Am having to take a day off blogging today. OH has man flu. He is on death’s door and cannot survive without my undivided attention for another minute… He has ‘never been this sick before’ (since the last time). He is too weak to even make a phone call to cancel his hair cut. Poor boy! He will, of course, be dripping all over everything all weekend, then get up a six on Monday morning and go to work regardless. MEN!
Tag Archives: marriage
That’s it! No more work until I get back from my elephant expedition to Nepal!
Although I have so many other things to do before I’m free to go with a guilt-free conscience that my head feels like it might explode.
Flight issues resolved
On the plus side, I have at last managed to make the necessary changes to my flight from Delhi to Kathmandu so I will be able to make my transfer – the departure of the original flight was brought forward by half and hour leaving me with only an hour to get from one flight to another. Not a likely prospect! However, having has absolutely no luck trying to change the flights yesterday, despite hours on the phone to many different people from here to India, today the impossible was achieved in one swift, phone call for a total charge of only £6,
This experience was a real lesson learned for me. What might seem impossible one day, can be easy the next. Never give up!
Financial crises averted
Additionally, a simple one sentence email popped into my inbox today that casually averted what had previously looked like potential disaster regarding the state of our family finances in the coming month. My husband has just started a new job which made it appear that I would have to spend the last two working days before I leave scrabbling around trying to rearrange all our direct debits to match a new pay date. However, following a sleepless night of worry last night that simply turns out not to be the case. Yippee! I can rely on the bills being paid in my absence without any further input from me.
And then there’s all the ‘other family stuff’ which has popped up in need of my attention before departure. All in addition to the routine laundry, cooking, house stuff. The variety and intensity of some of these matters was – at times – enough to make me want to weep. But, it is all slowly turning out well in the end (famous last words – why did I just say that!)
I guess what all this ‘pre-expedition hassle’ means is that I’ll have nothing to do when I get home…
LOL If only that were likely to be the case!
Don’t you just LOVE being a housewife and mum? It makes you SO IMPORTANT.
I just love the way you can simply dump tulips in any old vase and they look gorgeous. No complex rearrangement required. Thank goodness. I’m so rubbish at arranging flowers that, when I am given a bunch of anything other than tulips, I have to get my mum or my cleaner to fiddle with them in order to make them look nice. I simply do not have the knack at all!
For me, the best tulips are one colour. Large, vibrant and simple in their beauty.
There is something about the way their leaves droop elegantly over the edge of a vase that makes them even more visually pleasing. Additionally, the look great at every stage of their lives. Even as they open wide. Then too wide. Showing their naked stamens and shedding dust onto their now dulling petals, they look amazing. And as those dying petals begin to shed themselves onto the table, the stems bend out and down, sagging and drooping as though to meet the shed petal tears.
Tulips are works of art. If you ever want to make me happy. Just buy me a bunch of tulips.
Once, a long time ago when life was very different and the term ‘credit crunch’ had never been said, I was invited to a very plush hotel, as my husband’s wife, by suppliers trying to shmooze him for some work reason. We turned up in our hotel room to discover the most ginormous bunch of tulips I had ever seen and a welcome note. They then spent a fortune feeding and entertaining us for the weekend with golf and spa treatments and such like. Trust me. They could have stopped at the tulips and I would have bought whatever they were selling. Luckily, my husband was more impressed by the fast cars he got to drive so their efforts weren’t entirely wasted.
My OH now routinely buys me a bunch of tulips – even when he hasn’t been bad!
Someone famous once said, “Love is giving someone the ability to destroy you… and trusting them not to.”
This is so true and I get goosebumps every time I remember it.
The fact is that the ones we love most have the ability to hurt us most – even when they have no intention of doing so. Even without thinking about it, we constantly look to them for recognition, appreciation and positive reinforcement and if it’s not immediately forthcoming we are so easily hurt. In our pain we might tend to overreact and therein lies the beginnings of that potential to erupt into passionate throes of mental conflict.
A brief misunderstanding, inattentive response or simple lapse of judgement from our partners can be rapidly turned into a vast emotional gulf. When I told him I loved him and he didn’t respond, did he mean to let me know I didn’t love him or was he just not listening? When he absent-mindedly said yes when I was expecting him to say no, was that because he was distracted by other things or did he really mean to say yes? And, if he is so easily distracted is that because he just doesn’t care enough to listen?
