13 Ways Marriage Gets Better With Time

Today is our 10th anniversary. We were a couple for about 6 years before we officially tied the knot, which puts us at 16 years of loving each other, but it very much feels as though we’ve been married for freaking ever. The good news is, at least for us, marriage continues to become easier the longer we are together. Here’s 13 ways it’s gotten better:

  1. Eventually, I learned to stop noticing the dirty towels and underwear he leaves on the floor.
  2. We’ve learned what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are, and work with it instead of against it. He can’t remember to balance the checkbook to save his life? Fine – we’ll make that my job. I can’t tell a weed from a flower? Fine – he’s got the gardening.
  3. What’s on our minds gets said immediately and gets dealt with, instead of letting it linger to harbor resentment and misunderstanding.
  4. Since I know he’s pretty much trapped now and can’t escape me, I have no qualms about sharing my kinkiest, dirtiest, naughtiest, most-taboo-iest fantasies with him and asking him to help me fulfill them. Yeah, even that fantasy.
  5. Having children who are walking, talking extensions of the two of us, has brought us even closer together.
  6. I don’t bother to ask him if an outfit makes my ass look bigger anymore. Either way, he’s still gonna slap it.
  7. My family is his family and his friends are my friends and vice versa. A lot of conflict is avoided because of this.
  8. Pooting in front of, or on him, is now something I laugh at instead of trying hard not to do.
  9. The line between “his” and “hers” has diminished to the point that it barley exists. There’s just “ours”. Unfortunately, this means I now have to buy pink socks if I don’t want him stealing them and stretching them way out of shape.
  10. We’re pretty secure in our relationship these days because we now know for a fact that we’re both absolutely crazy, and that no one but us would put up with us for long.
  11. After a while, we start developing the same tastes and habits. Which makes choosing what to eat for dinner, what to watch on TV and what color to paint the bathroom much easier than it used to be.
  12. It’s been so long that we’ve been going without some of the rights that marriage has deemed irrelevant, that we no longer even miss them. You know, like the right to come and go as you please, the right to say no, the right to remain silent.
  13. You get to make blog posts with both sweet and comedic commentary about your relationship instead of having to buy a sappy card for your anniversary ….

If you’re reading this babe, Happy Anniversary. I love you.

13 Rules of Marriage

It’s no secret I enjoy reading, writing, and talking about love, marriage and relationships. I recently read a very interesting book by Terrence Real titled The New Rules of Marriage for making love work in the 21st century. For today’s topic, I picked 13 of the many “relationship rules” described in this book to share with you for your thoughts:

  1. Intimacy occurs when 2 or more mature individuals choose to share themselves with one another.
  2. One of the great paradoxes of intimacy is that in order to have a healthy, passionate relationship, you must be willing to risk it.
  3. Objective Reality has no place in close personal relationships.
  4. A good relationship is not one in which the raw parts of ourselves are avoided. A good relationship is one in which they are handled. And a great relationship is one in which they are healed.
  5. The difference between acceptance and withdrawal is resentment.
  6. Couples don’t have problems; they are problems.
  7. You think that your relationship will improve once particular stressful issues, like money, parenting, or sex, “Get Resolved.” But it’s actually the other way around. You’ll be able to successfully tackle tough issues only after your relationship improves.
  8. Few things diminish one partner’s desire for sex more effectively than the other partner’s demand for it.
  9. You have no right to complain about not getting what you never asked for.
  10. Great relationships mean more assertion up front and less resentment on the back end.
  11. The essential dynamic of all relationships is a dance of harmony, disharmony, and repair.
  12. Listening equals understanding.
  13. Understanding builds empathy, empathy builds compassion, and compassion ends combat.

What do you think?

