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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Link Thursday: 15 Ways To Stay Married For 15 Years

Hey peeps!

Been a while since I last posted a Link Thursday article. It was in my best intentions to have one up every week, though, ... and since a few of you have let me know you'd love to see this coming back, well I am obliging. *grin* There should be a Link Thursday post every week now (or else feel free to come stalk me until I get a post up!).

That being said... I was faced with the eternal blogging question - What to post??? Then the answer happened while I was on Pinterest this morning. Saw a lovely pic, but it's the title and link that had me intrigued.

15 ways to stay married for 15 years... and apparently, the advice was true-to-life and not pulled out of thin air. Decided to check it out, and couldn't believe how much I was nodding all the way through.

Hubby and I are going on 11 years here. It's been full of ups and downs and lots of broken china, but the absolute certainty is that we're in this together, for better or worse, us against the world. Funnily enough, the things I have come to realize in the decade we have shared so far all strike very close to home to what the author of this article states.

When I got married, I was 19. I thought I knew everything, like youngsters usually do. More than once, I've nearly wrecked my marriage through my own fault because I felt entitled to this or that and stuff and feelings he owed me.

But that's not how it works! He owes me nothing except for the vows he took - to love, honour, and cherish, through sickness and health (and boy, has that one been put to the test!), poverty and riches, etc, etc. I not only shouldn't expect flowers on Valentine's Day or our anniversary (they would be lovely, but trust my hubby to forget!), but the point of an ongoing marriage is that you don't need flowers on V-Day/Anniversary to make it work.

Lydia Netzer who posted the original article says it all so well - I'll let you read on & come to the same conclusion I reached once I grew up and realised it was all in my hands!

The original article is by Lydia Netzer; however, I grabbed it off the GirlsGuideTo site, post penned by Katie Ostoich (link on the article title below).

Enjoy!

*****

15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years

posted by: Katie Ostoich
at 9:44pm on: July 5, 2012

So the world is blowing up with all the details of Katie and Tom's failed marriage and all that that entails. When I was sinlge, I devoured details of celebrity divorces. The scandal! The intrigue! Now that I'm married, it kinda just makes me sad. I hate when that ever popular 50% stat is proven right. So whenever I start to get a little down about my own relationship or the state of marriages in general, I pull up what is probably my most favorite piece of writing on the internet. I know, that's a bold statement. But it's true. Author Lydia Netzer has been married for 15 years. She and her husband aren't experts on marriage, just their own, and you can tell they are super proud of their relationship and totally still in love.

As Lydia says, she and her husband Dan got married when they were 25 years old. I love her self decprication: "Looking back I’m surprised we didn’t, as 25 year olds, self-destruct just for the heck of it. Now that we are older, we are perhaps surprisingly also wiser." Trust me, they are definitely wiser.

Here are the things they have learned over the years, that helped them stay married and -- gasp! -- even happy for fifteen years. (Beyond that, she says you’re on your own. She can’t promise another 15.) Their list does not resemble the one you will find in Cosmo or Ladies’ Home Journal. She says they have never had a regular date night, nor do they prioritize “communication” or play sex games or see a therapist. He doesn’t bring her flowers every Thursday, she doesn’t cook his favorite food very often. But they do have some other ideas. Here they are in Lydia and Dan's own words!


1. Go to bed mad.The old maxim that you shouldn’t go to bed mad is stupid. Sometimes you need to just go to freakin’ bed. “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath” is prefaced in the Bible by the phrase “Be angry and sin not.” So, who’s to say it doesn’t mean “Stay angry, bitches. Don’t let the sun go down on that awesome fierce wrath of yours.” Seriously. Whoever interpreted this to mean that you should stay up after midnight, tear-stained and petulant, trying to iron out some kind of overtired and breathy accord -- was stupid. Shut up, go to bed, let your husband get some sleep. In the morning, eat some pancakes. Everything will seem better, I swear.

2. Laugh if you can.In any fight, there is one person who is really mad, and one person who isn’t that mad. That person should deflect the fight. Make a joke, do something stupid or corny, make the other person laugh. If the fight is very serious for you and you feel like you really want to plant your flag and die on this hill, fine. Do it. But if you’re fighting for entertainment, or because you’re just reacting, then you be the one to deflect. Fights are bad. Deflecting a fight whenever possible is a good idea. When you’re the one who’s being pissy and raw, and the other person helps you get out of it and brings about peace, that feels fantastic. This was a hard lesson to learn, for me. Letting Dan deflect a fight is the best thing, now. He does it really well.

