What Seems to be Working (So Far Anyway)

This is the first time I’ve had a moment to sit down and blog, so I’m a week late getting the second installment of the “Happy Hobbit Tenth Anniversary Special Edition” online.  I’ve also missed sharing a Birthday Blog for Daniel with you all on his actual birthday, however, I’ll get that out soon as well.

I need to take a few paragraphs to share with you how I see Grumpy, and to take liberties to describe how I believe he sees me, and then I’ll scratch the surface of some of the things that seem to keep us together after all these years.

Everyone who knows us likens Grumpy to this fictional character:

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(Note that he’s wearing a green t-shirt with the iconic “reduce-reuse-recycle” emblem?  Yeah, that’s kinda a big thing with us too…)

In my eyes, Steve is absolutely, astoundingly, and breathtakingly gorgeous.  After well over a decade together, he still makes me swoon, gives me beautiful stomach butterflies and weakens my hobbity knees with just a single word or gesture and I can end up a very happy puddle of wife wrapped safely in his waiting arms.  He is funny, handsome, sexy, cute, smart (oh my giddy AUNT is he smart!), vulnerable, complicated, kind, endlessly interesting, moral, good, genuine, tenacious, loyal, patient, a wonderful father, an amazing friend and an incurable romantic.

On the other hand, however… He can be teeth-itchingly lazy, thoughtless, cruel, callous, tactless, selfish, self absorbed, gross and utterly infuriating and impossible to deal with or get through to.

Here’s a collection of characters and people that remind me of Grumpy (you may or may not agree):

Mr. Darcy – Because everyone thinks he’s dark and grumpy and gruff, when in reality he is just the kindest, most forthright, upstanding, romantic dark eyed bucket of delicious EVER!

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Dr. House – We really enjoyed watching this together, and the brutal honesty and atheist sentiment demonstrated by House (who, lets face it, was messed up but a fairly phenomenally smart and decent guy) always reminded me of my Grumpy.  I’m religious, he finds that quite hilarious.

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There’s quite a few more, but I’ve already run out of time as I need to pack and we’re flying home today, and on top of that trying to get to Universal Studios first.

On the surface, we seem to be very different indeed.  I am loud, he is not.  I am rash, he is pedantic.  I am fickle, he is tenacious.  I am incessantly cheerful, he is notoriously grumpy.  I believe in just about anything, he is is systematically skeptical and requires evidence and sound logical reasoning.

To get REALLY cheesy – cause, in for a penny in for a pound – he is my sun and I am his moon.  He is constant and bright and sustaining, and I am changeable and mysterious responsible for wreaking havoc and creating calm in varying degrees and cycles.

So here is a brief list of the things that Grumpy and I have discussed over the past few days that we feel keep us together, and generally, pretty happy (most of the time).

PART ONE

1)  Laughter

2)  Honesty and trust

3)  A sizeable dose of insecurity

4)  Affection

5)  Tolerance and forgiveness

PART TWO (I’ll get this up after I land back home in NZ)

1) Generosity & being remarkably cheap

2) Core values

3) Kids

4) Adventures

5) Kindess

So let’s jump right in shall we.

Laughter:

It was fairly apparent very early on that Grumpy and I shared a somewhat strange and perhaps slightly dark sense of humour.  We are both foul-mouthed and notably lacking in our ability to filter or exercise decorum or restraint in many situations.

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In our home and our marriage, very little is sacred, and we use humour to soften the blows of some fairly heavy issues, both personally and in a wider more universal sense.

The things that we find funny would probably offend the sensibilities of many.  We are not dainty, or prim, or delicate.  Bodily functions are oft hilarious, swearing is standard, laughing at ourselves as well as each-other is compulsory, and “inside jokes” are rife within our family and inner sanctum of close friends.

Ours is a house where we laugh loud and often.  Our children learn the subtleties of sarcasm at a staggeringly young age.  Tantrums and bratty behavior (from grown ups as well as the children) are received with glib humour or met with merciless mocking.  The phrase “well, that’s just not FAIR!” is almost always responded to with such affirmative responses as: “You’re right, it isn’t fair, welcome to life kiddo, you’ve got a long way and a whole lot more injustice to shovel through yet.”

Not everyone understands or appreciates Hobbity humour, but the ones who do “get” us seem to appreciate our openness and appreciation of joy and use of laughter to defuse situations and make the journey through life a bit more bearable.

I will, however, say that we do not find cruelty or meanness funny.  While there is an element of finding schadenfreude a bit amusing (we laugh while crying after hitting a funny bone, or if there’s been a tumble and we’ve assessed that nothing is broken or maimed) we do not tolerate openly mean or subjugating humour or smugness.  Because, well, it just isn’t funny.  Mean sucks.  There is no place for callousness or cruelty in our home or hearts, and people who have a propensity towards it don’t last long in our world.

Honesty and Trust:

We do not mince words, we do not keep secrets, and neither of us is the jealous or insecure type.

Both of us are insatiable flirts.  We enjoy affection and attention, and seem to do better as a couple knowing that we are still able to turn the odd head.

Not sure how normal it is, but both of us find it quite a compliment to see other people appreciate our partner, and still be absolutely sure, that we’re going home together as we always do.

We have both thought or felt things that weren’t ideal from time to time.  Talking about these things and working through them together, either with or without a third person to counsel us when things are particularly dire, has kept us together after some events that would quite reasonably be expected to end most unions.

