Posted in Scholastic Saturdays

Scholastic Saturday: 6 & 10–Lessons Learned from a Husband and a Dog

6 & 10…no, it’s not the new position for your hands on the steering wheel.  This post is a week late in coming, but that’s because last weekend was cause for a couple of special celebrations!

Hubby and I had two weddings:  a small, legal one at the courthouse just to make it legit; and a big, traditional one where all our friends and family were invited and I wore the big white dress and had the reception and all that jazz (the friend who married us isn’t ordained, so we wouldn’t have been legally married if we had just done that one).

The legal one was on leap day of 2008, so on years like this one where there is no February 29th, we celebrate on March 1st (or we do the bulk of our celebrating on the anniversary of our big wedding).

March 1st also happens to be our doggie’s birthday, so we love being able to celebrate these family milestones on the same day.  Disclosure:  this is the first dog I’ve ever owned.  I went into this process a complete newbie (hubby, on the other hand, has always had a dog in his life).  I even used to be a bit afraid of them.  After laying eyes on Dexter at the pound, though, my heart was forever changed.  ❤

100_3774One of my favorite family portraits. On a whim, we decided to go on an alphabet photo scavenger hunt.  This is “N for noses”.  Can you see Dexter’s nose?  😉

As I was reflecting on these things (six years of being married and dog turning ten), I decided to write two lists:  one celebrating my marriage, the other celebrating my dog.  Hope you enjoy!  🙂

Six Things I’ve Learned About Marriage & Relationships

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Picture from last year’s anniversary celebration.

1) Always, always, always work on your communication with each other.  My husband and I pride ourselves on our good relationship communication skills.  When you don’t talk to each other or when you don’t understand each other, you cease to work as a team and you cease to respect each other, both of which are crucial elements to a good relationship.  Also,”fighting right” is all about having good communication between the two of you, so talk.  Talk a lot.  When there’s a problem, talk and don’t just sweep it under the rug.  Hash it out and stay up until the sun rises if you have to.  If your relationship is important to you, then figuring it out is worth it.
1a) Don’t be afraid to get into a fight.  Fights are virtually inevitable when you’re in a relationship for long enough.  Otherwise, the issue will fester and
grudges will be held.  Just know how to fight respectfully (a hard skill to learn, but it is doable) and give space first if it’s needed so things aren’t
said in anger.

2) Find a way to say I love you every single day, and always mean it when you say it. It’s both a vulnerable and strong thing to trust someone with your whole heart when you’re in a relationship.  Maybe they already know (actually, scratch that…they should already know, or you’re doing something wrong) that you love them and vice versa, but it’s so nice to be reminded.  For me, saying “I love you” is a big deal.  I don’t take it lightly.  When I say it, I mean it.  So saying I love you to the hubs is very important to me.  Whether or not someone loves you shouldn’t ever have to be questioned in a relationship.

3) Be silly together.  Often.  Laugh and feel sorry for those who don’t get it.  They’re not having as good a time as you are!  We do many silly things together: dance in the aisles of a grocery store, giggle uncontrollably for no reason at all, spin in circles, splash in puddles, sing songs with made up lyrics.  Life’s too short to take everything so seriously!  And it really helps to keep a light mood when everything else seems to be stressful.  For me personally, I think it’s made quite the difference in the quality of our relationship.
4) Never stop dating. No matter how long you’ve been together, you should find time to do something special with each other.  It’s fun to get gussied up, or to go out and experience something new, or even to just stay at home in your sweats with take out pizza and a Netflix movie.  Relationships, like everything else in life, needs to be nourished in order to continue to grow and thrive.  Being able to slow and take the time for each other when things are busy lets you just enjoy what you’ve got.
5) Come up with traditions. Not only are they good bookmarks for the passage of time, but it also gives you something to look forward to in the future.  There’s something to be said about the comfort of repetition and doing what you know.  You also have great stories and memories to reflect on when you get older.
6) Be strong individuals, and have an identity and life outside of your relationship.  I can’t stress this enough.  Sure, you shouldn’t just ignore your other half (see item #4), but your life also shouldn’t strictly revolve around your partner.  Life doesn’t begin and end with my husband, and maybe that sounds harsh, but really, it keeps me strong.  We are fortunate in that all of our best friends are mutual ones, but I still take the time to do things without my husband.  I have girls’ nights out, I go out with my family, I have my own interests separate from his.  I don’t have to ask his permission to do every little thing, and I don’t cancel on outings just because my husband can’t be with me.  I keep in contact with friends and ask them to hang out.  I’m not the type of person to let my relationship consume me or let myself completely disappear off the face of the planet.  My friends were there for me before I was a married woman, and I don’t plan on slighting them and never seeing them again just because I’m taken.  They’ve seen me through a lot, and I plan on letting them know just how appreciative I am of that.  By the same token, spend some time on your own.  I take myself on dates sometimes, so I can watch insanely girly movies that I’d never torture my husband with, or I go out and treat myself to ice cream even when my husband doesn’t want to join.  You shouldn’t limit yourself just because your partner can’t accompany you.  Your partner fell in love with you for being you.  So make sure that you remain you by taking the time out to develop all the things that make you unique!

Ten Things I’ve Learned About Being a Dog Owner

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1) Dog kisses on an owie is a 100%-effective method of pain management.
2) No matter how many pictures you take of your dog, there will always be another cute moment that needs to be captured.
3) Coming home from work or an outing and having your dog greet you will show you just how absolutely and unconditionally loved and needed you are.
4) You will eventually learn that not all tail wags are created equal–some mean he’s happy, some mean he’s scared, some mean he’s nervous, some mean he’s being mischievous, etc.
5) Ditto about barks.
6) My time record for remaining angry at my dog is about 30 minutes.  That damn big smile and drooly tongue make it awfully hard to stay mad for too long.
7) I am positive that on his down time, my dog plots ways to grow an opposable them so as to be able to be self-sufficient.
8) When Dexter lays his head on any part of my body (head, lap, toes, chest), it’s game over.  I proceed to turn into a puddle of calm and awe.
9) Dogs (at least mine) actually enjoy baths when there is a promise of a backrub and belly scratch during the process; a vigorous, exciting, energy-inducing head rub with a towel directly afterwards; and an extra-tasty treat after being dried off.  (Hubby still can’t get over the fact that my dog actually gets into the bathtub with absolutely no coaxing from me, while he has to pretty much beg for the dog to get into the tub when he bathes him.  All about the after-bath treat.  I’m tellin’ ya.)
10) Once you adopt a dog from the pound, every visit thereafter will serve to wreck your heart as to how someone can just abandon a dog and not look back.

To Celebrating Each and Every Special Milestone,
Violet

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