by Andrea Frazer, Good Housekeeping
I'm taking a cue from Shine staffer Sarah McColl's post, "Five Habits of Happy People Even the Biggest Grump Can Borrow."
When I looked at her tips and applied them to marriage, they seemed to ring pretty true. I thought I'd share some with you so you'll be inspired also. Or not. I'm sure you'll let me know.
1. Reach out. In the words of an old commercial, "Reach out and touch someone..." But not just anyone. Your spouse! They'll be sure to thank you for it. And while you might not be having sex with the pool man or the cashier in the grocery store (or maybe you are, but that's a different blog post) there's no reason you can't break through that wall we all put up with a friendly, "Thanks. Hey, how is your day going?" If you're like me, you'll find that when you let other people into your world, you don't put so much pressure on your spouse to be Mr. Everything.
2. Be thankful. Yes, it's a bit cliche, but it works. I wrote a poem recently expressing just how thankful I am for the little things Rex does to keep this household running. I have continued my journaling also. When I see on paper just how much Rex brings to the table, I'm far less cranky at the way he clicks his fork against his teeth while eating my pesto salad. Or the way he leaves shoes all over the floor just waiting for me to trip and break my neck. Or how the night time routines often involve me doing everything kid related while he gets caught up on a riveting episode of South Park. Okay, now I'm getting mad. So I'll end it with a "Thank you, Rex, for trusting me to write about us and never once - not once - give me a hard time about talking about you getting hard... all the time. Moving on.
3. Live your passion. This is a biggy for me and perhaps it is for you. In a nut shell, sexual passion is awesome, but after ten years of marriage, it can die down. I have found the more I feed my passion for things non-Rex related, the more I come back to him with a libido more buzzed than my brain after 3 cups of Yuban. Though I need to work on the stinky coffee breath thing. In time... in time.
4. Make do. The idea is to be happy with what you have, not what you don't. I couldn't agree more. For me, this applies to things as well as personality traits. So our kitchen looks like a 1950's showroom on crack. Do we have electricity? Running water? Food in a fridge? Yes yes and yes? Well that just makes me want to say those words in the bedroom. Because I know I have such a wonderful home due to a husband who works his butt off for me. (And yes, I contribue to my home also...) Which leads me to #2 - I'm thankful!
5. Enjoy the simple pleasures. This one is my favorite. For us, it's not about fancy dinners out or new furniture. (Though we do go to dinner about once/month. It's heavenly.) Cooking together in the kitchen and having a picnic lunch with our kids on the lawn with the laundry drying on the line? That's pretty spectacular also. (It's also another way of saying we're cheap, but our anti-Midas tendencies have afforded us a cabin in the woods and some pretty remarkable friends who appreciate our hearts, not our wallets, so I'm not complaining.)