Sunday, September 2, 2012

Danielle's Thoughts on Our Marriage

What leisure activities do you share with your spouse and family? 
Clinton and I really enjoy a good car trip. If the weather is nice we like to go for a drive and see the beauty around us. We also like going for bike rides. It's a great opportunity to breathe in the fresh air and get some exercise at the same time! We also enjoy the "usual stuff" like going to movies, trying out different restaurants, walking the mall and window shopping and watching our favorite TV shows (30 Rock, Raising Hope, The Office, America's Funniest Home Videos, and my husband's favorite, The Simpsons).

How do you express love and affection? 
I am a very physically affectionate person. Among family and friends I am a "hugger". I like the feeling of closeness that a good hug can produce. I'm also usually the first one to say "I love you" at the end of a phone call or visit. With my husband, I love to hug, kiss and hold hands. I make sure that whenever one of us leaves the house that we've hugged, kissed and said "I love you!". Whenever we walk together we hold hands. That's one thing I really find attractive about Clinton is that even after all these years together, he still likes to hold my hand. 
I also like to give compliments. I feel like compliments let the receiver know you appreciate and notice them, which is in and of itself, a form of expressing love and affection

What are the strengths and challenges of your marriage? 
I think one of our biggest strengths is our mutual understanding that marriage takes work. This understanding has blessed us with the ability to overcome disagreements in a calm and productive manner. This has been a huge source of strength and bonding in our relationship. It has created a trust and an anchor that both of us know that no matter how difficult a conversation or disagreement may be that we will conquer it together. 
I think another of our strengths is our senses of humor. We have been through a lot of changes and challenges in our years together, but laughter has been a great source of relief. We love to make each other laugh. We both know that if we can get the other to laugh from a clever pun or funny joke/quote--the other's going to respond likewise. We love laughing and have a great time doing it! 
One of the challenges of our marriage is our defenses. If one of us has something to say about the other, we tend to focus on defending ourselves instead of listening to what the other intends to be construed as constructive. This is something we are aware of, talk about and are working to improve through better communication of our feelings and support and appreciation for each other no matter our differences. We have learned that there are some things we'll always do differently and that neither of us is perfect or perfectly capable of changing or improving overnight. As a couple, we are a work in progress but are happy to continue that work together. 

How do you resolve disagreements? What do you do? What does your spouse do? 
When we disagree about something, become defensive, or begin an argument--we have grown to be able to better "pick our battles". Sometimes a disagreement is worth talking about, re-adressing or dropping all together. We know that there may be times when one or both of us needs to be alone to think or cool off, or that there may be a night of little sleep because something is urgent enough to be worked out right then, or that something may not be "resolved" more than agreeing to just disagree--and that's OK! I used to want to talk everything out before going to bed. I'd always heard that you shouldn't go to bed angry. Clinton, on the other hand, felt that there are times when you just need to clear your mind, sleep off the frustration and re-address it in the morning if you both still feel upset about it. This has actually worked quite well in our relationship and is used just about as often as talking things out. We then hug, kiss, apologize and move forward.

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