March 7, 2010
You may remember that two weekends ago (the weekend before Canada took home our most important gold medal!), The Guy and I attended a marriage prep course at our church. We spent a lot of the day doing exercises as couples, or in small groups. Sound totally like something would make you want to scratch your eyeballs out? I thought that too (kind of, I was also kind of excited) at the outset, never one for cheesy icebreakers and silly team building exercises (Team Building Exercise ’99!), but it actually turned out to be a lot of fun.
In one such exercise, we were divided into groups of three couples. In our package of materials, we had a list of 70+ character traits. We were instructed to choose three that we thought our partner possessed; along with the answers we were to provide examples of situations when we had noticed these characteristics in action.
For The Guy, I chose affectionate, totally silly and committed. We went around the group and everyone shared one of the characteristics they’d written down. Things like loving, creative, fun and kind came up. I shared with the group how The Guy can be totally silly and I, in turn, can be totally silly when I’m around him. Despite, by all outward appearances, being a responsible, professional couple, we really are a couple of kids at heart and we take constant joy in joking around with one another and making up silly songs. Do you know which characteristic The Guy chose to share about me? Resourceful.
You’re probably asking, “Gee, Andrea, how did you manage to get yourself engaged to such a dreamy romantic?” Well girls, it’s not easy! Oh, wait, it’s probably because I’m soooo resourceful, no?!
Yes, The Guy, apparently, prizes my resourcefulness and, from a list of more than 70 traits, thought that this was one of the top three. The example he provided? I’m good at planning trips and researching hotels. Okay, well, he’s got a point there.
I shared this story with a coworker and her boyfriend a couple days later. Her boyfriend said something like, “Every guy wants a resourceful girlfriend. You must be like MacGyver! Like, if you guys got stuck in a locked room that was about to explode you could craft something with a drinking straw and a piece of lint that would help you escape just in time! That’s awesome!” I shared this anecdote with The Guy. He confirmed that this, in fact, was not what he meant by resourceful. So what did he mean, “You’re just like, really good at finding websites and stuff.”
Be still my beating heart!
P.S. Another guy in our group told his fiancée that one of her top three traits is the fact that she’s organized. I think that may just beat resourceful 😉
February 24, 2010
First I was sick, sick, sick. Then I had what may have been the busiest work week of all time. And then I celebrated with a weeklong tropical vacation with The Guy. I’m back though. Feeling relaxed. With a tan. After seven days of total relaxation it’s hard to remember where you left off in your “real life’!
It was a pretty quick reentry to reality though. We got home (well, to my parents’ home, as we were staying at their place this weekend) from the airport at 3:00 a.m. and started Marriage Prep at our church promptly at 9:15 the following morning. After about 4.5 hours of sleep I felt strangely awake. That, kids, is what we call adrenaline!
I think we had both been viewing the Marriage Prep course as a bit of a hoop that we needed to jump through to get where we wanted to go. In reality though? It was awesome! Both The Guy and I really enjoyed the weekend and the opportunities it provided to get to know eight other couples, learn more about making marriage work (more on that in a second), and learn about the structure of our ceremony (*happy dance*).
I love researching. So, it cams as no surprise when, shortly after the ring was on my finger, I started researching marriage. After much searching on Amazon, I finally settled on The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman.
It was an easy read and I have been (secretly!) applying some of the strategies from the book in my day-to-day life with The Guy for the past several months. Dr. Gottman is the foremost academic researcher in the area of what leads to successful marriages. He flouts a lot of the conventional wisdom that’s out there (e.g. Happy couples can have enduring disagreements. They just handle them well.) and provides really practical strategies. It’s basically common sense, but sometimes we forget to use our common sense…especially in emotional situations like relationships.
Anyhow, it turns out that the majority of the Marriage Prep course was based on this book. For two days, we worked together as couples, or in small groups, to complete many of the exercises in the book and share with the group. It was a lot of fun and, I think, a hugely important step on the path to marriage. Even The Guy liked it.
Are you going to do any sort of marriage preparation? Through your church? Independently?
January 7, 2010
Oh my gosh! So I had all these grand plans to do tons of blogging over the holidays. Want to know what happened instead? I sat on the couch. I watched When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail and Miracle on 34th Street….and then I sat some more. It was just so nice to have 12 straight days without work and I gave into temptation. It was indulgent and so wonderful. There was one day when The Guy and I sat and watched almost the whole last season of West Wing without moving. It was glorious.
This year over the holidays we were fortunate to have a lot of down time at home. That has not always been the case though. I often think to myself that the holidays must cause the dissolution of so many relationships. All those emotions and traditions that are tied to the holidays…it’s hard to compromise on those when a significant other comes into your life.
We’ve finally developed a system, but I remember our second Christmas together (our first Christmas we had just started dating, so it doesn’t really count). There were a lot of arguments. I have two sets of parents, so visiting both sets as well as The Guy’s family makes things quite busy. Not to mention that my parents live about an hour and a half from where we, and most of The Guy’s family, live. Anyhow, yes, that second Christmas together we had Christmas with The Guy’s family, Christmas with my mum’s family and then my dad’s family and then we got a call from my dad that he and my stepmum were planning to host another Christmas with my Godparents. That’s when The Guy got angry. He said he already had enough Christmases planned and he refused to attend another out-of-town dinner. I was very upset. There were tears. There were raised voices. It wasn’t pretty. And I went to the dinner with my Godparents without The Guy.
Somehow though, over the intervening years (we just celebrated our fifth Christmas together) things have fallen into a good routine. We always attend Christmas Eve at The Guy’s parents’ house (it’s a longstanding tradition). Then we rotate Christmas Day and Boxing Day between his family and my family. We try to ensure that while we’re out of town visiting my family we are able to fit in both my mum’s and dad’s family so that we don’t need to travel back and forth several times over the holidays. This year, in order to accommodate all of the above we had our own Christmas on Christmas Eve after we got home from The Guy’s parents’ house. It was quiet and romantic. I’m so grateful that we’ve found a way to incorporate all our traditions into the holiday season, and peacefully at that.
Have you and your partner been able to take part in both your families’ holiday traditions? How do you manage it?
Happy New Year!