One From Column A and Two From Column B

ImageI recently read a book; a psychological thriller I later learned.  While it was well written, I didn’t like it.  I didn’t like it at all.  Why?  Because it was about the horrible mind games people can play with each other.  I like psychological thrillers, mind you.  I really enjoyed all the Girl With Dragon Tattoo, etc.; and they were pretty rough books.

But this particular book made me so sad because it dealt with a married couple who simply could do nothing but hurt each other in new and vicious ways.

You see…I love the stuffin’ outta Devoted Spouse.  Here’s just one reason:  He labels our Chinese take-out boxes with our initials so when I want to finish what I ordered, I don’t have to waste time opening all the boxes.

So, in a way, reading the terrible book was good for me because it reminded me how loved I am!  sigh…

As Time Goes By

pic courtesy of weddingcakedesigns.info

Today I celebrate 28 years of wedded bliss to Devoted Spouse.  Time sure does fly.  I can’t believe it’s been that many years.  And they said it wouldn’t last…just kidding.

You see each other every day and you never notice the changes — here’s an old pic from our wedding – I can’t believe the two people in the middle of the shot are us!  LOL

I hope we have another happy, healthy 28 years!  Especially since he gives me great blogging material.  ;)  That’s it kids – nothing hilarious today – just wanted to share this special day with you.  {Hugs}

Marriage and the Art of Communication Part 2

Gen and Mrs. George B. McClellan from Library of Congress

Maybe it’s holiday stress, or maybe it was just a matter of me being in the right place at the right time to witness communication in progress.

Devoted Spouse and I went out to run some errands and as we came to a stop light there was a van ahead of us.  Pulling up behind the van I noticed a woman driving and a man in the passenger seat.  What really got both our attention was these people were MAD – the man was flailing his arms and he was making a fist and it was directed at the woman in the driver’s seat.  She, in turn, was obviously yelling by the way she was moving – and then she would put her hand out and touch the man as if to calm him down.  It didn’t work – he became angrier and I got to thinking it was a good thing he had a set belt on else he might have become airborne.

I found this episode morbidly fascinating, albeit a bit frightening.  I wondered what on earth had happened to make them so angry that this man was becoming violent.  I wondered if the lady was going to be able to make the left hand turn or was I doomed to sit behind them as they paid attention to their fight and not to the road.

She turned and I followed — not too closely mind you.  The van made a right hand turn at the same street we were headed – luckily as we turned into the bank, she went straight.  I wondered most of the day what happened to this couple.  Nothing was on the evening news about any domestic violence calls in our community and there were no reports of murder.  I was thankful.  But still I wondered what on earth had gotten them to that point.

I found an article on relationships authored by relationship coaches (who also happened to be married) entitled The Reasons Couples Fight and it listed 5 reasons and how to overcome them.  I thought I would share this valuable information with you — and perhaps comment just a bit on each one as they relate to my own successful relationship with Devoted Spouse.  Call this, my advice Christmas gift to you on relationships – and yes, I’m qualified on the basis of  being happily married for over 26 years now.

So…Reasons Couples Fight

1.  Old Fears Surface

Well, this can be true.  The relationship coaches mention former broken hearts and how that can impact your current relationship.  What came to mind for me as an old fear was spiders.  One of the reasons my marriage works is I am afraid of spiders and demand that Devoted Spouse routinely kill them and then flush them down the toilet.  Again, the marriage is successful because he does just that with any spiders I happen to come across.  Be proactive about old fears.

2.  Not Feeling Loved, Valued, Understood and Appreciated

Taking your spouse for granted can be a real marriage killer.  Luckily for me I laid down the rules from the beginning; I was to be treated like the princess I am and Devoted Spouse readily agreed.  He lives up to all my expectations by valuing me and appreciating me on a regular basis.  He also takes care of me when I am sick or injured (remember the Ice Incident of 2009?) and he delivers my coffee daily along with the paper.  Oh, I feel loved.  I take care of him, too.  I buy him his favorite things to eat even though they would make a maggot gag — things like Vienna Sausages.  Now there’s no reason on God’s green earth to have Vienna Sausages in your house, except that Devoted Spouse likes them and I want him to be happy.  I value him and appreciate him; hence the Vienna Sausages.  *shivers in disgust*  Am I understood?  Oh hell no – but that’s another post.  Is he understood?  See prior answer.  *giggles*

3.  Not Making Their Relationship a Priority

This one reminded me of the Bud Light commercial about the couple sitting at an outside cafe and the young woman asks a series of oh-so-stupid questions making her partner choose between her and something or someone else.  When she gets to his Bud Light or her, he hesitates and she leaves.  Well, duh, what did you think would happen when you asked your partner to choose between his beer and you?  Stupid girl.  I would never ask Devoted Spouse to choose between me and something or someone else.  He knows better.  He would always choose me – it was in the “pre-marriage Princess talk” discussed earlier.  I’m first.  Deal with it.  Same goes for him.  I choose him over everything.  Except….nope, that’s another posting.

