Shees, Valentines Day soon? Already?

The month of love and all that. Actually, it’s almost our second wedding anniversary – yikes! I still don’t really know our approach to Valentines Day, or if we even have one. Anyway, I found these Valentines Day cards online which I thought were pretty epic that I thought I’d share. Happy love month to everyone, and here is some inspiration for next Friday.

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Relationships: It’s not all “what you see is what you get”

Yesterday Greg and I took some time to celebrate his post exam freedom and just reconnect. It was a much needed experience that required some selfies:

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Post exam drinking party!

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I was particularly intrigued by the amount of social media “traction” these pictures were getting. So many likes, from so many of our friends.

But no-one knows what really happened that day. How I had such an awful day. How we fought. Had a long crying conversation together. How I expressed my concerns that we’d become boring, and a little bit distant. How I was super vulnerable and weepy and the tears just wouldn’t stop streaming down my face, even once our discussion had concluded. (And listen, I’m really not “that” type of girl)

Because we don’t air our dirty laundry. Nobody knows these things. Our Social Media profiles are like our personal little “highlights” real. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I like to remember the good times and memories. Selfies are for the smiley moments, not the mopey ones. While a difficult discussion and a bit of a cry might shape me into thinking of something differently, I don’t need to remember the sadness.

It just got me thinking, and I found it very interesting regarding what we choose to show the world. I know I do it. I love posting happy pictures of Greg and I. Certain things are for Facebook, some for twitter, some for instagram, some for the blog, and some for a combination of the above. I’ve also come across so many articles in magazines about Social Media envy. You’ve never thought that there could be such a thing? Those feelings when you see someone just got engaged/married/had a baby/bought a house/got a new job? We all see these things.

But you just don’t know, do you. I guess you need to give people the benefit of the doubt. Everybody has their own struggles, and I know that if (as the old saying goes) we all threw them into a pile, and saw the problems of others – we’d very promptly pick our own ones back up, and be very thankful for them.

Some ladies bloggers on twitter the other day hosted #nofilterday and encouraged people to share pictures of themselves first thing in the morning before their coffee, without make up, or that pile of dishes that got left in the sink, the mess in their homes. A reminder that we’re not all perfect, despite what is “perceived” online (and sometimes even in person).

Greg and I are fun people individually, and also as a couple. We like to do fun things and take pictures while we’re out, as little reminders to ourselves. Even in person we are light-hearted, laugh at one another and joke around. But it’s not always like that. Our relationship isn’t perfect. It’s just that you don’t need to parade these things into internet-universe. It’s not about being “fake” or about censoring our lives (and relationship), it’s just that some things are personal and we like to keep them private.

We’re incredibly happy and in love and all that jazz. But we’re also real, we also fight, we also argue, we also cry. Sometimes we’re mean, we make sure to apologise, to acknowledge when we’re wrong and when to listen. And sometimes we get all of that really wrong. We’re not perfect, but I like us a lot.

Birthdays, presents, and cake – of course.

I woke up very excited about Greg’s birthday yesterday morning.  It must be known that I’ve been a very bad wife the past week, spending my Sunday shopping for gifts and every night in the kitchen doing some form of baking, and then came the gift wrapping and card writing. So I’ve been kinda MIA and was very excited to finally share all this birthday goodness with him. I had to call his name a good couple times to wake him. (Side note a) this is because he sleeps with earplugs. Sidepoint b) 99% of days he’s up before me, so waking him is an infrequent occurance). I started singing in my best “happy birthday” voice, promptly stopped because it sounded terrible and bombarded him with my little package of presents.

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Birthday boy with his gifts. And AWESOME wrapping paper. Which I bought in January. (it is now April…)

I got him some really sweet gifts. A game of rummikub (rummy – the game. I always said how much I sucked, and he joked he’d buy it for my birthday, but I guess I got to him first :P), a set of cuff links (because I think guys look good in cuff links. I think Greg looks good, hence, he needed a set of cufflinks) and a little book of home made vouchers. Strangely, I think he liked that one the most – and it cost me nothing. Shows how you really don’t need to spend a lot of money to give someone a great gift they’ll appreciate.

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Birthday biscuits and some samples from the coupon book.

