To My Daughter, at Halftime

Okay, dear daughter. Bring it in. Time for a half-time pep talk.

In a few short weeks, you’ll be turning nine. I know. I can’t believe it either, but your birth certificate doesn’t lie even if I haven’t aged a day past thirty-five.

We are at the half way point of this “raising” you thing. We’ve been pretty focused on just keeping you alive up until now, teaching you the basics of how to get through this thing called life.

You’ve learned some pretty important stuff in the process. Like how you smell is important, so take a shower at least every other day — and always assume you have morning breath.  Or eating a rainbow does not necessarily mean a pack of skittles, although sometimes that is an acceptable lunch alternative. Or nothing good ever comes from sticking anything up your nose…or your sisters.

You’ve also learned some pretty important life skills, such as learning to help your friends that struggle in the classroom. Playing on a team can be fun even if you sometimes lose. And  perseverance and hard work pays off on the soccer field, in school and even when trying to learn the elusive cart-wheel that took years for you to master.

We’ve made a great team and rocked this first half of your childhood, but we only have nine short years left before I’m no longer your coach, before you take this game on all on your own. I’ll always be there for you, but before you know it, you’ll be flying out of the nest just like those other baby birds.

In this next half, you’ll have to make more play calls by yourself. And there is going to be a lot of distractions. Girlfriends, boyfriends (ack!), cell phones, social media, hormones and so many other things will ring loudly in your ears. It is going to be tough to hear me — and sometimes you’re not going to listen — but I’ll never stop trying.

Although other moms have warned me that the second half is hard — perhaps the hardest — part of having a daughter, I think we’re ready to tackle it. Like any good coach, I’ve got a game plan. I know what worked in the first half, no matter how great we did together, probably won’t work in the next.

 

So, as we move into the second half, here’s what I want you to know:

* Your decisions are important. One decision can change the trajectory of your life. It takes courage to decide you are not ready for something, and courage to decide to make yourself vulnerable and try something new. Always be courageous.

* Maintain your digital privacy. If you would not walk into the lunchroom and shout it out, don’t ever text or share it on social media. Your “friends” list will not adhere to the same standards of discretion about your life as you expect, particularly when hitting the forward button is so simple. And never hit send on an email before double checking who is in the “to” field. Trust me.

Use the right measurements. Life is not measured in the amount of likes you get on Instagram, numbers on a scale, or even your GPA. And there isn’t a “thing” you can buy in the world that can fill a void in your soul. Always remember that life is about the impact you have on others, so work on building your brain and growing your heart, and the rest will fall into place.

Always believe the best in people. Girls can be mean. So can women. And men. There will be a million times when someone says something or does something or you are told about something that rips your heart to shreds. Give that person the benefit of the doubt, and then offer them grace — because when this stuff happens, it is not about you, sweet girl. It says infinitely more about them.

Use your voice. Never sit idly by while someone else is being treated poorly. Period.

Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. I often feel that all those cheesy sitcoms on the Disney channel have watered-down your brain cells, but this is one lesson they constantly show that I hope has resonated with you. It feels good to fit in and it feels good to be liked, but you will find that being accepted only when you are pretending to be something you’re not is a pretty unfulfilling, exhausting experience. And if I ever catch you acting dumb or helpless to attract a boy, I will ground you. Just kidding (not kidding.)

Take charge of your own happiness. No one can make you happy. It is a choice you have to make and it is hard. Trying to fill a void in your life with a person — or with another tangible such as food, alcohol, drugs, etc. is a lost cause. Find out what makes you the happiest, and then do that. A lot.

Never dis your sisters or your girlfriends. ‘Nuff said.

You are enough, exactly as you are. At a minimum of fifty times each day you will be told you are inadequate, and photoshop will change what you think is normal. You will feel that your teeth are not white enough. Your hair is too curly. Your boots are cheap. Your thighs touch. Your make up is wrong. Your voice is too high. Your face is too thin. Your boobs are too big. I wish I could say it gets better, but it doesn’t. Do not let these feelings break your spirit and fight against the urge to conform. Love yourself for who you are in this exact moment, because you are perfect. This is a lesson that most of us learn after having kids, but I’m letting you in on it now. You are a gift to this world, and if you ever forget, just ask. I know I’m just your mom, but I have a long list of compelling reasons why you are awesome.

