Steve and I have been married for quite a while.....and as most who have married, you know there are times that can be tough, loud, angry or trying.

A friend posted on a thread of mine that "You and your husband are truly an inspiration of what marriage should be." I thought that was one of the nicest compliments anyone could ever get.....and am honored to have received such a nicety.

I thought about it and wondered what we do, that helps us get through the roughest times.....sure we love each other and have a mutual respect....but as everyone else, we have our times. We do argue.

We always say "I love you." no matter what... We don't withhold that love from each other. Love is not a convenience or a weapon...to be used on one another like a sharp edged knife. When things get to that point, it's time to think....Will this bring a positive response? Is this a valuable statement? Will it help us resolve the issue?

So we do our best not to offend and use words that are just plain foolish and unproductive.....but like most people you say things you really don't mean, and we know, that when heated, words can be volleyed back and forth, that really have no real meaning other than frustration. At which point we both tend to walk away and think before we speak.....

But on the rare occasion, that a word or frustration gets past......The one thing I have learned and the most important thing I have learned.....Is the art of the apology.

Most people, simply say "I'm Sorry." But truly, that is a state of being. You know...."I know you're sorry, now apologize." And to make matters worse....add the excuse to the mix.

I'm sorry but I was angry and I just couldn't help it......hmmmmm. Really? I'm 47, I can help it. I am responsible for my own actions....I have no strings attached to me, nor do I have someone feeding me lines to say......so I can't give that excuse.

And I certainly will not give a backhanded apology either. You know the kind." I'm sorry your feelings got hurt." Not that they are sorry for hurting your feelings, but that they got hurt...not that they said hurtful things but, well you get the picture. Placing it all on the person that was hurt.

Steve and I talked about this, many years back, and whenever we needed to say "sorry" we actually sit down and look at one another, directly, and talk with respect....even for something as little as me being a grouch in the morning.....which Steve can be assured, that is the way I wake most mornings...I will apologize.

I simply look him in the eyes and say Steve, "I want to apologize for being so grouchy towards you this morning, I was wrong. And you didn't deserve it." and he accepts graciously, without beating me up with words of condemnation....... and vice versa.....he gives me the same sincere, respectful apologies.....On occasion he has said, "I know you're tired"...to which I respond..."No excuse for the behavior." An excuse, more often than not, can nullify the apology. So I do my best not to make excuses.

(Sometimes I will throw in, "but really you do deserve it." , usually with a giant Cheshire cat grin, an equally giant hug and I love you. Which makes him smile....)

A person can say "I love you." all day, everyday....but without the balance of apologizing properly and with sincerity, all the I love yous in the world can't make a relationship work. The action of admitting where we went wrong....always helps. It's okay to be wrong. It doesn't make or break you. But it can destroy a relationship, if you can't or won't own up to it.

Every story has a beginning, middle and an ending.....so should every disagreement. It's just understanding, that once the apology is made and accepted....it's over.

We've always move forward with an affectionate touch, hug or kiss, and that lets us know that all is well.......we are not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination.....but, we do have a great respect for each other.

Even in the most difficult of times.

God Bless, J.

Comments

msjlee June 16, 2010 @ 4:58 p.m.

No, not Dr. Phil....It's just the way hubby and I choose to treat each other, with the respect we promised in our vows. :)

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David Dodd June 16, 2010 @ 5:10 p.m.

I think it's a great blog entry, ignore the BS from angry commenters. Basically, it's about respect. When you meet someone, marry them, and have them in your life for so long, there is an incredible amount of respect that develops. That respect will take you wherever you want to go. His for you, yours for him. It is the key for a wonderful and lasting relationship. So few know this, because they are selfish; the few that understand will also understand your words.

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MsGrant June 16, 2010 @ 5:41 p.m.

This is sweet. We all get on each other's nerves, but respect goes a long way. So does an apology.

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msjlee June 16, 2010 @ 5:45 p.m.

refriedgringo, (I love your name.) Thank you for your comment and response.

