One of my favorite things lately has been reading blogs associated with parenthood. My favorite is Rants from Mommyland where two ladies write about the funny, crazy adventures life brings with children. Their take on life is pretty awesome: they roll with the punches, laugh at themselves and honestly reflect on their roles as Mommies. Most days I am giggling with them and also learning something. Today I read an older post that included some marriage advice. The first suggestion they gave was a good one and I decided to share and elaborate on it in my own blog.
Spray each other with the hose.
At first I was all "huh? How will that help?" But then reading further it explained a little more and I realized this is actually pretty good advice. You can have a little fun and tease each other with a little water spray. It's funny to catch Chet off guard and I have had some fun with this in the past. It can be funny and playful and just a way to be silly with each other. Either you both end up giggling a bit about it or it ends up in a full on water match and power struggle for control of the hose. Either way smiles will happen and as long as you keep it light hearted it will make a fun memory, or at least a way to blow off some steam. Included with this advice could be to throw a snow ball, dance in the rain, make water balloons, and splash in the pool.
But wait - there's more! Mad at hubby? Holding a grudge? Want to get even or get out some rage directed at him for his foolishness/ignorance/stupidity (insert any fitting ill mannered or inappropriate husband attitude or action)? Well spray him with the hose works here too, just use the super cone setting that will sting a bit when it hits him and really let him have it for awhile. Then pretend it was an accident. "Oh sorry hunny, didn't see you there. Boy, that really drenched ya" (the key here is to stifle the laugh and pretend to be genuinely sorry all while smirking on the inside). And then let it go, the anger or madness. He's sorry one way or the other after that blast so now its time to just get over the issue.
Now that I have celebrated 2 years of marriage with my own hubby, I can officially give up the newly wed status but I know I am not exactly the marriage guru. When my younger sister got married last summer I passed her all the wisdom I knew and now I share my limited learnings about life as a wife to you as well. I am practically an expert after all...
1. Expect him to do something weird or have an odd habit or two. Learn to laugh at it, live with it and not stress about it. My husband has odd theories on reusing towels so after every shower the towel is now dirty and he will not reuse it. I find this odd - you just bathed and have never been cleaner so why is the towel dirty just from drying off your clean body? But hey, whatever! That just means we buy a couple extra towels and he does laundry more often. (p.s. I find this particularly odd because I have witnessed the man go for a run, shower and then put back on the gym shorts he wore to run. The towel is dirty but the shorts are still good? So. Weird.)
2. You are going to fight. Oh yes sir. There will be arguments. Big ones, small ones, on topics that matter and trivial issues that you can't even recall later. No matter how much pre-marriage counseling you have had or how well you know each other I promise there will be a few blow outs. Expect it. Play fair. And resolve it, maybe not that very day but find a way to get to a solution that you can either except, compromise on, or concede too. I always say my husband and I are good fighters. I am a yeller but this doesn't bother him and I can turn blue in the face yelling without phasing him. (When we first moved to our house with our gigantic kitchen I would fight with him in there because with only a little furniture my voice would really sound impressive when I got to hollering.) I want to sulk and hold a grudge but he will push me to work it out with him. He lets me be all controlling over certain things and I let him be "the man" on certain topics. It doesn't always work, but it always works out.
3. Tell him what you need. SPELL IT OUT. Hints do not work, and expecting him to just "know" something often leads to disappointment. I give him wish lists for my birthday and Christmas. I write honey do lists and I tell him how how I am feeling in clear, simple words. We talk about expectations, for baby, for budgets, for holidays, for dinner... If something is annoying me, I tell him about it instead of letting it grow and grow till its a major problem. If I want a particular thing for mother's day I tell him instead of hoping he knew what I was wishing for. If I need more time with him, I ask. If he hurts my feelings, I point it out right away. Us ladies have physical, emotional and sentimental needs but unless you tell him what they are how can he help satisfy them? Do you want a wrench set for Christmas? No? Then maybe you had better be more clear about what would make you happy.
4. You can't win them all. Sometimes I have to accept I am wrong/won't get my way/I have to do something I don't really like. And the same goes for him. It's not going to be win/win all the time. Some years I don't get to see my family in PA, and we spend time with his in OK. Sometimes I put more money into the joint account than he does, and its not fair but needs to be done. Sometimes I have to say sorry and let him get his way. It sucks, but we survive and we are a better couple for it. Sometime we give and sometimes we take, but we always have to (at least try) to have a good attitude about it. Its bigger than just today, or just this argument. Your relationship is more than being right.
I know by now you are all very impressed by my wisdom. Clearly, I know it all about marriage. Who would have thought I could be so insightful after only two short years of married bliss? No, really it hasn't been all bliss. We have had our highs and our lows, some very low lows when I suddenly understood why some of my young friends abandoned marriages after a short time. And if I am being really honest, I don't always take my own advice. My own desire to control things makes it very hard to see his view point at times. I am a serious grudge holder, I can treat it like a full-time job. And there are days when he isn't funny, and his words hurt me deeply. But if you love someone, if you truly meant what you said about being committed you find a way to move past it toward something better. Even on our lowest days I was still his wife and he was still my husband and that means something. So maybe my biggest piece of advice, something I still work hard to do, is to remember that you love each other and let that impact everything else.