The best is yet to come. The next nine years will have a lot of highs and lows, but rest assured that no one wants to peek in high school, and you have the best that life has to offer sitting before you. And as it becomes less often that you reach back to grab my hand or beg me to lay with you for just five more minutes, or think I’m the smartest person in the whole wide world, I’ll always be there for you — even when I let you fall before raising you back up.

Happy (almost) 9th birthday to my baby. Thanks for bringing out the best in me.

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Why Fourth Grade — and Monica Lewinsky — Are Killing Me

Fourth grade surely is going to be the death of me.

No, it’s not because of Common Core math, which is bat crazy. Fortunately, though, between You Tube tutoring videos and the fact all three of my girls seem to have acquired my husband’s analytical skills, we seem to be surviving.

No, it’s not the stress of pre-pubescent issues, such as periods or sex or words like “ejaculation” or “masturbation” or “menstruation.” These words make me cringe, but I am so prepared that I am like a sex education ninja.

It’s not even the fact that I hear a fleeting word about a boy or a mean comment by a girl in class or the endless range of emotions that my daughters seem to experience on any given day. These I can manage. It’s parenting 101.

What I cannot seem to handle is on a random Saturday as I pleasantly sip my coffee while my three girls slop up their morning cereal, the following words slip out of a little mouth:

“Hey Mom, who is Monica Lewinsky?”

It was a good thing I was drinking and not eating because I am quite certain I would have choked and died since none of my kids know the Heimlich yet. Those words could have killed me.

Apparently my twins will be writing speeches about various presidents and first ladies later this month, and someone in their fourth grade class said if you get Bill Clinton, you have to include information on Monica.

Sure, this may seem like a simple question now, and you probably have a great answer; but, when you get hit out of nowhere before you have even finished your first cup of joe…well, let’s just say a few more gray hairs appeared on my head that day.

Because I could only hear the heart beating in my ears, I can’t recall my exact answer.  I did not remember any mention of Lewinsky in any of the books I read about how to discuss sex with your child. I didn’t think I had ever read a blog about it, and no one warned me at pick up line that my kids would ask this question. How is that even possible?

After taking a very long swig of scalding coffee to kill time, I believe it went something like this: “Well, she worked for President Clinton and some people think they were involved in some illegal activity and didn’t like it so they tried to make him not president anymore but it didn’t work so she quit and I’m thinking we should go see a movie later does anyone want more cereal I’ll get it!?”

Not my finest moment, but we did move on to a fierce debate about whether to see Paddington or Into the Woods for our movie that day.

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I certainly believe that I could have — should have — provided an answer that included a better explanation, but I panicked. I did not want to discuss presidential sexual relations with my daughters at the breakfast table any more than Bill Clinton wanted to discuss the with Congress. I did not want to explain the meaning of Zippergate or extramarital affairs or a BJ. At least not when my kids are in fourth grade and should be more interested in dressing their Barbies than berets and blue dresses.

Fourth grade is tough. Intellectually my kids — like most at this age — are advancing rapidly, but even though we’ve had “the talk,” I just don’t know how to discuss Monica Lewinsky with a nine-year old. Sure, I had a myriad of inappropriate jokes and innuendo at my disposal, but none seemed entirely appropriate at the time. But neither did the truth.

Not talking about it is an even larger problem. As a parent you do not want to lie to your kid about any question. It can harm your relationship or embarrass your child if they discuss your white lies with their friends. You want to answer the question enough that they feel satisfied with the answer, but not with too much information that they want to find out more on the Internet.

And there is a wide breadth of maturity in the fourth grade. Some sleep with their cell phones, others with their teddy bears. Some are responsible enough to baby sit, others don’t know how to make their own lunch. Some are starting to be interested in the opposite sex, and others barely notice a difference if it wasn’t for anatomy.Information that may be appropriate for one child could blow another one’s mind.

Fourth grade is perhaps the  year our kids grow the fastest — physically, emotionally and socially — and each parent determines what their child can handle. Movie content, Internet access, and social networking are items that are restricted in my house, but in others, a child may have unfettered access. It doesn’t mean either is right or wrong, but it does mean once one parent lets their kid go down the rabbit hole, we all really take the ride in some way or other.

Like when I almost ran off the road when one of my twins asked if I didn’t let her watch Pitch Perfect because a boy and a girl shower together. Or what did a “Lady Jam” mean? Or the one question I could totally handle the last few weeks: “Why do boys say that they just got hit in the balls?” While it caused me to giggle, I totally nailed that answer.

