The party was well begun. We’d taken over our favorite restaurant, Casa Rasta, to celebrate JoAnn’s 60th birthday. Friends had flown in from Connecticut and Florida. Her son Jonah’s band, Working Breed, was playing her favorite Lyle Lovett song as the cakes (lovingly and artfully made by JoAnn’s favorite chef, the delightful, 80-year-old Suzie Treon) were being served.
JoAnn had already declared this was the best night of her life; nothing else came close. I was two Tecati’s in when our friend/accountant, Tommy, leaned over and said, “You know you’re getting major points for this.”
I smiled, probably sighed, and said, “Yes, I know. But all points expire in 24 hours.”
Sure enough, the next morning, when moving the fountain I’ve been told never to move (I was hanging a beautiful painting Jonah bought her), I dumped about a quart of (clean) water onto the (new) carpet. And there it was, just 12 hours after the party – the best night of her life – and I was back in the doghouse.
Because that’s the way it is with women, and you can either use that to your mutual advantage, or whine that it should be otherwise. What I’m about to share is one of the simplest and most valuable relationship lessons I have ever learned – both from a love and a financial standpoint.
For women, it’s all about frequency, not magnitude. If I bought JoAnn a car, she’d be ecstatic with me … for about a day, maybe two. I’d get virtually the same reaction (excluding the momentary elation which is always short-lived) by leaving her a little love note or writing her a poem, or calling her out of the blue just to let her know how much I adore her. So, since I can’t afford to buy her a car every week (and we only have a one-car garage), I make sure I do something every week, typically every day, typically several times a day, to make sure she knows she is appreciated, loved and adored.
The afternoon after the party, JoAnn asked what happened to the leftover cakes Suzie made. I’d made a conscious decision to donate them to the Casa Rasta staff, because a) we don’t do well with a lot of wheat or sugar and b) if it’s in the house, I’m eating it. JoAnn had been looking forward to having at least one more piece of her very special cakes, and was disappointed. I started hearing on a regular basis a half playful, half complaining mantra of “You gave away my birthday cakes and I wanted another piece!”
This started to prey on my conscious, but I kept letting it slide. But, to my credit, the nickel dropped and I stepped up. I said, “Do you realize you have turned your memory of the best night of your life into the night my partner robbed me of cake?” To her credit, she got it immediately and said, “You are so right. I’ll stop,” and that was the last time I heard about the Great Cake Robbery. We reminded ourselves that gratitude is a practice and requires some diligence to overcome the thrown/default way of being, i.e., complaining.
This morning as she was ready to get out of bed, I started to wonder, as frankly I often do, is she going to snuggle with me for a minute or just get going. I’m always hoping for the former; historically it’s about 50/50. As she began to cuddle with me and I felt a warm feeling all over my body, I started to wonder if frequency isn’t just as important for men.