I really don't stress too much about comments that appear or are negative. I read them, and hopefully, they will have something substantial in them I can learn from....I enjoy learning. And I do appreciate that we can give an opinion to one another. I have respect for the differences in people. It keeps my mind fresh and keeps me thinking. :)

Again, Thank you. And have a great weekend. :)

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msjlee June 16, 2010 @ 5:51 p.m.

MsGrant,

When I was younger I used to be of the opinion, win the argument at all costs....and when I met someone worth so much to me. I was willing to be wrong.

Enjoy your weekend. :)

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SDaniels June 16, 2010 @ 6:04 p.m.

Dr. Phil? Nah, Dr. Phil's, well...besides the fact that he is NOT a real Dr., let's just say she'd have to develop a few more egregiously mixed metaphors, or start up with all the folksy-isms, around the idea of getting back up on a horse, or a pitchfork, or something. ;)

Total agreement about respect, but so much is needed to keep it intact.

You know what I have found nearly inexplicable? I had a year plus relationship in my late teens with a thirty-something who always complimented me for my habit of stopping in the middle of some foolish excuse or irritated reply and correcting myself, then apologizing. The thing is, my current partner, with whom I share only a ten-year age difference, and a ten-year run and counting, cannot compliment me as frequently for such magnanimity.

No longer in possession of a certain depth and breadth to said magnanimity, I've reflected that perhaps I was trying to impress a much older partner with my oh-so-adult EQ and ability to self-check; then again, perhaps it was that I was just beginning to learn to be in a relationship, and had not yet built up the resentments ten solid years can accrue.

Final answer? I think it's a combination of the above, plus the fact that we are different with different people, all of whom bring out varying traits to varying degrees. Of course, we are free to embrace, challenge, reject what's brought out in us or what we've brought out in the other person. It's just that daily negotiations can be easy in some relationships and so damned hard in others.

Does it mean the easier relationship such as you describe is somehow more right or destined for better things? Dunno. People are volatile, and things can go south quicker than a horsethief jump back up on his stud and make a run for the border. OOOPS! Paging Dr. Phil...

Unrelated confession: I wince at the title of your blog, though it could be meant just to impart your running theme--about ultimately limiting one's gender and social identity with the word "wife?"

Dunno.

Could also be a touch of jealousy at the sheer hotness of your avatar image--watch out, you might attract a lascivious little panting character called "SurfPuppy." ;)

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CuddleFish June 16, 2010 @ 6:05 p.m.

Scene from Annie Hall:

Alvy Singer (the Woody Allen character): Here, you look like a very happy couple, um, are you? Female street stranger: Yeah. Alvy Singer: Yeah? So, so, how do you account for it? Female street stranger: Uh, I’m very shallow and empty and I have no ideas and nothing interesting to say. Male street stranger: And I’m exactly the same way.

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CuddleFish June 16, 2010 @ 6:12 p.m.

Excuse me, Daniels, we crossed posts.

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MsGrant June 16, 2010 @ 6:37 p.m.

"It's just that daily negotiations can be easy in some relationships and so damned hard in others."

SD, that is so true. Day to day life with my husband is relatively easy. But in the past with someone I was not so compatable with, every day was like warfare.

Which I think is msjlee's point in comment 6. It's not really fun to fight with someone you really like and respect. Most of the time there is really not much to fight about!

Regarding extremely hot avatar, it has already caught Tiki's attention...

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David Dodd June 16, 2010 @ 7:01 p.m.

Meh. Avitars are avitars. Hotness is a thing that comes from the inside. The tangible qualities of hotness are not so easy to touch. I know, I'm revealing my Platonist tendencies, but it's true, hotness is an essence, not a trait.

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msjlee June 17, 2010 @ 2:34 a.m.

I have never heard of an easy relationship. I do know you can make things easier if you learn to work together. We know how to push each others buttons, we just choose not to do it. As an older couple we have had experience with relationships in our past. And if you choose to have self-respect, you will also choose to be with someone that respects you and appreciates you.

Both of us have learned to communicate the issues, instead of having a screaming name calling session, that just creates more anger. And we do not, in any case, talk poorly about each other to others.