One day, I’ll talk to my girls about Monica Lewinsky. I’ll tell them about a young girl who romanticized a situation and put herself at risk. I’ll tell them about men who become drunk on power and take advantage of those who serve beneath them (no pun intended.) We’ll discuss sexual harassment and appropriate workplace behavior and the importance of understanding who you can really trust. But not today. And maybe not even in fourth grade.

I am sure I will survive this year relatively unscathed, and hopefully my kids won’t be too messed up either. But if anyone has the chapter on how to explain Monica Lewinsky to a fourth grader, can you send it to me? My parenting handbook was missing that one.

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Can Positive Intent End the Mommy Wars?

Do you ever wonder how much time you spend on trying to figure out if a comment someone meant was kind or passive aggressive? If you were not included in something, did you take it as a personal slap in the face? Do you read an email and stew for hours about the condescending tone?

You can’t see me, but I’m meekly raising my hand right now.

Most of us are guilty of getting distracted by how we believe others are treating us. It saps our energy, impacts our mood, and often ensures we waste our most valuable commodity: time.

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Positive intent is a term often associated with evangelical Christians, but in the past decade it has been seen as an important strategy to minimize workplace discourse. I believe, however, it could be the tool to change the course of the Mommy Wars.

At a macro level, positive intent means that there is always a positive function or purpose for what is currently happening in our lives. For the purpose of this post, positive intent is the belief that negativity often begins in the fabrication of thoughts in one’s own mind, often related to our insecurities. Living with positive intent is taking other people’s actions and words and working under the assumption that the majority of people are kind and are not out to hurt you. Net-net is this: when unsure, always think the best of someone.

I first heard about positive intent when Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of Pepsi, discussed it in an interview with Fortune magazine back in 2008. It sounded smart at the time if you were in the workplace, but I didn’t think to apply it to my daily life. She commented:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From him I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

A few years back, I became consumed with some negativity. I had some issues with other women in my life who I felt were thinking the worst of me. The negativity spilled over into other relationships, and I became even more sensitive when communicating with friends and family. I became distracted and the harder I tried to get out of my funk, the deeper I fell into it. file000660863461

And then one day the lightbulb went off. These situations, these “conflicts,” well, they weren’t about my issues. They weren’t about me at all. Sure, I played a role in it — the poor way I reacted, the lack of empathy I offered. But changing my perspective, changing the way I thought about the situation and the people in it, allowed me to find the peace I was seeking. As Elsa said, I was finally able to let it go.

I began to look at every interaction differently. If I felt threatened, I decided to believe that the person I was dealing with had my best interests at heart. If I felt someone was being passive aggressive, I continued to act with kindness knowing that I determined who I was, and how I behaved; not the person standing opposite of me. And when I felt another mom was judging me, I just let it go with the belief that there must be something she was feeling in that moment and it wasn’t about me.

While the practice of positive intent can be difficult, it is also extremely liberating. It makes you less defensive, less distracted, and less likely to engage in a conflict that may only exist in your own mind.

Now trust me, living with the mindset of positive intent does not mean I let people walk all over me, or that I am a saint. People still drive me crazy and there are times when I know someone deliberately caused harm and confronting her is the only option; however, by giving people the benefit of the doubt and believing their intent was positive, we relieve ourselves from engaging in an unproductive situation.

As moms, we often have a huge problem with embracing this philosophy. Living with positive intent would mean every time we feel judged, we would have to ignore our instincts. But think of how many scenarios  can be misconstrued.

For example, one time I was at a park playdate with a friend whose son is on the Autistic spectrum. As we chatted on a bench, we watched another mom with beady eyes track my friend’s child across the playground. He was loud and he had to be reprimanded several times. My friend mentioned to me that she could feel the judgment seething out of the other mom’s body. “She probably thinks I am a bad mom, and that I can’t control my kid.”

As we walked past this mom as we left the park she stopped us. She shyly asked my friend if they went to the same therapist office, as she thought she had seen her son there the week before. Apparently she was new to the area and was looking for some support groups to join.

Without that personal interaction that explained the situation, we probably would have talked about that awful mom judging us at the park. If we were living with positive intent, we would have suppressed our insecurities and felt more positively about her actions — no matter how awkward it seemed at the time.