4.  One or Both People are Made to Feel They are Wrong

Well, crap on a crutch, this is easy.  They are.  And don’t blame me because statistically it’s the man.  The trick to a good relationship is for the man to know from the very beginning that he is always going to be the wrong one; admit it, and press on.  He can think whatever he wants, but outloud he’d best be saying “You’re right, honey, what was I thinking?”

5.  Not Healing Your Heart After a Previous Relationship

I think what these relationship coaches are advocating is not to get into a rebound relationship.  That makes sense.  They suggest you take time to heal your broken heart prior to jumping into another relationship.  I tend to agree and I think the judicious use of cabana boys is a definite good first step to healing.

That’s my advice to all of you – now, in my earlier posting my buddy Mrsupole suggested something I had left out – great and vast amounts of wild sex — unfortunately she didn’t specify who you should be having that sex with and I started thinking about Tiger Woods, and well, I’m staying away from the sex advice and sticking to other forms of communication kids.  If you want sex advice apparently Mrsupole is your lady…or maybe that, too, is another post?

Marriage and the Art of Communication

Okay not all couples live Gone With The Wind type romances – many of us are married folk who have been together for many years and in those years we have learned what each other’s facial expressions mean, how to finish each other’s sentences, and the art of succesful communication in general.

But sometimes we goof a little.  Take the other day for example.  Devoted Spouse and I were standing in the kitchen playing with the new coffee pot I had brought home and while standing next to him I said something to the effect of, “I am SO done with you.”  He turned around and looked at me with this puppy dog look on his face as if I had just asked him to pack his bags and get out of Dodge.  Actually I was referring to the fact I had finished buying his Christmas presents.  For some reason I expected him to understand this, because I had been having this conversation in my head about Christmas.  I simply forgot he couldn’t hear what was going on in my head (and that’s not a bad thing).  So, of course, I quickly amended my statement to “I am SO done with your Christmas presents.”  The puppy dog look left his face.  Successful communication often involves thinking quickly on your feet or moving your feet quickly to get out of the way.

Here’s another example of how to communicate.  One day last week Devoted Spouse had a doctor’s appointment and at that appointment he had to give some blood (ick).  So when he came home there was a bandage on his adorable little arm where they had leeched him (just kidding about the leeches).  Now, Devoted Spouse knows I have a problem with some bodily things — like blood, especially his.  And I’m very squeamish about bandages and wounds, and even the smallest bandaid if ripped off in front of me can reduce me to tears.  So what does he do?  When he finally realizes he still has the bandage on his arm he starts chasing me, pointing to the bandage and making ripping sounds.  Isn’t that cruel?  I might have started yelling…things like, “Ack, dont’ rip that thing off in front of me!” Or I might have said something like, “Rip that bandage off in front of me and your clothes are going out the bedroom window.”  He kept joking around with the bandage and I kept yelling.  Louder and louder.  EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer, figured this was a new pack game and she joined in the fun and frolic by running in circles around us, “Gimme the bandage, dad, I want the bandage, I love bandages.”  She would have eaten it, too, had she been given a chance.

This went on for some time until I finally convinced Devoted Spouse it was no longer funny (it hadn’t been funny to begin with) and if he ripped off that bandage and I fainted, hit my head on something and died, I would come back and haunt him forever.  He went upstairs, out of my sight, and did whatever it is he does with used bandages.  I didn’t care as long as I didn’t have to watch it.

It’s all about communication and getting to the point where you can say anything and your spouse or partner will understand.  Sometimes communication is as easy as finishing each other’s thoughts outloud.  Sometimes it’s a bit more forceful, as in “Touch that last cookie and tomorrow I have the locks on the house changed.”

Always keep the lines of communication open.  Be ready at a moment’s notice to fully explain what you meant to say.  And if all else fails, get your spouse’s mind off whatever subject is getting heated — toss them a beer – fast.  Then go shopping.  And remember to bring home a surprise.

A Slightly Fractured Fairy Tale

fracturedfairytale

Gather round kiddies.  Aunt Cronie is going to tell you a story.  It’s a love story.  Stop saying blechh, sit down, shut up, and listen.

Once upon a time, 26 years ago a 29-year old princess married a 39-year old prince.  It was a happy time in the Kingdom and all the peasants were pleased because the King gave them extra loaves of moldy bread and jars of watered down wine and they all gathered in the courtyard and shouted, “Huzzah, huzzah!”  Long live the new Prince and Princess.

Okay, enough of that crap – that’s not quite what happened.  Actually, 26 years ago, June 25th 1983,  Devoted Spouse lost his senses completely and married me.  It was quite the special day for us, if a tad non-traditional and oh, alright, a somewhat comedy of errors.

