At the risk of sharing too much information, I am a newlywed (by my own standards). We haven't quite been married 2 years yet. And while I love my husband very much (VERY much! extraordinarily much! i-don't-sleep-enough-some-nights-because-i'm-caught-up-in-gazing-at-him much!) our young marriage has not exactly been pure bliss. (That's what happens when you combine two passionate people, one of whom will go to excessively great lengths to ignore every problem no matter what and the other of whom feels the obsessive compulsion to deal with every single problem no matter how minute and get it dealt with and resolved.) (You can guess who is which.)
This blog currently is nothing but a collection of marriage advice from ...folks, I don't know where they come from - friends of the blog author, I guess, solicited to fill in the holes while she's on her email. And some of the advice is hokey (always go on adventures!) but some of it is really meaningful. Which brings me (back) to something that spoke to me.
In this entry, Anna Bond writes a quote that a friend had told her: "Love your other how they need to be loved, not how you need to be loved." This is something touched on in things like Gary Chapman's the Five Love Languages and in any number of sources for good sex advice. But really, that's it right there. That's IT.
The times when I get the most angry or frustrated with Brian are those when he is not loving me the way I need to be loved. I can only assume he feels the same way when the roles are reversed. Do I know how he needs to be loved? And do I know how to show that to him? If I'm honest...no, I don't really know how he needs to be loved. And that's hard to acknowledge, or accept. I am learning, yes, but relating to him his way, and on his level, is certainly not easy right now.
When we're in the midst of conflict, doesn't come naturally, and I can't read his mind.
I could say the same for him. I get so caught up in the martyrdom of 'he KNOWS I don't like this or I need that' that I lose sight of what he needs and how I can be or do that for him. I am not responsible for his actions and inactions - only mine. And mine need to be centered around him - the same way he needs to be focused on what I need instead of what I'm not doing for him, especially when we are arguing.
Talk about a reality check and a swift kick in the pants.
Here if you need me - This is something of a memoir by a game warden chaplain in Maine. She's Unitarian Universalist, which is...not exactly what I am. But she tells a great story, and she has some great stories to tell. I think I read this book in 2 days, and I loved it. You can borrow my copy!
The end of overeating - To sum it up, Food Industry = Head Games, and also, Understanding Behaviorism Will Help You Stop Eating Crap. I didn't really retain a lot of the science and really relevant stuff in this book, so I can't do much more than heartily recommend that you read it if you, like me, feel an internal tug of war with food. I am not one of the food-obsessed, but I do eat out of habit or availability a lot and I have about 30 too many pounds as proof. Reading this book shortly on the heels of reading Skinny Bitch (which I would only recommend if you can handle a healthy dose of profanity, and p.s. skip the animal slaughterhouse chapter) has had a big impact on my ability to 1. cut back on the crap I eat and 2. cut back on the desire to eat the crap I eat.
His Needs, Her Needs - possibly the second-best self-help book I've read, and I've had a generous dose of self-helpery in my time. (The absolute best self-help book in my opinion is It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken.) Easy to read, relevant examples, and it just plain makes sense. It's in the genre of the Love Languages book, in that you have a list of needs and you learn to identify which needs are yours and which are your partner's. This is one of those books that I wish my husband would read.
Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.
Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.
Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.
Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.
And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.
We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.
Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.
And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.
Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page
A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."