Guest Post: Valentine’s Day Cop-Out

Guest Post from the Wife

Let me first say, I may not be the norm in this.  However, I don’t feel the need to really celebrate Valentine’s Day the way American Greeting Cards tells me to.  I just don’t understand the need to show your love on just one day of the year, especially at marked up prices, and if your significant other of several years doesn’t get you something it’s the end of the relationship (Like this Pearls before Swine comic).   It’s like saying, ‘you can force me to live in an emotional vaccum 364 days of the year but as long as I get a card and flowers on Valentines Day it’s alright.’

I will confess that back in the day when the hubby and I started dating, sure, I wanted to get flowers and a card and a nice dinner.  But this was more of a way of creating a feeling of security in our relationship – i.e. this guy is willing to spend some money on me, so he must like what we have going on – than anything else. 

My hubby was on his first deployment during our third Valentine’s Day and we were still a month away from getting engaged so I e-mailed him that I didn’t want him to send me flowers for Valentine’s, though I would like a sappy e-mail near the day and flowers at some point.  He e-mailed me back – are you sure?  I said of course I am, I don’t need overpriced flowers on one day a year to know you care.  He took this matter to his shipmates, who said she’s just testing you and of course she wants flowers.  He believed them, and I got flowers on Valentine’s Day.  I then e-mailed him many thanks and praises for the beautiful flowers, but to not waste that much money on a one day mark-up again!  And since then he never has.

Point is, when you’re in a committed relationship and feel secure in that relationship and of the other person’s feelings, you don’t need a big spending occasion to make you feel complete.  This most recent Valentines we had a nice dinner at home and opened a nice bottle of wine…and that’s it.  Who needs February 14th when Valentine’s Day can last all year?

A hand to help you up the mountain

Too many people think that the idea of marriage is to affirm that you have found a ‘soulmate,’ someone who ‘completes’ you. It’s unfortunate that this is the expectation that so many people have when entering marriage because it immediately sets the marriage up for failure. Inevitably, the person who is seeking completeness through their marriage will expect their partner to somehow empower them to do all the things they consider necessary to become a whole person and when that partner fails to live up to these impossible expectations the marriage will go bad. True self-awareness and a sense of wholeness can only come from within. Other people can help you in your search: teachers, spiritual leaders, your spouse, but only you have the ability to change who you are in order to make yourself whole. A marriage to someone you love can certainly help you achieve a greater level of wholeness but only because your love for your spouse drives you to better yourself, not because the other person brings your missing parts to the table. Anyone who believes that a marriage will compensate for shortcomings in their lives needs to reevaluate exactly what they feel their marriage is supposed to solve. Unfortunately, most people have a very difficult time achieving the level of introspection required to sift through the years of psychological garbage they have created to get to the real issues underlying their sense of incompleteness. It is this failing that accounts for the problems people have with their marriages and it’s a shame that people blame the idea of marriage, rather than themselves, for their lack of wholeness.

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Guest Post: Pillow Talk

Guest Post from the Wife

Pillow talk. I don’t mean that mushy-gushy “let’s explore our feelings” junk you see women doing in movies and on tv after sex (Do some women actually do that? No wonder men pretend to fall asleep!). I mean sharing secrets and childhood memories. Tickling and wrestling and fighting over the covers. Telling jokes and making private ones the two of you will share. And sometimes saying into the dark the things you are feeling that you can’t say when you are face to face – not because you can’t say it to the other person but because you don’t want to see the look on the other person’s face. But when you’re in your bed, with your bodies touching and your thoughts open to one another, it can be the closest you are ever going to be to someone else. (And the other person’s body warmth is a nice bonus!)

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 2:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Someone to keep you warm

There are some nights where no number of blankets can ward off the cold. There are some nights where no pajamas are heavy enough to temper the chill. There are some nights where only the warming presence of a loved one can possibly banish the darkness. Marriage was created for these nights.

Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 12:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Because your life isn’t over

I think one of the reasons so many people fear marriage is because for them the term is synonymous with the idea that they are no longer able to live their lives.  It seems that many people consider marriage to be what you do after you’ve “sowed your wild oats.”  Terms such as “settle down” conjure to mind an image of a quiet life devoid of any excitement, the sort of life one would live after they’ve already accomplished all they wanted in the world.  Unfortunately, if this was the case no one would get married, for in truth no one ever accomplishes all they want.  There is always something left to be experienced.  The beauty of marriage is that you can share these experiences with someone who (in theory) shares your affinity for whatever it is you want to get out of life.  Marriage is not an end to your life (nor is it a beginning, as some would claim), it is merely a continuation of the life you have established for yourself to this point.  If you have decided that your life should be one of adventure and travel, your marriage can be an extension of that.  If you prefer a life spent reading and watching movies, your marriage can be an extension of that too.  Provided you pick the right person you will find that marriage enhances your life, rather than limits it.  Bachelorhood may provide you the freedom to do whatever you want, but marriage provides you a person with whom you can share that same freedom and together you can both experience all that you want out of life.

Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 3:29 am  Comments (3)  
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Expect fairness

Marriage is about compromise. It’s about sharing. It’s about giving up what you want to please your spouse. Most importantly, it’s about fairness. Any relationship where one person routinely gives up everything for the other or expects the other to do all the work is doomed to fail. Only by balancing the load amongst both partners can a marriage last. This applies to every aspect of a marriage. Whether it’s household chores, managing money, picking what movie to go see, everything needs to be fair and balance out. I’m not saying you need to keep a tally and keep track of every time one person gets to do what they want at the expense of the other person, but the goal should be to achieve roughly equal equanimity in the relationship. Few things will sour a relationship more than saying, “Why should I do the dishes when I did them last night?” A good marriage is where one person goes out of their way to do more than is expected of them, not because they want to tip the scales in their favor but because they want to make life easier for the other person. A great marriage is where one person goes out of their way to do more than is expected of them and the other person responds in kind at a later date without any prompting! The trick to expecting fairness is, ironically enough, to not expect it. If your spouse thinks you are doing something because you are counting on the action being repaid, then they’ll lose any motivation to respond in kind. If your spouse thinks you are doing something simply out of the goodness of your heart and a desire to make their life easier, then they will want to respond with a similar gesture some point in the future. Marriage is about expecting fairness without demanding it. By doing good things simply for the sake of doing them you will find that fairness naturally flows forth.

Published in: on December 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Learn to wrap Christmas gifts

One of the surest ways to brighten your wife’s Christmas is to wrap her presents. Fortunately, the level of expectation for guys wrapping gifts is so incredibly low (think aluminum foil) that all you need to do is put forth a moderate amount of effort and she’ll think you’re friggin’ Santa Claus. Now, I am in no way even remotely competent when it comes to wrapping gifts, but I have picked up a few tricks throughout the years to at least be able to fake it. Here’s my standard method of wrapping, which definitely qualifies it for the ‘good enough’ category:

1. Roll out the wrapping paper and lay the gift face down on the paper. This way when you cut the paper to size the rough edges will be on the back of the gift, which she won’t see. If you’re really dedicated you can fold one side and then place that on top of the unfolded rough side to create the illusion of a smooth edge. Apply one piece of tape to hold the two cut ends together.
2. Cut off the excess paper on one end and push in the edges so you have two trapezoids sticking out of the top and bottom of the gift. Fold the top trapezoidal part in half (or however many times you need to make it fit), then fold half of the bottom edge onto itself and then fold that part on top of the first part. Again, the point is to create the illusion of a smooth seam. Apply tape and repeat on the other side.

OK, if you did everything right you should now have something that looks like a halfway decently wrapped gift using only three pieces of tape and with no visible rough edges showing.  Now it’s time for you to really prove your love.

