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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Be the Gift that your Partner gets to Open Every Day

Uploaded: May 14, 2023
In Addition to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day . . .

I propose that everyday is wife/husband/significant other day. No, it doesn’t mean you have to buy a gift or flowers, or go out to dinner to celebrate each other every day. And yes, it does mean that you find ways that fit the two of you to celebrate each other every day.

You are with the person you chose. So choose her/him again everyday. Be the gift that your partner gets to open every day. See your partner as the gift you have the joy and luxury to open every day. By keeping this simple mindset, that you are the most precious, valuable, loving and lovable person to each other, you will actually behave as though you are. And soon enough, you will be.

Did I say ‘Every day”? I did. I meant to.

Please share how you celebrate one another.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Alan Fishman, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 15, 2023 at 8:02 am

Alan Fishman is a registered user.

Nice sentiment but sometimes things don't always work out that way.

And why? Because some people get married or involved in relationships that have little to do with actual love or a true appreciation of the other individual.

My wife married me because I was the best provider that she could stomach and I married her because at one time she was actually hot.

As the years passed, we grew to tolerate one another and nowadays she celebrates this tenure by going to Las Vegas with her other disgruntled girlfriends for a week or so.

As for myself, during the late summer I head-off to Montana for two weeks of solitary fly fishing and the excursion is very therapeutic as trout do not harp.

As the band Chicago once sang, "Everybody needs a holiday (I heard her say)...from each other."

And after 30 years of marriage, it works!

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 15, 2023 at 2:05 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi Alan, You are courageous to share your situation so clearly. If you and your wife are happy with your arrangement, by all means keep it going. There are lots of tools to learn to have a different relationship--as long as you are both committed to doing the work.

Posted by Aron Kaplan, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on May 16, 2023 at 9:21 am

Aron Kaplan is a registered user.

The only constructive arrangement that would work for me is an "Exit...Stage Left" strategy as commonly expressed by the thespian cartoon character Snagglepuss.

Sometimes you just have to walk away to ensure some vestige of sanity and an inner sense of well-being.

Rather than trying to works things out consider the ongoing price...costly marital therapy sessions, reluctant compromises that amount to acquiescence, and having to hold one's tongue to avoid further arguments.

Unfortunately some individuals (such as myself) cannot afford to get divorced at a certain stage in life because it would be far too costly in terms of the sacrifice...both monetarily and in real property.

Perhaps the key is not to get married (or have kids) and to keep a watchful eye on the calendar because after seven years, even a common-law relationship can have harsh fiscal implications and potential drawbacks + any pre-nuptial marital agreement can easily be challenged in court by shifty lawyers resulting in even more unnecessary expenses.

The "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine" mentality exemified by countless wives is a key culprit that only drives married people apart.

Good cooking and sex can be easily procured elsewhere.

Posted by Aron Kaplan, a resident of another community,
on May 16, 2023 at 9:23 am

Aron Kaplan is a registered user.

Correction: exemified > exemplified

Posted by Jeff Zhiang, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on May 16, 2023 at 10:12 am

Jeff Zhiang is a registered user.

In America and certain cultures, men view marriage as a societal obligation to legitimize the procreation of offspring.

Romance is a purely western ideal and not practiced everywhere. It is not a requirement.

As far as open communication and appreciation of one's mate, providing each partner fulfills their individual responsibilities, the complaints should be minimal.

No need for Hallmark cards and See's candy.

Posted by Terrence Hall, a resident of Danville,
on May 17, 2023 at 9:15 am

Terrence Hall is a registered user.

I get Ms. Anderson's drift and it can be conveyed in the simplest of ways like leaving a small appreciative 'post-it' or note inside someone's lunch bag, laptop computer, a book etc.

The key is to show some thought.

Posted by Freda Lowenstein, a resident of another community,
on May 17, 2023 at 11:06 am

Freda Lowenstein is a registered user.

To show my appreciation and love, I have always prepared my husband his favorite foods and now after 30 years of marriage he is obese with high blood pressure, excessive cholesterol levels, and pre-diabetes.

Fortunately there are medications to assist in curtailing these ailments.

