Hello, and welcome to the "Happiness Tips" newsletter. In addition to a helpful tip for increasing your happiness, you can find out where I'll be signing books, and how to contact me, along with "Happiness Tips from Tina" in every month's newsletter. Please remember to add tina.tinatessina.com to your "acceptable" list, especially if you're on AOL.
Newsletter Dated: 9/1/2003 3:39:35 PM
Subject: Happiness Tips From Tina - It’s a Dirty Job
Welcome to our new subscribers, I’d love to hear from all of you, and to share your e-mails with the newsletter list. This month for the first time, I've printed the e-mails I got from all of you at the bottom of this newsletter. I will post new letters each month from now on.
It’s a Dirty Job
Early in our marriage, after a difficult struggle between us, I gave my husband a card. All over the front it said, "I love you," and inside it said, "It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it." That phrase has carried us through many difficult times since.
I read many articles about what happens "after the passion dies" in long-term relationships, and my clients frequently are worried about the same question. I believe what happens, when all goes
well, is that a sense of humor sets in.
The burden of passion can be a heavy one. Having to rev up the energy for a passionate, heavy-breathing session making love after a hard day's work can be an appalling prospect. How much more inviting it is to be able to have a silly giggle session, complete with sexual play, with the dearest person I know. Suddenly, the heaviness and obligation are gone, and if I'm too tired to be passionate and alluring, I always seem to have the energy to "mess around".
Arguments are hard to have with a lovable three- year -old, which is what my husband can become at the drop of an accusation. He puts his hands on his hips, sticks out his chin, and (in a perfect imitation of a kid mimicking an angry parent) says, "Who did that?" He then points his finger at whatever offense (a messy table, a forgotten chore) I've lost my sense of humor about. Watching him, I can't hang on to my anger. After we laugh, then we can do something constructive about the problem.
P1ease understand that I'm speaking of humor, not irresponsibility. We are both adults, entrepreneurs, and we have an equal, relatively balanced relationship. We hashed that out a few years ago. We get angry with each other mostly out of irritability, exhaustion and frustration with our heavy schedules-not because either one of us is slacking off. Things don't get done at times because we have hectic lives, and hectic lives benefit greatly from a sense of humor.
I guess it takes a certain amount of self-acceptance to create healthy humor, rather than the hurtful kind; but then again, this loving, shared laughter has also enhanced my degree of self- acceptance. The paradox seems to be that having permission for child-like play also gives permission to be responsible and self-accepting. We don't make nasty jokes about each other and our love, and I don't exactly know how to express the difference. What I do know is we laugh together, and it feels good.
We have been together twenty one years, and using gentle humor still works. This is the first long term relationship where I don't feel in danger of being bored. I seem to easily run out of things to be passionate about, or dramatic about, but laughter never gets boring. It's also difficult to store up resentments against the person in my life who makes it easiest for me to laugh.
I find myself looking for ways to make Richard laugh; and the more I practice it, The better I get. He seems to he getting to know my "laugh buttons" better, too. Could he be looking for them? I wouldn't be surprised.
So, rather than treasuring old grudges, old hurts, we treasure old jokes and funny lines. I know I can turn to Richard and say "it's a dirty job ..." and get an answering smile. I also know he understands when I say that phrase, that I love him, “warts and all." It's a good feeling.
There are times when an overwhelming feeling of warmth and caring flows over me, and many of those times are when I laugh with Richard. Humor seems to be the secret, at least for us, in both keeping our love fresh and alive, and in feeling confident that we will not lose our "specialness" to each other.
The more we learn about living together, The less we struggle, and the less we struggle, the more we laugh and play. One of things I have learned as a therapist, is that struggle is often used by families to structure time. As a partner in this relationship, I have learned that replacing the drama of struggle with the delight of humor can be a positive addiction; and a powerful solution for what to do with our time together.
The net result of all this is that I have become an advocate of the "silly solution", and it is working better than all the seriousness I used to think my relationships required. I wish for you a lighter step, daily laughter, and love that makes you smile.
(from “How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free” )
© 2003 Tina B. Tessina
Here's how we can get to know each other better.
Upcoming book signings and events:
Friday, September 19, at 7:00 PM Dutton's Brentwood. ASJA panel (also broadcast on Writers on Writing, KUCI 88.9 FM and www.kuci.org
Sunday, September 21, 11:00-12:15 West Hollywood Book Fair. I'm moderating a panel on "Writing the Non-Fiction Book"
Monday, September 29, 2003 7:00 PM PDT HealthyLife.net online radio show "Creative Health and Spirit" with Linda McKenzie -- we'll discuss It Ends With You.