I have talked with many, that have been in that arena, and have witnessed it on many occasion...and some that have confessed to me some deep secrets I will carry with me till my last day here. I feel sad, some are friends, others no. But they are feeling hurting human beings...you can't change anyone...you can only change yourself.

As far as my Avatar and "Hotness" ...for me, it comes in flashes... ;)

Peace be with you. J

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David Dodd June 17, 2010 @ 3:35 a.m.

My relationship with my wife has not always been so smooth. I don't think it's supposed to be always smooth. We build character as individuals based on our transgressions and how we handle the fallout. In relationships, I think it's the same. We screw up. We fix it.

I have jokingly, yet not so jokingly hinted that the key to a successful marriage is often the lack of communication. When we met, my wife spoke no English and I spoke no Spanish. Those were the salad days. Since then, she has learned to say f&%! you! very well in English. I have also learned about twenty different ways to insult her mother in Spanish. I laugh, because it is the most endearing thing that she could ever say to me. To hell with me! Screw me and the duck I rode in on! I only hope that she feels the same way.

We tolerate each other. There truly is no greater love than tolerance. Others perhaps dream of crushes and lust and several other emotional, knee-buckling experiences. As for me, I'll take a good woman who's willing to put up with my BS any day. In return, she can snore to her heart's content. I'll simply lie next to her and smile, silently insulting her mother in Spanish, and thankful that someone on this Earth is willing to tolerate my irreverance.

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antigeekess June 17, 2010 @ 7:50 a.m.

Not my area of expertise, but welcome.

:)

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MsGrant June 17, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

I guess my point is as I have matured, I pick and choose my battles more wisely. And my choice of husband. Thus the "easy" part of my marriage. I could make it harder. I just don't have any reasons to. We just don't really have much to fight about. It's really quite nice, because I have friends as well that complain bitterly about their marriages. I have no advice for them. They are determined to stay in a marriage that makes them unhappy and if that's what makes them tick, there is nothing I can say to change it. I guess we choose our mates based on our temperament, and on past relationships, because we have the experience to know what we can and cannot tolerate.

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CuddleFish June 17, 2010 @ 11:52 a.m.

Now that's a very wise comment, MsG. I enjoy reading your threads and your posts because you show a rare honesty and insight into your own life -- an examined life is well worth sharing.

I have no patience for canned, simplistic pap. I learn nothing from it and in some cases it ends up doing more harm than good, no matter how well-meaning.

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nan shartel June 17, 2010 @ 1:01 p.m.

so glad no one has burst ur bubble yet sweetie...enjoy it while it last

~~and may it last forever~~

Darshan

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msjlee June 17, 2010 @ 1:57 p.m.

MsGrant. the above, post #12 was not in response to your post. It was, just in general, A thought.

I agree some issues are easier to deal with on a daily basis and some aren't worth getting worked up over at all. And definitely some relationships mesh a lot better...boy ain't that the truth.

Cuddlefish, I think what you may have missed in my blog, is, "I thought about it and wondered what we do, that helps us get through the roughest times." ....Helps...Us.

Not a quick fix, nor even advice, It's what we do. Just a small part of the equation. Our equation. Not simplistic at all.

How often do you admit you are wrong? Take my word for it..it is neither easy or simplistic... :)

. . Peace be with you, and have a great weekend.

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SDaniels June 17, 2010 @ 1:59 p.m.

re: #12: "But they are feeling hurting human beings...you can't change anyone...you can only change yourself."

You are a mensch for first of all keeping others' secrets to the grave. Your empathy for them as human is appreciated--we need more of these strengths of character, rather than the prepackaged prejudices offered too frequently.

"As far as my Avatar and "Hotness" ...for me, it comes in flashes... ;)"

;)

Grant @16:

"I guess my point is as I have matured, I pick and choose my battles more wisely. And my choice of husband. Thus the "easy" part of my marriage. I could make it harder. I just don't have any reasons to. We just don't really have much to fight about."