Later when I got home there was cake. And candles. And singing (ok, maybe I didn’t sing). I was pretty secretive about the cake – but he loved it! He always asked if he’d be allowed in the kitchen in case he should see what I’ve been preparing. I’m no Martha Stewart, or Cake Boss’ buddy (please, far from – that cake looked like a royal flop before it got iced!) He (not-so-)secretly is loving all the attentions from me, I can tell. But hey, the kid deserves it. It was a plain vanilla cake covered in a cream/caramel treat/peppermint crisp mixture, biscuit around it reading “Greg is 26”, complete with Happy Birthday candles. I was very proud of myself. And omg did it taste delicious (2 slices later!)

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Birthday cake – surprise!

We went out for supper afterwards, after all the cake I had no idea how I was going to manage it!. But we did. We actually tried new things on the menu, and even managed to fit in dessert of deep fried ice-cream (deff not the healthiest, but it was a birthday treat. We’ll gym on Sunday :P). It was really such a great birthday, even though it was a work day so we didn’t actually even see each other for most of it. But what we did – was good. I was very satisfied, and felt as happy as if it were my own birthday.

Happy birthday my Groggery 🙂

It’s easy to forget to make “us” time when you live together.

Its funny, you see. On the one hand you think its so great being married, because you get to see your +1 every day, whenever you like! Thing is, its not as often as I’d like. I mean, we see each other, but it doesn’t mean much. Seeing, vs. talking or communicating are completely different activities. You can see a person but be too busy to connect or bond with them. You can be in each other’s company, but be on your own mission entirely. And while sometimes that’s ok and necessary, sometimes the opposite is true too. When you’re dating (and not living together, as was with us) you need to consciously make time in your schedule to see each other.

Recently we’ve been very busy. Over Pesach (8 days of it, remember) we spent most of our time at shul, eating meals at friends (big crowds don’t quite mean “alone time”). Or napping or reading (not entirely social activities). Gymming is also not quite the time to catch up. Thursday night we were in the kitchen till 11pm cooking for shabbos, Saturday night had a 21st, Sunday I spent the day doping for birthday presents, then baking until we ended off the evening or for dinner with my family.

So sometimes you need to schedule that time – and tonight I plan on playing scrabble. With some wine perhaps. We like board games, and we don’t play them often enough. So sometimes it’s one of the best games to just chill out and relax with. And sometimes, I guess you just need it.

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(irony: I’m somewhat competitive when it comes to games, and I thoroughly dislike losing. So maybe “relaxed” isn’t the best way to put it 😉



Update: We had a really fun time playing last night. Even though I lost, so I landed up giving up… but it was great to just laugh and talk over silly things 🙂

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I was nowhere near winning this one.

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Greg won this by a long shot. 273 – 192. Sigh.

 

Appreciation.

I woke up this morning to Greg tip-toeing into the bedroom and going through my cupboard. “What are you doing in my cupboard?” I asked, still half asleep. “I need hangers for the laundry.” “Oh, are you doing it now?”, “I’m almost done, I just needed some more hangers” 🙂 Now, we’d decided we’d do laundry this evening as we wouldn’t have time between work and tonight (appointments, gym, a friend’s birthday dinner), so I was ready to do it later. When I heard Greg say he’d already done it this morning, well, my heart swelled a little.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of “The 5 Love Languages“, I’m pretty sure it started as a book or something which we were encouraged to read when we went through this pre-marriage counselling (there were no problems, we had to go through a small 4 session course to be married by the Beth Din – they’re like, the Jewish Court. Actually, I think that’s exactly what they are.) Anyway, I digress.

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So we never read the book, but I stumbled on the website a while back and for the hell of it during my lunch break took the quiz. The questions felt somewhat repetitive sometimes, and I don’t remember  what my exact results were aside for that my dominant “language” was “acts of service”.

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It made perfect sense. I don’t feel I need gifts from Greg (that’s not to say they’re not appreciated. When he gave me my bracelet he got for me in Israel on our anniversary, I cried not because of the thoughtfulness of his gift but the lengths he went through to get it for me, and the meaning behind it). I don’t need words of affirmation, and him telling me how beautiful I look every day (he does this, but I’m never quite sure how to handle it or respond). While I do find quality time and physical touch important, I guess it’s acts of service that really make me the happiest.

