I’d already lived with my husband for eight years when we got married. We owned a house and business together and so naturally, we already had “issues” — nothing earth-shattering, just dynamics we didn’t like: defensiveness, blaming, etc. We decided to do a little pre-marital counseling to give us some tools for a happy successful marriage.
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It was really great. We only went for three sessions, but I still think of all the things we learned, and it’s been over ten years. In the first session the therapist gave us on-going assignments/rules. There were five rules, but I only remember one. It was to Close All Open Doors. In other words, never, ever threaten the end of the relationship. Close the doors. We are in here together to stay. Now let’s work it out. It made an impression on me, because I remember that my parents had thrown the word divorce out over and over again before one of them finally said, “fine! Let’s do it!”
There were two other takeaways I got from the sessions.
Gratitude: One was that we had to spend three minutes every morning when we first woke up thinking of all the things we loved about our partner. It was amazing how that gratitude would really set us up for a great day together. It’s also amazing how long three minutes is. Sometimes I would fall back to sleep. It’s a lot longer than just naming ten things you love about the other person, which is the quick and dirty way. I make my kids do that for each other when they’re fighting too much. It changes their whole dynamic pretty quickly.
The Little Things That Say I Love You: The other thing we had to do was let our partner know something they do that makes us feel loved, so they can do it consciously. I remember I was so surprised at my husband’s: he feels loved when I lightly run my nails over his back in the morning. I knew he loved it, but I didn’t know how significant it was. He felt like it was such an undemanding gesture, and it felt so good to him. I don’t remember what I told him I liked. I’ll have to see if he remembers.
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But he’s been doing something lately that really makes me feel loved.
I adore coffee. I can’t drink it caffeinated because I turn into a hummingbird on speed, but I can get a big kick even from decaf. The trouble is, I like my coffee with cream and sugar, and both those things are off my list right now because of my auto-immune thing. I’ve experimented with every alternative out there, but believe me, coconut milk and stevia are a poor second to cream and sugar. If my husband’s around I always just beg a taste of his, just to get that delicious creamy sweet yumminess in my mouth. Now when I get up in the morning I’ll find he’s left me the last 1/2 inch from his cup, right next to my laptop. What a sweetheart! I feel so loved…
I think today I’ll wear those capri jeggings that turn him on so much…