Jul 30, 2015

My Man is The Man - an Uncharacteristically Sentimental Post

I don't normally do this, but I'm writing my vows and it's making me feel feelings.  If you're not one for excessively long and sentimental expressions of heartfelt... ok, nevermind, I can't do this.

Here's a slightly less sappy summary of how and why my boyfriend/fiancĂ©/soon-to-be-husband is the best.  And, if I'm being honest, this is totally part of my brainstorming for my vows.

1. He Listens

While we occasionally run into the "let me solve your problem" issue that so many men and women have trouble with, most of the time Ryan is fantastic about just listening to my feelings and telling  me it's perfectly ok to feel that way.  Since validating my feelings is usually half the battle to feeling better, this is probably the most meaningful thing he can do.  And I know that when he says, "Talk to me, Goose" I can just spill out everything on my mind with no fear of judgement or ill feeling.

2. He Helps

If the relationship books can be believed, most men are hardwired to be problem solvers.  When I started my healthy eating journey, it was really hard for Ryan to not help.  But after getting snapped at a few times when he mentioned that I might not need to eat that ____, he got the point and shut up.  Despite my ungracious responses to his previous offers of help, he was very quick to offer again, when I admitted I was in a slump a couple weeks ago.

I told him no, that I had to figure it out on my own, but the amount of junk in the house was making it very difficult.  Lo and behold, it all disappeared!  It's a silly example, BUT the fact that he finds positive ways to support my goals and actually pays attention when I tell him which ways don't work for me is something I'm immensely grateful for.

3. He has Goals

I'm big on self improvement and personal goals.  I try not to push this onto other people, but I have to admit: the idea of someone not having goals baffles me.  I used to be the person who'd ruin the party because my idea of small talk was, "What do you want to do with your life?"  Ryan's goals might be different than mine, but I've slowly come to see that he's been working on himself at least as hard as my own efforts.  Some of our disputes are practically Brady Bunch-esque, and I see that as a sign that our hard work is paying off.  On that note...

4. Our "Fights"

When we first moved in together, we had a few spats.  I think the worst patch was probably when we were both unemployed and stressed out.  But in the last couple years, we've really ironed out our conflict resolution skills.  Now it's rare that we get past one or two grumpy exchanges before someone apologizes, and we move on to "I'm frustrated because..." and "I'd appreciate it if..."

I don't know about Ryan, but I didn't learn this growing up.  Like many of my relationship books said, I was shielded as a child from my parent's arguments, so all I saw was the initial anger, and never the mature part where problems were solved.  I am so immensely proud of us for figuring out how to be respectful to each other and handle things in a mature way.

5. He Respects My Opinion

We make decisions together.  Honestly, that was something I would have just taken for granted, but I see how some people's spouses just steamroll over them, or how they don't have the freedom to do what they want, and it makes me appreciate our relationship so much more.  One thing that really helps is that we have very similar viewpoints in the first place.  I was pretty careful of that when I started online dating.  There have been things we've disagreed upon and I know we have plenty of things in our future that we won't agree upon.  But, if the past is any indication, we're able to consider each other's viewpoints and find that middle ground.

6. We Maintain Individuality

We don't have to spend every evening together.  Or even most evenings.  Ryan frequently works from home in the evening, and I dig through my mountain of personal projects.  When we go on vacation, we don't call each other every day - just once in a while when someone feels like it.  When someone invites just one of us out, we don't have to ask the other one for permission.  And that works for us.

I think it helps that we're not shunning each other.  We each let the other know what we're doing, and unless we don't see each other at all that day, we make a point of chatting a bit about the day.  We're affectionate.  It's important to both of us that, while we will be married soon, we'll still maintain our own personalities, hobbies, and interests.  Which is good!  Because Ryan is never, in a hundred years, going to be interested in blogging.  And I'd kind of like to continue it.  :P

7. His Compliments

Ryan is great with "words of affirmation."  It might be his love language, because it seems to come the most naturally to him.  (It was harder for me, but I've got the knack, finally!)  He frequently says nice things when I'm all dolled up to go out.  But he compliments me even more frequently when I'm not dressed or made up at all.  It never fails to surprise or delight me when, sweaty and flushed from a workout, he'll say, "You looking good, girlfriend."  It's so incredibly hard to accept those compliments without brushing them off, "No, I'm sweaty and gross" but I'm doing my best.  Both for self confidence and because I want them to continue.  I love feeling beautiful au naturale, but also being able to enjoy makeup.  It's a fantastic balance.

8. Who He Is

This might be cheating, but instead of having 15 numbers describing each facet of his personality, I'll just sum it up here.  Ryan is so smart, and has random bits of information on all manner of things.  He's taught me about space, the human body, computer programming, gaming, and innumerable other topics.  When we first started dating, my friends used to say, "Ryan knows everything."  He doesn't - but we all thought so at the time.

He also used to be a tad bit arrogant about it.  Since we've started dating, that's gone away completely.  It's been absolutely amazing to watch him become such a well-rounded and versatile person.  I wouldn't call him humble, exactly, but he manages to balance capability with diplomacy.  He's still incredibly intelligent, but now the focus is on sharing that knowledge rather than how much you don't know.  He's still a "nerd" but he's gotten so good at communicating and even managing people that he no longer fits into the socially awkward stereotype.  He likes to goof off and play video games or watch TV, but he works so damn hard that it's impossible to begrudge him that time.  Honestly, I could probably use more video game time myself.

He's not perfect.  But if he was, I wouldn't deserve him.  He is perfect for me and I can't wait to see what he becomes as we continue to chase our goals, some individually and some together.  (I can't believe I get to marry this guy!)

Alright, enough of that.  Back to our regularly scheduled programming next time.  :)

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  1. I think number 6 is so so so important, we don't ask permission for outings either but we do let each other know we are going to be out. Also our schedules are so so different if I weren't okay with myself individually we would never make it as a couple.

    I wish I could get Tyson to listen more, he's a horrible listener in general.

  2. Awe, such a sweet post! I had to LOL at "it's making me feel feelings." Feelings can be good :) I am with Kelli, number 6 is super important!! I enjoy blogging, shopping, and spending a night or two a month with some girlfriends after work. Chris and I both like video games...but he is also into computer games and has a group of guys who come over to play games and hang out together. I don't have to hang out with them. I am content for a few quiet hours alone to me reading. Which is something else I enjoy that he doesn't.

  3. he sounds a lot like KC! I love my husband, obviously, but when we met, he could be a bit overbearing with his opinions and knowledge and such lol so like you, I have loved watching him mature and become more well rounded. I totally love what you said about watching your parents argue, I never thought of it like that because I only had my mum, so I always thought that's why I didn't know how to resolve a fight properly is because I never saw one, but you're so right. Anyway. KC and I have matured a lot since we started dating and I love how we've meshed our relationship and personalities, and thankfully, we fight less.

  4. Aww nice post! Sounds like you are both a good fit and match for eachother, R is very understanding and kind, but sometimes I think he is to nice and that can be a pain sometimes too.

  5. OMG you had me at "Talk to me, Goose"! All of these are um YES!, but seriously #5...I was just thinking the other day how crucial I think that is in a relationship. My husband is my biggest supporter, but not because he loves me and blindly trusts me, but because he respects me as a person and therefore respects my opinions. Like you guys, we also see eye-to-eye on most things (which definitely helps), but even if we're not totally on the same page, we respect each other enough as people to listen and understand where the other person is coming from.
    It sounds like you guys really have something great together!

  6. Awww so sweet. He sounds awesome and I'm so glad you have someone so wonderful.


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