3. Don’t criticize. Ever.Here is a fact: Whatever critical thing that you are about to say to your wife is already being loudly articulated in her head. And if it’s true, she already feels like crap about it. Assuming you married someone intelligent enough to like you and sane enough to let you put a ring on it, trust that they are self-aware enough to know when they screwed up. It may feel good to you in that moment to say the critical thing, let it go ringing through the air in all its sonorous correctness, but it will feel awful to hear it. The only, only way it’s beneficial to give your wife criticism of any kind is if you’re absolutely positive she is completely unaware. And you better find the nicest, kindest way possible to tell her. And even then, good luck convincing her. Their recognition of the thing you are helpfully trying to point out will be INHIBITED, not facilitated, by your criticism. And then you’re the asshole. So be careful.

4. Be the mirror.Your husband is the mirror in which you see yourself. And the things you say to him give him an image of himself too, which he will believe. You want him to believe it, so make it good. Be a mirror that reflects something positive: you’re smart, you’re successful, you’re fantastic in the sack, you’re a great provider, you’re the best. Can you MAKE him any of these things just by telling him he is? I don’t know, but consider this: the alternative really sucks. The things my husband says to me are 1000 times more convincing than anyone else’s opinion on earth. Don’t think he won’t believe you because you’re married and you’re contractually obligated to say nice things. He’ll believe the shitty, insulting things you say, and the gloriously positive things.

5. Be proud and brag.Let your spouse hear you talking about them in glowing terms to other people. Be foolish. Be obvious. It will mean everything. You will stay married forever.

6. Do your own thing.Dan races bicycles. I write books. I don’t race bicycles or have any desire to race bicycles. He doesn’t write books, nor does he even read the books that I write. Seriously. And I don’t care. My opinion is that he’s the fastest, coolest most awesome bike racer ever. His opinion is that I’m the bestest, coolest writer ever. We don’t have to know all about cycling or writing in order to form these opinions -- in fact knowledge of literature or actually reading my book might damage Dan’s opinion of me as “best writer since the dawn of time.” We can still support each other without being all up in the other person’s stuff. Doing your own thing, having your own friends, being completely insanely passionate about something that the other person has no idea, really, about, is awesome. It allows your spouse to be your cheerleader, uncomplicated by knowledge or personal investment. And it means you’ll always have stuff to talk about, because you’re not overlapping all the time. You don’t have to read the same books either. You don’t have to have the same friends.

7. Have kids.Kids stop you from being as crazy as you want to be. Because when you have kids, you can’t be that crazy.

8. Get really good at sex.You’ve got all the time in the world to get really really good, not just at sex in general, but at having sex with your one particular husband. You should make it your life’s mission to become the perfect sex machine exactly for him. And he for you. There is no reason to hold back, or be embarrassed, or not ask questions, and get everything working properly. There’s absolutely no excuse for letting years drag on without becoming fully skilled, gifted sex partners for each other. It makes everything so much better. Does talking about this make you uncomfortable? How uncomfortable would it make you to know that your spouse is secretly, silently “just okay” with your sexual performance? Yeah. You want to last fifteen years, remember? That’s a long time to be mildly happy.

9. Move.Live in different houses. In different parts of the country. Travel. Make it so that you can look back and divide up your life into the years you spent in different cities, or different houses. If you’re feeling stuck geographically or physically, you can confuse yourself into thinking you’re stuck romantically. See your husband in different places, in different contexts, in different countries even. Try it. Take him to a mountaintop and give him another look. Pretty sexy. Take him to a new city and check out his profile. Along the same lines, don’t be afraid to change personally, or let your wife change as a person. Don’t worry about “growing apart.” Be brave and evolve. Become completely different. Don’t gather moss. Stagnation is unattractive.

