Choose Your Twenty Wisely…

Choose Your Twenty Wisely…

Went to the beach with this crew.
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Four women at the beach for a long weekend with no kids – yeah, you know we talked a lot. The topic of marriage came up. One bit of marriage advice that several of us said we heard and followed went something like this:

If you can enjoy each other eighty percent of the time and ignore the twenty percent of the time you’re not pleased with each other you’re doing fine. 

And, for the most part, I think that is very true – with a disclaimer. A buyer beware if you will – a caveat emptor as Mrs Dunar, my high school Latin teacher, used to say. I would add that you need to choose VERY CAREFULLY which twenty percent you’re going to ignore.

I say all that because I could have saved both me and Billy a lot of grief had I had a bit more of a backbone when we first got married. I’m not sure it’s even that I lacked a backbone. It’s more like I thought I was being helpful by ignoring every single thing he did – even the things that he could have changed without too much trouble that would have been very beneficial to the marriage. Issues we could have conquered had I just spoken up.

So with the thought of ‘choose which twenty percent you’ll ignore carefully’ here is an example from my journal in 2005. We’d been married for five years and James, our oldest, was two at the time. As you’ll, see we hadn’t quite gotten the whole communication thing down yet.

In case the picture doesn’t show up here is what my journal entry says:

May 8, 2005

Today was Mother’s Day – whatever that means. As usual, no card no gift and no dinner out. Just like Valentine’s. This Christmas he bought my one and only one gift at four pm on Christmas Eve. For my birthday he bought it on my birthday. I told him it bother’s me but he doesn’t change. He doesn’t see what’s wrong with it. It’s stupid to be upset. We’ve got people starving to death and I’m upset about not getting enough recognition.

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Okay, yes, it’s true. Billy used to have really questionable gift giving skills. It wasn’t his strong suit early on in the marriage.

The first time that happened, the first time he missed a holiday, it was on him. The second time, well that was on him too. But y’all, by that third holiday, the person to blame was ME. We had been married FIVE years at that point. Why in the world didn’t I just say ‘Billy, it’s Mother’s Day! I want a card and dinner out.’ He isn’t a mind reader. And let me tell you I bet you anything I was martyring the heck out of all that. ‘Oh well, Valentine’s Day came and went and he didn’t get me anything. Poor me. I guess that’s okay…’  There was probably a lot of ‘what’s wrong?‘ from him and a lot of ‘oh nothing‘ from me.

When what I should have said was ‘hey, it really bothers me when you don’t spend time on my gift. It makes me think you don’t think enough about me to get me something.‘ Instead I just stuffed those feelings down and refused to confront him.

Martyrdom does not make for a great marriage.

And yes, I did say in the journal entry that I had talked to him about it but I hadn’t really. What I had done was tell him it bothered me that he didn’t wrap my presents. That ain’t the same thing.

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Pictured: two people that were not masters of communication early in their marriage.

The thing is I really did think ‘well, it’s not a big deal so just ignore it‘ but the fact is marriage – my marriage – is kind of one of the very biggest deals in my whole life. It’s a HUGE deal. So, do anything but just ignore stuff that bothers you terribly.

He chews funny? Ignore it. He makes a weird noise when he swallows? Ignore it. He brushes his teeth for too long. Ignore it. These are, by the way, all things I really did complain about it my journals when I first got married. I was SO mature.

Bottom line: learning to be good at marriage takes two people willing to change, willing to do the work, and willing to check your spouses Pinterest boards for gift ideas. One of those things may not be as important as the other. Or maybe it is!

Learn from my mistakes and choose your twenty very carefully.

 

Maybe For the Twenty Fifth

Maybe For the Twenty Fifth

In Disney World this year Billy and I were determined to recreate a picture we took in the Magic Kingdom in 1997, ya know, back when we were babies. Since our fifteenth anniversary is coming up in August I thought this was a good year for it. Aw, we were so cute…

Here it is:

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I can guarandangtee you that I was wearing super high wasted jeans. Also, Billy looks exactly the same. Weirdo.

The problem with recreating this particular picture is we just couldn’t figure out where we took it originally. The People Mover wasn’t high enough, the rocket ships were the wrong angle…we were stumped. We talked to several cast members and they didn’t know either.

Eventually, we decided to go with the People Mover and just wing it. Okay, actually I decided that. It was killing poor Billy not to find the exact spot.

I swan, at least once a week in our house this exchange happens:

Me: Oh, let’s just do it this way. It’s close enough.

Him: No! We have to do it the right way! It has to be perfect!

So what followed was a whole lot of hilarity as we tried to recreate it. He would say…okay, here it comes…ready, your hand here, my chin here, Castle behind us…smile now!

Except it was never quite right, so we ended up riding the People Mover over and over again.

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Good gravy, my nose gets bigger and bigger the older I get. It’s like I’m Pinocchio, over here.

We never could nail it. Hours later we realized that’s because we actually took it from the Sky Buckets which were removed a million years ago.

Darn it, Disney! I hate that they took the sky buckets out. I loved those suckers. They were such good places to make out. They were so much fun to ride.

So, the bad news is we didn’t get to recreate the picture. The good news is we found another place to make out.

Oh, calm down. It was just one little kiss on Spaceship Earth.

IMG_3983I guess we’ll just have to try again to recreate that picture on the twenty fifth.

 

Tantrums and Silent Fights

Tantrums and Silent Fights

Billy and I went to Walt Disney World a couple weeks ago without the kids and let me tell you, it was magical with a capital M.

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When we first arrived in the Orlando airport and put our Magic Bands on we had a bit of a panicky moment where we thought: ‘Maybe we should have taken the kids. Are we really going to enjoy it without them?” The answer to that was a resounding YES.

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Side note: that hairy arm with the orange band – it’s mine. What can I say, me and Sasquatch are totally related. 

A couple times during the trip we did say something along the lines of ‘Oh, I wish the kids were here!‘ but then, like magic, some child near us would fall out in a tantrum and I’d give the tired Mama a solidarity sister look and then do a happy dance in my head because my kids were tucked away at their Grandparents.

So, next time you see your kid in the midst of some naughty behavior and think ‘Lord, why does he have to behave this way?‘ Just think, its probably because some smart (or selfish – depends on how you look at it) parents that wanted some time a freaking lone needed to be reminded that it’s nice to just be with your spouse sometimes.

Also…I don’t want to jinx anything for the future but, y’all, we did not fight ONE SINGLE TIME on our vacation. Nary a once!

I’m pretty sure that’s the first time we’ve made through a vacation without wasting time fighting. We have traveled a lot and wasted a stupid amount of time fighting in some pretty exotic locales. Badly done, Claunches. Badly done. But not this trip! Mickey worked his magic.

Okay, hold up, wait a minute. We did technically fight on the way to the airport.

It was what I like to refer to as a ‘Silent Fight.’ That means, I got mad at him and had a fight with him about it in my head. So, while I sat and brooded and said ‘nothing is wrong’ when he asked, really I was giving him the business for whatever he said.

I’m just the best, am I right?

And next time you find yourself passing through these gates…

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Well, not actually these gates, but any kind of ‘time without kids’ gates. The movies, the beach, the mountains, a hotel for the night, heck – even a trip to Baskin Robbins…remember, it’s nice to have some time away and, good gravy, don’t waste it fighting. Silent or otherwise.