3. Do something clever to decorate the wrapped gift. Either tie some ribbon around the gift, slap a bow on it, wrap some ribbon, just do something that shows you put some thought into it.  Don’t get too creative, just do something to show she is important enough to you that you’re willing to go the extra wrapping mile.
4. Put a label on it and write something cute. Don’t just put, “From Husband to Wife.” Put something like, “To a wonderful wife from a loving husband.” I guarantee she’ll start tearing up before she even opens the gift. (note: make sure the ‘to’ and ‘from’ line are appropriate to the gift. Don’t write something sappy if the gift doesn’t warrant it, otherwise she’ll end up expecting a piece of jewelry when you really got her a bowling ball.)

Finally, there is one cardinal rule that you must follow when wrapping gifts for if you violate this rule all your efforts will be wasted: Don’t mess up her gift wrapping kit. This rule will vary depending on how crafty your wife is, but odds are she has some sort of collection of wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, labels, etc. and since no married man has any of these things you’ll inevitably end up using hers. Make sure that when you’re done you put everything  back where you found it!  If your wife is organized enough to have a gift wrapping kit she won’t appreciate you messing everything up.  Many a Christmas’ have been ruined at the sight of ribbon being haphazardly placed in the bow tray. 

Well, there it is!  Everything I know about wrapping gifts.  Seriously.  That’s it.  Good luck to you and remember, unlike gifts, here it really is the thought that counts!

Published in: on December 14, 2009 at 11:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sex on demand

Let’s face it – the whole point of the single life is to get laid. At the bar, at the office, at whatever you do in your spare time, you are constantly looking for the next person with whom you can hook up. When you’re married, there’s no question! You know exactly where to go for sex and, if you play your cards right, that person will always be willing. No sexting, no flirtexting, no reading between the lines, just sex. Now, for some, that can be a turn off. Lot’s of people enjoy the ‘thrill of the hunt’ and if that’s what you look forward to then have fun, but remember this: Sex is rarely about physical gratification (if it was, we’d all make do with happy socks and vibrators). While that insatiable lust may drive your initial actions, that is simply a physical reaction to a much deeper emotional need, namely, the need to connect with another person. Case in point, most married men who admit to cheating on their wives state that they did it because they felt they no longer had a strong emotional connection to their spouse. This is why one of the top warning signs that you may be going down the road to adultery is when you start confiding in a female friend things you don’t feel comfortable telling your wife. Once you understand that sex is a physical release for an emotional need, you can truly begin appreciating the fact that for the rest of your life you now have sex on demand.

Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 1:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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You learn to love the little things

Single life ain’t cheap. All those bars and dinners and assorted nights out add up quick. Remember that morning you woke up after a night of bar hopping, checked your wallet and realized the $200 you had in there the night before is now gone? Well, imagine if you could have the same amount of fun and all for a fraction of the cost? Sound like a good deal? That’s because it is! When you’re married you quickly realize that while going out is all well and good, staying in is just as satisfying. Whether it’s sharing a drink and talking about your day, watching a movie together or just hanging out with friends, you’ll find that it’s not the location, but the people you are with that matters. This is not to say you should become complete shut-ins, in fact, staying in all the time is a dangerous trap that married couples can easily fall into, but what you’ll find is that once you are married you no longer need to go out all the time since the thing you were searching for at the bars is now waiting for you at home.

Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 12:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Being single requires a lot of work!

Let’s face it: Being single isn’t easy! You have to cook your own food, clean your own laundry, do your own chores, and basically learn to rely solely on yourself. When you get married you suddenly have a willing partner with whom you can divide up all of life’s little chores, thereby making more time for you to do the stuff you enjoy. Even better, you can now divide up your chores based on your respective strengths – if you like to cook and hate the laundry you can now negotiate to ensure that less of your time is devoted to what you hate and more of your time is devoted to what you love. If you’re married you have options, if you’re single you have none, aside from chinese or pizza.

Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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