Thursday, August 23, 2012

My recipe for a happy marriage.

I've been reading books by noted psychiatrists and looking up internet sites by relationship experts on how to have a happy and  fun-filled marriage.
Why would you do this if you already have one you may ask?

The answer is that it's like anything, if I'm not working on it, it could slip into the boring old, "taking each other for granted"  rut.
It could fall off the tree and become a rotten, apple.

Marriage can be treated like making a special mosaic that you really love and admire.
 It can be a vehicle for bucket loads of creativity and joy.

It can bring as much colour and cuddliness  into your life as a Autumn leaves or

                               a furry animal.

I was talking to some friends at the Rotorua Camera Club last Christmas about this very subject, as it's one of my favourites.
One  man laughed a lot when I told them that I regularly, (about once every six months), discuss with my husband how I think our marriage is going.

He shook his head and he said,  "the poor guy I feel sorry for him".
"Don't you know that most New Zealand men don't like talking about relationships"?

 Another man said to me when we went on a group camera trip to Auckland that he thought being married to me would be like "living in heaven."
That is one of the nicest things someone has said to me, but I didn't think my husband would be describing it exactly  like that.
Unlike me, I know he doesn't believe in heaven.

When I told my husband what the man said to me, he laughed which just goes to show that humour is very important in a marriage. 

I guess it really depends on what sort of man you are married to whether or not a rating  method is going to work. 
 In schools they use unit standards.
Why not apply them to a marriage? 
 I realise that I have tried using unit standards on every man I've ever gone out with and this is probably why  it has taken me so long  to choose a suitable husband.

I have a different set of requirements for a husband than most other women I know.
He needs to believe in me and my art totally.
He needs to be able to fly in his mind to embrace my visionary ideas.
He has to admire, approve of and  respect me.
These requirements are reciprocal. 

 He needs to be there for me when the times get tough and vice versa

  He needs to have a short memory about occasional arguments (unlike an elephant) because
 why hold grudges and sweat the small stuff?

 In my dreams I have visions of happy families  coming to my studio to make art together.
It came true this year when the Vaile family came and did six sessions.
Ron is a doctor and Heather is a jouranalist, they were absolutley delightful to teach and they had no inhibitions.
They certainly flew with their art right from the start. . 

 Shortly after my husband and I  met  he went to one of my exhibitions and bought a painting .
It's very special to an artist when a person buys your work because you are treasuring a part of their soul.

It's a spiritual connection, much like taking photographs of beautiful things in nature.

He also took me to a tropical island six months after knowing me, it was so romantic even though my face blew up like a puffer fish because of the prickly heat.

 He's taken  me away on overseas holidays every year since, often to my favourite place in the world which is Noosa on the sunshine coast of Australia. 

 Lately I've been making  paintings of girls with wings and owls.
I'm sure this means I'm getting wiser and I'm going to be flying to Italy to see some mosaics  in churches soon.
I 'm visualising this on a daily basis.
In my mind I'm there.
But it in the meantime...

My aim is to have the marriage with a score of 10 out of 10 most of the time.
My husband usually gives me a 9 out of 10  but he always gives our cat Gary 10.
My husband says this is because Gary never loses his temper.

 Gary is such a good rat catcher and defender of our property, I  know he loses his temper sometimes.
 Most people have two or more sides to their personality, it's a matter of  focusing on the best qualities.

So what if the sparks fly occasionally when a husband does something annoying or vice versa?
It's best to let off stream if you have an issue I feel, particularly if it's me having the issue because verbal communication is Queen.

When I  initiate these little "state of the marriage  discussions', I'm doing most of the talking and  I suspect my husband could live qute happily without them.
  He is a university qualified engineer with  a high quota of emotional intelligence and common sense so
 I like to think my words have the effect of sinking into him  like glaze on a ceramic sculpture.

 Practical exercises are initiated by me.
Our latest one is...
10 ten quick  hugs in the morning before he goes to work and 10 quick hugs when he comes home.
 The key to a mans heart is though his stomach.
 I've always maintained this even though it might seem like an old fashioned concept to you.
You can put  a lot of  love into the preparation of a meal.
My Grandmother loved cooking, she was superb at it and her food always tasted the best in the world.

I like to make my husband imaginative meals during the week, so it feels  like we are dining out in different countries.
One night it might be French, another Chinese, Italian , Turkish, Spanish or Thai.
Cooking is creative.
I often have hot soup or freshly baked muffins for my husband when he comes home for lunch.  
He cooks on the weekends and I  get breakfast in bed; he makes wonderful scrambled eggs and fresh coffee.
He is very good at cooking  roast  lamb.

 We always thank each other for  meals.

                       Going on regular holidays away from his stressful work is healthy.

Having a date once a week is a great habit to get into.
It doesn't have to be anything expensive, it could be a  trip to the Polynesian Spa, a walk in the Ngongotaha Tree Trust Forest, a classical music recital, an arthouse movie or a ukelele concert

Walking together for a half an hour every night after work is a healthy habit and it's spring now so there are no excuses.

 The top six  things I think are the most important for my marriage are faithfulness, respect, trust, empathy, appreciation and affection
 Making an effort to be genuinely nice to each other is healthy and to thank each other every day for something is fantastic.   
One of my favourite sayings is; how did I get so lucky to find you?

Recently we have been initiating the "giving two compliments to each other every day habit."
 It may seem contrived but you know it seems to work. 

Before you shout out the words pass me a bucket, why don't you give it a try.
I dare you.
It's never too late to pop a bunch of daffodils under their pillow or if you are feeling particulalrly creative you can pen them a small poem. 
Purusing  various  internet sites on the topics of happy marriages confirms my thoughts that I am on the right trail, but you can never take anything for granted.

  I always look forward to Graham coming home from work and  I know he looks forward to seeing me as well because his eyes light up when he walks in the door and no he hasn't been drinking. .

  Quotations I  made up using mixed metaphores.
If  the grass looks greener, it probably isn't, except if you are a sheep.

It's better to eat your own apples than jump over the fence and steal  your neighbours
Keep your  marriage bucket full by adding one or two compliments to it every day.
 Remember to leave a patch of wilderness after you have mowed the lawns so that the daffodils you planted in winter can be free to pop up and romance  you in Spring.

Creative Quotes of the Day.

“Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.”

 Zig Ziglar

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person

 It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. Friedrich Nietzsche

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