Vanessa Elizabeth is the author of “23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23”, which was posted today on her blog. See her article here before you read my reply.
First I would like to say that I am not here to insult or offend Vanessa, her life style, her choices, or say that my life style and choices are better. My main point in this reply is that different lifestyles work for different people, although she stated otherwise in her argument (so yes, my reply disagrees with most of what she writes.) I’m sure Vanessa is a very nice person, and since I’d say most 23 year old girls are like her, I’m certainly not going to tell her that anything she is doing is wrong (even though she did say that about young married women, and a lot of people in her comments felt she deserved to be insulted too.) I don’t think insulting the author of this article is going to help her grow and learn (which she expressed she thinks 23 year olds should be striving to do), I think all she needs is to see a new perspective- which she expressed she is very open to, being 23 and single and wandering and all- and I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically.
First of all I would like to say that her life style is not “wrong” and getting married is not “right,”- for everyone, anyway. Surprisingly enough, there are many different walks of life for the many different kind of people that exist. Therefore, my first problem with this article was simply that while it was based on the premise of being open minded (i.e exploring yourself and the world around you while you still can), the basis of all her theories and opinions were extremely close minded. She doesn’t say young marriage is okay for some people. She doesn’t say some people are successful. Instead, she accuses ALL people getting married under the age of 23 as “wanting to cuddle and talk about your feelings” and doing it because “It’s hip. It’s cool.” She even goes as far as to say that all married young people are using it as a “…cop-out. It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own.” This is just about as close-minded as you can get. Grouping ALL people who got married under 23 as unsuccessful, trendy marriages? Really? That’s a sweeping assumption if I ever saw one.
There is also the point that this article is not “Don’t get married if you’re living at home, broke, unemployed, and don’t know who you are,” no, its “Don’t get married at 23 or younger.” Again, her premise is an assumption- one that assumes everyone under the age of 23 is pathetic and inexperienced. If she actually had posed logical or sound reasons (and there are some) for avoiding young marriage, her article would have been respectable. But she did not mention financial status or maturity. Instead she based her entire theory of the fact that you cannot possibly be cultured or “yourself” enough to get married that young (because she isn’t.)
Let’s look at that- where is our author at in her life and why does she feel this applies to absolutely everyone else? She’s almost 23. She states herself “I have no idea who I am, what I’m doing and who I’ll be doing it with for the next year…let alone for the rest of my life. And that’s awesome.” This might be the only statement in her article I agree with. That IS awesome. It is a VITAL stage of life that everyone will go through at one point or another- and come out with a stronger foundation of their beliefs, interests, priorities and goals. But here’s the thing- everyone goes through it at one point or another- not necessarily the same point. She is going through it at 23. Not everyone does, and that is a crucial side of her argument she completely ignores. I was 16 when I went through all of that. I’ve grown and developed since then, but my beliefs, interest, priorities and goals have remained the same. Some people don’t even have that figured out until their thirties. Some do in their teens. Everyone is different, but will they ever have themselves completely figured out? Maybe for five minutes. But then life will go on, events will happen, people will come in and out, they will grow and learn and develop throughout their whole life. Self identity isn’t one thing, its a collection of things and changes- its a journey, NOT a destination. Your identity develops, but it doesn’t finish developing. If you wait to get married until you think you will stop changing, and say “this is it, this is who I am and who I will be for the next 50 years down to the way I prefer my burger cooked to what my religion is” – then you will never stop waiting to get married. Because you will always be changing and growing, that’s called life. Love- true love that exists in marriage- is the kind of love that survives through those changes. It’s the stuff that feeds a marriage done right for over 50 years because its unconditional and doesn’t go away because someone developed annoying habits or got involved in a cause their husband doesn’t like. So yes, you should know who you are for the most part- which happens after the soul-searchy phase Vanessa is clearly in- and you will have a foundation of what’s important to you. But that’s subject to change- this is life, this is not a story, everything is subject to change. That doesn’t mean you hit pause on everything that makes life worth living.
One wonders where Vanessa’s opinions are coming from, and whether or not they are grounded in fact, and she opens that up for us by clearly stating “no” in her paragraph where she explains that the reason she came to these conclusions is everyone is getting married but her. “Should I be thinking about marriage? I’ve never even had a serous boy friend?” I’m gonna stop her there. If you’ve never had a serious boyfriend you have no worries in the world and you do not need to think about marriage. You don’t need to think about other people getting married, getting married yourself, or any kind of marriage. Get a hobby, have fun, meet the love of your life whenever he enters it, and get married. Right now? She has no business worrying about marriage. But she feels left out, as she says herself, so she goes on to tear apart others’ decisions. After this paragraph, folks, I hope you cease to be offended. While part of this article can be perceived as an attack on young married couples and offend you that someone thinks it’s okay to tear apart your life choices and claim theirs are better (which is in no way okay)- after reading this paragraph you stop feeling that way and instead see her as naive. She literally tells us that she has no experience in a serious relationship or commitment, and is therefore angered that everyone else does and can be happy and married. She even justifies herself by saying she’s strong enough to take on the world herself and doesn’t need to lean on someone legally obligated to take care of her. At this point the article becomes emotional and whiny, but because she continues the preachy and official tone, people continued to take her seriously and get offended. I started viewing it as a personal, angry diary entry at this point, though. Therefore, Vanessa is not mean, Vanessa is upset, and she blogged about her feelings (thats what blogs are for). But, her blog post was attacking a large group of people as if they were individually terrible and dumb, to make herself feel better, which is what makes it worth replying to. If it was simply a personal and immature post I would ignore it- but instead, she took it to the next level and tried to tear people down for no actual reason, which is its in own way, indirect bullying. Don’t you just love the internet- now a freaking blog post can be bullying.
