10 Things I’ve Learned from Three Failed Marriages, Part 8: Date Night

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Importance of Dating

Remember when you were dating your wife before she was your wife? You wanted to be with her all the time?

Dating was fun. It got you away from the ordinary affairs of life, such as working, driving back and forth to and from work, watching television, and sleeping . . . yes, sleeping.

I remember talking into the late hours of the night when I was dating. I wanted to be with my girlfriend all the time. Then, when we actually were together all the time (i.e., got married), we stopped dating. And much of the fun went out of our marriage. In retrospect, I have to take the majority of the blame for that, if not all of it.


10 Things I’ve Learned from Three Failed Marriages, Part 7: More Do, Less Talk

Photo courtesy of taliesin at morgufile.com Was lightened slightly.

Doing Is Better Than Talking

Do something every day to show you love your wife. Talk is nice (and cheap), but doing is even better. After all, actions really do speak louder than words, especially in the area of romance.

For instance, you might offer to help her with the dishes, providing she hasn’t already hoodwinked you, . . . er, convinced you it would be in your best interest, . . . er, asked you to help her. Or you might ask if there’s anything she would like you to work on.

Of course, the downside of this is: If she tells you something you could do, then you’d better do it . . . with cheerfulness. No eye-rolling, whining, wheedling, nor any other self-serving mechanism to avoid an unpleasant task. If you don’t sincerely want to help, don’t ask.

10 Things I’ve Learned from Three Failed Marriages, Part 4: Be Spontaneous

"I love spontaneity. Like the let's-go-jump-in-the-lake-with-all-our-clothes-on kind of spontaneous. Sometimes you just need to let go." —Lauren and Shane

“I love spontaneity. Like the let’s-go-jump-in-the-lake-with-all-our-clothes-on kind of spontaneous. Sometimes you just need to let go.” —Lauren and Shane

Special thanks to Lauren and Shane for permissions to use their photograph.

Be Spontaneous

This wasn’t initially one of my ten things I’ve learned from three failed marriages because, frankly, it’s a subject I’m not very conversant with, other than intellectually. However, a friend suggested it to me and I agree that this would be a very good thing to have in one’s marriage, even though I have never experienced it to any great degree.

Looking back, I think one of the problems facing married couples, at least in my own marriages, is boredom. This most often translates into watching an inordinate amount of television or immersing oneself in projects that only involve self.

What this is saying is, for instance, “I (we) would rather watch mindless entertainment on television, including sports, than communicate with you (each other). It is more important to me (us) to watch television than it is to enjoy your (each others’) company. I (we) find more enjoyment in being mind-numbed in front of the boob tube than I (we) would, say, playing a game with you (each other) or going out to dinner.” And so forth.

10 Things I’ve Learned from Three Failed Marriages, Part 2: Hugs. Hugs. Hugs.

Hugs. Hugs. Hugs.

©2012 Cris Coleman All Rights Reserved

©2012 Cris Coleman All Rights Reserved

A hug is a universal medicine, it is how we handshake from the heart.  —Anonymous

Never underestimate the power of a sincere and well-timed hug, especially when one is 1) not supposedly deserving of it; 2) when one is stressed out; and 3) just any old time.

10 Things I’ve Learned from Three Failed Marriages, Part 1: Never Tire of Holding Hands

©2012 Cris Coleman All Rights Reserced

At first glance, one might wonder just how much a person can learn, let alone teach, from having been married and divorced three times. That’s not what I would call a good track record by any stretch of the imagination.

But appearances can be deceiving. You see, I really have learned a few things. Failure is often the best teacher, after all, providing a person is willing to learn.

Unfortunately, some people are more willing than able. So, for some people, learning takes a lot longer. Such is my case.

You see, I still have issues, such as being not able to trust—too many heartaches still too fresh on my mind, if you know what I mean.

Nevertheless, what I have learned can help others keep their marriages fresh and vibrant, if adhered to—sincerely and honestly—and . . . if one is willing to have an open mind and heart.

Happiness vs. Pleasure

This image is in the public domain

Many people, I am sure, view happiness and pleasure as being the same thing. I’m not one of them.

To me, the long and short of it is as follows (in no particular order):

  • Happiness comes from within; pleasure is the result of an external stimulus.
  • Happiness is a state of being; pleasure is a fleeting moment in time.
  • Happiness can exist, even thrive at times, in unpleasant circumstances; pleasure flees from unpleasant circumstances.
  • Happiness may seem remote or non-existent in stressful or sad times, but it never truly goes away; pleasure is never truly present in similar circumstances.
  • Happiness is the natural state of a child when properly nurtured and cared for; pleasure-seeking is the natural state of the child and adult when happiness is not present.
  • When happiness is present, there is a feeling of spiritual fullness; when pleasure is present, there is a feeling of physical and/or emotional fullness.
  • With happiness comes contentment; with pleasure comes the knowledge that it doesn’t last and we’d better enjoy it while we can.
  • When happiness is gone, there is comfort in knowing that it will come back; when pleasure is gone, there is a feeling of emptiness that cannot be filled except through finding another pleasurable moment.
  • Happiness seeks to fulfill something beyond self; pleasure seeks to be fulfilled in self.
  • Happiness is self-love; pleasure is self-absorption.
  • Happiness is connected with one’s higher- or God-self; pleasure is connected only to self.
  • Happiness is permanent, although not always present; pleasure is temporary and lasts only as long as it can be held onto.

While some may argue one or more of these points, I think they will pretty much stand up to scrutiny. At any rate, I do not propose to argue them.

Some say there are always exceptions to every rule. While this is generally true, I do not propose these points as rules, but guidelines only, something to measure one’s moment by.

I think it’s important to take the time to measure where we’re at on this good ship, mother earth. Do we want something that lasts or are we merely content to live from one pleasurable moment to the next?

Only you and I can answer that.

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