Please remember... What follows, whether silly or serious, are OUR experiences, OUR lessons learned, OUR slants on life... All based on the twelve years Handsome and I have been negotiating the marital waters. What works for us may have disastrous consequences for you. Then again, we may have cracked the code. You tell me!
Okay. First, it bears mentioning that Handsome and I wrote our 12 pieces of advice separately, independently, flying solo and untethered by consultation with each other. And we each could easily have written far more than twelve little things. And each of those twenty-four things could have been books! Because, seriously. You learn through mistakes, and mistakes have stories attached. REALLY GOOD stories, sometimes...
We then thought it would be fun to see how much of our thinking overlapped with each other. There was plenty. So to start our advice column tonight, a little common ground:
1. Grass is Greenest Where You Water It.
She Said: Do what you can to become an expert on your husband. Learn everything about his needs, wants, preferences, dreams, goals, strengths, and weaknesses. Then pour all of your energy into loving him and caring for him in the ways HE needs you to, not necessarily the ways you read about or assume you should. Hey, while you're at it, read Love Languages. It's commercial, sure, but pretty enlightening. Speak his languages whenever you can and don't make the mistake of expecting your languages to be the same. Become the world's expert on him.
He Said: Make sure her needs and desires are met, because you want to, not because you fear what may happen. A woman in love will make your dreams come true, so you should do everything in your power to return the favor...
2. Fun is Not Extra Credit.
She Said: Seek adventure together! In every sense, both privately and as world-citizens, actively hunt for fun experiences, routine-busters, laughter, games, silliness, thrills, and more. Also... Sex and romance are vital parts of life. Neglecting them even for a short time will cause both of you to suffer in surprising ways. It's totally natural, and it's also one of the best ways to express yourself freely. So if you feel guilty for craving or enjoying fun with your guy, stop. And if you're neglecting him, also... stop. Hubba-hubba.
He Said: Find things you both can enjoy, and do them often. There is no greater anticipation than looking forward to something fun together! Travel together and see the world. Build more experiences together than you could ever have apart. Sharing your lives is what makes your bond stronger. I could never imagine enjoying new things without her to share them with right then!
3. 'Cause You Gotta Havva Faitha-Faitha-Faitha!
She Said: Trust. Yes, like respect, everyone likes to say that trust is earned, and it sort of is. But sometimes what a marriage needs most is that bold flavor of trust that is issued ahead of time, that trust that is given freely more as an act of faith than as a reward for some kind of behavior. (This is something I am learning right now, by the way, because personal insecurity is huge for me. And Handsome pays the price for it more than he deserves.) Trust your guy regardless of what people outside your relationship do or say.
He Said: Be honest at all costs. Nothing hurts a woman in love like the feeling of deceit. If you love her, you will share your thoughts and feelings.
4. You as a Couple Are Not an Island
She Said: Be good to each other's families even when it's difficult. Maybe especially when it's difficult, because there will be days like that. Extend yourselves and maintain friendships with all kinds of people. Handsome and I have been so blessed in so many unexpected ways by getting close to a variety of interesting people. We feel so blessed to love each others families and love all of our friends! And I have learned so much about my husband in all of this. I can't even imagine not having our loved ones close to our marriage, even as much as we definitely prize our intimacy and time alone.
He Said: Have a family. You will never fully appreciate the depth of your wife's love until you see her mold the lives of little ones she loves more than her own breath.
So there is our beginning! Four areas where Handsome and I had similar wisdom to share. I hope at least part of it is interesting to you, and I really hope you'll share your thoughts and reactions! As with everything else in life, I have had so much fun learning a little more about him with this exercise.
Part Two soon!
Happy Anniversary Baby