Dave Looney Sr., My dad

My dad, Dave Looney Sr, and his dog Apollo.

My dad, Dave Looney Sr, and his dog Apollo.

Today I’m in a deep state of admiration for my dad. I’ve been dangling carrots in front of you for a while, but truly, if you understood, you’d be madly in love with him too.

My dad is a man of courage, strength and integrity. He not only served America in the United States Navy as a Sea Bee (from which he retired), but he also struck out to begin a life away from everything he’d ever known. Not only was he incredibly good at solving problems, creating opportunities, waiting until he was ready to accept responsibilities, but he could also move large electrical wires as part of his career in a Union shop for Consumer’s Energy (from which he retired). And he did this all with a strong sense of morals and ethics he learned by choosing to be more than he was told he was worth.

When I think of how much he had to overcome from his upbringing, from the Vietnam War, from the struggles against poverty while raising a family of four children and maintaining a relationship with his new wife during a 1970’s economy, all while working any hours he could get his hands on to provide, I’m in complete awe.

While it is true I’ve been accused (accurately so) of putting men I’ve married or dated on a pedestal, if they only knew half of why I expect so much out of a man is because of my dad, and first from my Grandfather Louis A Coleman, Jr, then perhaps they’d have realized I wanted to hold them in the same esteem. Ben Stotler is trying hard to meet that lofty place because he sees the same thing I do.

My only regret is that I didn’t know how very great he is until I got to hang out with him as much as I have and look at him through the eyes of love. Dave Looney, you’re top hats all the way with true class, honesty, and an incredibly beautiful soul that I aspire to be like.

Tips from people in long term relationships

These are just round about tips from several people who have been in successful relationships for 10 years or longer. If you have words of wisdom to impart to the newlyweds, please feel free to leave comments. This list is in no way inclusive nor exclusive. I wish all couples the love of a lifetime with their best friend.

Be who you are

Do what you do

That’s the reason

They fell for you!

Take them down off the pedestal

Let them walk on the ground

They are human, just like you

I promise, no messing around.

Do little things that bring a smile to their face

Like putting both seats down or hugging them ‘til they feel safe.

Trust is not easy to acquire

But if you cherish and nurture

You’ll find dreams are inspired

And the wings you needed,

Are now ready to mature.

Forgiveness and compassion

Are found within trust

You gave them your heart,

Remember you must. (Yoda moment)

Fight naked, because it’s difficult to stay mad

At someone yelling while they’re in the altogether.

It’s okay to get/be/stay angry at your partner

But there is never any excuse for intentional cruelty.

Do not ever assume that they know why you’re upset or angry.

If you are angry, take time to cool down to figure out WHY you’re upset.

Breathe until you feel calm enough to talk to them like an adult, not a child throwing a tantrum.

Remember, you chose them to be your best friend for life. Friends don’t intentionally harm one another.

Communicate freely. What are you dreaming about? What are your fantasies? What do you wish to accomplish in your life? Do you or do you not want children? Do you or do you not want to own a house or property? Will you have a joint bank account while maintaining your own as well?

Love without expectation. There isn’t one way to love someone. Be flexible because they are human just like you. You can love them through anything but you can’t love them through abuse of any kind or through violence.

Sex is important but it isn’t the end all. Do not be afraid to say no. You’re not obligated if you’re not feeling it. NEITHER of you are. But, do not neglect your basal needs either. It’s okay to masturbate if you want to and your partner doesn’t. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to get them revved up.

Have a job or pursue outside interests that are solely yours. That way you have new and interesting things to bring to the conversational table. It maintains the first credo of be who you are and do what you do. You can have hobbies that are shared or interests that are both of yours, but it’s pleasant to have something oddball to bring along.

Divide the chores happily. If you’re better at laundry than your partner, then you do it because they may be better at doing dishes. There are no hard and fast rules, but if they’re divided by what you actually like to do or don’t mind doing, you’ll find a happier partnership across the board. Example, I fix the car, my husband hooks up the electronics. He loads and unloads the dishwasher, I cook and bake for him what he requests. He cleans the cat box, I clean up the dog poop. And if I get sick or he does, we do theirs too because that’s what partners do for each other.

Learn to cook. Both of you. Find your specialty dish. Eating out at restaurants is expensive, limits your interaction with one another, and makes it easy to fall into ruts. Cooking together allows for intimacy, trust, and conversation as you figure out a new recipe or method of cooking. YouTube is your friend for learning new ways to do things in the kitchen.

Your best friend is first, always. When the wedding vows (typical that is) say “Let no man put asunder…” It means that your best friend is your goto chick/fella. Example: Money does not come first even if it is scarce at first. If it costs over 20 bucks, consult with your partner. You’d be surprised how much trouble it can save unless you’ve previously discussed your budget for this or that project. Kids are not the boss either. Your best friend first, you can make sacrifices for your kids together.

Learn how your partner works. That’s part of the joy. My husband, for example has a hard time verbally expressing himself, but he makes coffee for me on Sunday morning. He takes out the trash without being asked. He picks up his clothing and puts them in the laundry. I make sure he has lunch packed and dinner cooked. I make sure his clothes are clean on my laundry day. I leave him love notes and he gives me secret codes to his heart. I have a lifetime to figure out whether or not he likes white socks best new or warm from the dryer (new every time).

Geek out to a minimal of one thing together. Make it YOUR thing. Date night has to be outside the house, even if it’s for a picnic in the yard at least once a month.

Start saving money for a house now because living in an apartment sucks. If you can’t pay for it in a month (other than a car or a house) then save up until you can. Protect your credit so that both of you can enjoy a solid life together instead of worrying about money.

Don’t be afraid to go on vacations alone for a weekend or a week. Sometimes missing them is necessary and recreates that feeling of, “Man, I really wish you were here.” There isn’t a place where anything stays where you were so behave as if you are married and the best part of you is safe at home. Do not jeopardize your marriage for anyone, it’s not worth it.

Please do not ever fall under the assumption that things will always be just as they are right now. Change is the only other sure thing besides death and taxes. Roll with it. Nobody knows what the hell we’re doing. We’re all just winging it. Do the best you can with what you have and remember that your partner is in it with you.