.

Here is what I mean.  I can’t say what where it started or what exactly happened, but things between hubby and I have  just been off these past couple of weeks.  We find ourselves bickering and arguing regularly.  We can’t seem to dig our way out of this little ditch that we are in where the smallest things set each other off. 

I feel like I am a child, regressing back to all of my old behaviors.    Trying desperately to remember all of the things that I learned last year about fighting better, taking accountability for my actions, being appreciative.  It seems all that flew right out the window.  “What is going on?”, I scream to myself while hubby and I are delving into the same  arguments that have haunted us for years.  Didn’t I learn how to deal with this better?  Aren’t I better than this person that keeps pointing the finger away from herself?  It certainly hasn’t felt like it.

I can’t say what triggered this little rough patch.  It seemed things were moving along smoothly, then one argument leads to another and before I know it I am a 4-year-old in an adult body.

Here is what I realize when I step away and force myself to get some perspective;  rough roads are just part of the deal.  “In good times and in bad.”  It is not the end of the world, as it feels in the heat of the moment.   

I see now that these rough patches are a test.  Can I rise above? Can I put into play all of the things that I have learned about maintaining a healthy marriage, or do I run and hide?  

I will not hide! 

So, our last big argument 2 days ago, turns heated.  Me yelling and stomping upstairs and forgetting I am a grown up.  I take a moment to breathe and think, “Come on.  Our marriage is better than this.”  And even though it is hard when I am upset, I take  a moment to think about everything that has been working for us in the past.  All of the tools that I have learned to fight better.  Be a good listener, be accountable  (no finger-pointing), show appreciation, be understanding of where he is coming from, don’t yell, remember that I love this person that makes me crazy.

I put these tools into play and painlessly, the argument dies with apologies, hugs and a feeling that everything is going to be okay.  

Things are not back to perfect yet, but I have spent a lot of time thinking and  have realized that a significant key to being in a healthy marriage is to always know that the “light is on the other side of the tunnel.”  I have seen it!  I know it is there.  I just need to hold on to the wheel.  Be cautious, proactive and  loving and we will get to the other side.

Today’s lesson in improving my marriage:  Rough roads are inevitable, but take the scenic route whenever possible.

What Happens in Vegas . . .

I have escaped to Sin City.   You know the lights, the shows, the alcohol, the bad decisions?  Isn’t that what Vegas is all about?

Not for me.   I am miles from the strip,  with a stack of old movies, a plentiful supply of diet pepsi and enjoying absolute serenity.  I have run away to spend two days all by myself in a little condo at the base of Red Rock Canyon.

Why, you might ask?  I was desperate.  Quite literally desperate.  There are those times  in ones life when you must recognize the moment you are on the brink of loosing your mind.   If you don’t get a second of peace you are going to permanently turn into the Tasmanian Devil, destroying everything in your path.

It seems, in recent weeks, I have felt an unbearable feeling of being overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted.  Turning to tears for no apparant reason.  Snapping at my unsuspecting children while they stare wide eyed at what was once  their patient mother.  Let’s just say, a string of events and illnesses have taken their toll.   Sometimes, everything becomes too much.

One day, while sharing this with my husband, thru my tears, I  said, “I need a break.”  Those were not easy words to say outloud, but I did.

I need a few moments all to myself, to pull myself together and find my breath again.  Where no one needs me, or expects anything from me.  Where I can finish a magazine in one sitting.  Where I can make a choice based on what I want.  Where I can take a shower without interruption.

What????  Was I crazy?

According to my husband, I wasn’t.  He agreed.  He has watched as the patience and kindness that usually comes  easy to me, slowly came unraveled.  He said, “You’re right.  You do need a break.”

So we scheduled “me” time on the calendar.  I was to get a couple of days all to myself!  It felt like a dream.

But as the day came around for me to leave, I felt incredibly guilty.  How could I do this?  What was I going to do?  What would people think?

My bag was packed and I was ready to go, but my very dear friend Guilt, made it so hard to walk thru the door.  My husband had to practically push me to the car.

The second I pulled away from the house, though, I knew I had made the right decision.  I needed this.  A mini vacation for me.  To sleep, to walk, to write, to watch movies, to read.   To find the energy and passion that has eluded me for the last few months.

I realize that, to  some, I might sound like a very selfish person.  Going on a cruise with just my hubby.  Running away to Vegas by myself for a weekend.  But, as I get older I realize that the emotioanl health of myself and my marriage are key to my happiness as well as my children’s happiness.  I must take care of myself and my marriage in order to be the best wife and mother that I can be.   My happiness is key to the success and happiness of my family.  Whether it is hard to admit or not, it is true.

So here I am, staring at the beautiful Nevada desert, missing my family more that I thought possible, and reveling in the peace of the moment.  Feeling proud of myself  for recognizing what I needed, speaking up and taking action.   Soaking up the gratitude that I feel for my husband who pushed me out the door, for my children who bring sunshine to every day and for the ability to run away and find myself.

Today’s lesson in improving my marriage:  make time to be all by yourself!