A personal example is how offended I used to be when working moms would say, “I don’t know how you stay at home with your kids all day. I know I couldn’t do it.”

I always felt this was a condescending and passive aggressive statement, until I heard it out of the mouth of a dear friend. I know she would never want to hurt my feelings. And honestly, I do not think she could stay at home with her daughter. Despite being a great mom, she would go crazy. Looking at it from her perspective — looking at it from a place of positivity — made me wonder about the other times that I let it bother me. Whose insecurities were the comment really highlighting?

There are also times in our lives when we feel someone is lashing out at us. This could be a mean email from a PTA mom, an admonishing note from the teacher, or a snarky text from a friend. Our initial reactions are often defensive and negative. Instead, we have to think about what we know about the person — or if we know them at all —  and take the time to understand why this person is confronting you in this way.  Our initial defense mechanism is always to blame the person we feel is hurting us, but what if we believed that their behavior was unintentional as opposed to unkind? What if instead of thinking that mom is a bitch, we instead think about what is creating the negative situation?

Sometimes when another person points out a flaw or a mistake we made, our first reaction is: “How dare she! Like she is so perfect.”

If we force ourselves to step back, perhaps we could see the person is only doing their job or possibly, has hurt  or frustrated feelings herself.

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According to a book about positive intentions by Ken Patrick: “When negative issues arise in our relationships, if we immediately presume good intentions by one another, conflicts and problems  can be resolved easily and quickly.”

Who doesn’t want that?

In all honesty, I am not sure if living a life with positive intent could end the Mommy Wars, but I certainly think that it can’t hurt to try.

So the next time you feel wronged by someone, take a step back and look at it from a different direction — a positive one.

Living a life of positive intent has been a passion of mine the last few years. It has helped me personally in my relationships and in my marriage, but more importantly, it helps with forgiveness and empathy towards other parents. While I am still learning, a great start is the short book Presume Positive Intentions by Ken Patrick available on Amazon.

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When Did Trying to Be a Good Mom Turn Bad?

I remember the moment well.

About four years ago I had invited a little girl over to play with my kids. Her mom dropped her off and we chatted while the kids played and then she told me she’d be back in an hour.

About seven minutes later, apparently our basement full of toys became completely uninteresting, so I was confronted by three little people carrying a science experiment book.

“Pleassssssse can we do something in this book? We won’t make a mess,” they begged.

After falling down laughing about the mess comment, I started flipping through the pages to find something simple and not labor intensive. I decided to go with Gak because I had all the materials on hand. And because I’m an overachiever, I took some store-bought dough out of the freezer and made the girls “homemade” cookies. I could seriously have my own show I was being so domestic.

When the mom came back I invited her in for a few minutes. She smelled the aroma of fresh-baked cookies and saw the kids happily playing and said this: “Wow, you go all out for playdates. I just usually throw some goldfish at them.”

I was a little surprised at the disdain I heard in her voice, but when I snapped back into reality I instantly went into defense mode, which for me is self-deprecation in overdrive.

“Oh, Gak is just glue and detergent and I had promised my kids we would do it, and the cookie dough was leftover and my kitchen never looks like this normally but we have company coming over tonight and…..” I rambled on like an idiot. Because apparently trying to be a good mom is something I was doing to offend her.

I felt shamed for doing something fun for my kids — and hers. Shame for even trying to be a good mom.

This has happened to me a lot over the years. I have heard comments about my volunteering too much at my kids’ school, or hosting too nice of parties, or making a Pinterest-inspired handmade soccer cookie (one time.)  Most people are appreciative, but there are always others that say something along the lines of: “way to make the rest of us look bad!”

I took a lot of heat for making these cookies.

I took a lot of heat for making these cookies.

But here’s the thing: I never do anything to make anyone feel bad about themselves. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I do these things because they make me feel good.

It’s tough not to benchmark our own existence against our peers. We see a snapshot of another woman and believe we know who they are. And when we are in the thick of it — trying to balance work or young children or kids with special needs or weight gain — it’s easy to think that people are trying to shove it in your face.

As women we live a contradictory existence. We say: “Yes, you can do it, I am behind you!” But what we really mean is:”Yes, go do it, but don’t be too good at it as I don’t want to feel bad about myself.”

It’s like the mom who decides to lose a few pounds and then ends up entering bikini competitions. How dare she! She must not spend any time with her kids.

