Posts Tagged ‘being happy’

16th Anniversary

Here is the another blog that has nothing to do with writing. Don’t worry on Saturday, I’m interviewing Candace Knoebel the author of Born in Flames. Then I will be doing a week of book reviews so I’ll be back to writing soon enough…However that is the future:

In the now time, I am talking about my relationship with my husband, because tomorrow is our 16th anniversary. We are going out for a steak dinner, the real celebration is we are going to the Puyallup Fair next week. Dennis likes the exhibit hall and I like looking at the cute animals.

Here is us many years ago at my best friend Maria’s wedding. We were so young!

For those who don’t know me well (or weren’t reading this blog a year ago.) Dennis and I met right before my senior year in high school at End Fest 1994. He was working full-time at a local computer store. I was with my friend Jeff and he was with his friends Kevin and Bryan. Jeff, Kevin and Bryan are friends and so we hung out. Then we danced. Dennis was smitten that day. It took me a few months to come around. After all I was 18, he was 21. I admit there was some second guessing my part, but once I came to the conclusion he was the one for me I stuck by that decision. I was very lucky in love.

Sometimes people ask me how we stayed married when so many marriages fail…especially when we got married at 20 and 23 respectively. Well I have some news. Passion does wax and wane, but mutual respect can last forever. Much of our success is just by deciding to stay married through the thick, thin, crappiest and awesome years.
First of all, we have tattoo rings. Not only is a tattoo permanent, but it hurt like hell to get. (Dennis says his didn’t hurt btw. I am telling you it does.) I was sitting there trembling like a leaf but trying not to move because I don’t want to mess the guy up since its on my hand and always visible.

So as far as I am concerned at this point, he is stuck with me!

Like every marriage, we’ve had our ups and downs. However, we meant it when we said for better or worse, richer or poorer and since Dennis and I have the same basic moral code, moral issues have not been a problem. We promised and have both chosen to stay monogamous. We promised and both chosen not to use physical or emotional violence to get our way. There has never been tit for tat. We don’t keep points. When one of us is hurt or angry, we just say so. If one of us wants something, we just tell the other person. While we both like legos, we do try to be grown ups. Part of learning to be a grown-up was prior to getting married we went to pre-marital counseling. It really was the best thing we did for our marriage.

However, if I can point to any one attribute of 16 years of happiness: I would say the key component is gratitude. Nearly every night I make dinner, Dennis will make sure I know he appreciates it.  Even when he doesn’t like it, he acknowledges the work. Heck, when I clean the bathroom, he often will say something nice.

I try not to take him for granted either. I thank him when he takes out the garbage or swaps the laundry for me– I let him know how much I appreciate it and as often as I can that his work has provided us with a comfortable middle-class life. Yes, I am a dog walker, but I can choose my clients and spend most of my working hours as an author and artist , because what he does everyday.

You want to be happy? Thank your spouse. Acknowledge the little things. They matter. If your spouse is the primary breadwinner and you have health insurance, acknowledge that too. If you both work full time and split every thing 50/50 then thank him or her for their part of that. If you are the primary breadwinner, then thank your spouse for what they do to lighten your load.

And here is a more current photo. We were heading out to a Christmas party.

If you want to know love, admit to yourself they will not change. You must love them for them. They will get older. They will get fat. They will have bad days and get sick. They will sometimes not laugh at every joke you tell. Dinner might be late or the carpet doesn’t get vacuumed during a push at work. They will spend too much money or be so tight laced that they can’t enjoy a splurge Or blah blah blah.

Stop looking at what they don’t do, and focus on what is good. Gratitude and thankfulness can go a long way to soothing out problems. Also gratitude is one of those emotions which can grow exponentially and shrink just as fast. Bitterness leads to estrangement, but nurturing gratitude brings happiness.

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