I keep stumbling on these prophetic articles that point at relationships. Mind you, I could just be noticing them more because I have a girlfriend now, but it seems that prior to starting a romance with Becky, all of the articles were about how to find a date. These articles are all on AOL, it's either bizarre coincidence or they're spying on me.
A few days ago, there was a piece about "what your engagement ring says about you." Since Becky was the one who pointed to the various rings and told me what she liked, I read the parts of the article that reflected on her choices.
Today there was one about marriage. Mind you, it was once again plugging a book, but said book is supposedly all about the science of a good marriage. A plug, however, won't give many details. What I was able to read in the interview with the author has me believing Becky and I are on the right track. (Don't ask me for the name of the book...I seem to have blocked it out.)
Don't stay focused on just the big things. The little things count, too. Becky and I are constantly talking about everything, large and small. And I exemplified how I was paying attention to that which most guys would dismiss. You see, Becky is making her own dress for her best friend's wedding. She was working on it when her visit to me interrupted her work. Someone in her family decided to put everything away, not realizing that there's a REASON why they're called "patterns." When she got home, everything was in a jumbled pile. I commented on the genius move of whoever it was that did this, and told Becky it would just have to wait until she visited Kat in a couple of weeks.
End of story, right? Nope. I received a private message from Kat, mentioned the dress patterns becoming mixed, and that Becky was pretty upset about it. When I mentioned the advice that I'd given Becky, Kat said that that had been her advice as well.
End of story again, right? Nope. I then brought it up once more with Becky, telling her that despite her wish to have the dress completed before her visit, Kat and I were of the same mind that she should just calm down and wait.
NOW it's the end.
But it's more than just paying attention to your loved one's words. It's also SHOWING them that you love them. Holding hands, a quick kiss, and celebrating even the small things. These are the signs that a relationship is still healthy.
It's not WHAT you argue about, but HOW you argue about it. Until last night, Becky and I had never had an argument. Mind you, there's a huge difference for me between a fight and an argument. In the former, people raise voices and often say things that are designed to hurt the other person. In the latter, people discuss opposing points of view and try to come to a mutual understanding, with the hope that one will see the other side and change their minds. According to the article, "the first three minutes of a fight are the most important." (Well, if others would rather use "fight," I won't argue semantics.) Becky and I were due for one, anyway.
Becky is making plans for nursing school. Amongst the plans is where she'll live during her first semester. We'd discussed it briefly, but never really gave it serious thought, as she won't be attending school until the spring semester.
Prior to our argument, we were on City of Heroes, where we encountered a truly loud and obnoxious individual. This person obviously didn't know how to play nice with others, and was causing problems for many people. What's more, he was trolling for fights, saying something along the lines of, "I would like to NOT apologize for everything I did." The best part was that he was on our team. So I had Becky, who was leading, hand me leadership a moment, kicked the jerk from the team, and handed leadership back. I promptly put this person on ignore, and that was the end of it...except that the moron was now going off on me in the broadcast channel. Becky didn't have him on ignore, so she was getting upset and reporting what the moron was saying. Thus, I broadcast something to the effect of, "There's nothing wrong with kicking someone who's too stupid to play well with others." Word then got back to me that he was reporting me for calling him stupid. Oddly enough, I didn't name anyone. He just assumed it was me.
This minor bit of drama took the fun out of playing for us, so we logged off the game and decided to do something to take our minds off the idiot. For me, focusing on just one thing, anything, is enough to put anger behind me. So I started talking about what Becky should expect next Wednesday, the day of my surgery. Becky, in turn, started doing something else...
Me: ...It's happened before. I'll be on the gurney, waiting for surgery, and I'll start giggling. It's called a "gallows laugh." Way back when, as people were being led to the gallows, some would start giggling, and people thought they were "laughing in the face of death." The truth is that they were terrified.
Becky: Oh, that doesn't look too bad.
Becky: Oh, I'm just thinking aloud. I'm looking at apartments around the campus of the college I'm applying to.
Becky: Be right back, sweetie.
While she's away, I'm stewing in the fact that I was talking about something fairly serious, like how nervous I get before surgery, and she's looking at an apartment she won't be needing for at least six months.
Becky: Okay, I'm back.
Me: (quietly) Okay.
Becky: Is something wrong?
Me: Yes, something's wrong. I'm talking about my surgery next week, and you're looking at apartments you don't need immediately.
Becky: (Okay, we're on Skype, with our cams up, and Becky suddenly takes a keen interest in her lap. She begins to cry.)
Me: Hey. Hey, Becky. Look at me. This isn't a tear-worthy issue. I still love you, I'm just upset. I don't want you to become afraid of talking to me or of being yourself. I fell in love with the entire package. But it seems that before we met you were able to focus, and now you're back to being completely scatterbrained. I know I wasn't receiving an act before, so I want to know what's going on.
Becky: I just wanted to do something that would make me happy, and looking at those apartments was it.
Me: Okay. And I was looking to draw my focus away from that idiot, and I chose my surgery, which is pretty important. It would be nice if you were paying attention to me.
It went on, and even this isn't word-for-word. The thing is, we didn't raise our voices, and we talked TO one another, not AT one another. We discussed other things that were starting to grate, like her speaking half-sentences when she's thinking aloud. This is her. I love her. And to expect her to change for me is insulting and absurd.
However, I did my "third person shtick" today, in which I spoke to her as though I was anyone but myself. I'm just an old friend, catching up on news, skeptical as ever over Becky's claims that she found the perfect guy. During our chat, she noted that speaking aloud is a genuine problem for her. I joked that said habit would be especially bad during college exams, to which she revealed she wouldn't do that...but would still be sitting there, mouthing the words to her thoughts. I suggested she might want to at least give people the heads up on what was going through her head. "I'm thinking about things for Kat's wedding." This way, should say something along the lines of, "No, we need to order those offline," I'll have an idea of what she's thinking. Because if I heard that line all by itself, I'd be at a complete loss.
Sex is important, but not the end-all, be-all of a relationship. Becky and I have discussed this a great deal. In fact, I discussed it a great deal, right here. And then I realized that I was saying too much, hinting at that which should remain private, and sounding almost boastful. I'll leave it at this: Becky doesn't love me for what I can or cannot do in the bedroom. (And editing it out kinda hurts, since Becky said something that is not only a good laugh, but makes me look REALLY good. Oh well.)
These articles...? As I said, I'm either noticing them more because I'm now involved with someone and just a coincidence, someone is customizing AOL based on their spies intelligence on me. I will assume the former, as the latter is creepy. What's more, the former seems to indicate I'm finally on a much better path in my life.
Be well, all. =)
EDIT: Found the article again, after it seemed to have disappeared on me. The name of the book is "For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage," by Tara Parker-Pope. Just thought some people might be interested.