Sunday, July 1, 2012

top ten secrets to a happy marriage

Installment #3

Wondering why I started this whole thing as "top ten". Not sure when I'll get there - we're only on #3. Anyhoo.

Do It on Saturday morning. Even if you're a little hung over.

TMI? Sorry.

It's just that we had a killer date night Friday with three other couples. The Children's Museum of Phoenix had an adults only play date event, and we had the most ridiculous amount of fun, ever. This photo pretty much says it all.

Yes, that's the hubs, riding a trike on a course that includes a car wash. And those are our friends in the background getting more blackmail material on their iPhones. Note the Captain America tee. Love. 

So when we got home from this fabulous date, I had the munchies and got a couple of tacos at Filiberto's; it was late, so Larry was already sawing logs by the time I was two bites in.

Come on, don't be shy - you know how date night is supposed to end. We just ended it on Saturday morning instead. And the sappy lovey dovey stuff lasted all darn day.

We started with a Sam's Club post-date date. What the whaaaa? Two dates within 24 hours? Oh yes! We joke that our shopping trips are, sadly, the only chance to get any time alone together. But the truth is, we have a blast. Today I snapped a pic of the endcap at the front of the store.

Nothing says 4th of July like Jack and Coke. So...then we always pretend we're going to buy the Crystal Skull full of vodka, or the $150 bottle of scotch. I pointed out to Larry all my favorite pieces of jewelry. We ate pizza, and we refilled our drinks three times.

When we got home we picked up Olivia so she could run an errand at Lowe's with us. We just needed one thing, but were in the store for like an hour, because Larry and Olivia were getting in the display showers pretending they were time machines and picking out Big Boss Pool Noodles. He took her back to the Big Boss box like three times to pick out a different color. Pushover. And the sweeter he was with her, the sweeter I was on him.

Then, if you are a friend of mine on facebook, you also know that I'm a serial pool floater on the weekends, and have had some dismal luck with the blow-up floating chairs I love but that fall apart so easily. So when we saw this on display at Lowe's, Larry had to buy it for me (cha-ching, let's hear it for shopping after date night/morning). It rocks, by the way. Took it for a test run before dinner.

Today's last big to-do was changing the brake pads on our Expedition; but Larry had to wait until after dinner, because it's so ridiculously hot in the desert right now. It's times like these that I'm dumbfounded at Larry's patience and - what is the word I'm looking for? - laid-back-ness. Here's a pic of him working, using rope lights to illuminate the wheels, listening to his Adam Carolla podcasts on the car stereo.

Right? So not the complainer. And because we'd just had that kind of day, and I was feeling so connected and in love with this man, I found myself in the kitchen bubbling over with happiness chatting with my babies and scrubbing the tea stains out of his favorite iced tea pitcher and brewing pot just because I needed to do something nice for him.

At one point during my tea stain scrubbing, I noticed that Olivia was looking a little sad. Evidently she wanted to have a night swim with her brothers, but they weren't interested. Everyone was a little tired, and winding down for the night. So I took my Connor quietly aside.

"Hey Connor, I want to tell you something," I said. "Guess what I just did? I just spent 15 minutes scrubbing your dad's tea pitcher to get the stains out. It was really not fun at all."

"Um, okay Mom," he replied.

"But you know what? I enjoyed every second of it. And do you know why?"

The wheels started to turn. "Why?"

"Because I'm doing it for your Dad, because I love him, and doing something nice for him makes me feel happy, too." Pause. "Do you know where I'm going with this?"

He slowly gave me his little grin that melts my heart. "Yeah, I do," he said.

He sped up the stairs like a bullet and got his swimsuit on. And here they are, floating in the pool, watching Nickelodeon on the outside TV. And voila, a sad little girl is instantly transformed, with a memory she'll probably look back on fondly for years.

So now, while my precious family sleeps and I write, my heart is so full. Date night/morning was the spark that re-lit that fire for the day. And happiness is contagious. When we take care of our relationship, it trickles down in so many tiny, but huge, meaningful ways.

And I realize that the spark isn't really much of a secret; we all know we need it to stay connected. But today was, for me, a glorious reminder of what love between two people can create and sustain.


P.S. Two days later...Sometimes I come back to a post because I feel it needs a little disclaimer, or explanation. I wrote this at the end of a stellar, beautiful day; one that, let's be clear here, doesn't happen very often. I don't want to be the irritating person who is trying to look like her life is always perfect. Days like this only happen once in a great while, when all the planets have aligned - it's kind of like waiting for an eclipse. So, I felt like I needed to write it down, as evidence that it actually happened :).

Will keep you posted, btw, as to whether or not we get blacklisted at the museum. Girlfriends and I realizing we were a little, um, loud that night.

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