You know, Grant, that was exactly me & "the man" for about two years into our relationship. It was sublime. I was on stipend, and didn't have to work-work, and we had no financial concerns. I found out how much less I'd matured OR learned to pick and choose my battles once some chronic--such as financial-- problems hit, and refused to let up. Seven years later, we are still here, but no longer strolling along, enjoying being in the moment. I rather think that if external circumstances were to revert to those simpler times, we'd return to that edenic calm.

How long have you been married, Grant, if you don't mind me asking?

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msjlee June 17, 2010 @ 2:18 p.m.

SDaniels, You are very right. The biggest test of our relationship, happened with the rest of the economically hit this year. The work I do is demanding, rarely pays, except for the fact people smile and say thank you.

My husband became minorly (not really a word) ill, and then lost his job, his retirement, and pension. Bunk! During this time, we lost 5 family members, 3 immediate....If that didn't tear us apart...I'm thinking we are on the right path.

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MsGrant June 17, 2010 @ 2:20 p.m.

Married nine years, together as a couple 13 years. When we met, we were both working for the same company, both earning about the same amount of money, he owned his own place, I bought mine about six months later, I was 34 and he was 38. So we came into our relationship with little disparity. I think that was a huge help, because before my relationships tended to be one-sided and it was nice to meet someone who was my equal. Our families like one another, we have supported each other through job losses and changes, and we both have the same financial style, which is critical to a healthy relationship. Neither of us spends frivolously, we both paid cash for our cars after saving (neither of us drives a flashy car - me a ten year old BMW and him a ten year old Honda), we never had separate bank accounts, which I can tell you is an almost sure indication of impending doom to a relationship due to lack of trust, we both love animals, we both are responsible adults. We worked hard, bought a nice house together, and built a life that conjoined us. Most of all we really enjoy each other's company. We are by no means perfect, and we have had times where we annoy the hell out of each other. But there really are no deal breakers. We have discussed the biggies. It has been put out there - if ever either wants out of the relationship, out of respect for the other there will be no cheating. This has never been an issue, because we are still very much in love. My neighbor sees us all the time coming home from bike rides and he laughs at us - "oh, you two, like two peas in a pod". I know this is hard to believe, but it's true. I pinch myself for my good luck in finding this man. You've read my stories about the two before him. I knew what to look out for!!

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MsGrant June 17, 2010 @ 2:29 p.m.

Oh, and before I paint too rosy a picture, he has stood by my side throught the horrible loss of my father from cancer that ravaged him, my fertility problems that cost a small fortune and resulted in us being childless, his own parents aging which we are going through now, my sister's struggles with alcoholism, and a host of other things that we never looked at as hurdles, just as part of the package. I look at my marriage as the best thing that I could ever have hoped for. Okay, here is the word that keeps coming to mind. Gratitude.

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nan shartel June 17, 2010 @ 2:44 p.m.

i knew that STEVE was a keeper grantie...u'd have to drag him kickin' and screamin' from u and the kitty's sides

NOICE!!!!!

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msjlee June 17, 2010 @ 2:46 p.m.

MsGrant,

Not hard to believe at all. :)

When Steve and I became engaged, He lost his job, and mine was cut to less than 20 hours many years ago....but for us all the excess has never been a need or want. We live a "simple life" as friends have called it. We too have older vehicles and I owned the house when we met. And our friends always know, if I am there so is Steve. We like being best friends.

My girlfriends have often joked, that we need to buy our husbands outfits for girls night out...lol.

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nan shartel June 17, 2010 @ 2:49 p.m.

soft eyes and Mona Lisa smiles happen for most of us often enough to stay keepers of the flame

then instead of waiting for our dreams we make them

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MsGrant June 17, 2010 @ 3:11 p.m.

Aww, nan, well said!! We do make our own dreams. And I don't think this "Steve" is going anywhere soon!! The kitties won't let him.

Best friends, yes, msjlee. The reference to the name "Steve" is just a coincidence, since your husband's name is Steve. I wrote a story about a particularly bad relationship and used the name "Steve" as an alias for him. I am glad there is a good Steve out there!!

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nan shartel June 17, 2010 @ 3:20 p.m.

it will be 30 years for my Bobby and i next year...sigh...

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