Yup.  The hubster and I are officially into our fourth decade…plus a smidge.  Where does the time go?  We met on a snowier-than-normal November evening, as I was stuck in a parking lot with my car battery dying a slow death (due to an interior light being left on for two hours, unbeknownst to me).  Future hubster?  Fresh from a construction job helping his sister build her first home in Alaska, he looked like Paul Bunyan, come to life, saving me and my car that snowy night.  I don’t know if it was the full beard or the plaid flannel and Frankenstein-like hiking boots, but he loomed large – all 6’5” of him, but casting an even more imposing shadow as he stood, backlit with swirling snow and buzzing, blinking overhead parking lot lights. 

The pic of us? It was two years later, celebrating our six-month wedding anniversary. I don’t know if the men in my life will ever understand, but throughout my twenties, thirties…and beyond, every couple of years brought new hair styles. Ladies, are you with me? In the mid-eighties, this particular hairstyle rocked…the punkier and spikier the better. Sometimes my natural color (yep, brown, but I’ve taken to ‘heavy highlights’ for years because being a blondie makes it easier to cover copious grays).  But back then?  I morphed colors every year or so (deep burgundy was a favorite).  Now? Middle age drove me to love a little length and peroxide…and God bless a dear friend who’s done my hair for thirty years…I just let her do her thing.  But enough about Vicki’s hair – that’s not the point. 😉

What IS the point?  Hubs and I have had our ups and downs and challenges.  No doubt…and while plenty of people in our lives have wondered about secrets to relationship longevity, I have no secret sauce. But – I’m forever reminded that little things matter and if left untended, without a bit of nurture, they morph into big thingsStinky things that swell and take over, eclipsing the good stuff. 

Have you heard of the Gottman Institute?  Every now and again their work is highlighted anew, despite the fact that their ‘love lab’ has been featured everywhere – including in Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”.  I’m a fan of their quick take podcasts which offer relationship advice and wisdom in nifty, digestible nuggets.  No big commitment – just five minutes or so.  Like a booster shot.

The article I found yesterday pulled a few threads of “Gottman goodness” together into one feature and brought forward one of my favorite practices:  The daily check-in, the lean-in, the connecting – no matter how busy.  Like most things in life that are healthy and wholesome, they’re simple, too. Literally leaning in and being available to your partner – maybe at distinct times during the day and/or remaining open and ready to attend to him/her, as life rolls along? Impactful.  Yes – quick text exchanges “count” and yes, the hollering from another part of the house?  Yeah.  We all do it.  Communication, of a sort, is better than nothing. 

What I love about the article is the research-based reveal that leaning in and having an engaged posture – both physically and emotionally – conveys connection, attachment, LOVE.  Eyes down, multi-tasking and doing the ‘uh-huh’ routine, while our attention drifts ever-elsewhere?  Unavoidable, at times, but the Gottman’s research highlights the importance of fully focusing on our partner, our loved one.  Maybe it’s impossible to do all the time…but doing it, as much as we can?  It matters. 

Long ago the hubs and I established a practice of morning check-ins and hilariously, in our current home we have a wacky little ‘bump out’ off the kitchen. Maybe (and I’m being generous) it’s 7 x 6 foot. Tiny – but ample enough for two of our favorite chairs, positioned so they’re tilted inward, but also face our deck and yard. 

Who loves the space the most?  Given the windows on three sides, our puppy mama Sadie thinks of the space as entirely hers, but she does give way, most mornings, as the hubs and I exchange quick thoughts about the day, what needs to be done, what’s left over from the day before and highlights – what we’re looking forward to and how are we dividing up the never-ending ‘to do’ lists.  Oh – and meal planning.  We love the ’what’s for dinner’ conversation first thing in the morning. 😊

If we miss a day for one reason or another, we’re “off”.  Me? I pick up an edge in my voice, oh-so-easily and become impatient, expecting that the hubs finally – and magically – acquired mind reading skills.  What does he do?  He disengages.  Prone to extreme introversion, he’ll be happy as a clam doing his own thing which is okay for a while…but inevitably, the part of me that’s driven and task-oriented rises, looking for dialogue, which I need more than he does, to navigate the day.

And laughing whenever possible?  Oh, that’s good, too. And…leave it to Lisa, my adorable, savant sister who, despite her disabilities, can be counted on to cut through — to the heart of what matters most.  You see…Lisa loves the little room, too.  She knows the hubs and I adore the nook, but sweet Sadie loves it even more.  When we bought this house Lisa hilariously told her girlfriends that our main reason for buying it was because it had a “tiny sunroom for Sadie and for chit chat”.

Yup.  I guess that says it all.  So, here’s to chit chat and tending to our loved ones, as much as we can, without distraction.  Lean in…just lean in.  If we can wrangle a sunny spot, so much the better.

Vicki 😊

17 thoughts on “Forty Years…Plus

  1. Love this! I can just imagine that nook with the wonderful way you’ve described – and leaning in, the Gottman’s, 80’s hair, and 40 years of marriage. So much goodness!! Thanks for giving some clues to your secret sauce! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ten years, Miranda!? That’s terrific! Cheers to both of you — I’m grateful to you for reading and commenting…joining me in recognizing how important the ‘little stuff’ is. Cheers #2 — to gentle giants! xo! ❤😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re so right, Vicki, about leaning in. I heard it referred to once as full-facing, and even when reminding myself, I’m terrible at doing so sometimes. I find myself getting distracted and NOT leaning in.
    Thank you for the great reminder! And it was so fun to read a bit about how you two met, and your morning routines. 🤍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Kendra! I love the “full facing” imagery…that’s new to me…and how perfect! Hope you are doing well…has your big trip concluded? Sending love, no matter where you are. 🙂❤️🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I loved it too, which is probably why it stuck with me. I love the idea of leaning in also, as body language speaks so loudly. 😌 As to the trip, we’re in Eilat now, but just doing fun/touristy things. Then we’ll head home in a couple of days. And sending love back! 🤍

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Sunday Victoria, I am catching up today on my favorite bloggers. We are also 40+ and I liked your leaning in choice of words. After all we lean in to kiss our beloved don’t we? I have shared many times the story of my first date and how we married 6 months later. We are still holding hands and leaning in all these years later.
    We celebrate being together in small ways now. We don’t want cards, we want to share experiences, even small ones like a walk on a windy day, quiet time, movie night, coffee date, a pedicure together, always and always we are grateful to be alive and for our family and friends.

    Love at First Bite or Falling Off a Dock in the Bay

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I just realized, as I took a peek at the post you linked, that I never “followed you back”…so I just took care of that! Love the like-mindedness…better to share experiences than cards…time together is the best, although I’m not sure I could talk the hubs into a pedicure! 😉 (not that he doesn’t need one…)


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