By Tara Armstead
It was my daughter’s 11th birthday, and she screamed in awe when she opened the card containing tickets to her favorite rising music group’s concert: Mindless Behavior. My fiancee also thought it would be an added touch to take our family for a round of lazer tag followed by bowling. All was well. Then, during lazer tag, he decided to impress the crowd with a running start followed by a front roll on the ground before shooting targets. Impressive. Especially for a man over six feet tall and 240 pounds. It wasn’t until it was his turn to bowl in the well-lit alley that everyone saw the damage of his stunt: he’d ripped his shorts nearly in half up the back side. Blue polka dot boxers. Nice.
1. Respond to his motivations, not necessarily his actions.
When reliving that moment, words like ‘embarassment’ and ‘goofball’ come to mind. After all, he had made a fool of himself in front of strangers. I must, however, think of his true motivation. His goal was to make sure that my daughter had fun, even at his expense. So after working 12 straight hours, he found his second wind and took my extended family out on the town when he should have been getting some rest before his next long work shift. A labor of love. Even when our loved ones mean well, sometimes things do not turn out perfectly. As long as we keep our eye on their heart, a true love won’t let us down.
2. Be a listener.
This one can be tough, especially when we have so much to say! Listen ACTIVELY. It is usually not good enough to be silent while simply thinking ahead to the next point we’d like to make. Listen to strengthen your connection. The goal is to further understand your partner, not to trap him in his own words.
3. Celebrate all the bright spots.
Take that refreshing walk down memory lane and stop by all the good times to share a laugh. Regardless of how long you’ve been together, never lose sight of what you’ve always adored about each other. The bowling alley spectators may have dismissed the ripped shorts and boxers as simply uncouth, but later we could grin about the fun we had shopping for them together.
4. Build him up.
Chances are your guy wants to feel like he’s the king of your jungle! Blame it on the testosterone, I guess. Throwing a little praise his way can’t hurt. Guys love to know how much we adore them.
5. Be patient. This too shall pass.
Nothing worth having comes easy, and your relationship is included. Expect to have to work at making it a fulfilling relationship with numerous rewards. Look at the rainy days as preparation for fun in the sun. In the meantime, dance!
Tara Armstead’s divorce in 2004 after a brief marriage was eye-opening for her. She thanks God that she did not give up on love and happiness. She’s learned that life is what we make it, and fulfilling relationships are built one day, one experience, one action, one word at a time. Visit her at MakeItLastForever.com