Relationships 401

It’s interesting. Today I was watching an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s show “Comedians in cars getting coffee” and it was the one where he had Julie Louis Dryfus on.

The camaraderie between her and Jerry was obvious and you could see he adored traits in her that were enviable, even after all these years. And she saw him, faults and all, as her comments attested.

But at the core – they really got each other.

That’s flippin’ important in any relationship, no? Friendship… Romantic…whatever…

But it also begs the questions – do you have to almost envy the person you’re with in order to want to be with them? And if you strive for the best, should that only be within yourself or does that include your partner too?

What say you?

This is marriage

I wrote a post titled “This Is Marriage” shortly after I married my husband. It was about a bad dream turning into a beautiful reality. I had several people mention it as one of their favorites and the topic stayed in my head.

I find every day is not going to be extraordinary. Some days will be bad. Some happy. Some sad and etc. Most will warp into each other, making a week feel like one long day. But among those forgettable one’s, will be days that leave a lasting effect on you and I had one of those recently.

A few days back, a co-worker/friend and I were chatting about marriage and making things work between two people with different needs.

Isn’t that every marriage, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty? Marriage is a beautiful commitment between two people but it doesn’t make them clones of each other. They’re still two individuals, with individual needs and wants of their own.

Perhaps that is the hardest part of combining one’s life with another. Unless you are replicas of one another, chances are you will be different from your significant other, at least in some ways.

And that’s okay.

I’ve found, however, many times one person in the relationship will take a back seat to the other one, who makes louder demands or wants. Regardless though, the differences are still there; they’re just buried or ignored.

Then there are other relationships where both want to maintain a level of individuality within their marriage. This doesn’t mean you think of yourself as one without the other but rather means it’s okay to be different. No one has to prevail.

For example, I need a lot of alone time (yeah I know, I’ve mentioned it before…) When my husband and I first married, this was a tricky one. He liked to be together when we were home and didn’t care much to be alone. I, on the other hand, thrived on it. At first, we argued. It got personal. Feelings were hurt, words were said.

But then, over time, he learned this was part of who his wife was at her core. Friends and family let him in on how much I liked to be alone. He realized I lived alone for seven years and thoroughly enjoyed it and he began to make sense about why I like alone time and learned it had nothing to do with him. That took courage and confidence…

And you know what? Over time, I noticed he started to know when I needed this alone time (after a restaurant shift, for one!) and now, gives it freely, without me even asking.

When my friend and I were chatting, this realization came to me and I nearly lost my breath.

On the flipside, I’ve learned a thing or two also, like how my significant other does not like to be asked indirect questions. Whenever I would ask a question as a statement, it would make his blood boil. And damn, I realize why! That is not how you talk to someone you love.

Another example: my husband likes to keep the blinds closed while I like the sunlight to blare right on in. But who’s right? Neither, really, as each is entitled to their preference. But we learned each other. When I’m not downstairs and he is, there’s no reason those blinds need to be open and when I’m downstairs, I open them with the understanding that if he enters, a few will be closing so we can each have a little of what we like.

Marriage is not about becoming one another. It’s not about taking the backseat to another. Or “sucking it up.”

It’s about communication. It’s about understanding. Being honest with one another about one’s needs.

Perhaps though, most importantly, it’s about the desire to learn each other.

This does not come overnight though. My husband and I had to learn how to learn each other. It took time and patience. But most importantly, as my lovely co-worker explained, it took the desire to do it.

And that is marriage.

The desire to learn about each other and adjust oneself accordingly in an effort to make a better future together.

#thisismarriage

 

 

Together, Not Against

My boyfriend and I have been in our new place for a few months now but we have yet to accept that we have a third roommate, our neighbor’s television.

Our neighbor is LOUD. And she watches television incredibly often (does she work, I don’t know?) and it’s always on decibel 900. (I hope that’s loud, I’m actually not so sure about the whole decibel thing…) She also SLAMS her front door shut and talks at the TOP of her LUNGS as she yaps on the phone for hours. And did I mention she likes to do wall-shaking laundry at two o’clock in the morning?

But hey that’s life. I’m very fortunate and I know it and if this is the worst of my problems, I should shut the hell up. But there was one particular morning, my boyfriend and I learned an important lesson and I’d like to share it with my readers.

We had gone to bed the (Sunday) night before around one in the morning. The television in our neighbor’s apartment, which happens to share a very THIN wall with us, had droned on and on from eight until only God knows since we managed to fall asleep despite the noise.