13 Things That Turn Me On / Off

Here’s a list 13 things that turn me on, as well as 13 things that turn me off. (As I wrote this list I found it interesting to note how fine the line can be between some of the things that attract me and those that repell …)

  1. Intelligence / A Know-It-All
  2. Relates to me / Related to me
  3. Confidence / Arrogance
  4. Open-minded / Non-committal
  5. Adventurous / Promiscuous
  6. Naughty / Criminal
  7. Hypotheses / Hypocrisy
  8. Honesty / Crudeness
  9. Intimacy / Secrecy
  10. Analytical / Anal
  11. DevotionObsession
  12. Protectiveness / Un-trusting
  13. Upholding Integrity / Being Judgmental

13 Life Lessons

As you know, I just celebrated a birthday last week.  Another year lived.  Another year of lessons learned.  I’d like to take a moment to share a few (go here to see the ones I shared previously):

  1. Before you can be true to anyone else, you have to be true to yourself.
  2. The older you get, the harder it is to break bad habits.
  3. You’d be surprised by what you can get if you only just ask.
  4. The term “Common Sense” is really quite a misnomer. It isn’t all that common, nor is it a sense.
  5. Times have changed. If you think you can make it JUST by relying on an employer for financial security, you may be putting yourself and your family at risk.
  6. The ones you fight with the hardest tend to be the ones you love the most.
  7. Doesn’t matter how well they get along or like each other. If a pair of partners aren’t both working towards the same shared, clearly understood goal, the partnership is headed for big trouble. Be the partnership a marriage, business partnership or project team.
  8. Sometimes you have to be the “bad guy” in order to save the day.
  9. I am not the exact same person today I was 20 years ago, or 10 years ago, or even a year ago. And I’m happy about that – I’m changing because I’m growing, maturing, evolving.
  10. I’m beginning to bet that more relationships fail because one person didn’t change, more-so than because they did.
  11. Parents don’t always know what’s best.
  12. There’s no point in complaining about it if you’re not going to do anything help make it change.
  13. If you insist on trying to take large, rapid steps there, you’ll likely wear yourself out before you even come close. But take it one focused, determined, small step at a time and chances are high you will eventually get there.

What are some of the lessons you learned this year?

13 Things Couples Fight About

… and ways to resolve them:

  1. Finances. Discuss them.
  2. Kids. Agree on how to raise them.
  3. Frustrations. Express them.
  4. Expectations. Make them obtainable.
  5. Sex. Have it. Make it good.
  6. Promises. Keep them.
  7. The Past. Stop bringing it up repeatedly.
  8. Respect, Consideration and Gratitude. Show it.
  9. Angry Words Said. Own them. Don’t say it unless you mean it.
  10. Responsibilities. Share them.
  11. Ex’s. Keep them within proper boundaries.
  12. Lies. Don’t tell them.
  13. Secrets. Don’t create them.

13 Signs Of A True Friend

To celebrate my husband’s birthday, we had a big party this weekend where we were surrounded by friends for 3 days. Not just any friends – but great friends. Which got me to thinking about how lucky I am to have true friends in my life in general. Here’s 13 ways you’ll know a friend is true:

  1. They support you in your positive goals and try to steer you from unhealthy habits
  2. They’re there for you when you need them, and they will help you the best way they are able to
  3. They won’t assume you’re angry with them or no longer your friend just because they haven’t heard from you in a while – they know you’re busy
  4. They are willing to drive 15 hours just to hang out with you
  5. They will be a fan of your book / album / game / blog and *hint hint* buy your products  ;-D
  6. They provide constructive criticism instead of insults or judgement
  7. They will take the time to try to get to know your family
  8. They respect you, your priorities, your limitations,  your relationships, your beliefs and your home
  9. They understand where you’re coming from and where you’re trying to go
  10. They won’t harbor any grudges after a disagreement
  11. They make you feel as if you can trust them, and as if they have trust in you
  12. They will remain your friend. Even after they’ve seen your stretch marks, witnessed you wearing holey underwear (or none at all),  were too close when you let a stinky one loose, and were unable to avoid your projectile vomit when you got silly drunk
  13. They will remind you that you are loved, and never alone
  14. They know that you’re their true friend, too

Yes, I really CAN count. But I had to throw that 14th one in there because really, someone is only your true friend when they can say the same about you.

