The little things…

I have learned a lot from Wiseguy about relationships.  In the past, relationships to me meant I had to give it my all and expect nothing in return.  It meant turning the other cheek or saying nothing, even if I was really upset because that was how you kept a relationship running…no issues, no problems and lots of denial.  Through thick and thin. For better or for worse.  Right?  Here are some lessons I learned.

BE YOURSELF:  Most people in relationships believe that they are being honest and truthful with themselves.  Have you ever given up doing things you like to do because the person whom you are dating doesn’t like it?  Maybe it’s the opposite.  Maybe you are starting to do you things you don’t like to do.  You pretend to like exercising or maybe you have become vegetarian because you think your partner will love you more since that is their preference.  The same holds true for you trying to change the person you are with.  Accept them for who they are.  Oh sure, people grow and change, but becoming a totally different person just to please someone else is not how to live a happy life.  Be happy with yourself and who you are.  If you love being the yappy, talkative person in the room, don’t become the quiet, shy person when in a relationship.  Be yourself.

SAY THANK YOU:  When you first start dating, you are always on your best behaviour.  You are also very polite and say please and thank you for every little thing.  That should not change once you have been together for awhile.  To this day, Wiseguy will thank me for any meal I have prepared.  Even if he doesn’t like it, he will thank me for making it (and then politely ask me to never ever make it again).  I used to tell him that he didn’t have to thank me.  He explained that since I made the effort, he should thank me.  The children were taught this as well.  Just because you are Mom or Dad or Spouse, it doesn’t mean that your work should not be acknowledged in a positive way.  Feeling appreciated makes for a happier home environment.  Thanks for getting the groceries.  Thanks for doing the laundry.  Thanks for driving us to the party.  Saying a meaningful “thanks” is always nice to hear.

SHOW APPRECIATION / GRATEFULNESS:  When you are dating someone, buying little gifts and tokens of love are usually the modus operandi.  After you have been together awhile the gift giving drops off and there is usually a daily routine that ensues.  Certain chores are done by certain individuals.  One person will do the cooking and one person will do the laundry.  Someone will load the dishwasher and empty it.  One will mow the lawn and / or shovel the snow (welcome to Canadian looooooooong winters).  Indoor chores and outdoor tasks need to be completed.  Now, when your life gets topsy turvy and your usual division of labour leaves you overwhelmed, it’s nice when that 50/50 split can become 70/30 without anyone griping about the sudden amount of work they have to do around the place.  Yes, I am thinking of a specific example.  I am the dishwasher loader/emptier and I am also the garbage-taker-outer.  This week I had some additional errands to take care of and was exhausted just thinking about completing my at-home tasks.  To my supreme delight I arrived home to find the waste and recycling by the curb, the dishwasher emptied, and the dishes put away.  OH JOY!  Yes, it is THAT simple to show appreciation.  Wiseguy appreciated the fact that my life was a bit more hectic this week and I was grateful that he did this without my asking him.

COMMUNCATION:  This is THE most important lesson I have learned.  I would oftentimes assume that Wiseguy knew what I was thinking.  More often than not, I would get angry with him about things that he had no clue I had even thought about.  Not fair.  Even worse, I learned the “silent treatment” from the master…my mother.  Not a word spoken, while I slammed doors to make sure he knew I was upset.  It would be up to him to figure out why I was upset.  Adults tantrums are not pretty.  As adults we have a vocabulary to be able to communicate what is on our minds.  We are not mind readers.  We cannot assume that other people know what we are thinking.  So, if something is bothering you, take the time to talk about it.  Those who do not communicate are the ones who let each little angry moment start a pyramid of disaster.  Brick by brick it builds as you hold every bothersome incident inside and then suddenly CRASH!  One little thing will have the whole pyramid of anger cascading down.  Hurtful things will be said as you dig deep into your memory for past trangressions that the other person had no idea had been bothering you.  Let it out.  Talk it out.

Relationships are give and take.  Relationships involve work.  You are two people who used to live your own way, with your own rules and who now live together while trying to figure out whose rules would be the best to incorporate as a couple.  Start off with these four simple rules and you’ll see how much easier this transition can be.  More often than not, it’s the little things that can make it or break it.

