I have just celebrated my first wedding anniversary. I have already learned one valuable lesson. My success as a writer and juvenile prison mentor is going to have a firm foundation in staying grounded at home. That means spending quality time with my wife. I noticed something while we were still dating: her three dogs – Frosty, Nina and Lima.
It didn’t take me long to realize that getting married to my wife included accepting the 3 dogs, for the long haul. Like Chris Rock would said, “There’s no way eating bread crumbs without accepting the crumbs!”
The other thing I realized I was going to get used to is my wife’s ‘obsession’ with shopping even when there is no buying of goods involved. While adjusting to the dogs was easier, I found shopping to be a constant source of conflict during our first months together as a married couple.
Before I got married, shopping used to be a 5-minute flat affair. I knew exactly what I wanted to buy and no manner of discounted products on offer could deter me from my mission! All this changed the moment I vowed ‘till death do us part.’ And so, shopping has turned into a 3-hour event where 90% of the time is spent on checking product packing and discounts where we can save on money I can channel to paying for internet services that guarantees live football streaming.
I like to think that as I get older I’m getting better at spending time with people who have qualities that make them worth spending time with.
Decoding my wife’s need for quality time
I remember the first time we went shopping three months after our wedding. That was the longest day in my life! There we were – a couple with priorities so unmatched I wished I wasn’t married to her! While she gleefully moved from one shopping aisle to the other, I kept doing the math as the kick-off to the Chelsea FC game I had waited for – for a whole week – kept drawing close.
What made it more traumatic was the fact that we had already bought what we needed. All we had to do was simply walk towards checkout, pay and put distance between us and the supermarket. However, my wife had a different agenda; to wreck my joy.
My anger and frustration was getting ginormous with every minute that ticked towards the Chelsea game kick-off. It was then that I recalled our wedding where I had waited patiently, as she matched towards me in tune with Coffey Anderson’s ‘Better Today’. Re-living that brief moment made me for-go my urgent need to cut her joyful shopping spree short. It is something that I keep doing every time the two of us embark on a shopping spree.
It all began the day I learned a valuable lesson while observing how our dogs treat quality time. Whenever I come back home, the three dogs drop everything they were doing – chewing bones, personal grooming or taking a nap – to make me feel I am really loved and appreciated, which isn’t how we treat our loved ones.
As human beings, our time spent together is riddled with thoughts and worries about a zillion things that go through our minds. When this happens, we fail to really connect at a deeper level. Failure to connect with our loved ones prohibits our growth and relationships.
From our dogs, I am learning how to stay in the moment without getting distracted. I have also come to learn that the more I drop everything – even watching a crucial Chelsea game – ends up benefiting me. There have been many cases where hearing my wife say, “Isn’t Chelsea playing today? Let’s watch the game!” surprises me with joy untold.
Here are a few ways I’m investing towards quality time
- Making time for weekly movie nights with popcorn
- ‘Just the two of us‘ evening walks
- Becoming a taxi and drop off guy
- Helping with her church worship list
- Making dinner while she watches American’s Next Top Model
- Helping to identify discounted products inside the supermarket
- Switching off the TV set and mobile phones during conversations
- Booking her salon appointments
There was no way I was going to know that dogs hold the key to how we should relate to our loved ones. Unlike what most people think about dogs, dogs are selfless, they don’t betray, they easily forget and forgive. I am glad I factored my wife’s 3 dogs in the long haul. As a result, I am learning valuable lessons. Without them, I would be a selfish husband whose focus is self-interest, self-advancement and self-progress. Here’s to dogs!