Regardless, I don’t think Vanessa is cruel or judgmental, I think she’s naive and she feels left out, and when I was originally offended at her article, now I just feel bad for her. And I think you will too if you read on and find the flaws in her arguments to be emotional justifications instead of cruel attacks. However, just because her article has very personal intentions, it’s still very public, very well written and structured, and clearly built with the intent to personally offend those who inspired her hurt feelings. For that reason I am not excusing her public diary entry, because it is irresponsible to write a blog post, knowing how many people could see it, attacking another person’s life style with literally no actual evidence or facts backing you up. For example, “But then I look at my life, my relationships, and my future…and I realize that, I’m fucking awesome. It literally isn’t me, it’s them.” Read it. Read it again. She feels, clearly, that other people’s marriages are telling her that she should be getting married. She does not, however, mention an actual engaged or married human being that has told her she needs to get wifed up, but simply finds it personally offensive that so many of her facebook friends are finding eternal love before her. Therefore, she has no right to say what she is saying. Nobody personally attacked her (or if they did, she should have included it to give the article a shred of credibility), but instead she is taking everything around her personally, and responding emotionally. She looks for justification on why all these people are married and she isn’t. She decides it’s cause she’s better, and makes up reasons why.
Let’s take a look at her “reasons”, since it would be unfair for me to say that she doesn’t support her argument without supporting mine.
I have begun to notice a common thread amongst all these young unions: inexperience. Inexperience with dating, traveling, risks, higher education, career direction, SEX, solitude, religious exploration, etc… and it’s insane that I have already experienced more of the world in the last 22 years than my married peers will ever experience in their life.
This is one of the most flawed arguments she makes. The basis is that as a married couple, gaining new experience in any of these areas is completely over for you. You’re married? Oh that means you can’t travel or experience risks, or god forbid continue your higher education. What about religion? Once you’re married that’s over, you can’t change what you believe. The amount of people I know that are in college, or getting their masters, or even their PhD and engaged or married is off the charts. They are all successful in their goals because they have someone they are in love with supporting them and their ambitions. What about traveling? Have you ever heard a of a honeymoon? You know the most exciting and best traveling experiences most people have, that is so magical because its with the love of your life? For that matter people are much more likely to travel with someone they love and enjoy being with then by themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it is still possible to enjoy being your own person and have fun traveling alone, but also enjoy traveling with your husband or wife. It’s not one or the other. Believe it or not, you can be your own human being AND be married to another one that you love hanging out with. Vanessa claims she has experienced more of the world in 22 years than married people ever have. This is the most ungrounded claim I have ever witnessed. Which married peers? What are their lives like? Can you tell me how much of the world they have experienced, exactly, and how your experiences are better and more worthy? How on earth do you know what the next 50 years of their life will be like? For all you know one of those married couples might end up being missionaries and literally travel the world and save lives for a living. Are you really going to tell me you’re positive none of the married people on your facebook, or in the whole world, are going to have more exciting or experienced lives than you? Now you’re just not making sense. If you gave any other descriptive factor to this “type” of people you despise so much besides “married and under 23” you might get me on board. But it’s a little vague to say everyone in this category is pathetic and boring.
Her next point is especially emotional, and the more emotional she gets, the less her points are based in any kind of fact, and the more her argument loses its power:
It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own. It’s a safety blanket. It’s an admission that the world is just too big and scary to deal with it on your own; thus, you now have someone that is legally obligated to support you till one of you dies or files for divorce.
Now Vanessa introduces us to her very cold and bitter view of what marriage actually is. This is helpful since I’ve been waiting for her personal definition since the first paragraph (since its clearly not the same definition the rest of us know.) Marriage, according to Vanessa, is a safety blanket for lonely pathetic people so they can be lonely and pathetic together instead of facing the big, scary world she is so experienced with. This argument practically refutes itself. First of all, there are about a thousand different kinds of marriages and reasons to get married. Once again, Vanessa decides to group something extremely vague into one topic so it’s easier for her to hate it. She completely ignores the fact there is such a thing as a happy marriage that works and produces a family. Instead she basically refers to marriage as a weakness- even though just a few paragraphs ago she said she would get married herself when she was finished exploring the world before being locked away in the prison of commitment. What confuses me about this statement is how she tries to make it apply only to young people…”It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own.” This is how she views young marriage- but she never explains how older marriage is better or less pathetic? Because you’re a few years older your marriage will no longer be a safety blanket? Because you’ve been to more countries before marrying it will suddenly not be so pointless? Her argument doesn’t even make enough sense to disagree with.
Then her article goes on to not just hate marriage, but love in general, by again, not making any sense at all.
If your love is truly eternal, what’s the rush? If it’s real, that person will continue to be committed to you 2 months from now, 2 years from now, and 2 decades from now.
This makes sense AT FIRST- yes, when you find that person you have all the time in the world to commit whenever you want to. But the HUGE flaw here is that it is not “making it official” with a marriage that changes your lifestyle. It’s the person. It’s your future husband or wife and how much you love them. When you find the person you’re going to marry, your lifestyle changes. Not because of a legal document, but because your priorities are now different and you wouldn’t do anything to hurt them. Because you want it to. Because you no longer want to make out with a stranger or be selfish. Because you found the person who makes you want to be the best you can be, and the person who makes you want to experience everything the world has to offer WITH them, not instead of being with them. You do control when you get married. But you don’t control when you meet the person who will make you WANT to get married. It isn’t about settling down out of fear or need of a safety blanket or any other weak reason- its about loving someone so much you love them and being with them more than being single and dating other people. When you find that person, it doesn’t bother you that you can’t “make out with a stranger,” or “hang out in front of a window naked” because that just doesn’t appeal to you when you’ve found the only person you want to make out with and be naked in front of. It’s not about restrictions or what you “can’t” do when you’re married, it’s about being so happy naturally that you don’t even notice not doing the old stuff that sort of kind of made you happy once. The in-love happy, the marriage-kind-of-happy, beats the 3 seconds of joy you get from eating an entire jar of nutella, before the stomach ache hits. Regardless, I’m a little confused why you can’t eat an entire jar of nutella with a boyfriend/fiance/husband. If we haven’t done that yet, it’s in the near future. Feasting on junk food while watching How I Met Your Mother is kind of a hobby for us… and guess what?! I did that when I was single, too. And it’s ten times more fun cuddling with the love of my life.