Posted by Beryl Phillips, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on May 17, 2023 at 11:39 am

Beryl Phillips is a registered user.

@Freda...I tried to do the same for my husband but with an opposite approach towards home cooking.

Instead of the good stuff you obviously prepared, I opted for a more healthy diet and this only resulted in him sneaking a Big Mac or In&Out burger before arriving home for dinner.

Instead of berating my mate, I simply took out a larger life insurance policy on him.

Posted by Bob Carlton, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 18, 2023 at 7:43 am

Bob Carlton is a registered user.

Some gifts can backfire even with the best of intentions.

My wife often gifts me with hand and/or power tools of which I am very appreciative because as a husband, it is my responsibility to repair things around the house.

On the other hand, when I gifted her with a new Dyson vacuum for her birthday and some expensive gourmet cookware from Williams & Sonoma for Christmas one year, I received the 'cold shoulder' and was deeply disappointed by her lack of gratitude and appreciation.

I did not understand her unenthusiastic response because to me, cooking and cleaning is just as important as home repairs.

Posted by Jason Tate, a resident of Stanford,
on May 18, 2023 at 9:39 am

Jason Tate is a registered user.

@Bob Carlton
I ran your issue by my girlfriend and she replied that gifting pots & pans and vacuum cleaners to wives are symbols of domestic subjugation.

When I replied that I am the one who does all of the cooking and most of the housecleaning at our abode, she had nothing to say in response.

You are a very caring and thoughtful person to give gifts that serve a practical purpose. Don't be dismayed by sanctimonious women's lib dogma.

Posted by Beatrice Miller, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 18, 2023 at 10:03 am

Beatrice Miller is a registered user.

For our first anniversary, my now deceased husband gave me a set of Revere Ware and an Electrolux cannister-style vacuum.

Though the gifts were somewhat disappointing, this was during the 1950s when expectations of duty to husband and family were paramount.

Things are different today and perhaps for the worse as my recently-divorced daughter now has to pay her deadbeat ex-husband alimony!

The pre-women's liberation era served most of us well and it was only malcontent single women with professional ambitions who clamoured for social change.

To each his/her own but for many domesticated women/mothers, our lives despite the hardships were probably more fulfilling than those who try to compete with men on an unlevel playing field. Who needs that kind of aggravation?

Posted by Taylor Kendricks, a resident of Stanford,
on May 19, 2023 at 7:49 am

Taylor Kendricks is a registered user.

There was a movie, I think it was Fried Green Tomatoes where a matronly housewife greeted her husband at the door wearing only Saran Wrap.

This would be an unappreciated nightmare for most middle-aged and elder husbands.

Don't try this at home.

Posted by Derek Johnson, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 19, 2023 at 3:56 pm

Derek Johnson is a registered user.

Speaking as a single Millennial, these war stories only reinforce my personal belief that most people should remain single unless they are planning to have children and even then it is a walk over hot coals.

Both my grandparents (the Greatest Generation generation) and my parents (aging Baby Boomers who think they are still young) are divorced because they had false expectations of an ideal that does not exist.

And with ChatGPT making major life-changing inroads, one can simply create their ideal mate and then delete it when things get out of hand.

The subsequent generation (Gen Zers) will perfect this concept-lifestyle as further technology emerges.

Posted by Teresa Benson, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 20, 2023 at 9:24 am

Teresa Benson is a registered user.

@Derek is important for Millennials to have children that will eventually become part of the work force that provides the fiscal resources necessary to support Social Security and Medicare for the older generations.

Other than that, having children is a toss-up in terms of any actual rewards because if your expectations run high, you will eventually be disappointed

Posted by Griffin Roget, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on May 20, 2023 at 10:09 am

Griffin Roget is a registered user.

So the question is...if one feels underappreciated by one's 'significant other' should the issue be raised even if it leads to ridicule or a potential argument?

While open communication is often encouraged by marital therapists, I have found that sometimes it is better to keep one's mouth shut though it may lead to repression and inner resentments.

The universe doesn't care one way or the other what goes on in our lives. It is indifferent to humanity at large.

