I have always been the shoulder to cry on. People just always seemed to trust me. I’m the person people go to when they’re disturbed but afraid to tell their spouse or boyfriend. I’ve always been the person people come to when they need a pick-me-up. I still haven’t figured out why that is. I don’t know why I’m the person people tell secrets they haven’t told their friends, their family, or their significant others but I always have been that person.
I’ve been a close confidant to people who have really needed one over the years. I’ve seen some unique situations. I’ve seen some patterns too. The first time I thought of starting a project like this was in 2016 as a result of noticing those patterns. In 2018 one of those patterns asserted itself in a terrible way and I had to help a close friend out of a terrible situation. It wasn’t without risk to either of us. There were friendships forged in that ordeal that I’m going to carry for the rest of my life and I am grateful for them.
That ordeal wasn’t the first time I had been told I had an enviable marriage, I’ve been hearing that message from one person or another throughout the 10 years Emily and I have been married, but it was when I really, truly started to believe it. I was able to be a positive anchor for someone who didn’t really know what a good relationship even looked like. This wasn’t just a person who could improve in this area or that, this was a friend who fundamentally needed to be shown that there was a bright spot to all this and that relationships did exist that were good. I was surprised over and over at how things I took for granted in my wife’s behavior and in my own could be the stuff of fairy tales for others. I was told my experiences and advice had value, and for once I believed it.
When I was helping my friend out of her long-term and highly abusive relationship I also cracked open a book or two—or five. I did a lot of research for her benefit, between books and web research, this wasn’t something I was going to screw up. When I first discovered her situation she wouldn’t even call the way she’d been treated abuse. I encouraged her to get professional help, but she felt trapped in her own home, like she’d be retaliated against if she tried, and she didn’t have a job—part of the entrapment—to pay for one anyway. Her siblings were reached out to, and they failed to live up to their duties. Even her mother didn’t recognize the need to do something. So it came down to me, untrained and going by instinct, nothing to lean on but my experience as a husband and father and the patterns I had seen before. Against the odds everything turned out for the best.
We had many conversations during and after incident. I talked about the patterns I’d seen and we talked about our mutual experiences, we still do. My friend encouraged me to pursue my interests with more vigor and conscientiousness and to be more confident in my convictions. So I started making plans to start this blog and after a half year of making plans, scratching them out, having ideas and crumpling them up and tossing them in the bin, to the drawing board over and over but finally I came up with something I liked.
I decided I wanted to write a blog for myself, for my friend, and especially for all the people that fit the pattern I mentioned earlier. It’s time to name the pattern.
As people came to me over the years the biggest theme I noticed in their problems was a self-denial of how they felt in order to please some sort of social order that had little to do with them. I’m not talking about things as relevant as parents and family who’s considerations may be reasonably taken into account; I am talking about things like social media, Facebook, Twitter, work gossips, and so on. Particularly in trouble are those people who have what I’d call normal desires for their life goals, convinced by outside forces that it’s wrong to want those things. One friend that stands out in particular is a feminist that had to be convinced that it wasn’t wrong for her to want children and live at home with them.
This kind of perverse conformity is what we’re going to tackle here. I’m going to tackle those things by doing what I do best. I’m going to share my experiences, the good and the bad, I’m going to talk about those in the context of the research I’ve done, and that I continue to do. I am not however, going to ask you to just simply take my word for it, that was one of the discomforts that delayed creating this blog in the first place. So as part of this endeavor I’m also going to be referring you to books and other media that I have found extraordinarily helpful to myself and others. We’re also going to have a bit of fun here. This is going to be a sex positive place, and we’re going to talk about that. My wife in particular finds sex toy and accessory reviews utterly lacking in larger contexts, especially in married contexts, and we’ll be doing some of those too. Hell, the whole subject of even having marital aides can be touchy, we’re tackling that too.
Then there’s the inspiration for the title of the blog. Many of the people I talk to have never really gotten advice on what to do after they’ve committed. It seems all media focuses on at the moment is the chase, whether it’s for short term pleasure or ‘finding the one’ no one really seems to talk about what to do afterwards unless there’s a big problem. To put it another way, pundits and commentators don’t seem to be really into ‘preventative treatment’ for relationships. They seem more interested in starting them and charging for the fix when they go bad. We’re going to talk about the blogs namesake, what to do after the yes, what to do before problems.
I really hope you enjoy your stay here, whether that’s to learn something new, expose yourself to a different perspective on marriage or be affirmed in ideas long held, or just to stick around and have fun.
I am here because some special people believed in me. I intend to pay that forward and help you believe in you.
Have a comment or a question? Is there a topic you’d like discussed? Let me know through my contact page.