He Said/She Said – What Makes Our Relationship Work?
February is the anniversary month of when the hubby and I walked down that aisle towards wedded bliss. Not every step of that road has been blissful, but since our marriage is measured not in months or years but decades, I’d say we figured out a thing or two about this relationship stuff.
I thought you might be interested in what makes us work – from each of our perspectives. We each answered five questions. Here’s the questions and each of our answers:
Q. What three things do you consider most important to a successful relationship?
1. To actively and knowingly create pleasure in the relationship.
2. Keep it unserious and fun.When it starts to get too serious, figure out a way to lighten it up.
3. Know when to talk and when to shut up. Example: she says, “I am having a bad hair day today.” You answer: “Baby, you are the most beautiful woman in the world. Other women are jealous of what you call a bad hair day!”
Another example: she says, “Do these jeans make me look fat?” You start choking, fake a heart attack or faint dead away – anything to distract and derail the conversation. Because if you take a look and think about it, she gets upset that you had to think about it. If you answer too fast, she says you don’t care enough to really be honest and if you say “yes” well then dude, you are just plain stupid!
She: I actually have four. I call it the 4 C’s of relationship – Create, Commit, Communicate and Care.
1. Great relationships are like great businesses: architecture or art don’t just happen. They need to be created and that creating needs to continue. What if Steve Jobs just invented a computer and then stopped at that? It is not always easy but it is essential. I dislike the term “working on our marriage.” I much prefer, “creating our marriage.” Doesn’t “create” sound more fun than “work”?
2. For something to last, there needs to be commitment – if you are truly committed to one another and to the idea that the relationship will last then it keeps you there in good times and in bad, through sickness and health, for richer or for poorer. You first make the decision that you are here to stay, and then you commit to the fact that your life together will be a good one and not a bad one – and from there it goes back to create – create a happy life together. Relationships are not 50/50 propositions. Both of you need to be 100 percent committed to and responsible for the relationship.
3. You have to communicate to each other. You need to be honest and you need to be a safe person for the other to communicate to. If you do something wrong, fess up and make it right — but you know no one is going to want to fess up to someone who screams, yells and makes them wrong. Work toward understanding and solutions, not incrimination and accusations.
4. Caring doesn’t just mean loving someone; you need to take care of each other. There will be times when one is not as well or strong or upbeat as the other. You need to care for them, get them through it. You need to care that your words aren’t going to crush them, care enough to figure out what little things make them happy and do them, care for each other and take care of each other.
Q. How important is it to agree with one another?
She: Not at all.
Actually, we both agree that we don’t need to agree on personal things such as taste, hobbies, style, etc. You have to allow the other person to be who they are, think the way they do and like what they like. But when it comes to the relationship, agreement needs to be achieved. It is the common ground you are walking together. This is essential for the big stuff like how are you going to raise the kids or where are you going to live. And then of course, there are times when the only agreement you can come to is to agree to disagree. These cases call for compromise!
Q. Any unspoken rules?
He: Never ever take it to the “I’m out of here!” statement or stage.
She: Never talk about anything important when one of you is tired or hungry.
Q. What do you do to smooth out the bumpy patches?
He: We have an agreement that either one of us can halt an argument that is spiraling out of control by saying “Let’s fight about that tomorrow!” And then we both cease the “discussion”. It is magic!
She: What he said plus anything under the sun, moon and stars to make the other laugh. It is almost impossible to be in a fight when you are laughing.
Q. What have you learned from each other in all these years you have been together?
He: That I am not always the brilliant person in this relationship. (And that flattery will get you anywhere!)
She: The importance of showing affinity for others – even when you don’t know them – and how to laugh at myself.
So there you have it. This is what makes us tick and may I just add that we have been ticking away happily for many, many years. We have navigated the rocky road of marriage with a whole lot of life thrown in. I can honestly say I am more happily married this year than I was in our first and look forward to what the next year brings. And the next, and the next….
Carol & The Hubby