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#36: Small steps…like buying your husband a birthday gift

6 Dec

Credit: elevenstitches.com

I had a minor setback. Not with my marriage, really. We haven’t been fighting, things have been good. But since Thanksgiving, things have been just ‘off.’ And for no particular reason, really. I think we just suddenly got very busy.

The business of Thanksgiving (which my dear friend and neighbor hosted) is the start of the crazy holiday season. We watched The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while preparing side dishes for Thanksgiving, then we went to our friend’s house where we we ate yummy corn bread, creamy peas (with bacon!), brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes,  mostly done turkey, and amazing dessert! It was an great time.

And then, something happened. It’s been Christmas shopping, shopping for my daughter’s birthday, shopping for my son’s birthday, shopping for my husband’s birthday, preparing for my family’s visit this weekend… The list doesn’t end…

And I think I’ve been out of sync with my husband. Not in any bad way; we haven’t fought, argued, nothing of the sort. We’re just both busy and it’s catching up to us. And since I’ve felt a little ‘off’, I haven’t felt like writing.

But it’s a mistake. It’s a mistake not to write, because that is the POINT of this blog. The point is to work on small things I can do on a DAILY basis for my marriage and for my husband. I’ve been working on the little things, especially when things are good. I work on them especially when things are good because that’s the time when couples tend to relax and not work as hard on their marriage since it’s gliding along so smoothly.

Common sense should tell me that when things are slightly out of sync, that’s probably the time to pick up the pace on my small daily projects, which I have not been doing.

So here I am, getting back on track.

I went and bought my husband his birthday gift. That was partly self serving; it made me feel better about myself, which put me in a better position to start up with my ‘projects’ again. And I think it’s something he’ll really like. He’s been saying over and over again how he needs a new watch; I really wasn’t sure what to get (there are sooooo many choices.)

But on Black Friday, I went to Macy’s and got him this (his has a blue face):

Chronograph watch. Credt: Burberry.com

I think he’s really going to like it.

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#28: Dinner, work, kids sports, abortion?

4 Nov

Does your husband talk a lot? Mine does. We talk about a lot of things, but naturally, what’s going on at work or our kids are frequent topics.

It’s no secret; the older my husband and I get, the more conservative we’re becoming. I don’t necessarily mean Republican conservative (though it’s no secret I don’t consider myself a true Democrat anymore), but I mean in a fiscal sense, and in a morals and values sense.

Last night I saw an ad on tv for Victoria’s Secret. Ten years ago, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Last night, the ad I saw at 7:30pm practically bordered on soft porn. See for yourself:

I have an almost 7 year old daughter. How do I explain to her that when she’s an adult, dressing up sexy for your husband is a good thing, but flaunting your sexuality like these women on tv is a bad thing? How do you explain this when your 6 year old doesn’t even know about these sorts of things, but it’s thrown in their face and they ask about it? Thankfully she didn’t see this commercial, so I don’t have to address it this moment.

However, this leads me to the fact that I’m becoming getting more conservative, and so is my husband.

A few nights ago, before the Victoria’s Secret commercial, he actually brought up abortion. Abortion! We were sitting on the couch reading (since baseball is over, and all), and he told me he had been thinking about it and the arguments for allowing it, and the arguments against it. We discussed it probably for a good 40 minutes or so. I won’t even get into how the discussion went (it’s not that relevant), but what is relevant is that he felt comfortable bringing up something like that with me.

Was I a good listener? Eh. Sort of, sort of not. Essentially, his views on the topic were changing, and it caught me off guard. But the point is, my husband doesn’t just talk about work, kids, and sports. And when he feels comfortable talking about tough topics with me, it’s my job to be a good listener, even if I disagree. I think trying to be a good listener will keep him feeling comfortable bringing up interesting or tough topics.

#27: Have you ever actually sat down and made a list of reasons why you love your spouse?

25 Oct

Courtesy Google Images

I haven’t either. But I’m going to make a list about why I love him and what I love about him. Tomorrow morning when he goes down to the gym, I’m going to tape the list to the bathroom mirror so he sees it when he comes back after the gym. Pretty darn simple.

Here’s the first five on my list (I’ll post the entire list later.)

  1. I love you because you make me want to be a better person.
  2. I love you because of your infinite patience with the kids (and me).
  3. I love how serious you look when you’re reading a book.
  4. I love how handsome you are in a suit or in jeans and a sweatshirt.
  5. I love you because you’re forgiving, even when you don’t have to be.

What would be the first five on your list?

Update: I started my list, folded it up, and it’s currently in my bag. I need to finish this and get it to him!

Marriage Project Assessment #4 – Bake, Cook, Ego-Boost and Clean your way to a Happier Marriage

21 Oct

At least, that’s what I’ve been doing to work towards a better marriage. Not that there’s much wrong with it to begin with, but it seems to me that it’s easier to tend to your marriage when it’s not in trouble.

Well, all this cooking, cleaning, and loving up my husband seems to be making a HUGE difference (either that, or he’s found and reading my blog!) I started this blog to work on things I can control in my marriage (as opposed to using this as a place to vent about marriage and my husband). I can’t control my husband. I can only control me.

