Category Archives: Marriage

We’re Not Anniversary People

Man, we haven’t aged a bit. I hope. May 19, 2001.

This weekend my husband and I will celebrate 11 years of wedded bliss.

Okay, 11 years being married, with a vast majority of those years qualifying as bliss. 🙂

The Super-Hubs and I have never really made a big deal out of our anniversary. Weird, since I’m a hopeless romantic in love with love, right?

We sort of recognize it, but we don’t do gifts for each other and we don’t make big plans or take elaborate trips.

In fact, last year was the first year since our Honeymoon that we’ve taken a trip specifically to celebrate our anniversary, and we made that happen only because  it was the big number 10, and we didn’t go far. Just a couple of nights in Savannah. We really enjoyed it.

This year we’re going to dinner and to see Avengers. Now that is an anniversary celebration!

Perhaps we don’t make a big deal out of our anniversary because it falls at a bad time. It’s the end of the school year (that’s not a great time for teachers, which I was and my hubby still is). It’s exactly half-way between the birthdays of our sons, and it’s smack-dab in the middle of a month chock-full of family birthdays and other events.

I had to look up what the traditional anniversary gift is this year. 11 years is steel. Hmmm. I think I’ll dig out one of the stainless steel shell-shaped mint trays (why are those even a thing?) we were given as a wedding gift and re-gift it to him.

He’ll Love It.

To Super-Hubby: Thanks for putting up with me for 11 years and promising to put up with me for a zillion more. I love you, B.

Share with me: Are you and your spouse big anniversary people? Do you usually give the traditional gifts by year? What’s the most memorable thing you’ve done for an anniversary?

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10 Ways To Stop Your Life from Becoming A Reality TV Show

The world seems to be obsessed with reality TV.

There are a gozillion reality shows airing on every station, documenting every topic under the sun. Some of them don’t document anything at all, really, except exceptional stupidity. Just in case you’re curious, here’s a list of all the reality TV shows.

How many of those shows feature couples?

And how many Americans, and fans around the world, are obsessed with the celebrity couples and their “real” lives as depicted through reality TV?

More than I care to count.

Reality TV has become the standard to which many measure their lives. And that’s sad. And scary. Because reality TV is anything but real.

When it comes to depicting real relationships and marriages for all of America, reality TV has only been successful at one thing: showing America how to fail.

How many reality couples have actually weathered the storm that is cameras in their faces 24/7?

I remember the early days of reality TV, when watching Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson was the cool thing to do. They were newlyweds. So was I. I think I watched maybe 3 episodes.

I remember thinking exactly one thing– why? Why would you put your marriage on TV, as if it’s entertainment? Because it’s not.

Marriage isn’t entertainment for other people. And when it becomes so, when you amp up your relationship for the benefit of those watching, you take the focus off of the two people involved and put it on everyone else.

Imagine: your marriage is, quite literally, a show. Your relationship centers around not what you can do for your spouse or how you can work out your issues to become better people for each other, but instead how you can entertain an audience, how you can increase your tension, how you can create more problems for the benefit and delight of your audience.

When you really think about it, it becomes obvious why these relationships don’t last.

Jessica and Nick– kaput.

Hulk Hogan & his wife. Done.

Kim Kardashian and Kris whats-his-name. Over before it started. (Seriously, was their entire relationship just for ratings? How sad is that?)

And what about Jon and Kate Gosselin, the couple everyone loved because they loved each other, loved their brood of multiples, and loved God? Yeah. Where are they now? That’s right– nasty divorce that played out for the world. Those poor kiddos.

There’s a huge list of other couples that have been featured on reality shows (one member of the couple or both) and have split shortly after filming. Or even during filming.

These relationships were doomed because sometimes you just need to keep stuff private.

Is your life like a reality TV show? Are you airing dirty laundry that does more harm to your marriage or relationship than good?

How to Stop Your Life from Becoming A Reality Show:

1. Respect your marriage. Respect the sanctity of the union into which you entered. You have become one with another human being, unified in the eyes of God, legally bonded in the eyes of the law. Remember that your relationship with your spouse should be second only to your relationship with God.

