As a relationship coach, not too surprisingly I get asked a lot of questions about my marriage.
A lot of people think the way I talk about my marriage makes it sound, “too good to be true”. Sometimes I think my marriage is too good to be true also. I kind of wonder how I got this lucky. However, I will never say it’s perfect. It’s not. So, today I’m going to give you a look behind the curtain of my marriage. Fair warning, if you’re reading this and you’re one of my family members or you don’t want to hear the down and dirty, you might want to stop reading right now. This might be riddled with too much info for comfort. So, I’m going to answer the top questions I get asked about my marriage.
Strangely, this is the question I get asked most often. The answer is, yes, but rarely, and that’s the truth. When we do fight it’s usually about his work schedule. I have a story running that he works way too many hours. It’s not always that way, but his work schedule creeps up and I think it’s not uncommon for him to work 50-60 hour weeks. If you asked him he would say that’s not really true. Therein lies part of the problem. We don’t always see the same version of reality.
We have two rules when it comes to fighting. Rule number one is we do not ever yell at each other. I’ve often wondered if that rule might actually make things worse for David because I can be venomous in a very calm tone of voice. However, I’ve got some history in abusive relationships, so if you yell at me, I shut down and start hiding emotionally. So, yelling is a no go in our relationship.
Rule number two is we don’t try to solve problems when we are angry. That doesn’t mean we avoid anger. It happens. It also doesn’t mean we avoid expressing it. What it does mean is that we table the actual problem solving of the issue until calmer heads prevail. Most of our issues get solved on long car drives in the dark where we have space and quiet to really talk.
This has evolved over time in our relationship. At this point, I handle most of the day to day stuff in terms of paying the bills and keeping things running. However, that used to be David’s job,, and could be again at some point. I’m not that attached to it. About once a week we have a “state of the money” briefing where we talk about how much money we’ve got to spend and what’s been paid or saved.
We make almost all of our purchasing decisions together, however, I never feel guilty about spending without “checking in”. Honestly, we don’t buy that much. Outside of our mortgage food is our biggest expense. We spend a shocking amount of money on food. Most of our “extra” money gets spent on travel of some sort.
We do have separate accounts, and although I think that’s important, at this point for us, it’s largely because my income comes in through my PayPal account. About half the time David ends up with my debit card out of convenience. His cards are all in my purse right now.
A lot of couples do a lot of hiding when it comes to dollars and cents. It always comes back to bite you. The only rule we have about money is transparency. We don’t hide things from each other about anything and money is no exception.
You guys must have a lot in common to get along so well, right?
David and I are very, very different people. Our interests are quite different and our personalities are very different. He really likes the great outdoors. My idea of camping is a 5-star resort in the country. David likes a lot of activity. He likes a lot of household projects. I prefer an afternoon on the sofa, prone, watching home and garden channel. I like a certain amount of unpredictability. David thrives in certainty. David is a rock. He’s calm. He’s steady. I tend to be more of a rollercoaster. I’m a lot more high-strung.
What we do have in common is a very similar spiritual view and practice and very similar values. It’s way more important to share values than hobbies.
It would be awesome if I could say yes because I think date nights are incredibly important. But alas, I’d be lying if I told you we did. We don’t. What we do is make time at the end of every day after the kiddo has gone to bed to really connect and talk. We also take weekend getaway trips alone quarterly and an annual vacation just the two of us. Those weekend trips make all the difference in the world. They really do. Thank heavens for my sister who’s willing to manage my wee one during those excursions, and sometimes they aren’t excursions. Sometimes it’s the kid leaves and we stay home.
If it weren’t for those trips date night would be a requirement. Couples need time to be a couple. Without it I start losing sight of the fact that the man in front of me is my husband instead of, “Daddy”. I’m super stingy with my time with my husband. Just ask him. It’s part of our conflict over his work schedule. It’s not because I’m needy, it’s because I know if we don’t get it we’ll quit being lovers and start being roommates.
We make it a priority. In fact, we make it THE priority. When I tell people that, it ruffles some feathers with people occasionally. A lot of people think as parents, our kids should be our first priority. However, I know if we aren’t connecting intimately our relationship will suffer. The most important thing we can do for our kids is to keep our relationship strong. So, saying sex is our first priority doesn’t make me feel guilty.
Studies have been done with women who have low sex drives, and what’s been proven over and over again is having sex is the most effective thing for making you want to have more sex. There is no pill on the planet more effective for improving desire than just getting between the sheets and getting it regularly.
We don’t schedule our sex, but we do have some agreements about how often we’re going to do it and if we go longer than agreed, we address the reasons why. We’ve done that since we got together, and as time has gone on, we’ve agreed to more sex rather than less. It’s easy for couples to let it slip. We’re intentional about not doing that. We make a point of talking about sex enough that it’s not an uncomfortable topic to handle when it needs handling.
For my husband’s sake, and the sake of our family members who might have read this far, I’ll spare you the rest of the details about how we keep it exciting. If you really want to talk, just shoot me an email. I’m always happy to over-share in private.
I don’t believe a healthy relationship is hard work. If a relationship is work, something is going wrong. It’s systemically sick somewhere.
However, I do believe healthy relationships require a lot of energy and ours is no exception. A lot of couples will starve their relationship until it’s in crisis and then they are willing to put in the time and energy. David and I put in that kind of energy all the time, and that prevents our relationship from getting rocky.
I tend to believe a marriage isn’t one entity. It’s three. There are two people and one marriage. All three of those things need to be healthy. That means both partners need to stay emotionally and physically healthy. It’s on me to manage my stuff and continue to grow. It’s on David to do the same. However, the marriage itself needs feeding. A malnourished marriage is an uncomfortable place to have to be.
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Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.
Posted on 09/26/2014 at 12:00:00 AM