Posted by Yolanda Jackson, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on May 21, 2023 at 11:18 am

Yolanda Jackson is a registered user.

I am simply grateful that my husband brings home a steady paycheck and provides for our family. This is not the case in countless African American families.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 21, 2023 at 11:34 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hey Griffin, great questions. I think it’s how issues are brought up so you can have a calm, respectful conversation that can lead to change. There are posts here on Couples Net that explain how to communicate. On November 1, my book, I Do, I Don’t: How to Build a Better Marriage will be out, and it’s full of tools. If you want to receive an email when it’s ready to order, there’s a link on my website.

Posted by Cale Winslow, a resident of Woodside,
on May 21, 2023 at 12:50 pm

Cale Winslow is a registered user.

Concurring with Ms. Anderson.'s not so much what you are trying to convey (though very important) but HOW you express it.

Accusatory critiques and personal attacks rarely work and puts the other party on the defensive.

Speaking in terms of 'we' statements rather than 'you' towards a common or agreed upon goal can often diffuse a potentially volatile argument.

It does not take a Dr. Phil to put 2+2 together and if this simple strategy does not work....get a divorce (providing you can afford to) citing irreconcilable differences.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 21, 2023 at 12:54 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Walt emailed this to me directly, and gave permission for me to post it:
I am not a registered reader of PaloAltoOnline. I see no reason to be because I never respond or comment on articles or PAO has never made clear why I should if all I do is read the occasional article. One less password. Hence my writing to you directly which was not my original intent. I enjoyed your blog very much. I found the comments to be both humorous and sad at the same time. I thought I would try to do your exercise just to see what I would write and show my wife afterwards. Also, to illustrate to myself that I and my wife are gifts to each other and to ourselves.

I’m a 70-year-old male (much too soon about to be 71) born and raised in Palo Alto. I was married to my first wife for 28 years. I would like to believe that we would still be together had she not had a heart attack. I met my second wife through an online dating site (a different story). We were both open and honest in our messages back and forth for several months. At our first meeting in public, we walked along the Pacific Coast Trail where we traded our life stories. I told her about my past, my marriage, my hobbies, my medical issues, and anything else I could think of. I wanted to be open and clear about what she would get if she thought I was “the one” and not get any surprises after the fact. She did the same. We met in 2012. Married in 2015. We still wake up each morning glad to have the other there. I sometimes help her solve problems with her hobbies or daily events. I give her gifts not of vacuums or pots but of tools she can use to make her hobbies easier, and I show her how to use my power tools if needs be. I’ll often tell her why I need to wear sunglasses in a dark room or at night to protect my eyes from her glowing beauty. It’s important to us that we touch. It doesn’t matter how. Either a kiss, hug, a hand on the shoulder/arm as one walks by, hold hands when out for a walk or even when just going to the car, or a quick gentle pinch on the butt. Pillow talk is important too. Each morning we let each other know or ask what’s happening that day or even trivial stuff that’s not important. Since she still works (from home) I do most of the cooking and shopping. I sometimes cook things she really likes (e.g., Pine Nut encrusted Salmon) that I don’t care for. All the things I do for her I don’t need to do but I can feel her enjoyment in it. She does all those things for me as well. Just being together in a room or in our car on a trip not saying a word to each other we can feel the presence or energy. Being married is the best gift we’ve been given, ever. And like a lot of things in life, they require a little maintenance and communication. For us, the maintenance is the best part and takes very little effort. And yes… even at 70, we find each other hot.

After I wrote the above as a rough draft probably never to be refined, I thought that even as a non-registered user of PAO I can send it to you directly if anything just to show that there is at least one reader that really cherishes the gift his wife allowed him to participate in. Keep up the good work as judging from the other comments, you have job security.

Posted by Mavis Templeton, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on May 22, 2023 at 8:13 am

Mavis Templeton is a registered user.

Not all relationships are as idyllic as Walt's and must be dealt with on an individual basis which leaves plenty of room for further conflicts, arguments, and general malcontent.

Perhaps the best solution is to simply walk away when the resolutions are nowhere in sight.

Life is too short to be miserable when you can easily do something to resolve the scenario as some people are clearly not worth the expended effort.

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