2. Realize that everything you do affects someone else. You are one-half of the whole when in a marriage. Every action you take, every word you speak, is not only a refection of you, but also of your spouse. Keep that in mind as you make decisions and go through each and every day.

3. Don’t keep up with anyone. Your relationship is unique. It is a snowflake. (Too cliche?) As two individuals now acting as one family unit, you may share similar experiences with others, but you will never, ever be exactly the same. Don’t try to be. When you put yourself in competition with someone else, even another couple, you take the focus off of the importance of your relationship and shine the light on theirs. Who’s more important to you–the person you want to be like, or your spouse?

4. Don’t tell everyone everything. Sometimes even your best girlfriends don’t need to know everything that’s wrong with your man (or woman, dudes). Not only are you degrading and disrespecting him by complaining behind his back, but running our mouths tempts us to up the ante each time we do it. We want sympathy, we want compassion and understanding for our “suffering”, so sometimes we might be tempted to say too much, to embellish, to over-share in order to get the reaction we desire. Don’t. It’s not healthy. The more you publicize, the more they’ll scrutinize.

5. If you have a perfect relationship, don’t flaunt it. The minute that you do, you’ll realize it isn’t perfect.

6. Value your partner more than the spotlight. It’s fun to be the life of the party. It’s fun to be in the popular crowd. It’s nice to know and be known. But when it comes at the cost of your relationship, it just isn’t worth it.

7. Be brave enough to admit when you need help. All relationships go through rough patches. Don’t be afraid to admit that your relationship is struggling, and seek professional help. Making the health of your relationship a priority over everything else is the first step to getting it back on track.

8. Make your spouse the one you tell your secrets to. When your deepest dreams, thoughts, and fears are shared more often with others than with your spouse, you are devaluing him or her. Keep your spouse as your best friend and confidante before anyone else.

9. Value your alone time. One-on-one time with your spouse is vital. In order to sustain a working relationship, every couple needs quiet, uninterrupted time to talk and time to listen. No “cameras.” No “audience.” Just you and your spouse. Make it a priority.

10. Don’t let anyone outside your marriage dictate what happens inside your marriage. Reality TV stars allow their lives to be “scripted” by those in the business who know how to get higher ratings. Like those TV stars, sometimes we can let others influence what happens in our marriage by listening to bad advice or criticism that we then turn on our spouse. Don’t. Seek wise counsel from those who are worthy to give it, and ignore all the rest.

Share with me: Anything to add to this list? What’s your favorite reality TV show?

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The Last Time You Had A First Kiss

The kiss. The magical moment when emotional entanglement becomes physical reality.

It’s intimate. It’s precious. It’s delightful. To most people, kisses are an indication of “I way more than like you.”

Books, movies, TV characters– Who doesn’t love the sigh at the release of tension when two people finally end up in the kiss you’ve been cheering them toward?

I was reading a book just the other day (thanks, Beth Vogt) where I was literally talking to the characters on the page. “Kiss her, you idiot!” 🙂 And when it happened, I was so, so happy.

My true first kiss occurred when I was 14. It was horrible. I’d rather block it out of my memory for all time and eternity. In fact, I almost have. It was none of the things described above, mostly because the teenage boy on the other end of the kiss was a total goon whom I barely knew. Ick. Let’s move on.

Thankfully I’ve had other first kisses. Some of them are still really important memories.

It was late–close to my curfew of midnight. I was nineteen, living with my parents, a freshman in college.

I’d just moved home from being away from school for a semester. I was fighting a chronic illness. I met a boy. He made me laugh. And it didn’t hurt that I thought he was super cute. He asked me out. We went to dinner and a movie on our first date. We went to see Collective Soul in concert in Atlanta for our second.

I didn’t let him kiss me on that first date. Apparently he tried on the second and I was either too naive or too absorbed in the concert to notice. (I’m going with being blonde and not noticing. I wasn’t new to being kissed.) By the third date I was way into this dude and I knew 2 things: 1. I definitely wanted him to kiss me. 2. He was The One.

Anyway, we were standing by the front door of my parent’s house chatting, killing time until that this is it moment. My “you’ll-appreciate-what-a-good-parent-I-am-someday” mother had already flashed the porch lights once; a warning that I needed to come in. I was just about to give up and head inside when it finally happened–he kissed me.