The power to trust in love lies within each of us
It is just too easy to fall into the trap of wondering if we are no longer loved simply because our loved ones are lost in their own world and are not, perhaps, attending to our every whim in that moment. But is that a good reason to break the bonds of a relationship? Or is it within us to stop wondering if they love us and give them the benefit of our understanding that, sometimes, life can get so hectic that lapses in judgement can happen. These misunderstandings do not have to mean the worst.
In the end, the power to decide whether or not we will allow our hurt to turn around and destroy us, and destroy our relationships with those we love, lies within each of us. We have all been in that place where it has been necessary to focus on something other than our partners for a few moments. We have all made those same mistakes. We’ve all been tired enough to slip up and do the wrong thing, or say the wrong thing at the wrong time. We’ve all been there. So is it any wonder that our partners might occasionally make similar mistakes and unintentionally hurt us?
Undertanding and communication are free and can solve a great many things.
So, here’s my response to the wonderful quote above. Feel free to quote me on it!
“Trust allows love to survive daily living.” Sarah Lawton, 26 March 2012
I rather like Saturdays. Oddly, this is no longer because I can lie in and sleep away the late night hangover from the Friday before. Instead, I now rather enjoy getting up at a reasonable time and playing the game of getting my chores done before noon so I can have the rest of the weekend free to do hobbies such as blogging, walking and photography. How sad is that? If you’d asked me to imagine this possibility 15 years ago I would have considered it for about a second before rolling around on the floor laughing.
I don’t enjoy folding laundry. Who would? But I have taught myself not to stress over having to do it and instead I stick something enjoyable on the TV that doesn’t require my full visual attention (repeats of Friends is perfect), drag the coffee table in front of me, stick the clean laundry basket to my left, make a cup of tea, then slowly work my way through the pile until it’s done. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday morning.
It always amazes me how many pants and socks my men get through in a week. They must have at least three bums and twelve feet each! I love them. I really do. And because I love them I am willing to touch their used underpants and socks in order to shove them unceremoniously into the washing machine each week. There are however limits! And over the years I’ve made a rule that if a sock comes out of the wash still screwed up in a little ball it is not my job to unball it… Ick! I used to. So I know what it’s like to pull a tight ball of man sock apart and have sandy, fetid foot dust dumped onto my lap. So, sometime in the middle of last year I declared; ‘never again’! And balled up socks now get placed on the relevant pile of otherwise freshly folded laundry, to be deballed by their offending owners.
Then comes the joyous moment when I call upon them to pick up their clean laundry and point out that their piles are, as usual, twice as high as mine. ‘Why do you all wear so many clothes?’ and ‘If you had to wash them, you would find a way not to have to wear three pairs of socks every day!’. It’s a very enjoyable moment from a woman’s perspective and I revel in it. Only once have they ever dared to point out that my clothes tend to need dry cleaning. It is a simple right, I’m sure you’ll agree, that she who does the laundry gets to rag those that create the laundry a minimal amount in return! I have taught them well. They grovel and sing my praises almost as a Pavlovian response to seeing a pile of folded clothes.
…and more reward!
In addition to my right to rag, another way I get through the laundry job is by arranging some ‘me time’ upon completion. Currently this is an undisturbed half an hour in front of the sitcom ‘New Girl‘ (It’s ‘Jess!!’; love it ) recorded on Sky Plus, and my version of a ‘heathy’ cream tea: a fresh cup of tea (of course) and crumpets slathered in low-fat Philadelphia and good quality jam. Usually this is raspberry but we’d run out this morning so I had to put up with blueberry which turned out to be rather nice. Now, this may not seem like a massive reward but after a morning sorting and folding a million pairs of socks and pants its sheer heaven!
Of course the only reason I have chosen to use Saturday mornings as a time to fold laundry is to give myself a good excuse not to have to do anything crazy like go to the gym – which is how my wonderful OH spends his time – the smug git!
Here’s to Saturdays!
No one has compensated me in any way for writing this post or to saying particular things in it. On the other hand, I remain open to offers!
In my opinion, a woman’s strength lies in her ability to imagine herself as strong.
We are creatures of the mind. If we believe ourselves to be capable, we are. If we believe ourselves to be practical, we can be. If we trust in ourselves; our own instincts, our own intellect, our own worthiness, we can stand tall and steady in our own environments and support everyone around us. Those women that imagine themselves to be a pillar of strength at the centre of their families and loved ones are just that. Sadly, it is equally applicable that we woman are perfectly capable of imagining ourselves into dark and lonely corners where nothing and no one finds us of any use or value.
