Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The List

Well, the idea grew out of an argument. A big one. Yes, we "happy couples" fight too! In fact, we fight quite a bit (it's Carol here, although Anna admits a good "care-frontation" with her spouse now and again). In case any readers are feeling disappointed, remember: reserach shows that happy couples can fight a lot (it's how they handle their disagreements that makes a difference!).

Our (Bruess couple) latest "handling" of conflict looks something like this: Make a list. On the white board. In the basement. In the corner. Where we each check in periodically and perhaps more now since the "list" is new and fresh and in the just-initated phase. On the list you jot things (key words, phrases, whole paragraphs) that irritate you, jab you, rub you, warm you. Things that make you CRAZY. And things that make you smile. But mostly, the list is designed to highlight things that aren't quite right at the moment (of the "when you walk OVER the dirty clothes which have come down the laundry shoot and landed just inches from the basket but you don't actually pick them up, I think I'm going to SCREAM" variety). Or, one that I'm confident is going to be on my husband's list sometime today or tomorrow: "Selling the sofa and chairs without telling me and buying new ones." Oops. Good point. Not a good idea of a "surprise" (despite my best intentions. Honestly. I had good motives, honey).

Happy couple or not: we ALL have things that make us "slightly irritated." Why not find a way (a visual and ever-developing-but-easily-erasable list) to get them addressed and expressed?

I'll keep you posted on how ours goes.

(And I'll be sure to post a photo when our new sofa arrives!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


As many college roommates experience, the women who lived with me on 331 Wilder Street became my "sisters." Since our college graduation, we created a ritual (inspired by my cousin and her college roommates, which you'll read all about in our forthcoming book What Happy Women Do), our very own holiday: 3/31 Day (March 31). Each year, on March 31, we try to celebrate our friendship all day. Sometimes it's via morning email and then happy hour later. One year, we were fortunate to all be able to take a day off of work and school! This year, we'll have the birth of not one but two babies being born. Another roommate graduated from law school and passed the bar exam. Another is about to start nursing school. Another is potentially planning a move to LA. Big year for us "sisters." So big, in fact, that it seemed that one day per year just wasn't enough to devote to our friendship.

Therefore, we decided to try for a monthly celebration, too. So on the 3rd Wednesday (which happens to be the 3rd day of the week) of every month, we have lunch for 1 hour: 3-3-1. We can't all be there each month. But we sure try. We realized that when we don't see each other often enough, we end up spending all our time "catching up" rather than building on the sisterness we already share.

We love our partners and families dearly. But no matter how hard they try, they can't comprehend everything we went through together at 331 Wilder. No one else can understand the funny notes we left each other, requesting checks for rent, energy bills, cable, and water.

Or the "rules" we developed for conducting life under one roof.

Or the fun we had together.

Celebrate your sisterness! And take pictures and share them (and your stories) with us.

A Must Read

I know I've mentioned my friend's blog before, but I think this entry is worth sharing again!

Najla and her hunky husband, Paul, have started a new ritual. They're cross-country skiing together this winter. They happen to live in Fargo, North Dakota, which is one of the coldest places I've ever been. The wind has been known to whip Fargo residents to the ground! With recent temps dipping well-below zero (try twenty below zero), these two remain committed to their new ritual. Check out her blog for some fun dialogue between she and her husband during their ski outing this week.