Physical symbols of solidarity - This pertains to things like holding hands in public, you know, that kind of stuff that falls to the wayside when children come along and your hands are filled with other people and things.
Civility and courtesy - This was something I was counseled about by my dad before the Warden and I were married. He explained that there were some things that, no matter how familiar you become with your spouse, need to be continued--pleases and thank yous and other things along those lines.
Anticipation of the other's needs. Trying to fill those needs before the other says anything - I must say that the Warden is VERY good at this, but I also must say that this, for some reason, is so much easier to do for people you don't live with everyday. Don't get me wrong. He does fine. It's the other partner in this companionship that sometimes loses focus.
Time set aside that is committed to the other person - This will be a fun one to do--date nights, nightly chats, those kinds of things.
Consistent communication. It locks in things like goals. Expressions of gratitude - I honestly can't remember what this one was all about. I'm sure it could go together with #5, but communication is such a HUGE factor in the ol' three-legged race that it needs to have a place to itself.
Affection - again, this could go with physical symbols of solidarity, but this one goes a bit further. This is more personal affection; #2 is meant for the public.
Open and honest dialog - Huh, what do you know? Another communication trait. We, with many of these contemplated combining them, but they were important enough to mention the first time through, and we can definitely work further on similar things in a different way. This aspect is meant as full disclosure.
Being together whenever possible. A desire to be together - Okay, I look at this now and think how do you set goals to control your inner desire to be with each other? To be honest, I really do think it fits in with my dad's words "act as if." I remember the Warden and I going our separate ways off to work when we were first married, and I'd think about him at any point during the day and get instant butterflies. I'd love to have those feelings again. I wonder if adding these things we did when we dated and were first married back into our relationship will bring those feelings back. I hope they do.
Gentleness. Concern for the other's welfare.
Recognizing that neither of us are perfect. Forgiveness and understanding.
Charity--patience, long suffering, forgiveness, kindness, keeping the long-term vision - In charity, it seems that many times we have to look past the here and now. We need to be able to see what eternity holds--things far better than this world can offer.
After completing the list, one thing seemed very clear to me. More than anything else, we need to be able to picture ourselves as this kind of couple. There needs to be a continual renewal of the vision we're trying to attain.
I am starting to understand that the part of something that exists in your brain is more than half the battle of seeing it through. What is it they say? "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve" (Napoleon Hill). Yup. That's a true statement.
At this point, we're working on the tasks that will fit for each trait. Those will be the next to come.