I got my husband a Theremin for his birthday. Before marrying him, I had no idea what that word meant- Theremin- was it a thermos for travel? A guitar tuner for hot weather? A special type of turkey baster?
A Theremin is the instrument that makes the super creepy noises in the Twilight Zone. It’s high pitch and eerie tones bring shivers to peoples spine and migraines to their heads. And my husband is obsessed.
Do I love it?
Is my head pounding?
Am I smiling proudly every time he looks over at the couch at me, totally thrilled to have conquered the next step in his Theremin Master video?
Why? Because this is marriage. This is where it counts. This is where it thrives.
This is the meat and potatoes of all relationships really. Sometimes, we don’t get each other, our likes and dislikes, but we must respect and nurture our differences- thus yielding a better overall situation. We can all work on our relationships. Always. Relationships are work. But relationships are rewarding. That’s why we keep doing them.
But let’s keep doing them better. How?
Fake It Till You Make It
We are all constantly expressing ourselves. People want to be happy. We all do. We share a common need and thread to find ourselves and live our best lives.
My landlady is a talented landscape architect. When we moved in, I didn’t even know what landscape architect meant. For a long time, we exchanged polite niceties, and I would ask about the blooming flowers and divine succulence surrounding our tranquil garden. At first, I did it to be nice- make small talk. She really cared about her home, her vision, her passion. I could tell. And I just wanted to make a connection. As the years have progressed, not only have I learned that a frangipani and plumeria are the same thing (who knew?!), but I have learned about this woman. This person. This friend. Small talk can lead to chats, which can lead to conversations, which can lead to a relationship.
We may not get what our fellow life traveler is in awe of, but we can respect it. We can even care about it. Because we care about them. We see the sparkle in their eye. The proud strut in their gait. We recognize that, because feel the same way about our ‘thing.’ Take notice of that. Of each other. Who knows? Maybe you will start liking it too.
Relationships are Reciprocal
Once you start caring about someone and her life choices (even though you still may not get it)- she WILL start caring about yours. This is the heartbeat of a true relationship. The give and take. The mutual understanding and care. Case in point- every year on my birthday, I make a list of things I want to accomplish that year that correlate with the year I am turning (i.e. 28 things in year 28). In the past I have included: trapeze lessons, cross-country road trips, making a pie from scratch, etc. It is pretty awesome and I truly suggest that everyone, everywhere do it. This year, I have included both A) Become a cheese connoisseur and B) Start a club.
My dear friend Emily geniously suggested I combine the two. I picked a date, sent out invites and have started to plan what Bries will attend. Every single person thus far has RSVP’d 'yes'. I know they don’t all love cheese. But they are coming- they are celebrating my goals and my choices. And in turn, we will all be celebrating each other.
Laugh it Off
No matter how hard I try, I will never remember the different types of Porsches that zip by my husband and me on the Los Angeles Freeway. I don’t think I will ever truly feel the rush of excitement when we see the new Lamborghini Veneno. It doesn’t matter if I study for the rest of my life, I do not think I will ever really know what my husband is talking about when he says, ‘Look at that Bugatti Veyron!’
But you better believe that I will smile or agree or nod with excitement. Not because I don’t want to know, or don’t care. Quite the opposite. I really care. I care what he cares about.
And sometimes, he catches me faking it. I will have absolutely no idea what he is talking about, but agree or add a comment that makes absolutely no sense. There is a moment where he knows that I know that he knows. Then, we just look at each other and laugh. He knows I was trying, and I know that is all he really needs. It is all about the try within the relationship.
Give and Take
My relationships are so important to me. My marriage is most important. It is my epicenter. I want the give and take. I want my husband to go with me to the local theatre (which he semi despises, but has learned to enjoy). I want him to tell me when he finds a new amp with special knobs that make the perfect sound. I want to show him the new peep toe pumps I am lusting over on Pinterest.
Do we get these things about each other? Not really. But do we love each other because of, or maybe in spite of, these things? Extremely.
So relish in each other’s joy! I guarantee someone will relish in yours.
Alisha Gaddis is a Latin GRAMMY award-winning performer, producer, humorist, and writer. Her first book, Women's Comedic Monologues that are Actually Funny, will be published in the fall by Hal Leonard Applause Books. She can be seen weekly on the EMMY award-winning PBS show, Friday Zone. Alisha is also co-founder and performer (with her husband) for the first children’s band from America ever to win a Latin GRAMMY, and USA Today’s Best Kid’s group— Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Their music has topped the charts at Sirius XM and was featured on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’ and in People Magazine as the #1 family album of the year. Alisha lives with her husband, songwriter Lucky Diaz and stepdaughter in a magical cottage.