Thank you for being a friend. You know who you are. **smooches**

Thirteen Crazy Things Said in My House

I’m learning that living with a 2 year-old, a 5 year-old and a man of any age makes for some very, um “special” conversation:

  1. “Why do I have to go to school again? I just went yesterday.”
  2. “Stop dangling that at your brother, it’s inappropriate!”
  3. “Eww, I see your booty and it’s naked!”
  4. “But you can’t do work every day, Momma! That’s not fair.”
  5. “When I grow up, I want a husband and a wife!”
  6. “Well if you have your booty out, I have no choice but to slap it.”
  7. “If it hurts for the baby to come out of her stomach, then why did she put it in there?”
  8. “When I grow up, I’m going to be a doctor and look at people’s booty all day.”
  9. “You’re fired.”
  10. “Your booty’s fired, Mommy.”
  11. “Daddy, you really shouldn’t kiss Mommy so much. That’s just gross!”
  12. “I’m not going to tell you again to keep your hands out of my shirt. Next time you’re getting put on time-out.”
  13. (And this knock-knock joke:)

– “Knock knock.”
– “Who’s there?”
– “Booty.”
– “Booty who?”
– “Booty booty booty booty booty! Ha ha!”

Yup, there’s a strange fascination with booty in my house. And at least one of those booty sentences wasn’t actually spoken by a child … *side eyes my husband*

Life is a riot – live it and love it!

13 Clues It’s Time to Say Goodbye

… to your stressful job, your doomed relationship, your selfish roommate or your ungrateful house guests. Regardless of the situation, these are signals that it just may be time for you to consider leaving.

  1. You can’t stop rolling your eyes behind their backs
  2. They’re talking and you know you should give a damn – but you don’t
  3. You dread waking up on the days you know you’re going to have to face them
  4. You chase each encounter with a vodka double (or its equivalent)
  5. You’re lying to them more than you’re telling the truth
  6. Daily you fight the urge to throw up your hands and tell them you quit
  7. You’re seeing or considering seeing someone else
  8. If someone outside of the situation asks how things are going, you snarl and bark like a rabid dog
  9. It’s nothing at all like how it used to be and you just don’t feel the same
  10. Constantly you wonder if it’s worth the agony
  11. You’d rather eat boiled liver smothered in lima bean gravy than try to imagine staying together forever
  12. You’re ready to go as soon as you get there
  13. You’ve completely lost all desire to try yet again to make it work. You’re so done.

(Before you worry, this post is just in good fun and I’m all well and good. Mostly. **throws back a glass of vodka**)

13 Ways to Keep Love Growing

A couple recently asked my husband and I if we could share any tips on keeping our relationship fresh and growing. Here’s the answer!

  1. Keep talking. Communicate about everything. Your feelings, movies, your dreams, your hobbies, your fears, your day, your past. Stay updated and keep learning something new about each other.
  2. Find common interests. As the years go by, you may find that your tastes and interests grow dissimilar. Discover things that you both can enjoy, be it a TV show, a book, a video game, a dance class.
  3. Try to change together. For instance, does one of you want to eat better and drop some weight? Make it a goal for you both to adapt healthier habits.
  4. Be creatively naughty together. Who better to share – and perhaps try out – all of your wildest fantasies with than your other half? Share fantasies with each other. Watch them, discuss them, try them.
  5. Visit someplace new together. See something new together. See each other in a different setting.
  6. Never stop wooing. Each other, I mean! Keep going on dates. Come home with flowers, candy. Have candlelight dinners even when it’s not Valentine’s Day or your Anniversary.
  7. Do projects together. Be it growing a garden or starting a side business.
  8. Say what’s on your mind. Even if it is very profound. Even it is shockingly naughty.
  9. Be spontaneous. Every once in a while, wear something surprising to bed, or show up at their office to take them out for lunch.
  10. Take time off to just be with each other. Life seems to always be yelling “go-go-go!” Try to make some time for you two to do nothing but just be together.
  11. Make each other laugh. It’s hard not to love someone who keeps a smile on your face.
  12. Keep yourself fresh and growing. Take care of yourself. Learn something new, change up your hair, buy a new style of clothing. If you remain interesting and evolving then not only might your spouse notice and appreciate it, they may be motivated to do the same.
  13. Be best friends. You never get bored with your best buddy, right? Work to ensure that your spouse is your very best friend, and your relationship will never grow dull.

Preparing for Marriage

I’m a firm believer and advocate of love and marriage. My husband and I have been married for 9 years, a couple for a total of 15 years, and our relationship continues to grow stronger.  But to the many people who don’t often see real-life examples of healthy, happy couples, marriage can be an unpredictably scary thing.

