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Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. I heard this saying so much when I was growing up living with my grandparents. I remember not understanding, Men can’t be that different from me, can they? Yes, yes they can.
          It wasn’t until I started dating my husband (who was only my second boyfriend) that I began to understand that his views, upbringing, and demeanor was absolutely different than my own. I found that fascinating and frustrating. We’ve fought and we still fight from time to time but that’s more out of pure stubbornness than it’s anything else. We have been dating for 10 years and married for 1, and in that time I learned a few things that have helped our relationship last that long.
1)   Communicate. I understand that is an obvious one but I swear it’s the most important. Talk about anything. Talk about why you’re upset, talk about what turns you on, talk about the damn weather. Just talk. No one should be expected to mind read so don’t expect him to.
2)   Share a hobby. This one took me awhile to learn. I did not grow up playing video games or watching anime; it was actually the exact opposite. My husband has always played games, is very good at operating computers, pretty much a nerd. I love being outside, exercising, drawing and painting. Opposites. However, what I cared about the most was spending time with him. I am learning Dungeons and Dragons and how to play Magic the Gathering. I really, really didn’t want to. I really had no interest in learning it and didn’t care about them at all. But he does. So I started learning. Now I not only play because of him, I play because I like it. And I love the fact that he would rather have me there at his “boys’ night” playing Magic or DnD because he wants to hang out with me and doesn’t feel the need to be away from me. The same goes for him. I have had him go to swing dance lessons and dances. I’m sure there was a million other things he’d rather be doing but he was there, he learned, he sort of had fun but he showed up for me. Then, of course, the meshing of both world; He has played Pokemon Go while I just walked with him. There are so many ways to share a hobby with each other.   

3)   Don’t be afraid. Easier said than done. What I mean by this statement is; don’t be afraid to share ambitions with each other. As I’ve said, my husband is a nerd (which I love that about him) so I never expected him to be interested in learning how to drive motorcycles, or want to learn to scuba dive, or even learn how to fly an airplane or even move out of Buffalo, NY. When he told me he wanted to do/learn all these things I was flabbergasted. I never expected it. Now I’m excited to start learning these things with him. And on the other side, I never wanted children. I never wanted to get married. I was raised not to like or expect those things, they scared me. My husband showed me that there was a different outcome to getting married. We don’t have children however I am warming up to the idea. These things don’t have to mean “Welp, your life is over now”. Granted nothing ever is written in stone but the future isn’t so scary anymore. The future is a scary place but it doesn’t have to be if you’re heading towards it together.  
4)   Appreciate the little things. I cannot cook, nor do I care to learn. It’s easier for me to just go to bed hungry and worry about it in the morning (I work late nights on the weekends). However my husband stays up to midnight, 1, 2 in the morning until I get home so he can cook me dinner. At the time I get annoyed since all I want to do is go to bed but he wants to make sure I’m fed. That’s really nice, but I don’t notice it until after my weekend. We’ve tried saying that we appreciate x, y, or z at least once a week to let each other know that we notice. (see bullet #1). And it helps, it’s nice to have your actions noticed, even if it seems lame at the time.
5)   You are both in this together. Life is a strange, wonderful, terrible place. It’s truly an experience. There is going to be good times, bad times, worse times, drunk times, and it’s going to be easier if you have someone there to support you. That is the hardest thing I have learned so far in my life; You don’t have to do everything alone. I was raised to be very independent, which has helped me a lot however it has hurt me just the same. I didn’t realize until I met my husband that you don’t have to do everything alone, you don’t have to keep everything bottled up inside, you can rely on other people. This revelation also made me realize, he’s just as lost as I am. Everyone is just a little lost in this world. It’s comforting to know that and that I don’t have to be lost alone.

So I really hope this has helped even a little. I hope you learned here what it took me an equivalent of 11 years to learn. If you have different ways to connect with your spouse please let me know! 

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