A man for three days
This may of course be equally applicable to men. But I cannot speak for men – I have no experience at all (sad to say – it would be a cool experiment for a day or two at least. In fact, that goes straight to the top of my bucket list: try on being male for three days. Do let me know if that’s ever possible). The great book; ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus‘ teaches us to cherish our differences, so I might only assume that men are also rather different in this respect. Perhaps they are less prone to being able to simply think themselves into irrelevance, or perhaps this is one of those traits that has equal relevance to both sexes?
I have a friend who is perfectly capable of imagining herself to be as beautiful as Pocahontas (the sexy cartoon version, rather than the rather austere human female) – to the extent that she has been spotted gliding out of her bedroom in a full Indian squaw outfit looking as endearing and delicious as the original. Don’t get me wrong. She is already rather beautiful. However, there are very few people born with that glowing sense of perfect form and grace that comes so easily out of the pens of the Disney animators. Armed with her inner imagination, this Disney glow becomes not only possible but routinely achievable for my friend.
Yet, she struggles to believe she is capable of being unselfish in a relationship. She imagines herself as difficult to love. Odd, as she is naturally one of the least selfish people I know and I have found it rather easy to love her since the moment we met.
When she finds herself dwelling on this imagined flaw of hers she begins to pick apart her closest partnerships, believing that she is incapable of maintaining long-term love. She seems to find it more than easy to imagine herself alone again, and by imagining it, she begins to believe it is her destiny. Sadly, she is just as capable of turning these more negative inner visions into reality as she is of magicking herself into Disneyland.
Why do women do this to themselves?
Think strong. Be strong.
I spend most of my time blogging about my own travels and how I handle my own expectations and those of my family to ensure I have a happy home to return to when I do go on longer trips. However, do not be fooled into thinking that my husband is a poor sap who gets stuck at home with the kids. In fact, a lot of my itchy-footedness is a result of years of being the one stuck at home while he swans off round the world for work.
I do understand that there’s a huge difference between business travel and private travel. However, even if he can claim not to have any fun while being away (which is a rarity), it is more the fact that having travelled for work throughout the year he has no wish to go anywhere during his holidays that impacts my desire to explore. It is, of course, also for this reason that he is happy to let me go off and do my own thing. He is a highly reasonable man all in.
Learn to kiss him firmly then let him go
I have therefore, following many years of practice, learned to let him pack his business bags and depart on week-long trips to far off lands without too many tears or misplaced feelings of guilt or distrust. I have learned to kiss him firmly then let him go.
I sympathise with ladies that suffer when their men are away. From our perspective, it is our duty to suffer. What good is it to love if we can then so easily live without? While we women instinctively wish to show our loved ones just how much we need them by weeping and wailing in their honour, men do not enjoy being made to feel guilty for leaving us behind.
Years of my husband getting cross at my reactions of disappointment in response to his announcements of pending travel have hardened me towards hiding these feelings. Before, I would yell back at him; “Imagine how you would feel if I didn’t care that you were leaving?” But I eventually did realise that his true reaction to this question was, in fact, “Oh yes! Wouldn’t that be wonderful!” And this is not because it would suggest to him that I didn’t love him – as it would to me – but because it would allow him to meet his work obligations without worrying about me while he was away. It took at least ten years for this penny to drop with me. I still struggle with it today.
Men really are from Mars, Women are from Venus! Read this book. It is a real marriage saver!
Enjoy the up sides
Now that I have learned to let my husband travel without feeling miserable about it I can sit back and enjoy the few up sides related to his being away. Just as my husband and son bond over horror movies and snack food while I’m away, my son and I have our bonding rituals too. For some reason these have turned out to be fish soup, fish finger sandwiches and adventure documentaries.
There is also the secret joy of not having to share the bed with anyone other than the cat. Although this gets old after a few days, I must admit that one or two nights alone now and then is not a bad thing.
The Accidental Tourist
The only thing I have to worry about now is the fact that, while he’s abroad my daft man seems to always get into accidents. There was that time he walked into a glass wall and almost broke his nose in Hong Kong. The time he fell down an escalator in Japan. And, as for the things he can get up to in Las Vegas… the least said the better!