As I recall it was hotter than the hubs of Hell that day.  We were to be married in the townhouse which I was renting with my roommate, Bobbi Jane (whom I called Buckwheat, but that’s another story) who was also my Maid of Honor.  I wisely turned the air conditioner to the lowest possible setting and proceeded to cram about 30 people into the tiniest living room you have ever seen.  What was interesting about the arrangement of this townhouse was the living room was connected to the dining area by a step up and it was set off by a white iron railing.  So the stepped down living room was great for all of us and we placed the preacher up one step into the dining room so he rather looked down over all of us like at a church.  Okay, it wasn’t a Redneck Wedding but it was a bit on the cheap side.

We had both been married before – I had already experienced the church thing walking down the aisle in the fancy white dress (although it was a mini dress much to everyone’s horror – but that was 1971 so what could you expect?)  Anyway, Devoted Spouse and I didn’t belong to a church, didn’t want to make a big fuss and didn’t want to spend alot of our hard earned money just to get married.

So the stepmonster made my gown (the only nice thing she ever did, and she did it well).  I wore a picture hat because I just didn’t want to wear a veil.  Devoted Spouse wore a lovely dark suit.  The best man looked nice in his equally dark suit and my Maid of Honor wore a light blue long gown which went well with her lovely blond hair.  The men were so serious while my Maid of Honor and I were sharing some kind of joke as I recall.

the wedding party (2) - Copy

It was a fairly routine wedding as far as weddings go.  But remember earlier I mentioned a comedy of errors?  Well, the first problem we encountered was when we went to get our marriage license.  We were all the way back to my townhouse when I noticed a rather large error on the document and we had to return to the courthouse and start all over again.  Nothing would deter Devoted Spouse.

As I also mentioned we weren’t members of any particular church at the time, and so I knew a friend at work that I shared this fact with and lo and behold if her husband wasn’t an ordained minister.  Talk about a streak of luck.  We invited them over to the house for a pre-wedding minister to about-to-be-married couple counseling session.  That was the evening we discovered he had never performed a wedding before; he was a prison chaplain.  Yes, that’s what I said…a prison chaplain.  Well, crapola, we needed a preacher, the wedding was rapidly approaching and he was going to have to do.

As a matter of fact he put on a lovely wedding ceremony, using the passage from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 on love (which was popular in weddings in the 1980s).  But he was holding his bible with one hand; the other hand was in his trousers pocket.  I was so irritated I couldn’t pay attention.  I wanted to yell at him, “Get your hand out of your pocket; it looks tacky.”  Suddenly, he had to turn the page in his bible and that meant he had to take his hand out of his pocket.  Bless his heart his hand was shaking so hard he could hardly turn the page and once he got to the page he needed, that hand went right back into the pocket.  I felt bad — he was more nervous than the bride, God love him.

We made it through the ceremony.  On to the festivities.  As I remember, we stood around and ate really bad dried-out little sandwiches with the crusts cut off that stepmonster had made and stored in the refrigerator.  Of course, she hadn’t thought to put a damp tea towel over them to keep them from drying out, just some wax paper.  We gagged them down.  We ate wedding cake – the kind with the traditional plastic husband and wife figurines on top (which I may still have in a closet somewhere).  And no, we didn’t shove cake into each other’s faces; we had agreed ahead of time that was just the tackiest tradition ever and we weren’t going to succumb to such nonsense.   We had punch.  Boy did we have punch.  The boyfriend of my Maid of Honor  (whom we nicknamed Cuddles for some reason I no longer remember) thought it would be funny to raid our liquor cabinet and pour all the contents into the punchbowl – darn near killed my stepgrandmother; although I think it was one of the few times in her life she actually had fun and laughed herself silly.  We quickly made more punch.

Cuddles was no rocket scientist; the evening before the wedding he showed up at Devoted Spouse’s apartment with a bottle of Peppermint Schnapps intent on getting my hubs-to-be drunk.  I believe Devoted Spouse just shut the door in his face and ignored him.  The morning of the wedding I was upstairs getting ready when to my surprise who should burst into my bedroom but an already drunk Cuddles, announcing he was there to give me one last chance to see what it was like to be with a real man.  Gagging, I called downstairs to my future husband and my Maid of Honor to get their collective asses upstairs and get him out of my sight before someone got hurt and it wasn’t going to be me.  Maid of Honor later married Cuddles and then divorced him; again that’s another story.

We got through the reception and managed to get away from the strange collection of my stepfamily and friends who had gathered.  I changed clothes and we hopped into Devoted Spouse’s old Datsun, whose air conditioning had decided just that morning to stop working, and drove to hunt country in  Middleburg, Virginia for a lovely, romantic honeymoon.

So on June 25th 2009, I look back on many happy memories, the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had, and all because one hot summer day I said “I do” to the world’s most tolerant loving man.

To Devoted Spouse:  Happy Anniversary sweetie – I love you more today than yesterday; less than tomorrow.