As I’ve mentioned several times before, the intent here is to better MYSELF in my marriage, but then unintended consequence here is that my husband has been just amazing. He’s been communicating a lot more than he EVER has. I mean, he talks a lot (we love to talk about anything and everything), but as far as communicating about feelings, emotions, or dealing with issues, that’s always been a little struggle for us.

So yesterday, when he IMed me about some errands we needed to get done, I was feeling particularly lovey, and I told him out of the blue, “You know, you’re a GREAT husband and father.” And he wrote back, “You know what, THANK YOU, that means so much to me.” Who knew?? I thought I’d get a standard “Thanks.”

Last night, I got home before he did and got to work reviewing my cleaning planner. I did some dishes, got dinner started, got coffee ready for the morning, and finished folding the laundry. I had quite a bit done before he even got home. We watched the rest of the Yankees game together (Yeah!!! They Won !!!!!!.) Then we went to bed super-early to watch the Giants against the Phillies. At 9pm. We just kind of cuddled, and it was incredible. Then out of nowhere, he tells me how happy he is in general, how glad he is that I’m his wife, and how glad he is that I’m the mother of his child. He also went on to tell me that he’s made an effort to try very hard lately – my hangups are staying clean and orderly and keeping my head on straight, his is that he tends to get a little angry and let things bother him. He told me that he’s trying hard to not place blame every time something small goes wrong, and he apologized for sometimes placing that extra blame on me when it’s not warranted.

Wow!

Am I making a difference here?

Furthermore, our marriage IS good already. Do you think for people who are having marriage troubles could follow the same steps that I do and receive the same outcome, even if they think their spouse is at fault? If they work on the ‘small things’ like I am, could their spouses outlook improve as well as an unintended consequence?

 


Some useful links:

 

Archive of my marriage projects

My marriage project assessments so far

What is this marriage project all about?

And of course, follow me on Facebook by clicking the picture below!

#26: Will work for guacamole

20 Oct

Those of you who are new or don’t happen to visit very often must be thinking, “This is boring. Fold the laundry, send him a card, draw him a picture, let him pick the Netflix this time…Where’s the excitement? Where’s the one key to making marriage awesome?”

Well, for starters, last night I started folding a huge pile of laundry, which I absolutely hate doing, and do you know what? My dear husband made me a huge bowl of guacamole (my fav!) not as a reward for doing laundry, but because he knows how much I hate doing it, saw me doing it, and wanted to do a little something nice for me! Now tell me that didn’t help our marriage on a small scale?!?

I didn’t, however, finish folding, because we got a bit busy watching the Yankees game last night. I have to finish that darn laundry tonight! I don’t want to hear, “You didn’t finish it? But I made you guacamole!!” (That would be him jesting, of course.)


Some helpful links if you’re new here:

 

What is this Marriage Project all about?

Archive of my more recent posts

My self assessments on how this blog is working out so far (Assessment #3 spells out why I chose to make this a little details blog as opposed to a big picture marriage blog.)

And of course, don’t forget to join me on Facebook by clicking the picture below!


#23: Move his scary movies to the top of the Netflix queue

12 Oct

Have you ever fought over the Netflix queue? We have. My husband LOVES scary moves. Me on the other hand? Not so much. Especially the bloody and gory ones. Why would I WANT to be scared? He thinks it’s exciting. I think it sets me up for a night of little sleep and nightmares, especially when he thinks it’s funny to pretend he’s a zombie and jump out at me right before we go to bed.

I’ve hit him before for that, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I keep telling him that in zombie situations (or what I think could potentially be a zombie situation) that I am not responsible for my actions, even if I punch him in the jaw. It might happen someday because:

  1. If it’s a real zombie, maybe whacking him in the jaw will give me a chance to make a break for it
  2. If it’s not a real zombie, it would certainly get the point across that I don’t like when he pretends he’s a zombie

BUT, in all seriousness, my husband DOES watch a lot of Chick Flicks with me (Tortilla Soup, The Holiday, Where the Heart is, Notting Hill, anyone?) and even though I’m sure those don’t give him nightmares at night (or who knows, maybe they do?) I suppose I should be fair about taking turns.

Which is why today, I’m headed into the Netflix queue, and moving his scary movies to the top. Here’s to weeks of not sleeping!

(And by the way, I STILL didn’t make those cornbread muffins; we went furniture shopping instead last night.)

Update: The only one of those we actually watched was ‘Incident On and Off a Mountain Road.’ It was gross and really scary, but I actually thought it was okay. The rest just sat there, so we sent them back)

Situation #6: Weekend update.

11 Oct

DC Bomb Scare. 5mph on the highway. A cranky husband. Those are just a few of the things that have occurred over the past three days.

As most of you know, my husband went away to a conference last week, and I wasn’t sure how I’d handle it. As I mentioned in my last post, I thought I did pretty darn good!

I couldn’t WAIT to see him. He’s been a ball of mush lately, and I’ve been riding the wave of the whole ‘in-love’ part of marriage for the last few weeks.