So no, there’s no rush. But there’s also no reason to wait. Because there are certain things that matter when you’re debating when to put on a ring on it- whether or not your relationship is ready for that commitment, whether or not you’re employed, and logistics like where you will live etc. That’s it. If you are both read, in love and mature and able to take that step, who the hell cares if you’re 23? Probably just Vanessa Elizabeth.
However, she does not stop there. She goes on to explain that marriage is obviously a prison- I mean look at all the rules:
Grow, learn, travel, party, cuddle, read, explore. Do. Freaking. Something… other than “settle down” at 23 with a white picket fence.
I laughed out loud when I read this, to be honest. I didn’t know once you’re married you stop growing and learning, and god forbid you travel or read. My favorite is that you apparently stop cuddling. If anyone cuddles, it’s gooey couples in love, so you can stop there. I also know plenty of couples, married and otherwise, who like to party together. I for one have grown and learned so much more from being in a serious, marriage-intended relationship than I ever did alone. I’ve tried new things, traveled to new places with him, and developed a much more open mind about beliefs, interests, hobbies and things I otherwise never would have learned or cared about. I am a more well rounded person with an even better sense of “who I am” because I’m in such a serious relationship at a young age. Shocking, right? Also I would like to point out that Vanessa seriously hates white-picket fences. Someone needs to tell this girl that you can be married and love only your husband and live in an awesome flat in Manhattan and go clubbing every night and still have a great marriage. You can also live in the woods and smoke pot with your husband everyday. You can do pretty much whatever the hell you want when you’re married because its YOUR marriage to the love of YOUR life and that means he’s accepting and into your likes and dislikes. If you don’t want to be that stereotypical family than you’re not going to fall in love with a stereotypical guy and I’m sure you’ll have an awesome, picket-fence-free life. No two marriages are the same, don’t let stereotypes scare you away from an amazing experience.
You are a human being that deserves to thrive inside AND outside of a relationship.
Disclaimer: the first 23 years of your life do not count as being a human being. You were not actually single and thriving outside of a relationship during these years. Go back to the drawing board and learn how to be human before loving another one, thanks.
Sure. Some days I wake up and stare at my ceiling thinking: “I’m single as fuck.” But then I realize that those friends are going to get knocked up and fat soon sssoooo in retrospect, who really is winning here? I’m in China. I’m having the best time of my life. I am responsible for my own happiness.
Something tells me her knocked up friends are going to be extremely happy. They’re going to be starting a family, which is one of the most amazing experiences humans can have (especially considering they are all pathetic and inexperienced which is why they got married young.) They will probably be about as happy as Vanessa Elizabeth is in China. Just like her, they are responsible for their own happiness and are doing what makes them happy. Why its such a hard concept to grasp that there are more than one ways to be happy blows my mind. You can be happy in China, your friends can be happy with their babies. You don’t have to live the same life to be equally happy with your life styles.
Now, for the most nonsensical part of all- the list of things to do instead of getting engaged than can almost entirely be completed while engaged:
- Get a Passport. (Shoot. I have one, does that mean I can’t get engaged? What if my boyfriend needs one for the honeymoon, that’s against the rules once I have a ring on my finger?)
- Find your “thing.” (I’d argue that your “thing” is almost always figured out 15 times before you’re 23, and will probably change 50 more times after. As you grow and learn and change, and find new interests. Regardless, everyone has something they love doing, and I’ve never met someone at 23 who didnt have at least one hobby.)
- Make out with a stranger. (I read in the comments this could be interpreted more broadly as a risk or mistake you might regret later. I make mistakes and take risks all the time. I’m in a committed relationship and I don’t think I will be magically perfect when I’m engaged or married. Pretty sure I will always make mistakes I later regret- it’s all part of the human experience Vanessa is so fond of. In terms of literal interpretation though, I havent found myself motivated to make out with a stranger since I was 15 (immature and wild yay)- but regardless, sounds like something you’re going to grow out of.)
- Adopt a pet. (My boyfriend and I have adopted two…and plan to have a small zoo in our home someday. Really confused as to how being engaged means I no longer get to raise animals in need- simply because I want to get married?)
- Start a band. (I know maybe 2 people who find this appealing, one who actually did, and later abandoned it because it wasn’t nearly what it’s cracked it up to be.)
- Make a cake. Make a second cake. Have your cake and eat it too. (I got really into my baking hobby when I fell in love and had a handy taste tester around all the time, and that helped because otherwise I’d be fat. I’m sure this isn’t meant to be taken literally, but come on now.)
- Get a tattoo. It’s more permanent than a marriage. (Again. Why are married people not allowed to do this?)
- Explore a new religion. (My boyfriend would never have explored religion if he hadn’t met me and wanted to marry me, now he’s interested in it and growing from it.)
- Start a small business. (Why the heck would 23 be a good time for this? Right out of college with no experience basically? Maybe work at a business for years first, gain experience, make connections, become an expert on your topic, make money, settle down…then, when you’re financially stable and settled into your life, take the giant risk of starting a small business. If anything in this entire article takes prep work, age and “experience” to do, its the thing she’s saying you should do INSTEAD of marriage.)
- Cut your hair. (It’s pre Womens’ rights movement, guys. If your husband likes your hair you keep your hair dammnit. But in actuality…I’m sure she means do something drastically different for yourself. If your husband/fiance loves you, he supports you doing you and trying out new things. So yet again, doesn’t count.)
- Date two people at once and see how long it takes to blow up in your face. (Oh this is a good one. Take advantage of people, cause yourself pain and stress, just because it’s better than finding true happiness and settling down with that happiness forever. Everybody makes mistakes and regrets things no matter how old, mature, or married they are. You don’t have to be perfect to be married- if Vanessa thinks that, maybe that’s why she’s so sure it doesn’t last.)
- Build something with your hands. (These are just getting tiresome. I’ve become more creative and artsy since meeting my boyfriend since DIY and woodmaking, woodburning, etc are interests we have in common. I do more hands-on, creative, expressive projects than ever before and find them very therapeutic and relaxing, which I’m sure is the point she’s trying to make- but it happens I came across them through a committed relationship rather than being single and I still got that out of it.)
