When I was in high school, we had a closed circuit television studio where certain students (i.e., the media geeks) put on a news show each morning that was broadcast to all of the homerooms.
I was lucky enough to be one of the regular morning news anchors, and loved working with my co-anchors and the crew. Alonso was one of my favorite anchors to work with because he was a good friend who happened to be hilarious.
Enormously talented, Alonso often reviewed movies on the air, which was perfect for him since he worked nights and weekends at the local movie theater. Alonso was funny, bright and we always knew he would go places.
Today he lives in west Hollywood and is a successful movie critic, author and has a popular online show.
Back in the day, we didn’t want to bore students with “just” the news of the day, so our crew was always coming up with funny skits and characters.
One character I played was “Dear Addie.” I read aloud a pretend letter from a student asking for advice about boys, school issues, and really whatever we could come up that might get a laugh with my kooky answers.
Fast forward way too many years to admit, and here I am with a weekly column where I sometimes offer advice or opinions on a wide variety of topics. Hopefully my advice is not as kooky as it was back in the “Dear Addie” days.
One of my young friends recently asked me for marital advice. She and her husband have been married just a few years and have an adorable baby girl.
It seems her husband works long hours and when he is home, she doesn’t feel he pays her enough attention. In addition, she said he doesn’t do enough to help around the house. She said he doesn’t appreciate her.
Wow. That complaint probably describes a good majority of newly married couples and some that aren’t so newly married. Of course, I spoke with her for a long time and hope my words of encouragement helped her.
For what it is worth, here are a few things I have learned during the last 22 years of marriage.
There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Just like there are no perfect children, there are no perfect couples either. The ones who act like they are perfect are usually the most troubled ones, so don’t waste your time comparing your relationship with theirs anyway.
Once you admit to yourself that you and your spouse will never be a perfect couple, you can both stop being so critical of each other. And that is a big one.
When women criticize, men feel rejected and powerless. Like it or not, men like to feel powerful. They want their wife to admire and respect them. Being critical just tears them down and never works to get them to put their socks in the hamper.
I know that this line of thinking is not popular with many women because they think we are equal and all of that. I agree we have equal rights, but I also know that men and women could not be more different.
Personally, I find that thought refreshing and not at all threatening. I’m glad my husband likes to do “guy” things, and he lets me do things that I want to do. Sometimes our interests combine — I love to go camping and boating, and he likes to listen to music and talk to me while I cook.
But when he wants to go build a new deck, or browse at the automotive store for hours, I happily give him a kiss and send him on his way. Successful marriages, in my mind, have learned to embrace their differences as much as celebrate what they have in common.
I know I could continue on this topic for much longer, but there’s not enough room in one column.
Let me say one last thing on the topic of children. We have four, ranging in ages 14 to 21. Our children are far from perfect, but they are all good kids.
We love our children whole-heartedly, but we always reminded ourselves that one day (hopefully) they would move out and begin their own lives.
Remember to pay attention to your relationship while you’re raising children so that when the nest is empty (we are down to two), you are both ready for the next chapter.
Yesterday was our anniversary and I am thankful Paul is still my best friend. I pray we have many more years of a not-perfect marriage.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.