10. Stop thinking temporarily.Marriage is not conditional. It is permanent. Your husband will be with you until you die. That is a given. It sounds obvious, but really making it a given is hard. You tend to think in “ifs” and “thens” even when you’ve publicly committed to forever. If he does this, I won’t tolerate it. If I do this, he’ll leave me. If I get fat. If I change jobs. If he says mean things. If he doesn’t pay more attention. It’s natural, especially in the beginning of your marriage, to keep those doubts in your head. But the sooner you can get go of the idea that marriage is temporary, and will end if certain awful conditions are met, the sooner you will let go of all kinds of conflict and stress. Yes, you may find yourself in a horrible situation where it’s absolutely necessary to get a divorce. But going into it with divorce in the back of your mind, even in the way way way back of your mind, is going to cause a lot of unnecessary angst. Accept that you’re going to stay with him. He’s going to stay with you. Inhabit that and figure out how to make THAT work, instead of living with the “what if”s and “in case of”s.

11. Do not put yourself in trouble’s way.Leave your ex boyfriends and girlfriends alone. I’m sure you’re very trustworthy. Aren’t we all? The thing is, there’s absolutely no reason to test it. Your husband and your marriage are more valuable than any friendship. Any friendship that troubles the marriage should be over immediately. Protect it with knives and teeth, not because it’s fragile but because it’s precious. Don’t ass around with a “hall pass” or a “harmless flirtation.” Adultery isn’t an event, it’s a process with an event at the end. Don’t put your feet on a path that could lead someplace bad.

12. Make a husband pact with your friends.The husband pact says this: I promise to listen to you complain about your husband even in the most dire terms, without it affecting my good opinion of him. I will agree with your harshest criticism, accept your gloomiest predictions. I will nod and furrow my brow and sigh when you describe him as a hideous ogre. Then when your fight is over and love shines again like a beautiful sunbeam in your life, I promise to forget everything you said and regard him as the most charming of princes once more. The husband pact is very useful because you want to be able to vent to your friend without having her actually start hating your husband. Because you don’t really mean all those things you say. And she, the swearer of the pact, knows this.

13. Bitch to his mother, not yours.This is one I did read somewhere in a magazine, and it’s totally true. His mother will forgive him. Yours never will. If you’re a man, bitch to your friends. They expect it.

14. Be loyal.All the crap you read in magazines about honesty, sense of humor, communication, sensitivity, date nights, couples weekends, blah blah blah can be trumped by one word: loyalty. You and your spouse are a team of two. It is you against the world. No one else is allowed on the team, and no one else will ever understand the team’s rules. This is okay. The team is not adversarial, the team does not tear its members down, the team does not sabotage the team’s success. Teammates work constantly to help and better their teammates. Loyalty means you put the other person in your marriage first all the time, and you let them put you first. Loyalty means subverting your whims or desires of the moment to better meet your spouse’s whims or desires, with the full understanding and expectation that they will be doing the same. This is the heart of everything, and it is a tricky balance. Sometimes it sways one way and some the other. Sometimes he gets to be crazy, sometimes it’s your turn. Sometimes she’s in the spotlight, sometimes you. Ups and downs, ultimately, don’t matter because the team endures.

15. Trust the person you married.For two people who are trying to help each other, it can almost be harder to let the other person help you than it is to be the one who’s helping. It can be harder to let the other person deflect the fight than to be the one deflecting. It can be harder to believe that your husband is fully committed to a lifetime of marriage than to commit yourself. Harder to change yourself than to let the other person change. Harder to be loved than to love. Weird, but true. I’m saying this to everyone who’s newly married, and to myself: trust that person. Love them completely and let them love you. If it all goes to seed, it’s going to hurt either way. Better to have gone into it full throttle. Full throttle marriage is a thrilling ride.

This list is simply the best marriage advice I’ve ever read. It closely resembles a lot of what my parents live, and they are the best example of a happy marriage I’ve ever known. Like I said, I read this list often…do you agree with me that this is such smart advice? Do you do these 15 things with your husband or significant other?

{Lydia Netzer’s original article, complete with adorable pictures!}

*****

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, October 05, 2012

Progress Friday: Let me reveal my latest collaborative project, ETERNELLES

Hey beautiful people!

It's been a while since I last posted a progress report. The thing is, I didn't have tangible progress to show on my work. Yes, I've dabbling in a few projects, none less getting the brand-new Africa-centred line, Ubuntu, up with the folks at Decadent Publishing (more on that soon, I promise!). But I haven't been writing, not actual words to make sentences to make paragraphs and pages and chapters...