Then, at around 7:30 in the morning, the television came back on. It sounded like Oprah on crack and a LOUD studio audience. My boyfriend and I were jolted awake and neither of us were happy about it. I grabbed my eye cover and yelled about the noise all the way to the bathroom while my boyfriend grunted and sighed. Under the covers, I tried to will the damn thing off. My boyfriend covered his head with the blanket. Nothing worked though. Cackling middle-aged women were practically in our bedroom at eight o’clock in the morning.

We got more pissed as the minutes passed. I started devising a plan and spoke it out loud despite my boyfriend’s snap, “No talking. It’s too early.” I continued talking about the letter I was going to write to my neighbor and how I would make my point as effectively as possible, using manipulation even if I had too (the things we say when we’re tired!), and I wasn’t done… But my boyfriend got upset and said that we could kiss our apartment goodbye (dramatic much?) and how I’d only be rocking the boat and causing trouble and that she’d probably start to do it even louder.

We laid opposite each other, having gone from practically hugging to no longer touching. I was upset. He was upset. And then, practically at the same time, we both breathed and looked at each other and realized what was happening. My boyfriend hugged me and said that it’s crazy for us to be taking it out on each other right now. I agreed and squeezed him back, thinking, this isn’t about me. Or about him. Or about our neighbor.

It’s about US.

We’re in this together.

We are not against each other.

It may sound simplistic but I’ll tell you this, my whole perspective at how I see the world changed in that moment of realization. Dramatic, much? Yeah. But moments that shape us qualify for such, no?

Differences

I will be moving in with my boyfriend next week. This will be my first time living with someone who isn’t family or a roommate. I’m very excited but also a bit nervous. I love change but it’s not the easiest thing for me to do.

As we make preparations for our new abode, I’ve noticed that moving in with someone really magnifies the differences between you both. Fortunately, my boyfriend and I agree on the big things, the deal breaker stuff, you know things like “you don’t smoke crack, right?” and “alone time is important!” But we are most certainly different and this whole moving-in process has had an interesting way of illuminating these differences…

I think moving in with someone can go one of two ways. Yes, I’m basing this on what I’ve seen from others who have moved in with each other and I’m generalizing, but I think it all boils down to two roads: either you allow your differences to conquer your relationship and you two become opposing sides rather than a partnership OR you allow your differences to compliment each other and provide each of you opportunities to demonstrate love, patience, understanding and compromise.

I believe in washing towels after every other use, my boyfriend does not.
He likes the sheets tucked in when making the bed, I leave them hanging out.
My boyfriend likes the sink counter to be dry while I don’t notice it either way and therefore, often leave it wet.
I need a fan on while I sleep, even in the cold. He hates it.
I like to snack. He likes full meals.

We are different. Compromise is needed.

I love to vacuum and sweep, he’s great at dusting.
He cooks healthy protein-based meals, I cook Sicilian-style.
I buy the first thing I see, he researches and asks questions.
He’d rather not deal with it, I face it head-on.
I’m obsessive about organizing, he’s obsessive about detail.

We are different. Sometimes it works to our advantage.

But allow me to get to the point. This whole moving-in-with-my-boyfriend process has been quite enlightening for me. I’m glad I waited to live with someone until I thought it was really right, especially because I don’t think I would have lasted longer than a month. Differences often have a negative connotation with them. And personally, I’ve been from the camp of liking things the way I like things. Sure, I thought I had great reasons for such but now, only after I found someone who was able to reach inside me in ways no one else ever has, I’ve come to realize differences aren’t so bad and in fact, are often great.

Perhaps it’s a good barometer for a relationship – the more the relationship is right for you, the more the differences are right for you too?

Some rules are made to be broken.

A couple of days ago, I walked into a restaurant with the boy who I’m dating. When the host seated us, my date asked if we could have a table where we could sit next to each other rather than across from each other.

I paused.

Hold the phone.

First, allow me to explain. I’m an ex-server. I’ve waited tables for more years than the average three-year old can count up to and therefore, I know the rules of serving. And one of them, which most servers would back me on in a heartbeat is this: sit where the host seats you and don’t ask for a table with more chairs than your party is going to sit in.

Dilemma though.

Truth is, I wanted to sit next to him. Plain and simple. So I glanced around and saw there were several open tables and so I justified it in my head. But this got me thinking about rules. Are some to be broken? Or do we break them only when it’s convenient to us?

Well, I decided this. Considering it was nice to sit near him, that I want to do it again and that I liked how he asked for a table in which we could do so, I figure some rules are meant to be broken.

BUT

I am now taking that one off my server rules list. Let couples sit near each other! I will never again roll my eyes at the thought, even if they take up my four top.