- When describing our upcoming travel plans, we’re often asked the same two questions:
- What happens if we tire of traveling? (I will address this in the next post)
- How will we comfortably exist at each other’s side, day after day, night after night, week after week, month after month and ultimately, year after year?
Tom and I met 21 years ago. On a blind date with a dud, whom I ditched when I went to the ladies room to call a girlfriend to join me at another hot spot for a night of fun. The jerk had lied about himself, was a full head shorter than me (another one of his lies) and was wearing a pair of pink and black zebra zubaz (remember those?)
With no guilt about leaving him behind, my friend and I met at a well-known, now defunct nightclub for a “girls night out” of dancing, drinking and playful banter. That’s the night I met Tom. Baring the details of our first few rocky years, four years later we decided to marry, much to our mutual surprise. He always says I married him for his health insurance and I always say he married me for my high heels.
My two sons were adults (my eldest son was living in Las Vegas). My younger son lived here in Minnesota as did Tom’s adult son and daughter. We were determined that somehow our families would blend with harmony. After a time, they did.
Having both failed at previous marriages and determined to make this one work, we muddled our way through the first tough few years to settle into what has proven to be an inseparable bond of love, support, compassion and trust. We like each other. We enjoy each other’s companionship.
Along the way, we have discovered 10 aspects of our relationship that have been vital in enhancing our adoration and love for one another and our ability to spend long periods of time together that has worked well for us:
- We don’t snip. Snipping, snapping and expressing signs of annoyance is sure fire “deal killers.”
- We don’t nag. Ask once, ask twice or ask three times. We maintain a pleasant and genuine sound in our voices. It seldom takes a second “ask” to encourage the other to participate in the task.
- Don’t complain. Whining is a pointless, childlike behavior we choose to avoid. Although. Tom may whine or moan a little when he’s sick. It’s a guy thing.
- Listen. Tom’s obsessed with Ancestry.com. No matter how deeply his head is buried in his computer, he looks up at me and listens when I talk. Over the years I’ve been obsessed with health, diet, fitness, food, technology and of course, the endless array of information on the Internet, now centered on travel. I, too, drop whatever I am doing to listen to him, although not quite as quickly as he does. He doesn’t complain when I don’t immediately respond (refer to #3 above).
- We share our common interests and encourage one another to have separate interests. We are different. It is these very differences that make us interesting to one another. We are supportive of each other’s ideas and opinions, not always agreeing. But disagreeing with interest and support for each other’s passionate viewpoint .
- We make an effort to stay appealing to one another. We smell good, wear fresh clothes, attempting to look as good as our aging bodies will allow. We try to be playful, tease endlessly, laugh, laugh and then laugh some more.
- We kiss “hello,” “goodbye,” and “goodnight” and… for no reason at all, many times a day. We often touch as we walk by, lock eyes or smile for no reason at all.
- We are compassionate. We comfort each other during times of sorrow, disappointment, concern, emotional or physical pain or discomfort.
- We are patient. I am a “bull in a China shop,” often dropping and breaking things. He never judges me. He observes and smiles, glad he didn’t do the breaking. He is a determined and highly capable “fix it” guy. When frustration sets in, I try to step back and let him figure it out at his own pace. This is hard for me. I could be very bossy. But, I’m not.
- We dream together. For us, the concept of building a dream, however realistic, creates lively, animated discussion, shared research and enthusiast speculation. Over the years, some of our dreams, as yours, have “wafted away” as unfulfilled expectations.
But this time together, side by side, day after day, week after week, month after month and ultimately year after year, we will do more than just “comfortably exist.” We will enjoy living this dream together