Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Biggest Fan

And suddenly typing that, I begin to think of the suspense movie that I never saw called Swim Fan, and then I wonder if that's a good thing to have... ?

My biggest fan girlfriend pointed out to me that it's been a few days - eight, I believe - since I last wrote a blog post.  I asked her what her point was, and we had our first fight.  Nah.. Kidding.  I did ask her if she had any thoughts on what to write about, and she had none.  Zip.  Zero. 

She will now learn that if she doesn't provide me with ideas, then I will write about her.  ;)

Actually, I know better than that.  One of my good friends is the wife of a priest, and long ago she shared with me one of her favorite videos - a parody off of Carrie Underwood's Before He Cheats, called Before He Speaks.  It's a lesson learning video about what will happen to the priest who mentions his wife or uses his wife in his sermons.  It's quite amusing.

So, I know better than to do that.  But it seems lately that if you take away my girl as a topic of conversation, I am left with little else to talk about. 

And that doesn't quite seem right.  Certainly I had plenty of nonsensical important things to share with you before I became an "item"... like my strawberry-scented shampoo.  (I'm using raspberry now, and Ken will tell you if you ask him, that I'm not nearly as fond of it...) 

Okay.  Hmm... Maybe I was a wonder and a sensation only in my head?  Maybe you all were just kind and took pity on me?  No, that can't be it. 

But I was just reading The Bloggess' Let's Pretend This Never Happened over dinner this evening, and in the chapter I was reading, she's writing about her generalized anxiety disorder, and how it makes her tell the story during dinner parties of how she swallowed a needle, or think she swallowed a needle, and how her conversational skills degenerate from there.  And I would never want to belittle her experience, but suddenly, I wonder, if I've lost the art of conversation, or the art of the blog post?


This morning, I was reading Dear Abby  (again? Can you believe it? It's like she writes a column every day or something.. She'd make a great blogger! *wink!*)  and actually I was quite struck by the advice written in by readers about how to have long term successful relationships in response to a letter published in October. 

The text of today's column is pasted below.. And I admit, while embarking upon a new relationship, it seemed like there was some sound advice in there for me to remember.  And since I talk about relationships here so frequently, I thought I'd share some of the parts that struck me most:

Love isn't just a feeling, but a choice and a commitment.  I'm committed to my husband not because I'm "supposed" to be, but because I choose to be. 

I do firmly believe that I never want someone to be with me because they feel obligated to do so.  That's not a reason to be together.  I want them to choose to be with me, not feel stuck, even if I tease my girlfriend that she's now "stuck" with me.  It is a choice we make each day.  And so far, it's seemed like a fairly easy choice.  And fortunately, whenever I do tease her, she always responds with the right answer: "I'm not stuck with you.  I can dump your ass any day." (so not true, she is MUCH nicer than that, but doesn't that make her SOUND bad-ass?)

We're told that marriage is 50-50.  That's not true.  It's 100-100.  I'm responsible for my 100 percent, and my spouse is responsible for his.

I think it is easy for people within a relationship to begin to keep a score-card.  But I think what each person brings to a relationship is often not easily quantifiable, not easily measurable.  I think - or how I choose to read this - is that we are each responsible for bringing 100% of ourselves to the relationship.  Simply having someone to share life with doesn't mean that we have less responsibility for our lives, it just means that our load is lighter because we are carrying it together. 

Loving feelings come from loving behavior, not the other way around.

I have a mixed response to this one.  Mostly because I am in the early hormonal throes of my relationship.  I feel that my behavior is an expression of my loving feelings.  And I certainly hope that this is the way I feel for the life of our relationship - for our lives shared together.

But I have been in relationships gone sour, and I think this sentence applies to those who are having a hard time.  That while you might not be feeling loving towards your spouse, if you treat him or her in a loving manner, you'll regenerate the loving feelings that belong underneath it.  If you treat me in a loving manner, it is hard for me to remain angry or hurt.  You repair what damage might have been done, and in the process, remind yourself and your spouse of what it was like when those loving feelings were closer to the surface.   And I think that is illustrated in the last comment, here:

A wise therapist advised me to compliment my husband at least once a day.  ("If you act happy, pretty soon it won't be an act.") 