- Accomplish a Pinterest project. (These are pretty much my main hobby. My “thing”, if you will. And guess what? My boyfriend helps me. Crazy how two people can support and enjoy each other instead of stifling and imprisoning each other, huh?)
- Join the Peace Corps. (If this is what you’re into, the kind of man you would fall in love with would either be extremely supportive or into it as well. Maybe you go together, maybe he’s just your biggest supporter and does long distance. Either way, people in relationships and marriages can make it work. It’s not single people only or get the hell out.)
- Disappoint your parents. (If you’re 23, you’ve already done your teenage years. You’ve already disappointed your parents as much as they can probably take. Regardless you can still get fired or fail out of school or do anything else they don’t like while also being madly in love with your fiance so this, if you think it’s really a valuable goal, doesnt hold up.)
- Watch GIRLS, over and over again. (Surely your fiance goes to work occasionally. Or sleeps. Or loves you enough to watch it with you. Go ahead.)
- Eat a jar of Nutella in one sitting. (If you can’t do this in front of your man without being embarrassed you’re with the wrong person. Pass the spoon, please.)
- Make strangers feel uncomfortable in public places. (Um, hello. It’s called PDA. Strangers HATE PDA.)
- Sign up for CrossFit. (Just so you guys know, working out with your boyfriend isn’t allowed. Do it alone or get engaged, your choice.)
- Hangout naked in front of a window. (Have none of you ever stayed in a hotel or lived in an apartment or just had close neighbors who like to do it against the glass? It’s a thing. It will scar you, but couples do it more than singles to be honest.)
- Write your feelings down in a blog. (HEY IM DOING THAT RIGHT NOW. Pretty sure my boyfriend still wants to marry me.)
- Be selfish. (Yes because everyone wants to be selfish and hurtful to others. Put yourself first, make everyone else around you unhappy, that’s the right way to live, single or not!)
- Come with me to the Philippines for Chinese New Year. (I would say bring your fiance with you and make it a party, but I don’t think Vanessa would like that.)
In conclusion, the only people that matter in your personal life choices are those directly affected by them. Even though there will always be people like Vanessa Elizabeth who feel the need to tell you their way is better. To be honest, I’m okay with that. I’m okay with the fact that I’ve been in love for two years, will likely be engaged around age 20, married at 21/22, and have the support of my family and friends who love him and see our maturity. Everybody who gets to know us asks when we’re getting married…regardless of the fact that we’re young. I’m very confident in my relationship because its my own and I know it inside and out- which is something no one else can say, and therefore no one can judge. I’ve never received harsh judgement on the seriousness of my relationship and our intentions for our future- except from people like Vanessa Elizabeth who can’t grasp the concept that other people are at different stages in life at different ages, and that’s okay. She’s not ready to get married right now. A lot of people her age, and younger, and older, aren’t. I’m okay with that, because I know that’s how life works. We’re individuals, we have different experiences (none greater than the next), and different goals and priorities. We age and mature differently than those around us. That does not make my life choices better than Vanessa’s, but it certainly does not give her the right to tell everyone that hers are better than mine or people like me. Especially without any actual facts to back up her argument.
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and its true. It’s also a cheap, fun and easy gift idea. Here are some of my most popular edible gifts to my man that he continues to ask for every holiday:
Trail Mix & Buckeye Pretzels
Main Trail Mix portion:
- pretzel m&m’s
- regular m&m’s
- chocolate chips
- Reeses’ peanut butter chips
- regular small pretzels salted
- honey roasted nuts (variety)
- coca and cinnamon nuts
- sweet nuts
- sweet and salty trail mix made by m&m’s
- reese’s minis
- buckeye pretzels
Recipe for buckeye pretzels:
one cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Beat peanut butter and butter and add in sugars gradually until the consistency is so you can roll them into small balls without sticking too much to your fingers. Balls should be proportionate to pretzel size and be sandwiched between two pretzels. Put in freezer for a half hour so they are no longer sticky. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or over a burner, dip half of each pretzel sandwich in, and place on wax paper to harden. Refrigerate for a half hour before mixing in with trail mix or it will be too sticky/melty. Keep trail mix in fridge or freezer for a shorter amount of time until served.
These are really popular, and you have probably heard of them because they are REALLY easy to make (so easy they’re slutty) and incredibly good. They are my boyfriend’s all time favorite. Everything you need is store bought and quick, which makes it simpler.
chocolate chip cookie mix
one or two packs of oreos (if using a 9×9 pan you only need one, a longer pan you need two)
The next layer is Oreos and Reeses. Spread out the Oreos, and fill in the spaces with chopped up Reeses, and Oreo crumbs from any left over cookies you have that you can smash up.
Then pour the brownie mix directly over the layers, don’t worry if it seeps through, just try to make it as even as possible. In the end, it will look like this:
Cook at 350 degrees (F) for 45-55 minutes, but if you use a 9×9 pan like me it will definitely be longer than that so continually check and add cooking time in ten minute increments. Let cool completely and then cut into squares and wrap up for a cute present.
No- Bake, Homemade Edible Alternatives: Oreo Balls and Peanut butter Balls
You don’t have to be good with an oven to “bake” for your man. These two recipes are time consuming, but a favorite by pretty much everyone.
one pack of Oreos, crushed
one block cream cheese
melting chocolate (white, milk, dark, your choice)
Crush the oreos ( I recommend by hand, my blender tried and failed repeatedly) and with a hand held mixer or blender, mix with cream cheese. Roll into small balls, and freeze for a half hour to forty five minutes. They should be solid enough that they can be dipped into melted chocolate without being too sticky or falling apart. Towards the end of their freezer time, start to melt your chocolate. You will want a deep bowl to be able to completely submerge each oreo ball successfully, or else you will be doing a lot of rolling. TIP: Take the oreo balls out of the freezer in small sets so you can dip them quickly, return them to the freezer, and take out the next couple so you do not have the rest defrosting waiting to be dipped and soft by the time you get to them. Put aside on wax paper to harden, and keep cold until you serve.
