Why did we feel this commitment? What is that has enabled us to make it this far and still feel madly in love with each other. To make me feel so crazy head over heals about her that thinking of her makes me feel a need to caress her, be around her, care for her and be as giddy as a school boy. I reasoned a number of years ago that it was a formula . . . a collection of related things that when combined equaled a formula for a successful marriage. I thought about these long and hard and have modified them over the years. The following list is taken directly from a notebook of mine that took me several years to accumulate and edit. I will also grade J and me to see where we are on the continuum for each element in the formula; a 1 would be failing and 10 would be stellar. I grade us just to let you know that although we are good in some areas we need improvement in others. Obviously though … we are doing well enough that it works.
So here is Tenyn's formula for a successful marriage:
Do Fun Things Together: Having fun together allows you to share positive experiences and it builds a savings account of good feelings. Having fun usually means doing things you both care about. Sharing values and interests gives you things to talk about, get excited about and anticipate together. (J and I fall short here …we are both so intensely committed to work, kids etc that we don’t take enough time to have fun. We kid each other that we don’t know how to have fun. We have always been serious and intense. We share a lot of common interests but we don’t take enough time to do them)
Our score: 6
Laugh Alot: Laughing is a great way to loosen up and not take everything too seriously. It allows relief from the crap that life dishes out. (J and I do pretty well here . . . as J has gotten older she has developed a sense of humor …. A very dry one at that; I am the punster and the silly one . . .we can always laugh).
Our score: 9
Be Involved With Each others Lives: This applies to jobs, moods, projects, friendships and all the other things that matter to your spouse in her life. Doing this shows her you care about her and what is important to her. Talk about these things, ask questions and listen. For guys …don’t try to fix everything in her life, just listen and offer insights and I messages. The last thing a woman wants her guy to do is speak for her or solve her problems for her or tell her what to do.
(J and I are all over this one. We are constantly interacting on things going on each others lives.)
Our score: 10
Don’t Freak Out When You Disagree: Agree to disagree. You are not clones of each other so don’t expect to agree on everything. Especially, don’t let disagreements turn into arguments …its really easy to have that happen. (J and I do well here because we debate things for recreation; it’s what we have done for fun since the beginning. Since I don’t fight our debates never turn into arguments)
Our score: 10
Get Fit Together: Eating well and exercising is the key to long life. Who better to help with this important task than your partner? If you both do it you but you not only help each other but you avoid criticizing each other for bad habits and body appearances; criticism is fuel for hurt feelings. (J and I do great here on the food side …we have helped each other eat healthy but we are exercise slugs and we don’t play golf, ski etc. I was a dedicated exerciser until 5 years ago but I fell off the wagon. She reminds me but we don’t do anything to help each other)
Our score: 5
Celebrate Each Others Successes: Who else better to make you feel good about what you have done but the person you love. Not only will her praise make you feel good about yourself but it will help you feel good about her for appreciating you. (Again J and I do this really well . . . we are each others best fans. I am amazed at the things she can do and I always tell her. I was a low achiever when we met and I have come a long way …she has been a phenomenal supporter and cheering section)
Our Score: 9
Listen Don’t Wait to Talk: Communicate! Communicating means listening, being thoughtful, thinking about what she is saying and preparing an appropriate response. Too many times people don’t listen to what their spouse is saying they are just sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting to make their point. (Here again J and I do pretty well. We have always found it easy to get inside each others heads and see things through each others eyes. This has come in handy many times when we have needed to remind each other how we really feel about something …not how we feel about it now in a stressed or emotional state)
Our Score: 10
Nurture Each Other: Understand each others emotional needs and respond accordingly. Get to know what makes her tick and give her what she needs to keep ticking. It may be a caress, doing some chores so she won’t have to, it may be a thoughtful remark, a shoulder to cry on (realize that women need to cry sometimes just for the sake of crying . . it’s a pressure relief valve ..it ‘s ok) or it may just be a sympathetic ear. If you invest the time and get to really know her and you look at the world thru her glasses in a sensitive way you will be able to figure out how to respond appropriately. Remember she is a woman, she is not you so don’t do what you would want to have done at that moment do what you think she would want and needs.
.(J and I are champions here ..I give us an 11 out of 10 LOL)
Our Score: 11
Be Romantic: The vows that we took 37 years ago acknowledged that we were two separate people but they also acknowledged a love that we shared. That love is a living thing. It needs to be nourished daily with romance. Romance can be a kiss in the morning at awakening and before sleeping, it can be a phone call in the day time to check in, it can be flowers, it can be doing things for her, it can be washing her car, patting her fanny when you come home. Again … read her and do things that are meaningful to her.
(I am an incurable romantic as is J and since we know each other so well we are constantly doing romantic things. I will not summarize them here … maybe I will do a blog on our romance in the future.)
Our Score: 10
Connect Sexually: For guys sex is an expression that she is yours; it is a demonstration of your love for her and your ability to use your masculine assets to satisfy her erotically. For women it is an emotional and physical bond that is reassuring and makes her feel wanted, adored and taken care of. Sex tells her that she is beautiful enough to be desired by the man she adores. When you love her keep that in mind. Her needs are different than yours when you couple. Recognize that sometimes she wants you to make love to her and sometimes she wants you to just ravish her. Again read her and give her what she needs. (J and I didn’t start out great here but over the years my skill and understanding grew and her self consciousness abated and was replaced by her ability to express her needs and do what she needs to to fulfill them.)
Our Score: 10
Those are the elements in our formula for success. I would give us a good grade now but we didn’t start out with this grade; if I were to have graded us years ago I perish the thought of what our grades would be. We committed 37 years ago to be together and we committed to work at it. .. constantly. We work at it because underneath it all I respect her and I genuinely like the person that she is. Everything else flows from that.
Most of all we understand each other. I am soft spoken, lovable and giving but I can also be stubborn as hell (except when it comes to pleasing her, for her I am flexible). Money doesn’t matter to me …happiness is worth more than money to me. She is very emotional, distractible and not as confident as she should be. She is not selfish enough, she won’t spoil herself or get things she needs (yet alone what she wants) and she worries a lot about money.
With an understanding of each other and our needs everything we need to do to stay together is easy to figure out. All we have to do is try. For every guy that is reading this keep in mind that this woman is the person that you care about more than life itself. There should be nothing that you wouldn’t be willing to do for her to make her happy, so just do it.
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