October 11, 2016

Thanks, Honey

Do you thank your spouse?

It's amazing to me that many people refuse to thank their partners for doing the things that keep the household and the relationship running smoothly.

"Why should I thank my wife for washing the dishes? It's her job."

"Taking the trash out is my husband's job, I don't need to thank him for that."

When a waitress refills your coffee, do you thank her? When a hotel bellman delivers your luggage to your room, do you thank him and give him a tip? When a docent at the zoo explains giraffe behavior to your kids, do you say thanks?

Have you ever said thank you to a store clerk who handed you your change, or to a UPS driver who delivered a package? When you leave an antique store or a specialty boutique, do you say thank you to the owner, even when you didn't buy anything? Do you say "Good boy" when your dog greets you at the door?

The fact is, most of us habitually thank others for doing things that are just part of the job. It's common courtesy. Our spouses deserve the same courtesy. Our spouses don't want to be just household drudges, ignored and taken for granted. They want to feel appreciated.

I'm happy to say that my husband and I thank each other every day for the little (and sometimes big) things we do. Thanks for helping me in the garden. Thanks for doing the laundry. Thanks for getting the things I like at the grocery store. Thanks for bringing the trash cans up from the street.

If you haven't been doing this, give it a try. Your spouse may be surprised! You can make it even better by saying, "I just want you to know that I appreciate the things you do, and all your hard work."

It takes almost no effort, yet it means a great deal.

Thank you says: I notice you, I appreciate you, what you do is important, you matter to me. It feels good to hear it, and it feels good to say it.

September 23, 2016

The Dictionary of Interpersonal Relationships

I'm very happy to announce that my new book is now available on Amazon.

From the description on Amazon: This fascinating reference work covers all aspects of interpersonal relationships. With over 1600 entries, it includes vocabulary from literature, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and linguistics, as well as informal terms and well-known sayings. The insightful explanations of key concepts are especially useful. The Dictionary of Interpersonal Relationships is an indispensable source for writers, students, researchers, and anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the language of human interaction.

Clicking on the image will take you directly to the book's page. Or, you can see all my titles on Amazon's Rosemary K. West page.

September 16, 2016

Renewing Your Vows

Love, hard work, and dedication are just some of the elements that create a successful marriage. After all the ups and downs, adventures, challenges, and joys, one very special way to celebrate your life together is a vow renewal ceremony.

Many couples choose a vow renewal as part of a special anniversary celebration. For others, it is the perfect way to reaffirm their commitment after a difficult period in the relationship. Some just want to remind each other, and the world, that they would happily do it all over again.

Whatever your reason, FTD has created a guide to help you plan the perfect vow renewal. From where the ceremony should be held, to which guests you should invite, it includes tips on the most common do's and don'ts of vow renewal etiquette. Check out the vow renewal guide now to get started on planning yours.

Click on this image to see the complete guide.


September 9, 2016

Sickness and Health

In August, I had a tumor removed from my stomach. Although not malignant, it was problematic, and it had to go. Removing this kind of tumor requires removing part of the stomach. It is a serious operation.

My surgery was scheduled on a Friday. Steve took that day off work so he could be with me -- starting quite early, since we had to check into the hospital at 6:00 am.

He had a long and somewhat anxious wait, as my surgery went well past the expected time, stretching to nearly four hours instead of just two. Finally the doctor came out and explained the complications that had required all the extra work. Everything turned out all right, and Steve was able to see me as I woke up in the recovery area. Once I was settled in my room and napping a bit, he was able to take a short break to get a very late lunch, returning to sit with me until bed time.

Steve spent many hours with me Saturday and Sunday. For most of that time, I wasn't moving or saying much. I wasn't permitted to take any food or drink. There was a tube running down my throat, pumping out whatever blood or other fluids collected in my stomach. A tube connected to my arm provided me with fluid and medication.

I felt miserable, weak, and helpless, but having my husband with me, sometimes holding my hand, sometimes just sitting nearby, was very comforting. He brought me a bouquet of roses so I would have something friendly to look at when he wasn't there.

After two days, my stomach was tested for leaks. Everything looked good, so the throat tube was removed, and I was allowed to consume clear liquids. I didn't have much appetite, but it was nice to be able to sip a little juice or broth. Steve kept an eye on my tray table, making sure that I had everything I needed and that it was all within reach.

