01 July 2010

Summer of Love

This summer is the summer of weddings for me. One of my old roommates is getting married in Sacramento at the end of this month. (Road trip!) One of my best friends from back home is getting married in September. Plus, two of Eric's cousins are getting married this summer. Come to think of it, I don't know exactly when one of them is getting married, but I am assuming it is this summer.

All these weddings and showers and such have led me to a couple of questions:
  • What are the most useful/best gifts we got five years ago?
  • What have I learned in the last five years?
  • What is the single best piece of advice I could give somebody who is getting married?
And of course, I can't run around asking such questions without at least attempting to answer them.

All of our kitchen stuff has been really useful, but I think the best gift we got was our rice cooker. Hands down, it has received more use than any other thing that we got. Well, maybe not anything. However, if we had not received a rice cooker, I don't think I would have necessarily purchased one. I thought they were handy, certainly; that is why we registered for one. But I didn't realize just how much we would use that thing, and how much we would love it. With that said, I don't know that I'll get rice cookers for everybody who is getting married this year. I love mine, but will they love theirs? Will they have room in their kitchen for one? Will they find it as gosh darn amazing as I have found mine?

I could write a whole bunch of posts about what I've learned in the last five years. More than anything else, I've learned about communication. I've gotten a lot better about expressing myself in sensitive ways, especially when I am agitated. I have learned that sometimes I need to be very direct when telling Eric what I want or need from him. He isn't a mind reader, and I shouldn't expect him to be. Sometimes that means I have to say, "This is the point in the conversation where you tell me that I'm awesome." I've gotten better at expressing my own feelings and at telling Eric how much I like him and otherwise complimenting him and expressing my appreciation. So, yeah, communication. I think it was just something I've had to learn by doing.

My best piece of advice for anyone on just about any topic is "Figure out what works for you." I'm happy to share with you what works for me, but that's just it - it works for me. You and I are different. What works for one may not work for the other. I think it's great to seek out advice, but ultimately you have to figure out how your lifestyle aligns with your goals and your preferences. If you have a problem you can't solve, feel free to seek out advice, but don't feel like you have to solve your problems exactly the way other people solve theirs. Case in point: A piece of advice you hear often is "don't go to bed angry." I can see where people are coming from on this one; you shouldn't let your anger fester and go unresolved, but the later I stay up, the more likely I am to say something hurtful. It is better for us to say, "We can talk about this tomorrow. I love you. I'm going to sleep now." I just do better at life when I'm not tired; and I do better with my problems when I've had time to think them over and figure out exactly why I am feeling a certain way over them. This works for me. It may not work for you, and that's fine.

What useful gifts did you receive? What have you learned? What piece of advice do you like to share?


Mariah said...

Best gift - a chopping board. A nice big, thick, beautiful wooden one. Also handmade aprons were nice. And flash linens (we got a sheet set and a duvet set) that are way more expensive than we would buy.

Lesson learned - sometimes laughing can dissolve an argument in it's tracks. Also, it's not the end of the world, it's just a bad day. I get stuck into my life in my four walls and what happens in here seems like the end of the world or the best day of my life. Need to keep perspective on the down days.

Advice - What my mother told me: It's not going to be perfect, so don't expect it to be. If you like something he does, tell your husband. If you don't like something he does, tell your husband. Because he really has no idea what you're thinking.

Jennifer Lee said...

Best Gift: Food processer. Or cash. We got married a little older and pretty much had all household needs (including two rice cookers!) already taken care of.

Lesson: Keep talking. Silence only makes the argument worse. Always, always, always be willing to say sorry even if the only thing you did was not listen to the other person very well.

Advice: You will have to make some decisions that will be different from how your parents would have made them. That is OKAY.

Jenny said...

KNIVES. Good ones. They're expensive, but a good set of knives is irreplaceable.

NEVER call each other names. Not even in jest.

Communication is KEY in every aspect of marriage. Good advice.

Ana said...

We had tons of dinner sets and glasses (in hindsight - this was good in a way as so many were broken!) but no one got us a toilet brush and toilet brush holder OR cutlery - I don't know about the cutlery but I'm guessing at least with the toilet brush and holder not too many people (if any) will have thought of it! - Sometimes it's a good idea to wait till after they've received their gifts and then "fill the gap" by asking what they didn't get or could use more of.

Lesson learned - you totally don't need to argue - you can disagree without arguing.

Advice - don't focus on negatives - you can't change people, only they can change themselves.

P1 Steven said...

I completely agree w/ Jennifer Knifes are AWESOME!. i would say crock pot, but we got three of those. Maybe two gift cards. One for the male & one for the female.