The most important aspect of trust between us seems to be the absolute and tacit truth that each of us holds the others heart, happiness and well-being as paramount.  I am genuinely happier to witness joy in my husband than I am to experience it first hand.  Steve puts my safety, comfort and happiness above his own without even realizing he does it.  Loving and trusting another human being with all of who you are, and potentially for eternity, means you are constantly vulnerable, so it is going to be a much more successful union when it is maintained by two people who are similarly matched in their Love and appreciation for the other.  Does that make sense?  I guess all I am attempting to say here, is that we are both “givers” not so much “takers” and we implicitly trust the other to respect and protect the other’s needs, desires and emotions.  I trust that his happiness is tied to mine, and he trusts that mine is to his, and it is all achieved and demonstrated on an almost subliminal level.  Too deep?  I’ll move on.

And it really ought to be said that there are times when one or both of us just acts like a total selfish jerk too… So it isn’t all smooth sailing I assure you.

Insecurity:

Neither of us had an idyllic past.  Perhaps nobody on earth really does, (unless they are imagining it as some sort of defence mechanism).  The result of both of us having our hearts ripped out or trod on, suffering blistering rejection, or surviving a number of failed relationships prior to finding each other, has left a lasting, but undeniably useful scars on both of us.

Neither of us think that we are the object of bona fide sexual desire of objectification from others.  Neither of us has a propensity toward narcissism or egocentric activity.  Both of us feel unspeakably blessed to have found another human being who accepts them completely, with all our flaws and all our foibles.

Being undeniably insecure, and more than a little bit needy, also means that we both crave attention and affection, from each other as well as other people.  Positive affirmation from strangers and friends alike is kind of like crack to us, which, fits in well with the honesty and trust part of the recipe that keeps us going after all these years.   We flirt.  A lot.  But both choose to remain monogamous and faithful because it is what works for us.  We have friends with open relationships, we have friends who are vehemently protective of their partners and get quite jealous over very little indeed.  Neither of these extremes suits us, and there’s a constant and evolving dialogue between us about what is acceptable and what is not.  Lines occasionally get crossed, but we always find our way back to each other and the safe place that we’ve built together over the years.  I am thankful every day to be adored and desired by Grumpy, and he, apparently, feels the same way about me.  I am not sure that we would feel that way about each other and our relationship after all this time if we hadn’t suffered a lot of heart break, sowed a lot of wild oats, had our hearts broken, or if we had actually found social and romantic relationships terribly easy in our past.

Quite apart from wanting to be seen in a positive light by others, we both seem to find a solace and perfection in each other, and ourselves, that I can’t imagine ever being matched.  After more than a decade of sleeping next to this man, and seeing him virtually every single day, I still stop in mid-sentence sometimes just to admire how absolutely gorgeous I truly think he is.   He still kisses me passionately and wraps his rather lovely strong arms around me several times a day…

Which brings us neatly to the next point:

Affection:

Seems to us, that the thing about affection, is comparable requirements and thresholds.

We are exceptionally affectionate physically and emotionally.  I am a hugger, and Grumpy is… well… he’s a bit “handsy” sometimes, and he has trouble not vocally appreciating a beautiful woman or a bountiful bosom.

Hundreds of hugs and kisses are exchanged in our household every week, and we are very cuddly with our friends and family as well.

In our marriage, we hold hands and are off the charts with PDA (Public Displays of Affection).  We fit in so well in South America, where kissing and touching each other is quite common and acceptable.  Neither of us enjoyed Dubai, as it was imperative that we not even hold hands in public there.  Than kind of restraint is simply not Hobbit compatible.

In a more conventional sense, over the years, we seem to have either developed, or become accustomed to, similar… um… appetites I suppose?  If more than a few days pass without some conjugal visiting, it is rare.  And if one of us is tired, there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll “take one for the team” and be glad of it.  But every couple is different.  Again, it seems ideal to just find a balance that works and try and stick to that.  Again, it probably has more than a little bit to do with the fact that we both feel quite lucky to have someone to be absolutely attracted to that feels the same way back.  Well, most of the time.

Tolerance and forgiveness:

The thing about being completely and inextricably intertwined with another human being, is that sometimes, that person is absolutely your LEAST favourite thing in the whole wide world.

Every relationship has bugbears.  Every relationship has the list of things that are a constant source or conflict or frustration.

When we met, we had both been through the proverbial ringer and were more than a little averse to the prospect of any relationship, let alone the forever that ours would evolve into.

The upshot of that, was that there was no “putting our best face forward” during the early days of courting.  Steve got to see my crazy very early on in the piece, as I did his, and the fact neither of us were intimidated or too concerned with the particular brand of broken demonstrated by the other set the foundation for our own strange brand of happily ever after.

We are both still quite capable of doing terrible, thoughtless, stupid or destructive things (to ourselves and each other).  The ability to work through them, communicate, and keep moving forward after a particularly impressive blow to our heart or our relationship is imperative to our union.

I have an uncanny ability to hold a grudge, be very mean, stubborn and argumentative.  Steve has almost no desire (or maybe even ability) to be a rescuer or act as my knight in shining armour.  He loathes conflict, so he generally makes me fight my own battles, sometimes to the peril of our relationship. I need a good blow out from time to time, and he waits calmly for the storm to pass.  There’s an extensive list of his faults and mine, and they come to the forefront from time to time and we fight.  Oh my word, can we fight.  So far, when we do, the result tends to be a greater understanding and closeness. Even when one or both of us is absolutely fed up and over the other, it is quite clear that we are both better off together than apart.  So together we remain.

Neither of us is perfect, we are both capable of being terrible, thoughtless or even quite cruel from time to time.  We always find each other again after a particularly big shake up in our relationship.  It is never too difficult to dig a little and be reminded of what keeps us together, and how lucky we both feel to have someone who is genuinely on our side.  But it is a work in progress, and it requires a great deal of tolerance and forgiveness, of ourselves as well as each other.

Tune in at some later date – which could be days or weeks away when I manage to finish off this amazingly lengthy blog.

Thank you for taking the time to read this stuff.  I hope you find some value in doing so 🙂

XXOO

Dee


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