Peanut butter balls:
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter softened
1 pound dipping chocolate
about a cup of graham cracker crumbs, as needed
Blend the peanut butter, sugar, butter and graham crackers with a hand mixer or blender. Add the graham cracker crumbs for texture as needed. Complete the recipe the exact same way as Oreo balls.
This gift is an entire month dedicated to appreciating your man- hence 30 days of thanks. It’s a great present for a birthday because it’s very personal, but can also be used as a countdown- like a countdown to Christmas or anniversary. I did this for my man’s birthday last year, and my most important piece of advice is to not overestimate how much time you have to do it, and to pick your topics ahead of time.
What you need:
any amount of envelopes for however many days you plan to do it (25 for christmas countdown, for example)
paper and a pen to write with
ribbon to tie them all together
What you do:
This gift is all about how much you appreciate everything he does. You write a letter for each day of the countdown/month/etc all about one specific thing about him or one thing that he does that you really appreciate, and why. This is an especially great gift if you’ve been together a while and want him to know you aren’t taking all the great things about him for granted. It’s more elaborate than open when letters and focused specifically on thanking him for everything he does for you and your life together.
Once you write out each letter, seal into an envelope. Print and cut out as many of the printable numbers you will need for your countdown or month. If you want to be extra creative, get cute scrapbook paper and glue the numbers directly onto that. Cut them out so the scrapbook paper frames the numbers, then glue onto your envelopes. When they’re done, they will look like this:
This image is from a cute appreciation project from The Dating Divas that involves other family members, but their printable works great for this present. When you’ve finished assembling all your envelopes, you can tie them into a cute pile with ribbon if you want.
It can definitely be hard to think of topics, so here are some suggestions that I did to get you started:
- I’m grateful you love me even when I don’t deserve it- go into how much it means to you that even when you fight or when you’re at your worst, he is still there for you and loves you anyway
- I’m grateful you are my best friend first- go into how supportive he is, how much fun you have together, etc, how much that means to you in a relationship
- I’m grateful that you do this dishes without being asked- obviously talk more about the dishes, just focus on how awesome it is that you don’t have to nag him to do every little thing, but he willingly helps you often
- I’m grateful that you have patience-why this is important to you in a man and a relationship, etc,
- I’m grateful that you’re kind-hearted- why this is important to you in a man and a relationship, etc,
- I’m grateful that you’re protective
- I’m grateful that you put me and our relationship/marriage/family first
- I’m grateful that you make me feel beautiful
- I’m grateful that you work so hard to be close to my family- this is a great one because in law relationships can often be negative, so if you have a man who puts forth a lot of effort in that relationship and wants their approval because he knows it means a lot to you, you will have a lot to appreciate about him on this topic
- I’m grateful I met you- go into how he changed your life
- I’m grateful you motivate me- with school or work
- I’m grateful you’re ambitious and a hard worker- go into how much it means to you that he works hard to support himself so that you can work to achieve your goals as well, or to support both of you or your family
- I’m grateful that you spoil me- this could be emotionally or in a materialistic way, if he does both, split it into two letters!
Just some ideas to get you started! In my experience one of the best things you can tell your man is that you appreciate him the way he is and notice everything he does for you and are grateful for it. Not to speak generally but often guys aren’t really the type to whine about not feeling appreciated or wanting more acknowledgement, but that’s because they feel they’ll look weak or stupid if they do, not because its not true. So make him feel appreciated without him having to ask, it’s a great gift for any holiday!
There’s lots of ways relationships can fail, and lots of ways they can work. But there are definitely some things that will never work for either person involved, and its best if you identify them early so you can work on them together.
Getting in the Mindset of “We”
One of the hardest things about transitioning from being single into being in a relationship is adjusting to sharing your life with someone else. You have to accept the fact that if you are in a committed relationship with someone, your decisions and actions will affect their life as well. For example, if you decide you’re going to go out with your friends this friday and get drunk, that’s your choice. You’re human, you’re still independent, you don’t have a babysitter just because you have a boyfriend, so naturally you can do that if you want. HOWEVER, you need to think about what that choice will mean for your boyfriend. It totally depends on the situation, but it could mean several different things. Maybe you lose your phone, he can’t reach you, thinks you’re in trouble and goes crazy with worry until you stumble into his apartment later. Maybe it means you’re sick all night and instead of going to sleep he has to hold your hair while you puke. While you didn’t do anything wrong, your actions still affect his life because you made him worry or he had to take care of you when you made yourself sick. That’s a small example of a little action that affected his life in a minimal way. But the point is, the more serious your relationship gets, the more your lives join together, and the more communication is necessary with big decisions. When it comes to little choices, you just need to think of someone else before yourself when you make them. Think of how it will affect his mood, or his day, before you do something because when you love someone you want to make them happy, and your choices will affect their happiness one way or another.
Not Being on the Same Page
I think one of the most common issues in relationships is when someone and their partner are not clear on their expectations of the relationship. One of you might see a future and being serious, the other might want it to be casual, but if you never talk about it (even if its just because you’re scared of overstepping or pressuring) then you will never get anything out of that relationship. It is CRUCIAL to be on the same page with your partner and the only way to do that is through communication. It doesnt matter if you’re nervous or uncomfortable, would you rather have one awkward relationship or date someone for six months who you’re uncomfortable talking to your future about? That’s just a recipe for disappointment. Your future is not the only expectation you need to be clear on, however. What about how often you talk? How often you see each other? Some people need to be talking all the time, see each other as much as possible, others feel suffocated by that and need their space. Both types of relationships are common and healthy, but you need to figure out where you sit on that scale and where he does, or one of you will be disappointed when you don’t get a text back or when you feel like the other is being too clingy. If you’re on opposite sides of the spectrum, you should find out if you’re comfortable with compromising, or who will compromise, and how much. Never settle entirely or you will not be happy in your relationship. Compromise, compromise, compromise- EQUALLY.
