Striking the Relationship Balance

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By Lisa Scarbrough

This month is my sweetheart’s birthday. In his honor, I’m dedicating this blog in thanks for the wonderful partner and father he is to me and our son. These are the essential secrets to the success of our relationship. They took me about 30 years to learn, so I hope they will help save someone else a little bit of time.

1. Lighten the load. I am so lucky to have a partner that makes taking care of our son and keeping the household going a balance. We take turns with little household chores, fixing the little one meals, etc. On nights he has to work late, I like to try and make sure all the chores are done so he can just come home and relax. On weekends that I have volunteer work or fundraisers, I usually come home to an already prepared meal.

2. Don’t keep score. There’s nothing worse than having someone do something for you only to have them hold it over your head. When you truly want to show you care, you do things without expecting thanks or reciprocal actions.

3. Do something unexpected. When my sweetheart had to go away for a week of work, I took the time to get a few minor repairs done on his truck along with an oil change and detailing. Then I topped the tank off with gas. It was a complete surprise when I showed to pick him up from the airport.

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4. Have a sense of humor. I don’t think there is a day that goes by that we don’t have laughter in our home, either between the two of us or when playing with our son. It keeps things interesting and tempers at bay.

5. Give a little space. He and I have a lot of varied interests. We are respectful of those, allowing each other time away from home and time in the evenings to pursue them. It not only makes us appreciate our relationship but gives us something to talk about later.

6. Take time for each other every day. At least once a day I get an email from my sweetheart with either words of love and appreciation or funny images, jokes or links. Every night that we are both home, we watch Jeopardy! together. Those minutes every day are our time, time away from the rest of the world to celebrate our inner geek and twisted sense of humor that only we can appreciate.

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7. Accept that what you see is what you get. From the moment we met, there were no false airs of who the other person might be. In fact, we didn’t like each other at first, but thought the other looked good enough to keep going out. We recognize the quirks and annoyances and instead of trying to change them, either just roll our eyes or ignore them. While we each have made little changes in ourselves, they have simply been a result of our learning to live with each other a day at a time, not because someone mandated them. I have accepted that he will never accompany me to a black tie affair, and he has accepted that I will never be cooking a four course meal that didn’t come out of a box.

Thank you for indulging me with this blog. I have come to truly understand the blessings the good Lord has given me. To the man who made all these realizations possible: Happy Birthday, Handsome.

Feature image by Andrea Hillis Photography

Lisa Scarbrough offers mom-on-a-dime advice for parents like her who still hold out hope that they’ll be able to afford the rising costs of college tuition (yeah, right). Course, Lisa has some time to prepare; her son, Ian, is three years old. Lisa lives in Guyton, GA, and when she’s not chasing after her little man, she serves as the Digital Properties Manager for Paula Deen.
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Reader Comments:

54321

find at least one thing every day to say thank you to your spouse. it doesn't have to be anything big. just lets him know he's appreciated.

By clareen on October 15, 2011

54321

Great info from a wonderful person!

By Mel Hardy on October 14, 2011

54321

It is hard to keep balance when one spouse travels. When that spouse is home it is hard to smooth the matix of the children and spuse. Loved your article.

By Dori Fritzinger on October 14, 2011

54321

Great tips, thanks for sharing! I wish I would have known some of this before marriage, it would have made the initial shock easier. I have grown into some of these things-thanks for the inspiration!

By Michelle Hogan on October 10, 2011

54321

You have shared so many thoughts that we all should live by. Thanks for helping me remember how to truly appreciate the man my husband is. Great job!

By Pamela Meagher on October 10, 2011

54321

As trite as it may sound, it truly is more blessed to give than receive and in giving to someone else it returns to us 100 fold. That's exactly what the two are modeling. Thanks for the reminder.

By CBB on October 10, 2011

54321

Great tips! Another one I got before I was married was to never go grocery shopping together!

By Deb L. on October 10, 2011

54321

Lisa, I love you blog topics. smile They are more than just advice but they are a way of life. I think if more people stopped and thought about their life in the way you do; this world would be a better place.

By jess on October 10, 2011

54321

I completely agree with all the points you mentioned! I so very much appreciate my husband and all he does for our family and he feels the same way about me. It's wonderful to see that with all the divorce going on around us that there are people who truly are happy. And by the way.. it's hillarious that you kept dating just because you liked the way the other looked and then kind of grew into each other's personality!

By Anonymous on October 10, 2011

54321

I love this blog! It's so nice to see a positive story with all the negative ones out there. This blog made me stop and think about my own marriage and if there are things we could work on. Good tips! Awesome job, Lisa! I also love the extra touch of the photos of your LO and DH. So sweet!

By Michelle Cummings on October 10, 2011

54321

Loved it like always!

By Andrea on October 10, 2011

54321

its always nice to hear someone compliment the ones they love. this is another example. Good advice, sweet pics, and that little man of yours always brings a smile, so precious. Continued success, and Happy Birthday to your darling.

By Donna S on October 10, 2011

54321

The one that rang true for us is 7. Accept that what you see is what you get..... I never tried to make my DH be anything but him and yes there are things he does that truly test my patience ( I am sure he would say the same thing about me too) but we both understood what we were getting into and after almost 10 years together 5 of them married we are obviously doing something right. Great blog as always!

By Tanya on October 10, 2011

54321

Love this blog post, Lisa. What a sweet tribute to your partner on his birthday!

By Candy on October 10, 2011

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love the table paula would look good on my new patio. so glad you are back. I hope to get there to see you in person one day.i will start tomorrow to find the patern form the tablecloth.
Gladys Rainesl in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm

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in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I just love love love the table and flowers and am so glad that I can still access all of Paula's recipes, her family life, Bobby's lighter versions and Brandon's beautiful work. Truly thankful to see such beautiful tablescapes. You guys are my heros.
Patricia in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 9:14 am