That's the love of my life, on the left.

Eric and I are the proud owners of an ROA. As part of our ROA, we made specific commitments to each other.  Remember this part?

Our relationship purpose is to create a loving, nurturing, safe environment which:

  • makes a positive, joyful difference in each others’ lives,
  • encourages spiritual, emotional and physical needs and development.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? But what does it really mean when it comes to our day-to-day lives?      Well, hang on cowboys and cowgirls, ’cause I’m a’gonna tell ya.

            In the second year of our marriage, I took piano lessons, which was a birthday gift from my parents. My parents didn’t choose to give me the lessons because I asked for them. They chose them because my husband was trying to get me to drag my rusty fingers to the keyboard and, with help from a little steel wool and Rustoleum, play again. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why.

            In his pre-Pamela life, Eric immersed himself in his passion for triathlon and music (slappin’ da bass) as an escape. When we first got together, I didn’t understand this. I thought my job was to enable him to continue to pursue them.  I thought that was how I would honor his passions. He showed me video of his band opening for 10,000 Maniacs, and I said, “Cool! Join another band.”

            Wrong answer, Pamela. He wanted to do it together.  Music, that is. So, forget music for a moment: after two years of marriage in which he refused to do his beloved sport, I finally “got it” about endurance triathlon. I aspired to marathons, and I had done sprint triathlons. Endurance triathlon intimidated me, though. But unless I participated with him in endurance triathlon, he would never do it again. What was it our ROA said? Ah, yes: encourages spiritual, emotional and physical needs and development. Duh, me.

 

I got it — he wanted me to do a half ironman; next up, full-length.

            So I jumped in with both feet, and we did a half ironman five months later. Somewhere along the way, I found my inner athlete, too. Although, undoubtedly, I sucked, and still do.

            Even after I figured out that I needed to be a triathlete for Eric to continue in triathlon, it didn’t register that I needed to be a musician for Eric to continue in music. I’m told I’m pretty slow for a smart woman.

            I had begged, pleaded, cajoled, and praised his playing. We attended a rockin’ reunion with his hilarious high school garage band. We went to see former bandmates play in new bands. He was invited to practice and play onstage with many groups. I bought him a new strap, and I talked him through his old playlists. But he just would not open the Fender case and get out his bass.

            I procrastinated nine months after receiving the gift certificate for the piano lessons, and I had only three more months before it expired. Eric quit making his gentle inquiries and just let me stew in it. I told myself I didn’t have time. I thought of all the things I could do that were less “self-indulgent:” work, housework, errands, write, train.

            But, again, what did that pesky ROA say? Here it is: makes a positive, joyful difference in each others’ lives. Darn it. (Wo)Man-up, Pamela. I booked the first lesson. And Eric glowed.

            “I heard a song that we could play together, with Clark on drums, Susanne on flute, you on keyboard, and Liz singing with you,” he said, before I had even had my first lesson.

            He explained his concept of bringing together each of the kids’ interest in music into family jam sessions. It dawned on me –finally — that he wanted a family experience. I was not self-indulgent for booking the lessons. Rather, I was selfish in not booking them, because I prevented it from happening for everyone else. After my first lesson, I sheepishly told him that I had to practice scales that night to strengthen my fingers.

            “I’ll play them with you,” he said.

 

Us, taken with iPhone of reflection in windows — call it “artsy”, please.

            Eric had not brought his bass out in six months. But, sure enough, for an hour we played scales together, with him riffing a little every now and then. It was magical time.

            He told the kids about his family jam idea. The excitement level shot up in the house, and they hung out with us while we went through the repetitious and not-very-exciting exercise of putting our fingers to work. The next night at dinner Clark offered to get online and hunt for songs for us to play. Susanne suggested we record a Christmas song on a CD to send with our Christmas cards. Liz sang through the entire dinner and even brought her choir music and asked me to accompany her on the piano. The whole atmosphere changed, in a very good way.