That being said, it's been a hectic time full of new things and ideas, and today I can tell you more about one of them. :)

Guess you do know by now that Natalie G. Owens, the wonderful author with a writing voice that gets you to sigh and wonder how any words can seem so lyrical when strung together - well, you all know she's my bestie. The sister I never had. We found each other rather late in life (some 4-5 years ago, actually), and despite me living in Mauritius and she being first in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and then on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean, over a few emails we 'clicked' and never looked back.

So sometime during the past months, after Natalie went indie, we started talking about, maybe, why not write a series together. We thought of an anthology with a similar theme ... and before we knew it, we had moved into whole new territory and were talking of a truly collaborative work, one co-written and that we could have as an ongoing series.

I cannot tell you at what point and how or when we came up with the ETERNELLES project. In the true spirit of collaboration, we wanted each of our talents to shine. My voice is much more active and in-your-face, while Natalie's is more lyrical and deep, like a rambling stream of which you find the depths little by little, every time you look more closely.

The solution came to us in the form of a story with 2 heroines - one written by me, one by Natalie. Two heroines, each with her distinct personality. We talked, we must've emailed each other 25 times a day over weeks, we compiled and we searched and we dug and we imagined...

...and this is how the ETERNELLES series came into being. That word is French for "the eternal ones/women" - fitting, as our heroines are immortals.

Today, I tell you more about this project - here you are with the blurb, and the cover.

INESCAPABLE: Book 1
Eternelles: The Beginning

For more than 2000 years, an immortal woman has looked for a reason to live...
Beautiful and ruthless,
Adrasteia 'Adri' Dionysios is the only mythical being of her kind, the unlikely daughter of the god of wine and revelry, Dionysos, and a maenad. Banished to Earth from Olympus during the Greek Dark Ages, she has roamed the world fending off the attentions of men and the petty jealousies of women while putting her knowledge of battle and her immortality in the service against Evil. Until the day she finds a mysterious baby girl in her backyard. Her life is finally complete... but now unknown forces are after her daughter. Furthermore, the dubious role of an elusive man in her life only serves to complicate things further.

A young woman who never asked to exist...
Born with phoenix and gypsy blood, and with superior mental prowess,
Seraphine 'Sera' Dionysios' origins are as yet shrouded in mystery. Her very existence defies Nature, just like Adri's. As a woman who has loved and lost, she would rather have died after a vampyre tried to make her his. But, Adri made the only choice a true mother would make: the one that would save her child. Torn between a mother whose blood she doesn't share, and a man who now possesses her soul, the only thing Sera can still cling to is her heart...

Adri and Sera fight for the innocent, but who will fight for them?

When the forces of Evil breach the lines of Shadow Bridge, the town where the mortal human world ends and the supernatural realm starts, it is up to these two women to find out the answer behind a prophecy as old as time itself.

The citizens of Shadow Bridge know one thing above any other: always protect the portal. In a place where anything can happen, the very worst will take place... unless Adri and Sera can stop the prophecy.





Yes, the women on this image reperesent the heroines - Sera on the left with the Phoenix on her face, Adri on the right with the ripple of water above her image. And FYI, Natalie is writing Sera; I am writing Adri.

We just finished with the full character profiles and the outline, and have started writing Book 1, Inescapable, which will come out in April 2013 on all major indie platforms (Kindle, Smashwords, Nook, Sony, etc).

Both Natalie and I cannot wait to share more about the series with you all. We'd eager to share how this one is different - we're both TV nuts, and this series mimics season arcs of popular shows like Supernatural, Grimm, Once Upon A Time, Charmed, True Blood, Vampire Diaries.

Get ready to meet Adri and Sera; along with a slew of other mythical characters as you'll uncover the hidden depths and nooks and crannies of Shadow Bridge. And, be prepared to meet the men in these two women's lives. I can promise you both Des and Rafe are heroes that'll bring you to your knees!

I'm so, so excited to share all this with you today! It's been killing me to keep this on the hush-hush, and now we can finally let the (squirming!) cat out of the bag!

Hope you all have a lovely Friday and weekend, peeps!

PS The Progress reports should come in more regularly now. Feel free to ask me about progress if you don't see me chime in here every Friday! :)

From Mauritius with love,

Zee