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“When a man opens a car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.” Prince Philip
Some might say I lucked out. Others may say it was timing on both our parts. Those ideas may have a grain of truth, but when it comes to marriage, we wanted the end game. Two humans coming together promising to do their best to be in love, stay in love, and treat one another well. Let’s face it, a damn tall order. People change; how does marriage calculate that?
From my perspective, we did a couple of things right from the start, not the very start, but from the second start. That is when we became friends. I ran into him at a farmers market and told him to take me out for a drink. He hesitated, I repeated myself.
- On two bar stools at “Joes,” State Street, Santa Barbara, we became friends. We laughed, exposed ourselves honestly, and really enjoyed one another’s company. “Joe’s” martinis can do that to you, magic potion, I am certain. The first thing we did right was our friendship.
Removing the pressures that accompany dating proved to be brilliant. We were in the “friend-zone,” but there was something more for both of us. The basis of our new foundation is set upon friendship.
- Twenty-One days. That was the next step that worked for us. My then friend and I decided to become something more. As sparks were flying, it was a seamless decision. At that time, he suggested that we spend every night together for twenty-one days and make it a habit. I thought, well, I have never done that!
I recalled all of the men that put me on a part-time schedule, rotating me like a girl-roster. I was intrigued he wanted to try something different for us, something he had never done before. It worked. Domestic partners it was.
- Then next thing I did right. I never left any of my things at his home, “the bachelor pad.” I knew that if we were to create something lasting, we needed a fresh start with a new place, just us. We rented a new home together.
- Another thing we did right was not give anyone a vote. We had many friends and family members that might chime in. Our relationship was between us and no one else. If we were to succeed then, the others would come around.
- We went to counseling. We were both fully committed, both feet in, and a tune-up was required. We learned that when our worst self shows up, we need a time out, a reboot. This not only gives grace to our partner but to our hurting self at the time. Two people have moments that are not always bright and shiny.
When I raised my children, I learned that if they were really cranky, I needed to check if they were sick, if they had enough sleep, if something else was upsetting them. Just like adults in marriage, daily circumstances factor in.
Emotional intelligence can vanish if one is not firing on all pistons.
We have been through the loss of a parent: Thomas fires, Montecito Mud, slides, the birth of three grandchildren. We, most importantly, inherited the best dog imaginable.
I have the kind of partner that works for me, going through the changes that life offers. I look forward to celebrating our “third” anniversary in a few days. I realize we are very young in our marriage. We are just passing the toddling stage.
My parents have been married seventy-three years they very much love one another. I know we will both try our best to see many more years roll by in our marriage.
My Mantra: “Life, love, and marriage hold many lessons.”