            We ended up recording a wonderfully awful version of Deck the Halls. You can still see the craptastic end-product under videos on my personal Facebook page.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out.  I’ve left it open for public viewing, and ridicule.

            Every day I get a little smarter about how to be Eric’s wife in our blendered family. I enjoy the smile I see on his face now when I say something like, “I think we should add Golden Earring’s ‘Twilight Zone’ to our play list, honey.” And even more when we do.

            After we get back from bicycling, of course.

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30 Responses to Gettin’ it on.

  1. Heidiopia says:

    Don’t you find your life is so much fuller when you’re doing things together with the one you love? I see golf lessons in my future :). Great post!

  2. Pamela says:

    It is, Heidi! I wrote this two years ago. Now, when I think about it, I see all the reciprocating togetherness things Eric has done to be with me since then: four marathons (aha! it’s his fault my foot is messed up — he should have told me NO) with me, and helping me write two books. Everything is better together. GO FOR THE GOLF LESSONS!!

  3. Heidiopia says:

    Yes, I will have to– it’s either that or take up fishing :)

  4. Pamela says:

    Golf! Less bugs.

    You know, some people are mismatched as to their need for togetherness, which would be tough; or the partners are both not in to togetherness, which I understand although I can’t relate. I’m just lucky to be matched up well with someone who puts up with my presence as much as I want him to.

    And thank God I don’t have to fish. I just have to do an Ironman?!? Ha.

  5. Dan says:

    With you two, it doesn’t seem like a long way to the top after all if you wanna rock n roll!

  6. […] I keep telling him it could be much worse.  At least I really, really like him. […]

  7. […] does not always mean enjoyment.  I prefer an evening in with my husband and kids, or a morning of road bicycling with just Eric.  I can handle only so much chit chat and laughter before I search for my love’s protective eyes […]

  8. Rhonda says:

    This is a very humbling read for me. If I wrote on the same topic, it would be just the opposite. My husband is also a musician….and has several “obsessions” that don’t include me…. mountain climbing, biking, golfing, hunting, not all at once, mind you,they come and go, but suffice it to say, if I’d adopted your attitude long ago, our lives would be entirely different, no doubt. Then again, my husband is more of a loner, so he may perceive such devotion as more of an intrusion. But, I’m humbled, nonetheless. Eric is a lucky man, and you are lucky as well (in that he prefers to spend his time with you!) You continue to inspire me, Pamela!

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks. I think, though, that a) I learned a lot, getting divorced at 38 and b) as couples we all have different needs for togetherness. The way in which Eric and I are most lucky is that we are matched in our need for intimacy. Both of us have a very high need for it that might smother different partners, i.e., you mention your husband’s need for “alone” or “noncouple” time. I’ll blog on this soon, but we have been doing (get ready for me to induce the gag reflex) a WORKBOOK on INTIMACY — and he hasn’t even threatened to divorce me yet. The hilarious part is that when we reached the section that really dealt with what we needed to work on…those pages are now ripped and wrinkled. One of us * may * have thrown the book and another of us * may * have held it up under the other’s nose in a death grip to help the other read it again. Anyway, point being, I was sooooo afraid (I am still some days so afraid) of messing up this relationship that I want to last my life time that I find myself doing things I never would have done before and being happy that I did, everything from music and triathlon to painful self examination and earnest attempts to change how I treat others/him. We’ve talked often about how different our marriage might be if we’d married younger. We hate that we missed so many years we could have been together, but we know that we’d bear scars from those younger years that might have been near fatal. p.s. The book was awesome and really helped us figure out how to deal with a few particular ways we were not respecting each other the way we wanted to. Again, I’ll blog on it in the next few months, when I swing back over to my serious side.

