Thursday, August 23, 2012

Marriage Tips and Such

First off the block, there seems to be a whole bunch of marriages and engagements going on recently. Good job, you have found what we are all searching for. Or you are pretending to! Proud of you.

Wow, Mackenzie. That is really mean. These twenty-somethings are all certain that they have found partners that they want to be with for the rest of their lives and you are just being cruel by insinuating they are getting married because they have are tired of continuing to look. Come on, stop being cynical and just be happy for once.

Hmm Self, maybe you're right. I mean, maybe someday my brain will reach that developed state that all my engaged and married friends have obviously attained and I too will be able to both see the future and feel comfortable spending thousands of dollars in one night that doesn't involve lascivious sexcapades and mountains of cocaine. A woman can dream, huh?

Here are some links in celebration of marriage! Give those a click, then I'll give you an explanation so you don't think I'm a horrible little girl.

Because he wanted to marry her until she cheated! 
Because alcohol hurts your complexion!
Because Dan Savage is worth your time!

Rae and Peter
My parents have been married for more than 25 years. Congrats to them, frankly. The pair came to visit me a few months ago and it was heartwarming to see that love can grow over time as opposed to just persisting. I have often asked my parents what the keystone to a healthy union is but had never until now thought to summarize the main points. So if you don't want to be Facebook messaging me about your upcoming divorce read these guidelines and start living by them.

1. Be honest about who you are. 
When my dad met my mom they were in the dining commons at Boston University. Apparently there was a fish entree that was so delicious my mom got up from the table multiple times to get second and third helpings. Even though it took them months to go out on a second date (haha! I'm not kidding) it really seems like she had set the bar low for herself by accident by looking like a binge eater, and this helped her in the long run. By the second time my parents went on a date they were at an event with dancing and she got so drunk she fell down and then accused my dad of throwing her to the ground. Anywho, be yourself and then when your eventual mate finds out that you are actually a moderate person they will be relieved. That means when you are rarely 'calling dinosaurs' into the porcelain throne or get over-excited at a breakfast buffet they will just remember the good times of when you first met.

In other words, be authentic. My mother is moderate, but she wasn't so concerned about conveying the correct message to a man that she held back from having fun and living in the moment. Along with being moderate she is also an expert of having in-the-moment fun, something that undoubtedly continues to fan the flames of love in their relationship.

2. Don't expect too much from each other. 
My father is a man who talks to many people during his day. He listens to colleagues and answers student questions and occasionally confers with journalists. However, when he gets  home he is not one to 'hang out' with anyone expect those he is legally bound to. Even then it is dicey. My mother is totally content with this. She is not one to push him to create a circle of superficial neighborhood friends because she knows that it would just be taking away from his time to pet the cat and shout out the answers to Jeopardy. Because of this acceptance they have come to have an innate sense of what the other one wants and is feeling. They make it look so easy but I know that it has taken years to perfect. (I can already hear my dad saying 'Now Kenz, I am social! I attend conferences all over the place, there are the guys I watch hockey with on Wednesdays...')

3. Exercise the power to forgive. 
This will not only increase a married couple's chances of success, but a human's chances. Another lifelong work that my parents have perfected. Because when you pool the concrete---assets---and the nebulous---emotions---sometimes the actions of your partner will leave you feeling unbelievably hurt. Somehow I am sensing that Jimmy Buffet helps with getting over bumps in the road because there was an awful lot of that racket going on. Or maybe they're just Parrot Heads.

4. Encourage each other
Since I have known them my father has transitioned from driving into Boston every day to a combination of bicycle and bus ride. My mother has gone from counselor to Census Enumerator to 2nd grade teacher to ESL Instructor and everything in between. My father has climbed two of the biggest peaks in the world and my mother has visited and learned about nearly every noteworthy spot in the UK, London being her specialty. When you encourage each other magical things can happen. Together my parents have been to four continents (and both have visited Africa, separately) and made lasting connections with amazing people. Their lives are colored with varied experiences and as a result they are kind and giving. Travel is not the solution for everyone, but for them it works. Which leads to the last point.

5. Like to do the same things at the same time, as well as separately. 
Both my parents like to travel. They also enjoy the outdoors. But they are totally comfortable doing these activities independently. This sense of autonomy is vital to maintaining self-confidence, something that is most certainly important when following guidelines 1 through 4.

You know, after reading through these I feel a lot more hopeful for all those starry-eyed youngsters mentioned earlier! Maybe lifelong love is possible. Maybe, just maybe we can all find it....

As always, feel free to leave your comments. Going to Vegas this weekend so there should be a whole lot more to discuss upon returning to the Valley of the Sun!

P.S. here is a picture of my parents, being adorable.

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