Thanks to Kim Watters for the invitation to visit you all here at Much Cheaper Than Therapy as part of the It Happened On Maple Street International Blog Tour. If you’re just joining us, my husband, Tim Barney, and I are on tour for our new Book, It Happened On Maple Street – our true life love story. A complete tour schedule, allowing you visit past blogs, is posted at www.tarataylorquinn.com.
The thinking on this site fits me. Tim will tell you. My favorite line every time I want a glass of wine is…it’s much cheaper than medication! The caveat, though, is that, if I’m drinking a glass of wine – so is Tim. Which means that if I need medication, he gets stuck medicating, too. Tim and I have a relationship that I suspect would make therapists shake in their shoes – or at least shake their heads and take a lot of notes, making dire predictions and giving loads of advice. Because we do just about everything together. We took the old adage, the two become as one, literally.
I don’t for one second believe our way of life is right for anyone else. But I know that it is right for us. And what I want to share with you today – the piece of advice I have to offer – is not the way of life, but the reason for the way of life.
Tim and I met when we were still too young to understand that life was serious and that every choice had a consequence that could last forever. We fell deeply in love before we were mature enough to recognize that the gift we’d been given was mutual. We walked through fire without each other before, deeply burned, we once again came together – this time to recognize instantly that we were once in a lifetime soul mates.
This time, we also had maturity and many life’s lessons to bring with us into the mix as we set up life together. We’d broken each other’s hearts once before and neither of us could sustain a second hit with that intensity. Our decision to be together was the most serious decision either of us were ever going to knowingly make and we had to give it the attention it required. And that’s what we’re sharing with you today – our advice on how to set up a successful life with the one you love:
1. Know yourself. Be bone deep honest with yourself and your partner about what you really want and need out of life. This can’t be about what your partner needs, but only about what you need. Know your bottom line. Because when times get tough, and they will, when life has taken the wind out of your sails (whether that be the death of a close loved one, a job loss, financial stress, injury, mistakes) all you will have to give and all you will be able to take is what’s down there on your bottom line. If money is your bottom line, now is the time to be honest about it. When it comes time to make the difficult decisions, your partner has to know and be willing to live with decisions that come from a basis of money. If your bottom line is family – same thing – your partner has to be okay with the fact that you make your big decisions based on how they effect what you consider to be your family. This is not a time to hide your less than stellar qualities. It’s a time to be completely honest about them. In order to truly trust him to be there for you during your hard times, you have to know that he sees the real you. Loves the real you.
2. Listen to your partner – not for what you want to hear, or hope to hear, but only with the goal of knowing who he or she is in the ultimate sense. Who is he going to be when all of his chips are down? That is the person you will be living with during the big decision making times. Make certain, in your deepest heart, that you are okay with who he is, right there, on his bottom line. This is not a time to see his potential, or his intentions, but to see who is really there at his core. If, on the bottom line, family comes first with you, and money comes first with him, you have a problem.
3. Have the courage to sit with each other, at the core, and see if the two can co-habitate through the bad times. Good times are easier. It’s the bad times that will really show the two of you who you are together. You have to know that your needs and his needs can gel even during the worst of times. There will be times when opinions and wants and ideas differ!!! Of course!!! We’re talking bottom line here. This is not an exercise for the weak! It can take weeks. Or months. And you have to be open – both with what you’re sending out and taking in. You might find, as you talk, that what you thought you most needed was only a symbol for what you really really need. You might find that what seems dichotomous on the first go round is, bottom line, exactly the same. The biggest key here is to not get defensive. Bottom line – you can’t help what you most need. And neither can he. Your goal is not to make him give you and accept from you what you most need and what you are capable of giving. The goal is to find out if what you most need and are capable of giving, are synonymous with what he is capable of giving and what he most needs.
4. When you know who you are as a couple, if you find a place that works for the two of you – shut your ears. Every single person on this earth has an opinion. Most of us have people in our close circle. Those people will probably feel a need to share their opinions with you at some time or other. They usually mean well. And, for them, they are probably right. But if you are going to be in a successful partner relationship, only you and your partner can be present in the definition and maintaining that relationship. (Being close with others is great – just not in the core of the partner relationship!) This, by the way, is one reason why it is vital for you to be self honest. It doesn’t work if you give up self. Because in an honest, core deep relationship where you represent you and he represents himself, there is no one else there to advocate for the you you just abdicated.
5. If the relationship has been defined and you are both honestly happy with the definition, stop thinking of self and think of the other. It’s a fine line between being self honest and being selfish. One makes a relationship. The other breaks it. You have to be willing to sacrifice small picture wants and needs, or to compromise them, as daily life starts throwing balls at you. If your core relationship is set and solid and understood and accepted by both of you, then the small picture compromises are much easier to make. And they are made on both sides as situations dictate.
6. Re-visit your core needs on a regular basis. This doesn’t have to be a major task, but can be as simple as a random statement of happiness based on having a core need met. Tim and I wrote our wedding vows to each other, based on our core needs. We have it all in writing! (No surprise there. I’m a writer.) We also re-affirm our understandings in little ways every single day. There are a few key things we do every single day – no matter how busy or sick or even upset we might be – we do them because they stand for our core selves.
Tim gave us a motto – as you will find if you read It Happened On Maple Street. Three words. Simple words. And they carry the power to see us through eternity together. We Go Together.
This post is brought to you as part of the It Happened On Maple Street International Blog Tour. For a complete tour schedule visit www.tarataylorquinn.com. All blog commenters are added to the weekly basket list. Gift Basket given each week to one randomly drawn name on the list.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, or if you suspect someone is, please contact www.thehotline.org, or call, toll free, 24/7, 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). The call can be anonymous and is always confidential. There is not one second of life that is worth wasting.
Next tour stop: Friday, May 27, Guest Blogging Site: http://guestbloggingsite.com/.
To get your copy of It Happened On Maple Street, visit your favorite bookseller, or www.maplestreetbook.com.
Don’t miss The Chapman Files! Still available at: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Tara+Taylor+Quinn.
It Happened On Maple Street is available on Kindle and Nook, too! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0757315682/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d2_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0SKJ9D86BB5XG2BPT4MV&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846; http://search.barnesandnoble.com/It-Happened-on-Maple-Street/Tara-Taylor-Quinn/e/9780757315688/?itm=15&USRI=tara+taylor+quinn.