That was the last time I had a real first kiss. And it came from the man who is now my husband.

I remember all those feelings I had before “the moment”. The anticipation. The excitement. The truth that I really, really wanted him to kiss me. Thinking that if he didn’t, it probably didn’t bode well for future dates. And then when it happened, the sheer giddiness of knowing that he liked me enough to kiss me.

I’ll never forget that kiss.

It was late afternoon. I was dressed in white, surrounded by a zillion of my closest friends and family, in front of a minister who closely resembled an Oopma Loompa because of too many trips to the tanning bed. The previous few months of life had been chaos. I had finally had surgery to remove the tumor from my pituitary gland that had been the cause of my chronic illness over the previous three years. What’s more, I’d spend months in preparation for this moment. And it wasn’t perfect. But I no longer cared.

The pastor barely knew us. During the required counseling sessions before the big day, he’d insinuated that my guy and I weren’t a good match. I was not a fan of this pastor, but it was too late. We’d been attending the church for a year and a half and until our two-on-one time with him, thought he was a nice guy. And then he went and did it. The one-two punch to our wedding ceremony.

He read a terrible, horrible, awful poem AND he refused to say “you may kiss the bride”.

In that awkward moment of silence when I’m starting to feel beads of sweat because it’s my day and I don’t know what’s happening and the people in the church are starting to wonder, “isn’t this the part where the pastor tells the groom to kiss the bride?”, the man I was marrying took care of it. My hero. It came right after he wiped a happy “so-what-if-it-isn’t-perfect” tear from my cheek and made every woman in the church swoon. It was a sweet kiss. The kind that says, “you’re mine.” And we didn’t need a too-orange man to tell us that it was permissible.

I was a wife. Even though we’d shared plenty of kisses between our first and the one on our wedding day, it was the first kiss I shared with a man I could call my husband.

I’ll never forget that kiss.

But eleven years, two kids and a very hectic schedule later, there are days when the closest we get to a kiss is a peck on the cheek as one of us is running out the door.

You know how it is–after building a life together, you realize that some of the “magic” has been lost in the relationship. Some of the anticipation and excitement is gone. There’s no more mystery. You’re just too busy to worry about daily romance.

Yes, I said daily romance.

Want to get some of that spark back?

Have a first kiss.

How’s that possible, you might ask?

Everyday presents the opportunity for a first kiss. Not with a new partner each time–no, no. That’s not what I mean.

I’m talking about finding a reason to make your husband, wife or significant other feel special by initiating a “first” kiss.

Not a peck. Not a “see ya” swipe. Not accompanied by a list of tasks he or she needs to accomplish. No, I’m talking about a kiss that resembles the ones that are seared into your memory.

Tips for initiating a “first” kiss everyday:

  • Be intentional. Our favorite romance characters don’t kiss for no reason. Real kisses have real intentions behind them.
  • Devote more than 2 seconds to the action. A good kiss takes some time. A peck just ain’t gonna do it.
  • Don’t talk about it. Not before, not after. Just let it be what it is. You’ll kill the magic if you walk up to your spouse with a speech prepared. If you must say something, let it be “I’m going to kiss you now.” Then boom.
  • Don’t follow it up with other intimate actions. Again, just let the kiss be what it is. Kiss, walk away. Kisses are intimate enough as it is. Walking away from a good kiss will guarantee that your spouse will be thinking about you for the rest of the day.
  • Make the timing random. Don’t wait until your spouse is walking out the door or they expect some sort of physical touch from you. Catch him or her off guard. Sometimes the surprise of it can bring back some of that excitement.
  • Don’t look for a reason. Romance is about not having a reason other than your love. You don’t need a reason to let your spouse know how much you care.
  • Don’t expect to be kissed back. If it’s been a while since your last first kiss, it might take a few new “first” kisses for your spouse to realize that you’re being intentional. When that realization comes, though, I can guarantee you’ll see results of your intentional affection when that affection is returned.

Follow these tips for having a “first” kiss everyday and you might discover that your actions will quickly rekindle some of the excitement and anticipation of the early days of first kisses with your spouse.

Share with me: Who has the worst/best first kiss story or memory?

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