Trying to leave work:

Friday afternoon, we texted all afternoon, and I was so excited for him to board his flight to head home. About an hour before leaving work, one of my colleagues noticed lots of police outside our office and that the road was closed. I’m not an alarmist, but here’s something I haven’t mentioned yet;

  • Fact #1 I live in Washington, DC. And if you guess that police action in DC is common, you’d be guessing right.
  • Fact #2 I work in an office that is VERY close to The White House (and yes, I know the picture I posted is not of the White House).

So of course my alarm bells were ringing. Then our front desk told us that it was a bomb scare. I left work and went to get the kiddo from daycare to head home.  All in all, it took me an hour and a half to leave work, get the kiddo, and get back home. That’s less than 20 miles, by the way.

Getting to the airport:

I fed the kiddo a quick dinner, packed up the baby bag with goodies in case we had to wait too long at the airport, and we took to the road. It’s 29 miles to the airport. Husband’s flight was scheduled to arrive at 8:49pm. I left the house at 7:15pm I figured that would give me time to park, find his gate, and be waiting at the appropriate area for him.

I was wrong. There was a major accident on the highway, and I was slowed to 5mph. For OVER five miles. Now, there were several exits I could have taken to get off the highway and take backgrounds, but wouldn’t you know, he was arriving at the only DC area airport I haven’t yet been to (we have three major airports here, one I can SEE right out my window. He was not arriving at that one.) So I couldn’t get off the highway; I had no idea where to go. I eventually made it, and arrived right as he was exiting the terminal. Right on time!! It was so exciting! He was with a colleague, so I didn’t get all mushy right away. As his colleague was walking away, he said to my husband, “See you on Monday!”

See you on Monday? SEE YOU ON MONDAY??? Monday is a holiday!! I have it off. He thought he had it off.

He texted his boss to confirm that Monday was a work day. It was. I had to bite my tongue. I hadn’t seen my husband in days, and thought we were going to have a nice long weekend together. It wasn’t his fault, though. No use taking it out on him.

The weekend

My awesome wonderful husband was a crank all weekend. He complained that there was a basket of laundry that wasn’t folded, that there were dishes in the sink… the list goes on. I felt totally deflated. I thought I did a good job! Between the kiddo being sick, me trying to work, trying to get everything done…ugh. I know I’m not the most tidy person you’ve ever met. I admit I’m not. And I know it frustrates my husband, because, well, he IS rather tidy.

I don’t like being untidy; I just FORGET to do stuff.

Saturday afternoon, I went over to Barnes and Noble and bought a weekly planner. In the back, in the notes section, I wrote out a checklist of all the stuff I should be doing on a daily basis (one page for morning, one page for afternoon). And then on the actual days, I’ve started writing other chores that need to be done; for example, today I need to sew a button on a pair of pants. Had I not written it on the calendar for today, it may not have gotten done until next weekend.

The Rest

Even so, the husband has still been a bit cranky all weekend long, and a little distant too. I was frustrated. I know I’m not neat, and I know it frustrates him, but was that reason for me to totally feel deflated? It’s a pretty crappy feeling.

So this morning I sent him an email:

Hey handsome. I love you, and the kiddo and I miss you today.I’m really not sure what happened this weekend.. (besides our great lovin’), I just felt like you were distant and somewhere else. I was so looking forward to seeing you after your trip, and I feel like it just did not go  anything like I thought I would. I thought things had been going great for weeks, I felt really good like we were in a good place, but this weekend was just a down weekend I guess. I felt you come across as negative and cranky all weekend, and it got me really uptight. I’m sorry about all the stuff around the house; I’ll keep trying to work on it. I’ve got a little list going today. I love you lots, and I really look forward to spending the weekend with you next weekend.

He sent two responses, which I’ve edited and put together to save space:

I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to come across that way. I’ve been stressed out about work. It isn’t happening fast enough and that just doesn’t bode well. Everything that I’ve put together has fallen apart and everything of value is taking too long to materialize. So, it’s been weighing on me for a few weeks now.I should have told you that this was stressing me out and not made you feel like it’s you, and I’m sorry if I’ve been taking it out on you.

I learned a few lessons, here:
  • I thought this was all about ME. The world doesn’t revolve around me.
  • I’m glad I had some self-restraint. Earlier, my husband had told me he appreciated me picking him up at the airport, and that his colleague’s wife wasn’t picking him up because it was too much of a hassle. When he started getting on my case about the laundry and the dishes later, it took every ounce of me to not say to him, “Well perhaps this is why your colleague’s wife doesn’t pick him up at the airport; she’s probably too busy at home tidying up to perfection so he doesn’t complain when he gets home.” I can guarantee, though, if I had said that, there’s no way he would have opened up to me and told me he was stressed at work with his new job. He would have been justified in making it about me.
  • It’s best to stay calm and not rush to judgment.
  • My husband is TRYING. He’s REALLY trying. He’s not exactly Mr. Openupandsharefeelings, especially when I bitch back at him, so this is major. He wants to work hard for our marriage, and it’s a conscious thing. He’s not just subconsciously or peripherally thinking about our marriage and our family.

 

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