Or the mom who dresses up every single day she drops off her daughter at kindergarten while the rest of us schlep in dirty yoga pants. She must be so vain. Or have a nanny.

Or the mom whose house is so spotless when you drop by to return some Tupperware that you think her husband must be like Julia Roberts in Sleeping with the Enemy. Because who has kids and can keep their house clean.

Or God forbid you are the mom who sends in the elaborate Valentine’s Day box or a well put-together bento lunch. It’s like you’re just giving me the finger.

Because don’t we have enough problems as parents then to hate on the ones that are actually trying?  Because there isn’t enough neglect, enough abuse, enough bullying of our children that we have to be mad at women who actually want to be better parents, better people, better than who they were yesterday?

Yes, there are always moms out there who feel the need to one-up someone else; but at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to do our best — and no one should get penalized for that.

So, the next time you see that woman all decked out to the nines hop out of her Escalade (and you in your spit up covered Target fleece), maybe just tell her your love her outfit. And when you see the four tiered cake someone created for their son’s third birthday, maybe just tell her it is the most delicious thing you ever had. And when some mom makes Gak for your kid. Just say thank you.

Because I’m not trying to make you feel bad. But I’m still going to keep trying to be my best.

Thanks for visiting Playdates on Fridays. Facebook is changing a lot of the way blogs like mine show up in your news feed. If you never want to miss a Playdate, make sure you sign up on the right (I only send my posts, never spam) or make sure you “like” my posts on Facebook to ensure Zuckerberg knows you want to see my stuff! 

 

 

5 Myths of Happy Marriages

At a recent party, I was telling a friend about my plans to celebrate my upcoming 15th wedding anniversary.

“Fifteen years! Wow, but it’s no surprise. You guys have a great marriage and always seem so happy,” she said to me.

“We totally are,” I said to her. “Well, at least today.”

It reminded me of a quote I saw once: “All marriages are happy. It’s the living together afterward that causes all the trouble.”

Marriage is the process by which two people make their relationship official and permanent. Or as I like to refer to it: the freaking hardest thing anyone chooses to do.

That’s why I told my friend that today I am happy in my marriage, and I believe my husband is too. But it isn’t always that way. Over the last 15 years (and the nearly 20 my husband and I have been in a committed relationship) we’ve had some pretty dark times. Times when I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out, times when we could not just agree to disagree, times when we yelled and cried and nearly gave up.

Like we all do — particularly when our own marriage is going off the rails — I looked around to my friends who “appeared” to have amazing relationships. I saw perfect Christmas cards and Facebook photos of family vacations and happy couples at school and wondered why we couldn’t be like them?

And as it happens, we see more of our dear friends — the ones we thought were happy — who aren’t really so happy after all. Some of these marriages end, and some come out stronger. Some dissolve seamlessly, and some stop cold because of betrayal. Some have been hiding behind abuse and some just shouldn’t have happened at all. And some, like mine, get to move on for one more year.

But that certainly doesn’t mean even my “happy for today” marriage doesn’t come with some pretty heavy baggage. So I thought I would take a look at some popular marriage myths, and why I feel like they are full of crap.

Marriage means we make each other happy. We often hear adages like “happy wife, happy life” or “make your home a haven to make your husband happy.” These sayings — while a little antiquated — may have some merit, but they certainly can’t solidify your union. I used to blame my husband for all my unhappiness (see here for the story). He wasn’t around enough, didn’t spend enough time with the kids, didn’t do enough around the house, etc. If only he would do all these things would I be happy. It took a lot of soul-searching to realize the problem wasn’t with him, but with me. When I decided to take charge of my own happiness, our marriage took a turn for the better.

I believe that the happiest of marriages are those that involve two happy individuals. Being responsible for your own mood and actions is the only true path to happiness, and if you aren’t happy with yourself, it is impossible to be happy with anyone else.

Marriage is 50-50. Whoever said this was smoking the crack pipe. Sure, this sounds good in theory — each “partner” gives the same and compromises the same — but in what universe does that really happen? Going into a marriage thinking it is going to be even-steven all the time is the surest way to hurt your relationship. It forces you to “keep score.”

For example, I cleaned the house, bought his parents gifts for the holidays and booked our vacation….surely he could at least do the dishes tonight, right? When he doesn’t do the dishes and you fly off the handle, he rattles off a list of things he did do, such as shoveled the walk, paid the bills and hung all the pictures you wanted (of course this is a purely hypothetical scenario….never happenedbroken-heart at our house.) When our compromising and giving becomes conditional, no one ever feels loved; instead, the marriage becomes transactional.