Going Home

I was released Tuesday afternoon, just four days after the surgery. Steve had arranged to work at home all week so that he could take care of me. However, on Tuesday evening he had to teach a class that could not be substituted, cancelled, or postponed. So he got a good friend to come and sit with me for a few hours while he was out.

The hospital requires that patients being released have a responsible adult with them. (Uber drivers don't count!) There are good reasons for this. I was still very weak those first couple of days at home, and would not have been able to take care of myself properly. I was told not to drive, climb stairs, or engage in vigorous exercise of any kind. (And really, I didn't feel like doing any of those things. Mostly I felt like lying down.) Steve made sure I had my medications (an unexpectedly complicated errand that involved two pharmacies), and that I didn't have to do anything that might harm my recovery.

For the first week at home, I was on a very restricted diet; Steve had purchased the items that I was allowed to consume, and he was always ready to bring me whatever I needed. I was supposed to exercise by walking, but at first I was a bit shaky, so he walked around with me to make sure I was safe.

Gradually, I got stronger. In general, I felt a little better every day. But once in a while there were problems. One very difficult day, I called Steve at work and asked if he was able to come home. He immediately cancelled his lunch meeting and drove home to help me.

A month later, there are still some restrictions on what I can eat, and my appetite is not what it once was. We like to eat out now and then, but restaurant dining is difficult because so many tasty things are not allowed, and the portions are much too large for me now. Of course, I can order a regular meal (assuming the ingredients are acceptable) and just take the leftovers home. Even better, we order one meal to share. I take as much as I want of whatever is on my list of acceptable foods. Steve has the rest. Most of the time, this is plenty for both of us.

The Promises We Made

Traditional wedding vows usually include some version of "in sickness and in health." Health is easy. Sickness requires time, patience, energy, and dedication.

There is a reason why married people tend to be healthier than singles. Having a trusted partner to look out for you and to help you with whatever you may not able to do alone makes a huge difference in life.

My husband takes good care of me because he wants to, because he worries about me, because it's the right thing to do, because seeing me feel better makes him feel better, because he knows I would do the same for him, and because he loves me.

We promised we would always take care of each other, and we meant it.

August 24, 2016

Once Upon a Time

by Guest Contributor Steve

Thirty two years ago today, I went to a party in Hollywood. A friend, Ann Davis, introduced me to one of her co-workers, a cute brunette with curly hair and a great smile, who sometimes spoke as if song lyrics were part of normal conversation. As a musician, whenever she would say Line A, I would respond with Line B, which I believe intrigued her just a bit. As we continued to talk, she pulled something out of her purse: an invitation to a housewarming party she was giving for herself the next week. Just carried a few extra on spec, I imagine.

Because there was literally no food at this party, Ann, this girl, and I went to Ann’s house for something to eat. Conversation ensued for several hours until the girl left to go home.

The following week, after playing it cool and not calling her, I showed up at her party with a plant and bottle of cheap wine. Because the she was being the hostess, the girl and I didn’t have much of a chance to talk. Hoping for a private moment, I waited until most of the guests left and got a chance to talk to her, asking that, although it was the last minute, would she like to go out the next night? After a moment’s pause, she agreed.

We went to hear some music and had a late dinner before going back to her place. Someone had given her a pint of Amaretto, and we spent half the night sipping and telling each other our life stories. About 3 AM, I left after a great kiss goodnight.

Waiting an appropriate amount of time (about 8 hours), I called and invited her up to my condo for a swim and BBQ. She said that she had to do laundry, and that let me use the classic line, “But I have a washing machine!” That did the trick.

We have been together ever since, and she is still my girl. There have been ups and downs, as with any long term couple – health problems, dealing with elderly parents, interpersonal issues – but I am grateful every day that we are still together.

For several years, on the anniversary of our meeting, we would take Ann Davis out to dinner to show our thanks. One year, we arranged to have her canonized as a saint in the Universal Life Church. She was thrilled as we presented her the certificate over dinner. Unfortunately, before the next year’s dinner, Ann became fatally ill and that was the last time we saw her. But to this day, we celebrate in her name.

Happy St. Ann’s Day, Westy. I love you more than ever.