Confusing Your Priorities
When you’re married, are your going to put your girlfriends before your husband…? Maybe that’s the kind of marriage you want, but I personally can never imagine the day where my friends (as much as I love them) come before my family. Friendships, as valuable as they are, are part time commitments. Friends come in and out of your life. You have lunch, you are there for each other, you gossip and give advice and make a lot of memories together. Friends are necessary. But you don’t have kids with your friends. You don’t spend every single day with them, sleep in the same bed with them every night, and vow to be with them and only them for the rest of your life. You can have powerful, strong, and healthy friendships that enrich your life. But the best and most fulfilling friendship you will ever find will be with your future husband. That friendship is the basis of your love for each other, which is the basis of your marriage and future family and life. He is your best friend. As great as friends are, there is always a hierarchy in friends. You have your best friend above everyone in the world, your closest circle of friends, and your friendly people. Your best friend has to come first, they know you more than anyone, they get you, they’re there for you through everything. If you’re doing marriage right, that person is your husband. You’re not a bitch for putting him before your friends, you’re logical and a good wife and a good person. Single friends put their best friend before other friends too- its natural- but they don’t get criticized for it because that friend is a girl friend and not a man. One thing that people love to hate is the girl that puts a boy before her friends. Certainly there are situations where this is not a good situation, and even a toxic one, but those situations take place in casual relationships, and especially young ones. In a marriage, it is crucial to put your husband and family before everything. In a serious committed relationship, you are on the path to marriage. If you are planning to be married, you are building the foundation for that marriage, and you are already best friends. Therefore, he should probably come before the rest of your friends. Not because he’s a boy, not because you’re the girl who ditched her friends for her boyfriend, but because he is your best friend, and his happiness and health comes first. Because he is your future husband, and you better get in the habit of the grown up responsibility of putting your new family before your girl friends because in reality that is how it is going to work. You can still see your friends all the time of course, you’re not ditching them. But when the day comes when you have to choose (and the day will come), I hope that you remember that the groom is more crucial than the bridesmaids- both in a wedding and a marriage.
These are just three main problems that I think are really common in relationships today, and contribute to why they fail. They all have the simple solution of communicating with each other, becoming more comfortable communicating, and learning to adjust from leaving the single life. These problems mainly only apply to serious mature relationships. If you’re 15 and have been dating your boyfriend for a month please for the love of God do not leave all your friends so you can hang out with him more, that is not at all what I was getting at. My perspective is only meant to apply to relationships that are getting very close to engagement and marriage- and to clarify, I did not say to ditch your friends, I only meant that, for example, if you had to choose between taking care of your sick boyfriend/fiance/husband and hanging out with your friends, I hope you choose him despite the fact that you will probably be given a hard time by them. Its situations like that I was referring to. Anyways, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Comment or tweet me.
- Have a fire If you don’t have a fireplace, but you do have a small fire pit from the summer, you’d be surprised how warm you will be sitting by it even in the middle of the winter. Bring a blanket, and just sit by the fire, and relax by not doing anything but being together.
- Christmas shopping You can either cross off people on your lists and actually be productive, or just go to a cute string of stores and window shop, look at ornaments, enjoy the christmas music and fake Santas, and get in the holiday spirit together.
- Have a Holiday Movie Marathon You can use ABC Family’s Countdown, or just Netflix, but finding classics from Elf to Frosty won’t be difficult around this time of year. Make hot cocoa (let an oreo dissolve in it if you want it to taste extra amazing), and curl up together for an excuse to cuddle.
- Ice Skating Don’t let the flirty middle schoolers at your local rink ruin the mood. Especially if neither of you have gone in years- or ever- ice skating can be an entertaining and cheesy romantic date.
- Christmas Lights Tour If you don’t have a specific show/ display in your area, just drive around the neighborhoods and vote on which ones are the best/most kitschy. And hot coca. Add hot cocoa to any date and it’s a winter date night.
- Make a Cookie Christmas Tree Anyone can make Christmas cookies, but if you make two cookies per cutter in this set, frost and assemble you have the most adorable cookie tree ever. It’s a great centerpiece for your holiday table, and an even better hostess gift if you can stop from eating it first. Oh and drink hot cocoa while making it, and obviously blast Christmas music.
- Hot Cocoa Tasting Search pinterest for unique recipes, or experiment on your own by mixing in add-ins like chocolate covered pretzels, cookies, peppermint, Reeses cups, etc. Come up with them separately and compete for the best one, or just come up with as many as you can until you’re done with cocoa for the rest of the season.
- Go Sledding Because its not just for five year olds. Technically it probably counts as exercise, dragging sleds all the way up a hill, and being outside in the cold for a big chunk of the day means going home to hot cocoa and cuddling is just that much better. Yes. Hot cocoa again. It’s winter, it’s required.
- Stay in Bed All Day Or if you don’t live together, just have a lazy date. Pick a saturday where you just relax. It’s cold outside, and maybe it’s even snowing, you have an excuse not to go out. Order food so you don’t have to cook. Put on your comfiest clothes, and your comfiest blankets, and just be together all day. Watch movies or listen to music or just talk, but just soak up the fact that you have absolutely nothing else you have to be doing, except be together. And clear your schedule to make sure this is true.
- Play in the Snow No matter how old you are, you know you want to. It’s right there. You miss it. If you do it together, its cute, not just a random adult making a snowman, so take advantage of this opportunity. Pelt each other with snowballs, make the largest or most creative snowman physically possible, because you can, and because it’s fun, and then go get warm food and cuddle.
No, they are not the same thing. Not all long term relationships are serious, and to be honest, not all serious relationships are necessarily long term.