What I have found is that sometimes my marriage is 95 to 5, or 30 to 70 or 55 to 45, but rarely do either of us feel like it is 50-50. And that’s okay. As long as you each suck it up when important and do things out of love instead of quid pro quo, it usually evens out.

Successful couples share the same interests. This is phony bologna. Sometimes I hear about couples that love to cook together or do CrossFit side by side or complete the New York Times crossword puzzle every Sunday, and I think it is sweet. But it is not a must-have for a happy marriage. My husband is an extreme runner. He probably logs about 60 to 70 miles per week. Me? Not so much. But he respects the fact that when I get into a good book I am going to be a recluse for a day or two, just like I try not to complain when he spends three and a half hours running. It is nice when you can find something that you both enjoy, but being respectful of your spouse’s hobbies and interests is infinitely more important.

Your partner should be your best friend. I love my husband. He is the most important person in my life. I love the fact that he will sit and watch Project Runway with me and will tell me honestly and tactfully if a dress doesn’t look good on me. But he is not my best friend and I don’t expect him to fill that role — and to that I think he is pretty relieved. Like having our own interests, it’s important, dare I say critical, to have relationships outside of our marriage, particularly when you want to go see movies like Fifty Shades of Grey (another hypothetical of course).

Happy couples have great communication (and never yell). A few years back a friend told me about a marriage seminar she went to where the therapist was teaching “active listening,” the process of paying close attention to your partner and asking questions to ensure full understanding of what he/she is saying. In the middle of the seminar, the therapist said: “Now that you know how to do this, rest assured that for most of you, you won’t be able to do this and it will not help your marriage. It is extremely difficult to be objective and empathetic when another person is telling you the problem is, well, you.” The therapist went on to say that it is much better to talk about your own personal needs than what your partner is doing wrong.

I for one was thrilled to hear this. My husband and I can go from zero to sixty in about 4.2  seconds when our stress levels are high. We’ve been known to yell and walk out of rooms and sling some low blows in our verbal warfare. And although we’ve improved our ability to communicate during fights slightly, to say we are active listeners would be like saying Kim Kardashian’s butt is normal.

Sometimes my husband and I shove things under the rug, sometimes we fight like cats and dogs, and sometimes we sit down and have a pretty serious discussion about things we need to fix. I think the key is that we always try to come back to the table and improve the situation for each other.

So, what helped my marriage survive 15 years? A real game changer was when my husband and I realized that we both give and receive love in completely different ways. If you’ve ever read the book “The 5 Love Languages”, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

To summarize, we often give love to our spouses in the way in which we want to receive it. For example, I am the type of person who likes to be recognized and affirmed. I like my husband to notice when I’ve worked hard to clean the house or when I just got my hair cut or when I take the trash out even though it’s usually his job. I need to hear the words. For years I have been telling him how appreciative I am of all he does, yet my appreciating never seemed to resonate.

1795892_10202783834051387_2144395246_oMy husband, on the other hand, likes to show his love through touch (and not just sex). He felt that showing me his love through a kiss on the cheek or holding my hand or grabbing my rear as we walked up the stairs would fill my love tank. In his eyes, the mere fact that he wanted me in bed should tell me how attractive I am to him. As Julia Roberts said to the sales person who shunned her in Pretty Woman: “Big mistake. Huge.”

We now put forth some serious effort trying to show our affection to each other in the ways we both want to receive it, and it’s made a tremendous impact on our relationship. As part of my Christmas present this year, my husband read the 5 Love Languages book and now that he can speak in my native love tongue, wrote down all the positive things he sees in me (so you don’t think he is too cheesy, the comments ranged from my great mothering to my skills in the boudoir —sorry to my mom and mother in law who read the blog)! I also have made some effort, but I am too much of a lady to tell you what happens behind closed doors (but would probably share over a glass of wine)!

What’s your secret to a happy marriage?

Thanks for visiting Playdates on Fridays. Facebook is changing a lot of the way blogs like mine show up in your news feed. If you never want to miss a Playdate, make sure you sign up on the right (I only send my posts, never spam) or make sure you “like” my posts on Facebook to ensure Zuckerberg knows you want to see my stuff!

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