The other week on my flight home from Texas I read an article in Time Magazine by Joel Stein about Mark Zuckerberg’s new marriage. No pre-nup, backyard wedding, taco truck. You’ve heard this one. But this article was about how they’ve made their relationship work through all the facebook craziness. They have rules. A relationship agreement, if you will. The main ones are:
- He had to take her on a date each week and…
- He had to spend at minimum 100 minutes of alone time with her outside of the office or his apartment each week.
The rest of the article was kind of funny and kind of stupid, so I didn’t give it much thought except for airplane entertainment. Well, that is until yesterday.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far about marriage: There is an ebb and flow to all relationships, and with marriage it is no different. The different comes with the fact that you live with that person rain or shine, happy or sad, stressed or not, whether they have caught a train to crazy town, been seduced by the irrational-fit-throwing-goddess, or are the normal endearing neurotic they are most of the time. It doesn’t matter because ’till death do you part. So after three weeks of living with a confused and anxious 11 year old boy who was masquerading around as my husband yesterday I hit my breaking point.
The good thing about a breaking point is that it usually gets you out of the house. Since I was already downtown, I aimed to stay there. Kamel, having pulled his head out of his ass just in time, galloped in (with the help of Caltrain) on his trusty white steed to meet me. My stipulations were: We had to go get a drink somewhere, and we were going to talk about whatever the hell was going on without him making a scene. He agreed.
And then we set down some ground rules. I got three and he got three. Because here’s the deal; even though we often have the best intentions of being our best selves, sometimes we need a little help. Sometimes it’s not enough to say “Yeah, I need to manage my time better.” Or, “You know, I should really take more alone time, it always makes me feel so sane.” Or, “I really need to stop being an ass hat, I’ll work on that immediately.” Sometimes we need some help with the follow through.
Our rules involve the way we listen, giving each other permission to be alone, even if we’re just in the other room sometimes, going for a walk at least once a week, and restricting our computer time. Sometimes life just gets out of hand and takes over our minds. Sometimes we forget it’s ok to step away, to say no, that the other person will be there when we get back.
This ’till death do you part thing can be exhausting. But we’re working on it. Admitting you’re wrong, letting things go, not hating each other for being douchebags – that is a shocking amount of work! If you made your own ground rules, what would they be? Have you done this before and how did it pan out? I want to hear from you today.