Friday, July 31, 2009

Jill and Kevin

Wow. They're fun AND generous. Jill and Kevin, the couple who danced down the aisle at their wedding, are announcing their support of the Sheila Wellstone Foundation, which combats domestic violence. Now we really want to be friends with them!

Here's the story:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I've noticed a curious trend ...

... in our family (Carol's). Can we call it a ritual? I'm not quite sure yet because I'm still discerning its symbolic significance. Maybe you can help.

Each time we travel and visit people around the globe we love so much, and those people happen to own and proudly show off an adorable pet, we - despite my insistence that we will "Never!" No! No. No way!" - get one too.

Two years ago, it was Belle (the 3 lb Yorkie) who inspired us to adopt Fred. Ah, Fred. My third child and favorite furry friend.

A few weeks ago it was MoMo (the 8 inch, 13 year old leopard Gecko) who motivated us to find and welcome Tiki into our home. With Tiki - our 8 month old leopard gecko - comes a whole new ritual: buying and storing live gut-loaded crickets, monitoring the temperature of this little guy's terrarium (his origins are Pakistan, and it tends to be moist and hot there), staying up late to see if he'll come out of his hut (he's nocturnal, of course) and shamelessly spouting gecko facts about the neighborhood gatherings.

Welcome, Tiki!

Oh my. What am I doing?!

I want to believe I'm teaching my children how to care for the animals (and reptiles) of the earth. Whatever the rationale, here's a warning to our far away friends with pets: we will not be visiting you any time soon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Now This Looks Like a Happy Couple...

And a happy wedding party. Check out this video. It's worth the five minutes.

It appears as though they won't be needing any advice on how to turn up the joy in their marriage. Who said love and commitment needs to be serious all the time? They're celebrating in a way that is meaningful to them. And that, truly, is a loving thing. As one of my (Anna's) friends said on facebook, "Who are these people and can I be friends with them?" It's not entirely unlikely since they're from St. Paul, MN. Happy Couple, if you're out there reading this, we're interested in interviewing you!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's all about (unexpected) reciprocity, baby.

I can't stop thinking about the woman named Kelly who was featured on our local NBC affiliate last night (it's Carol blogging-in today).

She's young. She's healthy. And she was about to celebrate her 7th wedding anniversary. But it didn't happen because her husband - the love of her life, talented painter, best friend - was killed in a car accident.

Very sad. Super sad. The whole story just made you (okay, me) want to bawl your eyes out.

Beyond the heart-wrenching details of his death and the aftermath, what touched me the most about their story was something this young widow said during the interview. The statement came as she described what their marriage was like; what she and her husband shared; why she missed him deeply every single second of the day and night. And what she said seems to me a succinct summary of the end-game/sum-total/tell-all (tell everyone!) secret to marital and individual happiness (and is similar - don't you think? - to the point we made in the "Happy Wife, Happy Life" blog post a few weeks ago):

"I just told him all the time how lucky we were. If your goal is to make someone else happy, and their goal is to make you happy, it probably doesn't get much better than that."


What if all of us in relationships made a pact to make it our goal - every day - to make the other person happy knowing that they are doing the same for us?

So much happiness, we all might just bawl.

It's all about reciprocity, baby, without the expectation of such.

Why not give it a try? (And then, in the spirit of reciprocity, write in and tell us how it worked).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Finances + Rituals=Exponential Growth

I (Anna) had lunch with my dear friend and former college roommate, Emily, yesterday. Next weekend is her and her husband's one year anniversary. What a year it's been! They bought a beautiful home. And of course, grew together in every way a couple can and should. However, I was particularly inspired by one of the details she told me about their marriage. They have bi-weekly financial meetings. At these meetings, they evaluate whether or not they have reached their bi-weekly saving goals in each spending category. Then they set new goals for the upcoming two-week period. Brilliance! Her husband, Jeff, is the type who finds balancing their checkbook and organizing their finances FUN. Fun? "Not I" said the fly. But, yes, Jeff daily logs into Quicken to micro-manage their money with all the vigor and zeal he once devoted to his high school and college basketball career. Emily said the meetings had to officially be made "bi-weekly" so finances aren't a dinner table topic each night. He's even turned my big-spending Emily into a coupon clipper! Wow. Quite a transformation if you saw the countless new "going out" tops she purchased each week in college. They were stylish as can be, but expensive nonetheless (I loved it, though, because she let me borrow one of her "old" tops every Thursday night!). Those were the days.

For most Americans these days, finances are tight. And even if they aren't, isn't this a great way of coping with one of marriage's toughest topics?! It's what we all should be doing all of the time about all issues, not just money. Emily and Jeff aren't just investing in their financial future, they're staying connected on one of the issues that couples divorce over.

Congratulations, Em and Jeff, on one year of marriage and financial gain! Now I'm off to clip some coupons.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Case of the Caprese Sandwich

Yesterday, I (Anna) was making lunch for myself and my husband, Brent. Lately we've been enjoying caprese sandwiches. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar layered between two slices of Jewish rye bread. Delicious. We use our panini grill so the cheese sizzles as it oozes out the sides of the sandwich. Yesterday, though, we happened to only have two regular slices of bread and then two heels. As I delicately placed all the ingredients on each sandwich, I decided that I would give Brent the perfect sandwich made with the two regular slices and I would eat the sandwich comprised of the two heels. I got everything to the table, putting the "heel" sandwich at my seat and the other at Brent's. I went to pour myself a glass of milk and returned to my seat. Without looking down at the sandwich, I lifted it to my mouth for a big, juicy bite. "Wait a second," I said, "I was supposed to have the sandwich with the heels!" At the last minute, my very observant husband noticed I had the "heel" sandwich and switched with me. Neither of us wanted the other to have to eat the less desired sandwich!

This tiny but meaningful gesture changed my whole day. It also reminded me that people who keep their partner first on their minds and in their actions are so very satisfied. After that meal, I was nourished and nurtured. A very healthy combination. As Sandra Broyard says, "In the marriage that endures, there is no need for grandiosity." We couldn't agree more heartily.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tweet, Tweet

Calling all twitterers. We're officially tweeting. Twitterverse, watch out! Our twitter name is "happycouples." Follow us for frequent updates on all things Carol and Anna.