This does of course only heighten the joy when he does manage to return safe and sound.
I used to really enjoy reading a column in the Independent newspaper’s Weekender magazine. It comprised two halves, each written by one half of a married couple living a happy existence somewhere in the country. Each week they gave their own perspectives on the main highlight of their lives. It was a fascinating insight into the different ways men and women perceive life.
I think I liked this column because a) I aspired to the lifestyle the couple had achieved (tick! Have it now) and b) I aspired to the idea of making a living writing (tick! Wow! How lucky am I!).
So, in honour of the authors (sorry, even after a reasonably significant amount of research I have been unable to find record of their names), here follows a brief, tongue-in-cheek ode to them (although their writing styles were far more sophisticated!):
I just spent four hours breaking my back gardening. At one point, my wonderful husband breezed past with some veg cuttings on his way to the compost heap. Of course he tipped them into the cold compost instead of the hot compost bin. Grrrrr! On my way through the kitchen I had to shut four cupboards, two drawers and scrape a rotting dishcloth off the chopping board. Why can’t men use a cloth? On the other hand, it is rather wonderful to be able to relax in a hot bath to clean off before coming down to a scrummy Sunday roast. He is so wonderful!
I just spent the past four hours cooking Sunday lunch. Experience tells me that my lovely wife, who is currently in the garden planting onions will breeze through the kitchen on her way to a two hour lazy bath and moan about the state of the kitchen. I have therefore really tried to keep the kitchen in a decent state. I do however love to be able to swish outside and gather as much herbage as I fancy. The garden is looking great! She is so wonderful
[Ben didn't really write this - I couldn't persuade him to sit down long enough to think about it so it's his perspective from my perspective - sorry!]
The point of this is that, although we may bicker, in the end we usually end up appreciating one another!
Just goes to show how much better the authors of the original column were! They never had to point out this point. It always sang from the page among words filled with soft humour. :D
During this time of year it can be too easy to become stressed, expect too much from those around you and take out your frustrations on those you love.
So, my message to you all this Christmas Eve is:
Stay calm and play to your strengths!
At the same time, this means letting others play to their strengths too. If you think you can cook a better turkey, then cook the turkey! If, on the other hand, you are a top table setter, a washer-upper or simply a ‘fall to sleep in an armchair’ kinda person then go ahead! Each to their own. It’ll all come out evens throughout the coming year.
This season is not about winning points at one another’s expense, but about enjoying yourself and the others around you.
My husband Ben, is a helpful man. He is also a stable influence, reasonably reliable and, far more often than not, happy. Needless to say; I love him dearly.
My life is Lush!
Ever since we first met my wonderful man has never shirked his share of responsibility. Of course, his idea of what needs to be done has always remained vastly different from my own.
He doesn’t, for instance, consider it a priority to wipe the kitchen surfaces after he cooks. In general, he does not particularly concern himself about the overall appearance of either house and garden. Neither does he worry about making the bed, closing cupboards and drawers, or picking up his dirty socks. He certainly wouldn’t consider bothering to put the toilet seat down. Why should he – as he insists, it’s his home after all…
…on the other hand. He does understand that it is my home too and, as the only female in a house full of males, I need to be able to approach a toilet that is neatly lidded. There was therefore no arguments about who had first dibs on the en suite when we finally got one. It was immediately claimed as my sanctuary – and remains routinely furnished with deliciously scented bath bombs from the wonderful Lush. My boys never have to think about what they’re getting me for my birthday!
He continues to surprise me
Having been married for more than 16 years, I tend to think I know him through and through. However, he does still surprise me on occasion. Recently, for instance, I found myself struggling to keep up my own imposed standards at home with the longer hours my new work required. This is not the first time I’ve found life mildly overwhelming and, I’m afraid I assumed Ben would respond with his usual, not particularly helpful throwaway solution to ‘just quit then!’. He really can’t cope seeing me upset and would rather it all just went away.
However! This time, he didn’t. This time he pondered for a few moments before saying; “Why don’t I try getting home early twice a week so you can stay at work if you need to. I can cook and you can do whatever you need to do.”
The gift of time
I was stunned! This was exactly what I needed to hear and, as a result, I became strong and determined once again not to have to rely on this gift of time. In reality, there’s no way he could really come home early twice a week. But the fact that he even considered it – genuinely too - was amazing.
No one has compensated me in any way for writing this post or to say particular things in it.