It is not about how long you’ve been together- to an extent. Being in a serious relationship is about commitment, trust, being best friends, and PLANNING (not thinking about by yourself or pinning on your wedding board without telling him) your future TOGETHER. Being in a serious relationship means you are preparing for marriage- or in some cases, just living together and starting a family if that’s your thing, although personally I am a big believer in marriage. Regardless, serious relationships are equal. One person is never more committed or invested than the other- it is something you both want and work for together equally. When you are in a serious relationship, you have no walls up. This person knows you better than you know yourself, they know your hopes and dreams and goals and consider it one of their goals to help you achieve all of yours. When you are in a serious relationship, you know that marriage/family is in your future. You don’t daydream about it, you know it. You discuss it. You save money for it, and plan for it. Usually, your family and friends know it without you having to tell them, because frankly a serious couple is obviously mature and established to everyone around them. If you are in a serious relationship with someone, you really, REALLY know them well, and love them anyways, and are taking steps towards spending the rest of your lives together. That being said, some people take years to get to this stage, and some take months. I really do not believe that there is a time limit. I do think that the shorter the time, the more difficult it is to fully know someone, their family, their beliefs and goals and dreams, but I don’t think it’s not possible- just less likely. We were definitely talking about our future only six months in, and we were young! It only got more serious from there, and now we are looking at getting engaged within the next year- so it is very possible.
Now…what about long term relationships? What’s the difference? Well, unfortunately, it is very possible to be with someone for years and never even get serious, or have a future in sight. Sadly many girls assume that if they are together a long time, the guy is serious about them, or if they are of a certain age, then they longer they date the closer they are getting to a ring or commitment. This is simply not true. MANY people get comfortable in a relationship and just stay. They do not think about the future, what they want out of the relationship or the person, or that they are possibly wasting their time. They just get in the routine of being with someone, and it seems like more work to break it off than to stay together. Even more sadly, perhaps, is people who marry in these types of relationships…because its expected of them, because its the next step, because they’re older and might not find someone else…all things that should NEVER be reasons to get married. But even more common is couples that just kind of float in limbo. They’re certainly not casual- these relationships could last years and include knowing each other’s families very well, living together, celebrating holidays together. However, that is all they are and ever will be. They do not discuss marriage or a future for fear of overstepping boundaries or “pressuring” the other person. If you are afraid to discuss something like that with your significant other, you are not yet in a serious relationship. Serious couples can discuss anything, because communication is a pillar of their relationship. They can bring up any concern and address it. If you are not comfortable doing that, even if you’ve been together years, you are not yet at that point in your relationship. Keep in mind another attribute of a serious relationship is equality- which means you both want to get married an equal amount, no one is pressuring another person. Someone I know has been dating her boyfriend for nearly three years now. They’re graduating college which to most people would mean its time to start thinking about their future as a couple. They’ve discussed marriage before, but right now they are too afraid to talk about it because how close the possibility is, and the fact they have virtually no money to their names because they did not plan for life after college and being independent. They have been together three years….they have had plenty of time to put money aside to save up for an apartment or engagement ring or anything along those lines, but instead they just continued to date in denial of the upcoming responsibilities. This is one example of a long term relationship that is not serious. She always wants to discuss their future but does not know how to bring it up to him, does not want to stress him out because she knows he has little chance of getting a job, and she is unsure on the sacrifices she will be forced to make if they do end up together. Those are enough warning bells to at least reconsider the relationship, however, since they have been together for years they are simply too used to it and could not consider a break up. The danger of long term relationships is just that- getting so comfortable that you cannot end it, even when there is no potential for a future.
Just some thoughts on the differences, let me know what you all think!
Alright well….I was 16 when I met the love of my life. And I really, really, really was not in the mood to deal with boys or dates or relationships. See, I had just gotten dumped by this guy who had a complete hold of me, even though he was really terrible to me and it was a horrible relationship. He had jerked me around and led me on, and at the end of it he said he never intended on having a future with me. After getting out of that relationship, the last thing I wanted was a boyfriend. I declared war on men (the most logical thing to do, of course) and swore off dating until I was old enough to meet a mature guy who actually cared about a real, serious relationship. I decided to take some time off. Unfortunately, I already had a prom dress, and at my old high school, you can’t go without a date since it was all girls. This also meant I knew very little guys…I begged my friends to find some random guy I could take, ditch at the door, and just have fun with my friends. Finally my best friend suggested a guy she had been friends with for years. At one am at a sleepover, she texted him and showed me his facebook. My first impression was that he was kind of a jock…and not the good kind. He was a football player, a big kid with gorgeous blue eyes and blonde hair, and girls all over him in his pictures. She told me he would probably know people at the prom and not care if I ditched him, so I said yes. She told him my name, and he looked me up on facebook, and tells me now that his first thought was “whoa, she’s beautiful, I could never treat her right.” Which honestly makes me laugh now because he treats me better than I even knew was possible. Regardless, after a while he agreed to be my blind prom date, and we started texting. I quickly figured out he was nothing like any guy my age, or any person I had ever met. I was still depressed from my break up, and really uninterested, but I couldn’t help replying to him since he was so good at keeping the conversation going, and every night for the first week we talked he asked if it was okay for him to text me the next day. As the girl who always cared too much, texted first, and felt unwanted, I couldn’t help but think that was sweet, and I couldn’t turn him down. I found out more and more about who he was, and realized my first judgments were pretty far off, and I thought maybe we could be friends, but I still didn’t want anything more. He would always drop little hints, like saying he wanted to take me to the beach that summer, or I could wear his letterman jacket in the fall, and I would feel myself back away because he was talking about me being in his life, and I couldn’t let myself think that far ahead. But then, I crashed my car into my garage. Literally…I was learning to drive, and my mom was in the car and made me panic, and I meant to brake, but took down a whole wall. I had been texting him before I was driving, so when I got out and couldn’t stop sobbing, I told him what happened and instantly he calmed me down, talked to me, and made me feel better. At that moment, it really hit me that no one had ever been able to handle my emotional self like that, and even over text he had such a calming effect on me, and we had only been talking a few weeks. After that, I began to see him a little differently…but very cautiously. He had started to get me to open up more and more, even though I didn’t want to let anyone in. Eventually, he convinced me to facetime even though I was sure my awkward self would make it terrible. But I died as soon as he picked up, his smile killed me. We joked the entire time and he made me laugh and I thought holy crap what am I getting myself into. A few days later, as Valentine’s Day was coming up, he casually suggest we do something. Being only 16, I had to deal with my protective dad to make this happen, who insisted other people be present since I had never met this kid. We settled on going to a movie with the girl who set us up, who reluctantly agreed to third wheel, and sat separately from us. This day changed everything. He was being so careful not to scare me off, he never said it was a date, he tried not to make a big deal of it, but I knew he was excited, and he asked me what my favorite candy was…and it was Valentine’s Day, after all.
