I am happily ten years deep into my third marriage. Over my time in the matrimonial trenches, I have picked up a few things.
Let him have the pickle.
We both like pickles. Mr. Rosenberg likes them more. I order the veggie burger and it always comes with a dill pickle spear on the side. He can ask for my pickle and I will give it to him every time and it will make him happy. That makes me happy. I don’t think he even knows I like pickles. It’s my little secret. Those small sacrifices that lead to the person’s happiness are part of what makes things work.
“The Rural Juror” is funny.
Likewise “Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog,” and, “You are no longer allowed to use ‘nest and ‘egg’ in the same sentence.’” We find the same things funny. This can get us through just about anything.
It doesn’t matter if he wears a brown belt with black shoes.
There are some things, most things, about us are not going to change. Liking him as the person he was when we met without thinking he’d be “perfect” with a few tweaks is acceptance. He might change, if he wants to. The little things that make him his own personal brand of weird? Those are part of the package. You’ve got to like the whole package even if the package can’t sleep without the fan on or always leaves the cabinet doors open. Those little habits could disappear over time or not, but the big habits some guys out there might have like - he’s a liar or he is a dick to waitresses? Those aren’t changing just because I’m “the one.” Those matter.
Yin, Yang. Potato, potahto. Paper, plastic.
He’s careful with money, I enjoy Ebay shopping. He hoards old pit-stained dress shirts, I have a capsule wardrobe. It’s all so much easier if our differences enhance our lives rather than create struggle. Letting his good parts bring up my less good parts and the other way around makes us a stronger whole. If we’re so alike that we have the same weaknesses we will be screwed and probably broke.
Take turns initiating the hug dismount.
No one gets to be the needy one all the time. Sometimes I need the hand-holding, the good listener, the soft shoulder. Sometimes it’s him. Sometimes I let go of the hug first, sometimes he does. Being vulnerable is as important as being empathetic. Sensitivity totally rules.
You’re awesome, no you’re awesome.
There is no substitute for feeling “known.” I get him and want to learn more. He gets me and likes what he gets. It’s beyond knowing my love for vintage tea towels and his disdain for Guy Fieri. Likes and dislikes can be learned. When someone gets you they tap into your soul in a way that can’t be taught. When we can do that and both of us feel like we’ve gotten the better end of the deal, we’ve got something that will stick.