There were actually two more pieces that were supposed to run on Friday to close out "Testosterone Week." However, I was a bit predisposed and couldn't post them--My husband and I had our little baby girl S on (oh so lucky) Friday, February 13th! My husband Sandeep actually authored one of the pieces that was supposed to run last Friday--it will run, with some modification, tomorrow morning.
And--believe it or not--the other guest writer, Satya Patel, whose piece was supposed to run on Friday ALSO had a baby girl over the weekend! He and my husband now joke that, if you want your wife to go into labor, write a guest-blog and call them in the morning.
More on new motherhood--for the third time--in the coming weeks. In the meantime, welcome to the better-late-than-never last two days of Man Week. Here is Satya Patel, brand new father for the second time, on some tips for a successful marriage.
Satya Patel lives in the Bay Area, where he spends other people's money by day and plays "Daddy" and "Boo" by night. When he wrote this post, he was busy trying to come up with a name for his soon-to-be-born baby girl. Now I can only guess he is busy overprotecting her...!
My son was born a nearly bewildering three years ago. My amazing wife of almost seven years is due to give birth to our precious baby girl very soon. My wife's jovial father lost an excruciating two year battle with cancer at the beginning of this year. My own father underwent double bypass surgery four months before my wedding day. Life delivers perspective with all of the subtlety of a woman in labor demanding an epidural.
It's this perspective that I've learned to try to keep in mind as I wage war on myself and others in my role as a son, father and husband. I'm no wiser or less fallible than any other man or woman, nor do I try to be. I'm simply satisfied knowing that I attempt to live each day so that at its end I can say that it was, in sum, a happy one (not a perfect one). Not that they have always been or will always be happy days (I can recall many tough days and nights during the first year of marriage!). But it's the goal of happiness for me, my wife and my children, and the example set by my parents, that helps me make better decisions and take better actions than I might otherwise. I'm blessed to have a family that I adore, a job that's more fun than work and friends that I cherish. When I have those things, how much can it really matter that I do more chores around the house than I would like to do or that I have less time to play golf with the boys than I used to have? Those seem like small sacrifices, when I can remind myself to have perspective.
Unfortunately, actually remembering is certainly harder to do than just wanting to remember. But hey, I'm just a man, and we know that no one (especially women!) expects us to get it right all of the time!
So in the spirit of "Desiderata" and "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," two of my favorite guides to life, here is my far-from-complete list of reminders for maintaining the perspective needed for a successful marriage. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!
Marriage is work. If you don't, it doesn't.
Listen (with your ears AND eyes). Women talk to be heard. Men act to be heard. Neither wants to be ignored.
Bend but don't break. It's hard to repair shattered glass.
Let go of expectations. Expectations are usually based on assumptions. And you know what they say when you assume. So assume nothing.
Over-communicate. On the stuff that matters to you. Pick your battles. Know when to say you're wrong, even if you're right.
Ask, don't tell. No one likes to be told to do something. Or how to do it.
There are no wrong feelings, only those that you don't understand. Don't try to understand them or change them. Accommodate them.
Sex. There can never be too much (yes, even the oral kind).
You are important. You can't make anyone else happy unless you are yourself. Find your other passion and chase it. Your spouse and children are only part of what defines you.
Make time to live like newlyweds. Your children will thank you.
Say thank you (often). For the big and small. To each other and your kids.
Kids are built to survive. You will do more good than harm, as long as you try.
Want it all. But take your time getting it. Our parents had less but seem somehow to have gotten pleasure from more.
Perspective. Cling to it. Everyone is both worse off and better off than you.