Helping around the house, doing me a favour, running an errand I’m unable to do myself, helping me with xyz, even just listening to me when I’m freaking out or worrying about something that is possibly unnecessary. These are things that fill me with infinitude gratitude and appreciation. There really are very few people in the world who would have this amount of patience for you. It may have just been laundry, but to me it was something I really appreciated as he didn’t have to do it on his own. He could have watched series while I slept and we’d do it tonight. No, not Greg.

I noticed that an item of clothing I needed for the weekend hadn’t made it in with the load, I said I’ll handwash it tonight. Next thing I know, I’m brushing my teeth and Greg comes into the bathroom – “don’t worry, I’ve washed it for you.”

Big smiles, and so much appreciation and gratefulness for this guy.

(Take the quiz if you’re bored, it’s kind of interesting to know what makes you/your loved one tick, and act appropriately towards them)

It’s important to date, even once you’re married.

When you’re a couple dating (and don’t live together), almost every day you’re trying to see each other or to go out and do something. Now you live together. You see each other either way, and because you just want to see each other, you sometimes are quite happy to just settle at home.You become happy to just lie in bed and watch series at night, or play a boardgame, or get busy with the piles of dishes you have to do before having to go get ready for bed so you can function at work the next morning.

In general Greg and I don’t go out too much. But we decided a while ago that we need to go out on dates. Getting out of the house is really important. While domestic bliss is fun and all, sometimes you just need to run out like the star-crossed lovers that you are deep inside.

So last night we went to the Pink Flamingo, an outdoor cinema set up at the roof of the Grand Daddy Hotel in Longstreet, to watch The Breakfast Club. It’s kind of like the happy union of a drive in, and an open air theater. They have a variety of price packages, and you get a little goodie bag of popcorn and sweeties. Sadly, we couldn’t eat the stuff, and were told we could bring our own snacks (We may have gone overboard bringing an entire picnic basket including an old school popcorn box). Even though it was just a movie (which isn’t the most social of events) it was really good to get out and do something fun and different.

I really recommend you check out the Pink Flamingo, I’m sure they’ll have plenty great movies showing in the Summer time!

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Greg kept me entertained before the show making sponge balls appear out of our colourful blanket.

 

 

Marriage is really hard work.

Before you get married, you know that it’s going to be hard work and that it’s not going to be fun and games. Even after the wedding, you have little bits and pieces to adjust to and it all takes time. But you don’t really understand how hard you have to work at it until things go wrong. Everyone is so used to seeing the happy couple, “they’re so cute” etc etc. Yes, that’s because we don’t parade our private lives out in public. It’s not for you to know.

Fighting is normal, and as a friend pointed out to me: healthy. A part of me knows she’s right. But I hate fighting. I hate admitting I’m wrong. I hate the shouting, the crying, the extreme emotions, the puffy eyes the morning after. I’m a pretty hard-ass person when I’m angry. I put my bitch face on, and God help you if you attack me because your head WILL be bitten off.

The thing is when you’re married, you’re not just fighting with any old person. And I’m learning this step by step. I’m learning how to watch what I say to people when I’m angry, how I say things to others, and the impact the things I say can have on someone else. You should never go into a relationship in attempt to change someone to be how you want them to be, but it’s something else entirely when you work together and through discussion come to realise things about yourself and how perhaps there are small things you should/could change. It’s not that the other person is trying to change you, they’re only trying to help you be a better you.

I feel like I’m growing up. I’ve realised that fighting and arguing isn’t just about who is right and who is wrong anymore, as it was when we were all children. There can’t always be a winner or a loser. At the end of an argument, you want to come out with a better understanding of each other and learn something new about yourself, your spouse/partner, how you handle situations. Arguing isn’t about winning, it’s about coming to a mutual understanding, and learning more about yourself from it.

I only recently turned 23, and have only been married for a mere 6 months. But there really is a lot you can learn is such a short amount of time. I’ve been told that the first year of marriage is the hardest, and it really has been challenging so far. No matter how much you love your spouse to the end of the earth and back (and probably more!), you will not evade a big argument, no matter how perfect your relationship. This may not seem like wisdom to those who’ve been married for years and years, but perhaps it could serve as a gentle reminder.