"The Psyche Deli: delectable tidbits for the subconscious" with Dr. Tina Tessina and Deborah Keith, airs every Thursday. 4-4:30 PM on KUCI 88.9 FM, and is simulcast on www.kuci.org. Please tune in and call in at 949-824-5824 to ask questions on air.
Online Classes for Continuing Education Credit
Through my website, you can get CE credits online based on my books:
It Ends With You
How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free
The Real 13th Step
To browse my books, visit www.tinatessina.com
I welcome your feedback and support, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you joy,
Tina B. Tessina, PhD
But what happens when the partner's difference has negative impacts on our own well being? I think that is the place where it falls apart. One thing I have been finding recently is how important it is to match, not by being the same, but by being compatible.
It used to be that I would walk in and turn on all the lights and he would come in behind me and dim them all. Or he would turn the music up full bore and I would come behind and turn it down. These are trivial things, but in the course of a lifetime if you can't agree on how much light needs to be in a room or how loud music can be, it wears thin. Add to that more crucial differences, such as one person's need to finish what gets started and the other's inability to follow through, always starting a new project while leaving the mess of an old project behind, all the freedom in the world isn't going to help. Because there is an art to living together and I am not certain love is enough. Perhaps love and separate living quarters :-)
Well, what's more free than separate living quarters? :) Of course this one brief essay doesn't cover everything needed to make a relationship work -- but, the more love you can pour into your interactions -- even the tough love of setting limits with kindness -- the smoother negotiation goes.
Sometimes differences in light and music are symbolic -- more about power issues than true personal needs. It often takes an objective viewpoint from someone who's trained to see below the surface. That's why, as a relationship counselor, I don't think I'll run out of work in my lifetime.
Thanks so much for keeping me in your loop of info. I thoroughly enjoyed this
lovely teaching on healing, love and freedom. A great reminder of what is
I just wanted to let you know that I changed my screenname ...Please make the change to
your email list because I like to keep on top of the latest and greatest with
you and the Psyche Deli. Thanks!
Thank you for sharing the love. Where is the love? Now I know the resource.
Thank you for all the wonderful notices I get each week! Your newsletter on love, healing and providing freedom to those we love spoke to how I see love to be. Thank you for your words.
Re: Psyche Deli topic:
You know...I read the covers of many "Famous Women's Magazines) while waiting to check out at the grocery store. Would that I had know what was on women's minds many years ago!! I would have played my cards quite differently!!!! Keep up the good work!!
I greatly enjoyed your story about the "loved" Betsey-Wetsey doll -- and know exactly what you mean about understanding adults who are able to see the world through a child's eyes. My mother was a seamstress who loved to knit and crochet, so I'd often come home from elementary school to find my Barbies arranged on the kitchen table with new outfits she'd made during the
day. She also knit/crocheted a blanket for each of my daughters (my living dolls) when they were first born.
Thank you for the fond memories.
When I was about the same age, I had the same Betsy Wetsy doll. I, too, loved the doll. We lived in the middle of the Chippewa forest in northern Minnesota. One day I went through the woods to visit Mrs. Wadman, an elderly lady who always let me drink "real coffee--no cream and sugar to water it down." I had my Betsy Wetsy with me. Just before I came into the clearing at the edge of the woods, I somehow felt that Betsy Wetsy wanted to stay there in the cool shade of the pine trees and wait for me.
When I came back, Betsy Wetsy was nowhere to be found. There were deep prints all around the spot where she had been. I looked all over, nearly making my mother wild because I was not home when I should have been. Finally I gave up and went home, teary-eyed as could be. My dad went back later to help me search, but she was gone.
Years later, long after my children were grown up, they came out with a new version of Betsy Wetsy. That year, under our Christmas tree, was a box, all wrapped in gold paper and red ribbons. I opened it, and inside I found a brand new Betsy Wetsy--from my daughter. Yes, she had often heard the story of Betsy Wetsy. She came complete with her little bottle--and tucked into the corner of the box was a small stuffed deer. And my eyes had a hard time seeing it all, just as they are doing now.
I loved your story. Thanks for the memories.
Visit Tina B Tessina at: http://www.authorsden.com/tinabtessina