We Take The Time To Listen
THE secret of a happy marriage, especially if you marry later in life.
I met my first and only wife when I was 36 years old. She was in her 40s and also had never been married. I was a writer still working day jobs; my wife was a pharmaceutical sales rep.
Today the day jobs do not exist and we work together as entrepreneurial producers for television. As a writer, I generate a good deal of our material.
But marrying for the first time at a later age had come with its fair share of issues. Each of us were set in our ways, and living together while dealing with the other’s quirks was not always easy.
We took the time to learn about one another, and next year we will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. In so doing, we learned a great deal about human nature.
To wit: If a significant other asks for or requests something in anger or in tears, it is your responsibility to either meet that emotional request or discuss it. The only middle ground is compromise, and it is incumbent upon both partners, in that event, to reach that space.
The following are 10 points or reasons how and why to navigate an emotional middle ground when two partners stubbornly cling to their own agenda:
- Never discount the other’s words, no matter how ridiculous or even wrong they may sound to you. Listen, and talk it out. If both partners are consistently at odds, the union will not survive.
- Understand your significant other has needs. Whether those needs are to be emotionally or physically fulfilled is of no matter. A long-lasting couple works hard to meet each partner’s exigencies.
- You are not always right. I’ve made this incorrect assumption and more than once. It’s cost me in relationships. Truth is, both marriage partners probably split that coin in the end.
- Sex (and/or intimacy) is very important. Let’s talk bluntly. Even if a given partner can no longer perform, the intimacy is a must. Rarely are two couples as raw and emotionally intimate as when sharing a bed, nude, even if only foreplay ensues. And, if no foreplay ensues, that’s fine too if that works for you. Little things like relaxed communication, snuggling and gazing into each other’s eyes is enough for some.
- Get away from it all. If tempers escalate, grab lunch. Go out. Leave the house or the “scene of the crime.” Escape from the confrontation zone and pivot. In minutes, you may forget what you’ve been arguing about. (Then see #4, above. Doesn’t always work that way but when it does … :) )
- Give in. Identify the true importance of the dispute. If you judge the argument to not be all that serious, throw in the towel. You have bigger fish to fry. (Pardon the cliches.)
- Even in quiet moments away from your significant other, never lose sight of your partner’s needs. This is similar to #2, above, but stressing a continual awareness of those needs when you are away (at your job, a business trip, etc.). Flowers and chocolates rarely hurt, unless of course for health reasons. In that event, do something nice for your partner that they would appreciate. It does not ever have to be a special day to show kindness.
- Take vacations. If money is an issue, go somewhere local or catch a movie. Life is tough. Regardless of how long you’ve been married, take your partner out on a date. Whatever you need to do to escape those daily rigors, do it.
- Remind each other that silly fights do not mean you love your partner any less. Humans are as animalistic sometimes as cats and dogs. Deal with it. Grow up a little and find it in yourself to remind each other and never forget to express the following magic words ...
- “I love you” and “I appreciate you” are some of the most resonant words in the English language. If English is not your first language, use the equivalent. Life is short. You are fortunate to have a significant other in your life. So stop complaining.
And thank you for reading.
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