One day last summer, Braxton and I were taking our usual Sunday morning walk through the neighborhood. Let me paint a quick picture for you; little woman, tall man, walking together, smiling, holding hands.
We were walking past a man getting out of his car- let's call him middle aged suburban guy - and he stopped and called out to us. We had a conversation that went something like this;
MASG: Can I ask you a question?
B&A: ummmm, sure
MASG: Why are you guys so effen happy all the time? ( really, he said it just like that, "effen happy".)
MASG: Seriously, I see you guys walking around the neighborhood all the time, and I've wondered why you're so effen happy?
B&A: stunned silence, awkward smiling....
So, we stood in the middle of the street and talked with middle aged suburban guy for quite a while. We talked about jobs, our kids, and the fact that he was looking for a way to bring love back into his marriage. When Braxton and I finally walked away we were hopeful that we had helped our neighbor for he was actually smiling and waving goodbye to us.
Anyway, the whole thing got me to thinking about our relationship and why it works so well for us. I would never presume to give unsolicited advice about relationships, but here I go anyway. I don't have a PHD in love, but Braxton and I have been happily together for many many years. I've come up with a few ideas for a successful relationship according to what has worked for us. So, if you can use any of this, great, if not then I wish you all the happiness there is.
- Walk holding hands like you did when you first got together.
- Be polite to each other. You didn't put each other down when you first got together, try not to do it now.
- Have sex as often as you can. (A thousand apologies to my children if you are reading this.) Sex is not just a physical bond, it's an emotional one as well, and it almost always makes everything right again.
- Treat each other with respect. Braxton still opens doors for me and I bring him a glass of ice water in bed every morning. It really is the little things.
- Greet each other with a hug and a kiss at the end of the day or at least a smile. At our house the living room is two steps up from the entrance hall, this is where I greet Braxton when he comes home at night. I think of it as the kissing step, and it's one reason why we can never sell this house. I imagine that one day when we are gone and the girls are remembering us, the kissing step will loom large in their memories.
- Don't be sloppy. I know how this sounds but I actually do change my clothes, brush my hair, and put on some lipstick before Braxton comes home. It makes me feel nice, and I'm pretty sure he appreciates it. The girls have always teased us about dressing up for our Saturday lunch dates, but that is exactly what it is, a date. Didn't you always dress up when you first started dating? Why stop now?
Obvious, but tell each other "I love you" everyday. Even if you don't feel it so much today, say it anyway, you never regret saying "I love you".
Whoever you are and whomever you love, I wish you all the happiness that's in my heart. Your love is worth celebrating. Oh, and happy valentines day middle aged suburban guy!
Secret message to my sweetheart:
Have a beautiful valentines day!