  9. […] in all, Bubba-Mon and I thought this was purt’ near the perfect date night. He worked on his accent and got a lot better.  Growing up in the islands, he used to say […]

  10. […] on our first date.  Of course, this is the same date on which he told me I stopped his heart.  Bubba-mon/Eric/@trimon29 — whatever name you know him by — wasted (pardon the pun) no time in showing me he […]

  11. […] I run the race to finish, not for speed. I guess I have even become, somewhere along the way, not just a woman spending “quality time” with a triathlete husband, but a real triathlete, […]

  12. […] wardrobe change.  The scent memory of my husband hugged me.  I wished I’d showered after my earlier solo run and bike, because I suddenly knew that I would be wearing this shirt a lot in the next two weeks, no matter […]

  13. LBDDiaries says:

    What amazing insight and after 16.7 years, I see I have things to learn about Alpha Hubby, too! What you said in your comment above, “our need for intimacy. Both of us have a very high need for it that might smother different partners: – wow. and Amen. I told AH that I loved “too much” (what ex had said) and he was, “Isn’t that perfect. I happen to need a lot of love.” We also wish we’d met sooner but realize that who we were when we met meant we had become perfect for one another. Better late than never to find your true love. This was a very good post!

    • Pamela says:

      Sadly, I think the “second time around” aspect makes a difference (at least for us). We appreciate finding the one, we recognize the one, we treasure the one.

      You might enjoy “couples that make you want to puke” post. Since you can relate yours and Alpha Husband’s experience to our mad-crazy love.

      • LBDDiaries says:

        I did enjoy the Couples that make you want to puke” post – I enjoyed reading about Leland and myself… oh, I mean about you and Eric.

        • Pamela says:

          Re your email (and now we talk about “inside jokes” and “offline emails” in the comments haha — hey kids, if you want to be cool, you can twitter or email with us too, we just “met” last week): I SO AGREE and that’s part of why i wrote this about you and Leland oops I mean Eric and me. I’ll answer the rest in a reply to the email 😉

      • LBDDiaries says:

        *Ahem* tap tap.. is this thing on? Ladies & Gentlemen, I am here to announce that one can develop an instant long-term e-friendship that defies e-logic. I have to believe that there are doppelganger couples (since I just discovered this couple is living my life. Well, except for the former beauty queen part, the tall, slender and gorgeous part, the bike fanatic part, everything else is JUST THE SAME!) and we are a rare breed, living in a tiny minority kingdom of happily ev-ah aftah (that’s a southern accent there) that defies description!

        So if you, too, want to be cool, do what Pamelot said – twitter her! She is twitter-worthy.

  14. […] on our first date.  Of course, this is the same date on which he told me I stopped his heart.  Bubba-mon/Eric/@trimon29 — whatever name you know him by — wasted (pardon the pun) no time in showing me he […]

  15. […] But his heart belongs, in no particular order, to his wife and five kids/step-kids, bicycle, a bass guitar, the Arizona Cardinals, and a crusty old surfboard.  He hails from St. Croix in the Virgin […]

  16. […] change.  The scent memory of my husband hugged me.  I wished I’d showered after my earlier and uncharacteristically solo run and bike, because I suddenly knew that I would be wearing this shirt a lot in the next two weeks, no matter […]

  17. […] This is what works for me.  The music fed the biking which fed the writing.  Bonus round: later we added Twilight Zone to our playlist (Eric on bass, and me on piano and vocals = half an 80′s rock band). […]

  18. […] the lights off in the living room while we watch football or old “24″ episodes, and Eric was already riding.  So, ever so carefully, I applied the Nuprin only in the exact non-hoochie areas that […]

  19. […] loves me.  He wants me to triathlon with him. And I love him.  I love bicicyling and running and to be with my husband. (I also like walking, which wasn’t a real picnic when the […]

  20. […] Getting Our Groooove On « Road to Joy April 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm · Reply […]

  21. […] Leaving Annaly    Gettin’ it on. […]

  22. […] tolerable. My husband and I had always made running and bicycling (and to a lesser extent swimming) our date time, so it was a blow to have life whittle me away in this area. Because he wasn’t going to stop […]

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