If you’ve been reading some of our articles here on Large Women from the Internet, you’ll recall that I’ve been married, before. Yes. It’s true. Don’t be shocked. I’m 34 and love “love.” Of course I took an opportunity to marry an amazing human, complete with tears, flowers, and so much wonder. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out. There were many lessons learned throughout that process. Here’s one to consider:

Before my wife and I were married, we lived together in my home in East Rockaway, NY: A beautiful little beach house I still own and rent out. I miss it. There are certain days that I want that life back: just sit on the porch with a significant other I couldn’t see anywhere past, sipping a stout or whiskey, smoking a cigar, and watching the boats go by in the canal. Maybe one day I’d buy one of those boats. Maybe I’d just befriend the neighbors and spend a Saturday hanging with them…

We had a fisherman on one side who stopped by weekly to give us dinner and an older gentleman on the left who gave us NY Mets tickets. We were 47 minutes from Midtown Manhattan, by train, and a brisk walk to live music and fresh seafood. My ex and I were loving life, planning a wedding, and completely in love. Of course, this was prior to Hurricane Sandy, when the home we’d made was turned into a lagoon. So many challenges, so much life was lived.

This day I can so vividly remember was a Friday night. I was coming home from work, probably skipping the gym. That part I don’t remember. But, I stopped at the grocery store because I wanted something delicious to drink. This was when “craft beer” was becoming a thing. I’d been drinking craft for years, but was so glad that the local grocery store started carrying an assortment of stouts I didn’t have to go to beer distributor for. It was this small local chain grocer that has now been replaced by this incredible organic luxury grocery chain. Both are wonderful for various reasons. But, this grocery store was inexpensive and a 2 minute drive from our home.

We also needed a few things: eggs, I’m sure I bought some cheeses and meats to munch on that night. And, just before I went to the register, I went to floral section. It wasn’t huge. But, it was enough. I can only name one or two exes who needed or desired extravagant things. My ex wife wasn’t one of them. She couldn’t care less where the flowers came from, or if there were even flowers. A handwritten note would suffice. Most women I dated didn’t need or care about flowers. Some even asked not to get them.

“Buy me a few dollars worth of ‘Apple’ stock.”

or

“Save your money. Put it into our dogs.”

But, if they did, a grocery store bouquet was enough. And, before you tell me I’m thoughtless, I can tell you that those bouquets lasted way longer than the expensive ones at the florist. I don’t know why, but they always did. And, I saved money for a better dinner or our mortgage payment!

So, I picked out a nice Fall bouquet, laid it on the conveyer belt at the register, and put down my beer and a few small items. An older man came on line behind me (and when I say “older,” I just mean older than me. Maybe by 20 years, nothing crazy). He had an awesome “biker beard” and was all chest and belly. If I had to guess (which I wouldn’t), I’d say he was an electrician or plumber, the kind of guy I’d grown up wanting to be just like. He’d have bee, denim on denim with a tight t-shirt underneath. He’d definitely have hung out in my father’s backyard on the 4th of July and fall asleep on our hammock for sure.

“Flowers and beer,” he said.

“Haha… yeah…” I said. I wasn’t sure what he was getting at. Challenging my manhood maybe? The flowers? I didn’t want to find out. Dude was huge.

I see what you did, there. Smart man. You always get her flowers when you get yourself beer. That’s the key.”

So, we can dissect a lot of what this dude said. An old school guy, he made some assumptions:

  1. The flowers could be for me. The beer for my partner. They could both be for me or for her. My ex didn’t love beer. But, she may have.
  2. I could be single. I buy my home flowers all the time.
  3. My partner could be a man. What dude doesn’t love getting flowers? I do!
  4. I’m sure I’m missing something…

I haven’t really been dating much, lately. But, the last time I wanted to “balance” there were no flowers to be found. I bought my date a “heart shaped” pen to let her know I was thinking of her…

But, I still took away so much from this man’s 10 seconds of wisdom. The major lesson: Balance. My ex didn’t actually care if I had a few beers or if I took some time for myself. And, I didn’t care if she watched her TV shows in another room as long as she knew I loved her. But, it was nice to keep a balance.

There have been so many times in my life when I focused solely on my partner’s needs. And, so many times in my life when I was working on my own growth, I was oblivious to what my partner needed. There are times for both of these days. And, there are instances in which it may last longer than a day! Your partner’s period? A bout with depression? A stint in the hospital? We can list an infinite amount of events.

But, I’m going to propose one word to consider, still: Balance. When your partner is catering to you, a simple “thank you” or recognition of them is wonderful. When you’re focused on their day, take a few minutes to breathe, yourself. If you’re getting yourself a six pack of beer, consider a flower for them. When you’re stopping at the burger place to get yourself something… I don’t know… ask them if they want anything!

It can also be as simple as checking in.

“Hey, I’m feeling myself today. But, you look GOOD too!”

“Today’s a rough day for me. I need some support or love. Do you?”

“You’d mentioned last week that today was a big day for you. How can I help?

Or…

“Hey, I know you’ve got a lot going on at work, today. I could use a check in, later. Can we just have five minutes before bed?”

“This is a really big day for you. I’m here to support.” and then later “Can I steal one scene from your day to show you, alone, how much I care? Or would this weekend be better? I understand, either way.”

This is REALLY challenging when there are serious or difficult circumstances surrounding your relationship. It’s not always possible. I get that. Big projects coming up, deadlines, tax season, whatever. They all make your job stressful and time consuming. Just… life. But, I love the idea that we can strive for “flowers and beer.” Balance with your partner is so important, long term.

Or, I could just be a Libra…