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#41 When you’ve made a big old mess of your marriage

1 Nov

Where do you start when you’ve made a big old mess of your marriage? I’ve made a big mess of mine, that’s for sure. And now we’re at odds. I haven’t been forgiven, and there’s a lot of anger. We also disagree on certain fundamentals for our marriage. I also haven’t followed my own Marriage Project advice, and I’m pretty upset with myself.

Couple that with:

  • Recently finding out our son has some special needs and dealing with the scheduling and the handful of specialists who want their hands on him
  • Me starting a new job
  • Having some custody issues regarding my daughter with her father

and we’re stretched really thin.

So, where do I start? Things aren’t going to get fixed overnight, but what can I do now to get the ball rolling? Let’s get back to the basics:

Maybe it’s a small start, but I need to start somewhere. Wish me luck.

Ideas for changing your life

10 Mar

Ok, so, these are ideas for changing my life, but I want to know what changes you’re looking to make, too. Add them in the comments! Though these aren’t all ‘marriage’ changes, I think all of them will benefit my marriage in some way.

Changes I want to make / Things I want to do:

  • Kiss and hug my husband every day.
  • Stay calm, particularly if we start to argue.
  • Walk away from a less-than-calm argument, instead of becoming an emotional trainwreck.
  • Spend 15 minutes a day talking….work, kids, schedules, our relationship, and chores are off-limit topics. It’ll be interesting to see what we talk about.. I feel like all we talk about sometimes are these topics.
  • Put up more pictures of us around the house.
  • Discuss (and write down and post somewhere) our 2 year goal, 5 year goal, 15 year goal, and retirement goals.
  • Have more sex (we’re tired parents of a 7 year old and 15 month old!) I read that the average is 1.5 times a week, so we’re already ahead of the curve, but I’d prefer more if I could actually stay awake!
  • Encourage my husband to get out a little more. He works long days at work, and though we make time for our ‘couple friends,’ he doesn’t get out much for a guy’s evening. I’m thankful for the time he is at home, but wondering if he’d be a little happier if he got out every now and then.
  • Be more positive and less negative. I tend to see the negative side of everything. I’m a realist!
  • Expand our circle of happy  ‘couple’ friends.
  • Have more ‘active’ dates with my husband. We LOVE dining out, but I’d like to try something a little more involved and active. (Any suggestions?)

Any other ideas? What are some things you’d like to change, or even do every day?

Like selling ice to an Eskimo.

15 Feb

I think sometimes men just like to be in charge. Which is a good thing, because when it comes to negotiating, I feel like a cork ready to pop.

If I haven’t told you already, I’m in business to business sales. And I’m pretty darn good at what I do. But put me at a car dealership, or have me negotiate my lease, and I totally lose my cool. I know what it is, too. I hate when I feel like people are trying to pull one over on me.

Considering I do more of a consultative sale and I’m all about helping my clients find solutions to their issues, I hate when someone tries to make a quick sale with me. I know what’s best for me, not you, smarmy salesperson.

So when we recently got to the top of a very long waiting list for a much larger apartment in our building, instead of being thrilled, I was tense. So many details…How much is our rent going up? Do we have to sign a new lease, or can we transfer our current lease? Can we negotiate the price at all?

Which is where my husband, Captain Awesome, comes in.

He’s in sales, too, but he LIKES the challenge of dealing with a smarmy self-serving salesperson. You could say I shirked all responsibility and threw this at my husband, but I actually think he LIKES to be in control and deal with this sort of thing.

What’s the point here? Well, I think it’s important to remember to let go, sometimes. I know husbands get a bad rap, especially in all the tv commercials that paint them as silly dolts. But keep in mind that men LIKE responsibility and to know they are needed and appreciated.

When we sign the dotted line this weekend, I’m going to be very thankful and appreciative that he was able to get this all handled.

#37: Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do.

8 Dec

At least, that’s what they say. And it’s what I’ve been trying to put into practice.

Patience is something I’m still working very hard on. I’m not afraid of confrontation, but I try to avoid it if it’s not really necessary.

But in order to not be confrontational over minor things (which could come across as ‘nagging wife’ or ‘complaining wife’) one must exercise some patience.

I’ve been getting better at it. Last night, my husband and I were talking, and it got to be late. My husband HATES talking about anything serious before bed. I, on the other hand, can not sleep if stuff is on my mind, and I feel most comfortable talking to him when we ARE in bed. Our guard is down, we’re comfortable, we’re not tense. It seems like a PERFECT place and time to talk.

But he doesn’t like to; maybe he feels vulnerable. Maybe he actually wants to sleep when he gets into bed. I don’t know or understand the reason why, but since me bringing up things before bed seemed to always turn things into a crazy fight, I’ve been trying to honor his request to not talk about anything serious before sleep.

So last night, as we started talking, he said he’d rather not, and really wanted to get some sleep.

And I obliged and shut my mouth. That was an exercise in patience. Not so much because I had something burning that I just HAD to discuss (the issue was minor), but because I’m not sure when I’ll get to have my say and I have to sit and wonder when he might want to talk. I have to be a mindreader. If I bring it up again, I’m a nagging wife.

Last night, he had his say (he disagreed with me), then said he would really like some sleep.