Save the last dance for me…

This song has a special relevance for me.  I always believed I should’ve been born 20 years before I was born.  I was hatched in 1969.  Yup…quite a crazy year…but being a newborn, it had no relevance for me.  I have always LOVED music from the 50’s and the 60’s.  Actually I have loved music from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s…well you get the idea.  Being raised in a European family, we learned to dance.  We learned to polka and waltz.  We did the “heritage/folkore” dancing so we had the dancing bug early on.  Now, imagine my lucky stars when I met Wiseguy and HE was also a dance fanatic!  This was not disco dance machine stuff…this was Polka at it’s best.  Really?  Really Maryann?  Oh yes!

I am sure you have watched…wait a minute…you probably haven’t.  There used to be an old tv show with accordion music where someone played “Roll out the barrel”.   This is not the same.  Wiseguy and I are all about the super circular speed.  We are velocitous (?) spheres spinning around the dance floor.  We are twirling around without a care in the world.  We dance, we spin, we have eyes only for each other…unless we might collide with other couples.  Very rarely.  The dance floors of today, with bodies only gyrating in one spot…booooooring!  Dancing is all about moving around the dance floor and just enjoying life.  Super sweaty time but so much fun!  Why do I mention this?  I had a recall moment of when I was going to leave hubby for three weeks to hang out with my dad in Europe.  It was the first time we would be apart for this long and we were at a fantabulous (my favourite made-up compound word of fantastic and fabulous…feel free to use it) family wedding.  The kiddies were with us and we were having fun, but also counting down the time to when we would be apart.

Songs and song meanings are very integral in our lives.  I am sure they are part of your life as well.  There are songs that are triggers.  They are reminders of events in your life.  As I mentioned, Wiseguy is a big song guy.  More 70s rock than anything (ugh), but then I am the yang to his yin with my love of pop music.  So imagine me and Wiseguy after two years of marriage, with kidlets in tow, knowing that I had to be at the airport by 2 a.m. to catch my flight to Europe.  Imagine my surprise when I heard one of my absolute favourite songs:  Save the last dance for me.   Initially this was a “Drifters” song, but then Michael Buble sang it…a bit more up-tempo.  Kind of more polka-meets-rhumba.  The last song of the night.  Wiseguy guided me to the dance floor.  Little did we know that our “Princess” (9 yrs old) was taking pictures of us the whole time.

Wiseguy and I have danced at many occasions (weddings, banquets, birthdays, etc.).  Wiseguy’s only rule is:  We are the first on the floor to start the dancing and the last to leave the floor.  We have survived waltzes, polkas, two-steps.  We have done the chicken dance and gagnam style and in the old days we did the YMCA. …ugh to these favourites.  We are glad that some songs have left the DJ list forever.  I now bring you back to this song of mine:  “Save the Last Dance” by The Drifters.  The songs they did have been remade over and over again because they are classics and still apply to every day and every time.  They were and are wonderful!

So, here we were, hubby and I, dancing as the wedding was winding down.  Many of the guests had already left.  No surprise.  It was 2 am.  They had music in the background as the band was starting to pack up.  Suddenly, I heard Michael Buble start singing, “Save the Last Dance”. I looked at my husband.  He looked at me.  We went to the dance floor.  I had removed my high-heeled shoes.  I, 5’5″ and he, 6’4″.   We began to dance.  The floor was ours.  We both knew I was leaving in about 6 hours and we wanted to enjoy our last night (morning) together.  Princess took pictures of us.  We didn’t know until we developed the film in our camera (yup…old day stuff).  Each picture shows how we moved with each other, silently, in the moment.  Joyous.

I do love many, many songs. There are songs to relax to.  There are songs to exercise to.  There are empowering songs.  Songs are here to feed us inspiration.  The reason why I love this particular song (Save the Last Dance) is two-fold:  1)  The beat is incredible and 2) The lyrics are all about love and trust.  Go flirt.  Go have fun.  Go enjoy your night.  I know you will come back to me and come home with me.  Why?  Because we are meant to be together.

Maybe to some it sounds like a stalker situation, but I find this song to be supportive of  a healthy relationships.  You don’t have to be glued to each other.  You can talk to other people.  You can dance with other people.  Why?  In the end, we both know that we love each other and will always end up in each other’s loving arms.  Trust, faith, love.  The bestest (my made up word that should be in the dictionary) kind of relationship.

Moral of the story:  DANCE!

Not “dance like no one’s watching” because everyone will be watching, but who cares?  Just DANCE!  Feel that music in your body.  Feel the buoyancy in your body!  Move across that floor and just live!  Your body is full of electricity and vibrations and it knows that dancing feel awesome!  And…as a small favour…Save the last dance for me.  XOXO.