Christine Park

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Avoiding the 7-Year Itch (and the 3-Year Glitch)

Now I've only been with my work husband for a couple years, so for all intents and purposes, we should still be in our honeymoon stage. He sent me this article, which puts us on track for a falling out next year... because apparently the "three-year glitch" has replaced the "seven-year itch" as the tipping point where couples start to take each other for granted, according to a new survey commissioned by Warner Brothers to promote the release of comedy film "Hall Pass."

The survey names a few of the passion-killers that have led to a swifter decline in relationships in the fast-paced 21st century. My real husband and I have been married for seven, going on eight years. After two kids, a hefty mortgage, and crazy work hours, we've definitely experienced plenty of passion-killers.
And let's face it, I'm guilty of every single one of them:

1. Weight gain/lack of exercise (umm yeah... I've gained 10 to 15 pounds since our wedding)
2. Money & Spend thriftiness (I love to spend it and he likes to save it)
3. Anti-social working hours (so I go to bed at 8:30pm when the kids do and wake up at 2:30am)
4. Hygiene issues (is it bad I don't shower every day?)
5. In-Laws/extended family - too much/too little (we live in Fresno, but his family is in L.A.)
6. Lack of romance (he calls me his sex object... he wants sex, I object)
7. Alcohol - drinking too much (a glass a day keeps the doctor away!)
8. Snoring & anti social bedtime habits (I'm told I snore, which I adamantly deny and if I do, so what, it's cute)
9. Lapsed fashion-Same old underwear/clothes (yes! this is one category that doesn't apply. but this leads to problem #2 money spending)
10. Bathroom habits (I like the toilet paper roll over, he likes it under)

So it got me thinking. How do couples avoid the itch, the glitch, whatever you want to call it? Well, I'm no shrink, but having lived through and survived the 7-year itch, here's what I would suggest.

More sex. Consider your partner's needs and make an effort to meet them. Once you're past the baby-making/having stage, sex can be fun and spontaneous again. Get off the pill, get a vasectomy and get crazy.

Find a common hobby or pastime. In our case, this could be tennis. I made a feeble attempt once at learning, but I got pregnant and fat and couldn't move on the court. Even after the baby, I always had an excuse. But this is a real opportunity to spend time together doing something we both enjoy. It's not like he's going to take up scrapbooking. Meet each other half way. He started helping in the kitchen, so cooking has become something fun we do together.

Talk about something other than work or the kids. Take the time to discuss important aspects of your day or your thoughts on situations that arise in your marriage that need attention. Lack of conversation breeds distance. You don't want to become a stranger to your own spouse.

Take kid-free trips. We just got back from New York City without the kids. We did grown-up things that we both enjoy, like watching musicals and fine dining. We were able to make each other the priority, instead of having to worry about the kids' needs. Obviously this is easier said than done, and we are grateful to have an amazing family that we can trust our kids with. But if this is a possibility at least once a year, seize it.

Don't forget the romance. Remember how hard you worked to woo your spouse BEFORE you were married? The little notes, the special home-cooked meals, the surprise flowers? Avoid marital boredom by showing your appreciation for your spouse in small ways. Send flowers, make compliments to show that you still find him or her attractive and surprise each other romantically. Flirt. Send sexy text messages throughout the day. Dig out the old lingerie in the back of your underwear drawer.

Choose happiness and harmony over the need to be right. Chances are, you know those people in relationships who would much rather be right than happy. They’re the ones who constantly nag, belittle and fight with their partner over every little thing. Do you want to be that person or the kind of person whose relationship is blissful because they’ve let go of the need to always have the last word, the right answer, or prove their partner wrong? By letting go of the desire to always be right at any cost, you give yourself and your partner permission to enjoy life again. A happier relationship AND less stress? Sounds like a win-win!

Bottom line, make an effort. Relationships are hard. But I've decided mine is worth working for.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Free Stuff on Your (My) Birthday

Denny’s birthday deal is no secret. Just show up on your birthday for a free Grand Slam.Which is exactly what TV News Mom did today! Boy, did I feel like a winner!

Which got me thinking... why stop there? Why not score a free lunch, dinner, and dessert(s) today too? That way, I can drown out my sorrows in ice cream AND cake!

Here are some of the best food freebies for your birthday. Keep in mind, most require signing up in advance. Something I'll remember next year when the big ol' 35 rolls around.

Baskin Robbins: Sign up for the BR Birthday Club and, five days before your birthday, the ice-cream joint will send a free-scoop coupon and a discount on your birthday cake.

Black Angus: Become a Prime Club member and receive a complimentary dessert. The first birthday after you register the steakhouse chain will spring for a free steak dinner.

Boston Market: Join Boston Market’s VIP Club and they’ll send you an unidentified “special treat” for your birthday. New members also receive a $3 coupon for their next purchase

Chevy's Fresh Mex: Compadres Club members receive a special, unspecified birthday gift from Chevy’s upon registering.

Chili's: Join the E-Mail Club for a welcome gift of free chips and queso within 48 hours of registering.

Cold Stone Creamery: Enjoy a free ice-cream creation at Cold Stone when you join their birthday club

Dairy Queen: Sign up for the Blizzard Fan Club and receive an email coupon and special surprise on your birthday. You’ll also receive an anytime, buy-one-get-one-free coupon for two Blizzards.

Famous Dave's: Receive a special birthday deal when you join the Famous Dave’s P.I.G. Club.

Marie Callendar's
: Join Marie’s E-Club for special birthday and wedding anniversary offers

Orange Julius: Sign up for the OJ Quench Club and you’ll receive an email coupon on your birthday, a special offer for joining, and a free Julius Fruit Drink or Premium Fruit Smoothie.

Red Lobster: Join the Fresh Catch Club for a surprise birthday gift (rumored to be a free appetizer coupon).

Red Robin: Red Robin eClub members receive a free birthday burger as well as a free gift upon registration.

Sonic: Sign up for Sonic Cruisers and you’ll receive a birthday surprise along with all sorts of nameless perks.

Starbucks: Register your Starbucks card, add your birth date to your account profile, and you’ll get free Wi-Fi and a complimentary Starbucks coffee on your birthday.

Obviously, this means you'll get a ton of junk mail throughout the year, but hey, there's no such thing as a free lunch, right? Just use a separate junk e-mail address so you can separate the spam from the real e-mails. Enjoy and Happy Birthday!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mom Proms

TV News Mom circa May 1995. "Masquerade Ball": Senior prom at Clovis West High School Fresno, CA.

My prom dress is still hanging in my closet at my parents' house. There's NO way I still fit into it. My senior year of high school, I was 115 pounds and fresh off a liquid diet. But alongside it, hang two bridesmaid dresses that I might stand a chance of squeezing into.

I don't know WHY I kept them. Well, now I have my answer. I can wear it to the next "Mom Prom!"

Thanks to my TV husband Matt Keller for forwarding me this article from USA Today. Moms are reliving their prom night all in the name of charity. The movement is sweeping across the country... from Seattle to Detroit. The nostalgic ladies-only soirees include 80's music and prizes for the tackiest or ugliest numbers. It was started by a 41-year-old Michigan woman who wanted an excuse to wear her not-so-pretty-in-pink puffy gown one more time. REALLY? WHY? I'm all for girls' night out, I'm all for helping out charity, but some things are better left in the closet, including the long-buried wish to be crowned queen of something. I had fun in high school, but I've never feel the need to relive it. Who knows? Maybe if I actually fit into my prom dress... I'd consider it such an achievement, I'd want to wear it again. SOMEWHERE. To a mom prom, maybe. Maybe not.