For me, I am actually happy.  It's not an act. 

But the lesson from today's column is that it is important for ANYONE in the beginning hummm of a new relationship to remember that sometimes relationships will require work, and they do require commitment.  It is easy to believe the hormonal rush that leads you to believe your love can do nothing wrong will never end.  And, hopefully, it won't.  But even if it does, it is important to remember and to build upon the true love and caring feelings you have for your romantic partner, because those will take you through some of the more "complicated" / difficult times you may face together. 

Remember to value your partner every day.   Make a conscious choice to be in your relationship.  And let your partner know he or she is special.  Every day.  It's the only way to build a solid foundation that can withstand whatever life may throw at you.  And always hold hands to get through that together.  

   DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Had It in Hartford" (Oct. 6), who
   has been unhappily married to her husband for 20 years. She said she
   married him for all the wrong reasons and "has never loved him the way
   a woman should love a man."

   After I had been married for seven years, I went to my pastor concerned
   that the grass on the other side was looking greener than mine. As we
   spoke, I began to realize the extent of the investment I had put into
   my marriage and that I didn't want to start over again on a new one.

   My mom always told me, "Marriage is not easy. You will always have to
   work on it. There will be times when you won't feel that you like him
   or love him." I have been married for 36 years now. Do I notice
   handsome men, or appreciate a man who treats me kindly? Of course. I'm
   not blind or dead.

   Love isn't just a feeling, but a choice and a commitment. I'm committed
   to my husband not because I'm "supposed" to be, but because I choose to
   be. It seems to me that "Had It" never made that choice or worked
   toward it, but expected it to just happen eventually.

   She has a foundation of trust and friendship that helps a marriage
   through the rough times. Many marriages that end in divorce rely on
   sexual attraction and passion to carry them instead of friendship.

   We're told that marriage is 50-50. That's not true. It's 100-100. I'm
   responsible for my 100 percent, and my spouse is responsible for his.

   "Had It" should take another look at what she's about to lose and tally
   up the costs to her family. Is she really trapped? Or has she just been
   unwilling to choose to love? -- BARBARA IN MOUNT VERNON, WASH.

   DEAR BARBARA: Thank you for writing. I advised "Had It" to think long
   and hard before leaving her husband, but that if she truly cannot love
   him the way he deserves, she should move on. My readers' comments:

   DEAR ABBY: "Had It" doesn't feel love toward her husband because she
   spends her time and energy ruminating about a "mistake" she thinks she
   made 20 years ago. She says he is doing everything right and they get
   along fine. If she tried something positive, like reminding herself
   about the qualities she likes about him, and doing things she knows
   make him happy instead of fantasizing about other men, she might find
   the love she craves in her marriage.

   Loving feelings come from loving behavior, not the other way around.
   The sooner she realizes this, the sooner she'll see that what she
   really wants is right there at home with her family. And it has been
   there all along. -- DR. PEGGY B.

   DEAR ABBY: I have this message for "Had It": I felt like you and acted
   on my feelings. Don't do it! Wait until your kids are older. As much as
   you want a more intimate relationship, you cannot begin to imagine the
   impact straying will have on your kids.

   I deeply regret what I did and I wish someone would have told me what
   I'm telling you. Pull yourself together. Think about your children,
   extended family and friends. You are connected to others through your
   husband, and once you pull your marriage apart, everything else falls
   away, too. -- REGRETTING IT IN NEW YORK

   DEAR ABBY: "Had It" is probably suffering from a case of the seven-year
   itch. For some reason, people cycle in seven-year increments. Some of
   them change jobs or homes, others have affairs or change spouses. She
   should work through it with a counselor.

   There is a lot to be said for being married to your best friend. A wise
   therapist advised me to compliment my husband at least once a day. ("If
   you act happy, pretty soon it won't be an act.") This was after my
   first bout with the "itch" and it has been working ever since, 29

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