So my husband and I try to make it a point to openly discuss our relationship with friends and associates – why we work so well together and how we handle certain obstacles and arguments.  We recently received an email from a couple who wanted our input on some questions they have about preparing for marriage, as they are doing just that. I think it is great they’re thinking about these things together before they tie the knot, and the questions are universal and so I thought I’d share them, as well as my answers.

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Question 1:
What was the most important factor(s) that contributed to you knowing/feeling like this was the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?

I knew my husband was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with when he was already a big part of my life and I couldn’t imagine it being any other way.

He says that he knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me when he wanted to be a better person – in every way – because of me.

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Question 2: How were you able to overcome the apprehensions/fears/anxieties that you experienced leading up to engagement and marriage?

By being together.

We maintained a relationship for over 6 years before we married, 3.5 of those years we lived together. We took our time and got to know each other (and ourselves, since we were young when we began dating – I was 18 and he was 20). Because we lived with each other, shared expenses and dealt with each other day-in and day-out for several years, we knew exactly what we were getting into beforehand. Therefore, there was no real mystery or unknowns to be afraid of and thus little apprehension.

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Question 3: What’s your advice on waiting for a “right time” or a “sign” versus just making a decision to go ahead and get married? In other words, how did you know when you were ready?

I think it depends on what marriage means to you. For us, we were practically already married long before we ever got engaged. We were committed to each other, lived together, shared a car, shared chores, raised pets, spent time with each other’s families, planned for the future.  When we officially got married all everyone said was “It’s about time you had the party!”

There was a point in time were we tried splitting up, but being apart just didn’t work. We probably didn’t need that last “sign” but it was definitely the last link in the chain.

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Question 4: What were the most difficult challenges you faced transitioning into married life?

Challenge #1: Switching from “yours and mine” to “ours”. Even though we lived together for years, we’d always paid for things in half. He paid his half, I paid my half. His car note was his own responsibility, my car note was my own.

We learned quickly though that continuing like that wasn’t going to work well for us.What happens when one person earns significantly more money that year than the other? Do you base everything you purchase on what the lowest earner can pay half of? What if one person gets laid off and can’t afford their car payments? One spouse’s credit can affect the couple’s buying power and interest rates drastically.

It wasn’t worth it to continue handling everything as “his” and “hers”. Treating ourselves as “one” in all ways is the best way for us to avoid lots of marital problems – including money issues. Keeping some savings and “debatable” expenses separate is fine, but we pool all other finances together, regardless of how much someone puts it or whatnot. Since I’m the more financially sound one, I handle our money. Our paychecks get deposited into the same account, with which I manages both of our bills, credit cards, earnings and allowances for spending.

If there’s a lack of trust and/or desire to merge your major finances together, consider the possibility that this could be the wrong time to get married or the wrong person.

Challenge #2: Less thinking in “singular” terms. Similar theme to challenge #1, except this has less to do with anything tangible like money and objects, and everything to do with thoughts, feelings, respect and consideration. For a healthy marriage, our usage of the word “my” had to be drastically reduced, and quickly. Phrases like …

  • “That’s my business, not yours.”
  • “You don’t need to know who my friends are.”
  • “I’m not telling you my password.”
  • “It’s not my problem that what I said hurt your feelings.”

… had to go. It was odd that after all of those years, the hostile “my’s / I’s” and “you’s” didn’t show up in full force like this until after we married, but they did haunt us, and they needed to be exorcised. After some crying and screaming and chanting and a challenging purification ritual, we did succeed in banishing them from our house.

Not suggesting that once you are married you are no longer entitled to any privacy. But I do happen to wonder why anyone who wants their life to be private would bother uniting with another. What is there to hide from the person you vowed to commit to, to spend the rest of your life with, to raise a family, grow old and die with? If you’re doing anything or talking to anyone that you absolutely don’t want your spouse to ever know about, there’s a high chance you shouldn’t be doing it.

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Question 5: What are some strategies you’ve used to keep your relationship new and fresh and growing?

This question is so juicy, I decided to turn it into a list for Thursday Thirteen. Stay tuned for 13 Ways To Keep Love Growing!

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Would you have answered any of these questions differently? Please share!