My new book, The Sweet Life: Ida LeClair’s Guide to Love and Marriage, comes out in two and a half weeks, and I’m wicked excited about it! To celebrate, my next few blogs are going to feature excerpts from the book. Here’s a bit from Chapter 2, “Getting Back to Basics.”
Relationships are not rocket science, though sometimes it feels like sending a rocket into space would be easier. People have been coupling up since the dawn of time. That’s before cell phones and computer dating, before couples counseling and prenuptial agreements, before manscaping and the Brazilian (which I learned about recently and, let me tell you, I’m still in shock).
As with anything else that you want to last, it’s best to lay a good foundation before adding on the fancy schmancy stuff. Then if things start feelin’ a little wonky, you know what to do. You get back to basics.
That said, if you kind of skimped on the foundation, and now you find yourself with just a little crawl space, you can choose to build a better foundation startin’ from right where you are. It’s about showing up, getting your priorities straight, respecting each other, and taking care of yourself.
I learned about marriage from my parents. They were married just shy of fifty years, and they had the kind of good, strong marriage that time and commitment bring. As Dad says, “A good marriage is like a good fire; you have to tend it to make it burn bright.”
Growing up, our parents used to tell Irene and me, “Our number-one priority is to each other, you girls second. ’Cause if we don’t take care of our marriage, we won’t have a foundation strong enough to support this family.”
That may sound shocking nowadays where all the focus seems to be on putting children first. But as a kid, I found this notion very comforting. First off, our parents told us outright what they were doing. Kids love to know what’s going on. Second, our parents never felt guilty for spending time together without us girls. They didn’t believe they were doing anything wrong, so Irene and me didn’t either. And third, they were always so happy when they got back from a breakfast out or an overnight in Bangor. Plus, we still did a lot of stuff together as a family. Except for their dates, they took us most everywhere with them. But spending time with Irene and me never seemed like an obligation to our parents. They were energized in their relationship, and they shared that energy and enthusiasm for life with us.
Looking back, I realize that my parents didn’t have a lot of extra money, but they always managed to scrape together a little for a date. Sometimes they just bought a couple of beers at Blue’s general store, drove up to the Moose Megantic Lake Overlook, parked, and talked (or whatever). It wasn’t about spending money; it was about spending time together, just the two of them.
Makin’ a good marriage even better doesn’t have to be a big, complicated thing. Just showing up is a good beginning. But trust me, that’s harder than it sounds because it’s easy to get caught up in the business of life and before you know it, you’re MIA from your relationship.
In The Sweet Life, I’ll give you some practical tools to help stop that from happening.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
Save the Date
May 19: Book Launch & Potluck Supper: The Sweet Life: Ida LeClair’s Guide to Love and Marriage, John F. Hill Grange Hall, 6:00 to 8:30pm, Eliot, ME
Upcoming Book Events and Performances
May 24: Book Reading: The Sweet Life, Patten Free Library, http://www.patten.lib.me.us/ 6:30pm, Bath, ME
May 28: Ida: Woman Who Runs With the Moose, The Castel on Charles http://www.castlenh.com/ 8:00pm, Rochester, NH
June 2: Book Reading: The Sweet Life, Hubbard Free Library, http://www.hubbardfree.org/ 6:00pm, Hallowell, ME
June 25: The Best of Ida, Celebration Barn Theater, http://www.celebrationbarn.com/ 8:00pm, South Paris, ME