This takes me to something else completely. Sometimes I don’t even care what the issue is about. I just want to know that he takes my opinion/thoughts/whatever seriously, even if he disagrees. I want to know that he’s at least trying to understand what I’m saying. I don’t know that if he gets to say his peace and then decides the conversation is over.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not even mad. There’s no point. We’re going to be with each other for a long time, and if he hates talking before bed, nothing is going to magically make him like it. So it’s my turn to make the accommodation and try to be patient.

Sometimes I want to blow up and say, “Well when the heck do you expect us to talk? We work all day, come home, feed the kids, eat our dinner, do bedtime for the kids, do some chores, maybe watch an hour of tv, and then it’s our bedtime! Bedtime is the only time we have peace and quiet. When do you propose we talk???”

But I know that’s not a good direction to go, either. I think most times if I’m just patient and calm, things will work themselves out. Things will eventually get addressed.

So I’m going to work some more on being patient, not rushing to solutions, decisions, or blowing up and yelling.

But does this make a really understanding wife, or a pushover?

#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.

#35: Tips on not becoming a junkie.

23 Nov

Credit: fuffer on Flickr

An iPhone junkie, that is.

My husband and I both have iPhones (I’ve got a 3Gs, he’s got a 4.) I don’t think he ‘plays’ with his iPhone as much as I do; but in all fairness (to me and my bad habit), he just got his after switching from a very old Blackberry, and he doesn’t know how to download and use all the nifty apps yet.

Here’s what I use my iPhone for:

  • Checking my work email
  • Checking my personal email
  • Looking at my ‘friends’ feed in Facebook
  • Checking for Facebook notifications
  • Reading celebrity gossip
  • Playing Bubble Shooter (free edition)
  • Googling anything I don’t know
  • Checking my bank account
  • Checking my Amex account
  • changing the channel on the tv (thank you Verizon Fios app!)
  • Texting my family
  • Talking on the phone

What do you use your mobile phone for?

Now, I’ll be clear now. I’m not addicted to my phone. I’ve left it at home and not had a panic. I’ve forgotten my charger on vacation and not had a panic.

However, I’m on my phone way too much. It follows me around the house (as in, I bring it with me around the house.) I play too much Bubble Shooter. A lot of times, I just fiddle away on it while we’re watching television. My rationale is that, well, we’re watching television. It’s not like we’re interacting.

However, is my phone use contributing to any lack of interaction? I don’t know. But I’m not particularly wanting to find out. Especially since I read this article today online about how your happiness level actually seems to depend on your spouses happiness level (this was only true of married couples in the study.) It says that if you’re happy, you’re spouse is much more likely to be happy.

Well, how can my hubby know how happy (or unhappy) I am if I’m buried in my iPhone?

As a secondary point, my daughter is seven years old. I need to start NOW setting a good example about phone/digital device etiquette.

So here are some tips on good etiquette that I intend to follow:

I won’t text while driving. I typically don’t, but I’ll make an effort not to at all. I’m really not use to my family if I’m dead from a texting accident.

No phone during any meals. I never do this anyway. Mostly. The only exception is if I’m checking for texts from the babysitter.

I won’t play games/read celebrity gossip, etc for more than 10 minutes at a time. Hey, let’s face it. I’m going to do those things. My phone has practically replaced the computer for those sorts of things. But 10 minutes, max, especially if I’m hoping for some quality time with the husband. I don’t want him to feel ignored.

I won’t bring my phone into the bedroom at night. I’ll leave it to charge in the kitchen. This is a new rule for me. I bring it in a lot, and scan the news or check Facebook before bed. There’s no need for this. Bedtime is ‘cuddle’ time. Reconnect time. (You get the idea.)

What other tips can you recommend?

#34: “I’m surprised you haven’t somehow contaminated me with this food and sent me to an untimely death.”

18 Nov

Credit: Food Network

Ok, that’s not really what my husband said, but I imagine that’s what he was thinking as he said, “Wow, honey, dinner is great tonight.”

You all know I’m not the best cook, and for the most part don’t even really like to cook (since it involved making a mess, then cleaning said mess.)

On Tuesday, I stayed home with the kiddo because our daycare was closed. I can barely cook dinner when I concentrate, so imagine my horror when I realized I’d have to take a crack at it with my 11 month old half walking, half crawling around everywhere. I’m not a big fan of just sticking him in the playyard or the exersaucer; I feel bad, plus he just screams at the top of his lungs anyway.

But since I was home with him, there was no excuse for me not to have dinner on the table when my husband got home.

I ended up trying out some honey mustard chicken. I didn’t even think to marinade it ahead of time; I just threw together some Dijon mustard and honey in a bowl, and swirled the thawed chicken breast around in there for a few minutes. I threw them in a pan stovetop and cooked ’em on up. I think what helped was throwing a little more honey on them RIGHT at the end.

Served with baked brussels sprouts (ends cut, cut in half, in olive oil with a tad of mustard) that I baked in the oven at 400 degrees for, oh, I don’t know, forever, it seemed like!

But, seriously, he LIKED my dinner! I’m getting pretty decent at this whole ‘wife’ thing!


Some other things:

 

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