When the day finally came, I barely got ready because I had lied to my parents that it was just meeting my prom date, not a big deal, even though part of me was pretty sure it was a date. On the way there I seriously thought I was going to throw up I was so nervous. When I pulled up in front of the theater, I saw him through the window and my stomach dropped I was so freaked out. I waited for our friend, and went in with her. He leaned down to hug me and broke the tension right away…he was a foot taller than me and so much bigger he just wrapped me up in his arms and I felt myself relax more. He flirted in the line, and had to lean down to talk to me because he was so tall, which is habit now, but was hilarious then. When we got to the front of the line, he paid for all of us, and I was shocked because my ex was stingy and made me feel like crap every time he paid for something. I felt like he was actually a gentleman. Then, as we walked away from the ticket booth, he put his hand on the small of my back, and I instantly got butterflies and felt like this was really happening. He once wrote a whole letter to me describing this night, and at this point he wrote: “we walked in and all I wanted to do was turn you around and kiss you but we had just met and I couldn’t freak you out.” When we sat down, we found out the theater was broken and the movie was delayed forty five minutes, so we just got more time to talk in person and get to know each other. I remember how I nervously leaned my head on his shoulder and how he put the arm rest up so I could cuddle on him, and how when he had his hand around my waist he nervously said “is it okay if my hand is here?” And I knew then that I had misjudged him as a player..he was so sweet and gentle with me. It wasn’t long into the movie before we were cuddling close, and he would kiss my forehead and hold onto me like he had been wanting to for a very long time, which I would later find out was exactly the case. We’re really goofy together, and since that first night he was messing with me and stole the bobby pin from my hair and I went to grab it back but he put it in between his teeth and grinned at me, like “Come and get it” so I went in to grab it with my mouth and we had our first kiss! Any remaining tension broke in that moment, and I curled up against him, feeling him hold onto me even tighter. I pretty much instantly knew this was happening whether I was ready or not, I had felt like this in my whole previous relationship, and it was only the first date. He would lean down, kiss my forehead, then my nose, then my lips and tickle me and it was like we had already been together months we were so comfortable. We didn’t make out or do anything physical, he just gave me sweet kisses and basically prove to me that he was not the player I judged him to be at first. After the movie let out, he walked out holding my hand and with his arms around me, and then hugged me in the lobby picking me up off the ground and giving me a kiss in front of everyone, which completely blew my mind since my ex refused to touch me in public and always made me feel like he was embarrassed to be seen with me. Z made me feel wanted and loved from our very first date, and let everyone around us know he was proud I was his. I had never felt that before, I had never meant that much to someone, and it was amazing. He insisted on walking me to my car and introducing himself to my dad, which also blew my expectations. Other guys I had been with didn’t want to meet my parents or wait for me to get picked up, but Z would never leave me there, he was already so protective. He made a good impression on my dad, and then he said goodbye to me. He completely prove to me that he was a gentleman and really cared about me on our first date, and it changed my entire perspective.
Shocking Fact Number One: Your boyfriend caring about you & the choices you make does NOT mean he’s controlling you (95% of the time)
Shocking Fact Number Two: When my boyfriend isn’t okay with something, even if I don’t understand his reasoning or I disagree, I don’t do it! And no, that’s NOT being submissive! Here’s why!
In the first part of this post I described why I felt dressing “to impress” when you’re not with your boyfriend isn’t a great choice in a serious relationship, and now I’m going to go into why it’s respecting your relationship, and has nothing to do with being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. I have a strong feeling that certain types of feminists would be wild with rage at my opinions on this matter, and probably feel that if they want to have their boobs out, they can have their boobs out, and no damn man is going to tell them otherwise. Some feminists, not all. But they definitely exist, and I want to clarify what I’m saying so they can’t claim I’m offending my gender.
By all means, if you want to have your boobs out when you’re at a club with a bunch of guys and without the love of your life, then go ahead. That’s your call, not mine, because here’s the thing…being in a relationship doesn’t have rules, it does not mean once you’re his girlfriend officially you can no longer wear a tight skirt. There is no rule book to relationships, that’s not what doing things or not doing things is about. It’s not rules, it’s the fact that you are now linked to another person, which means your choices and your behaviors now affect them and their feelings. Nobody says you can’t hurt them, that’s completely up to you. It’s not against the rules to cheat in a relationship, because there aren’t rules. You don’t cheat because it would hurt the person you love, not because a rulebook told you not to. This applies to everything else, too. Even the little things.
So if you want to say “No man can tell me what to do, my body and my life” then go ahead and pop your boobs out at the club, but don’t be shocked when he’s hurt, insulted, and suspicious. Because this issue does not have to do with being a woman and having the right to do whatever you want with your body, or being told what to do by a man, or any of that crap. This issue has to do with being a human and respecting other humans who have feelings that you care about. If you’re a lesbian or a gay guy this applies to you too. If two lesbian women were in a relationship and one did not want the other to go out without her and show off her stuff, no one would say that girl was controlling and forcing her girlfriend to be submissive. Only because she’s not a man! It’s not about gender, its not about your boobs, its about respecting your significant other and your relationship.
I’m sure there is something you do not like your boyfriend to do. Maybe its texting other girls, or drinking too much, or going out too much with the guys. That is completely normal for you to have something that makes you uncomfortable. You’re a human with feelings and they can be hurt by many different things, even if they’re irrational to anyone but you. If you have a good relationship with healthy communication, he knows what makes you uncomfortable, and makes an effort to stop those behaviors for your sake. Now, don’t be a double standard. Guys, believe it or not, have feelings, too, and I’m sure there are plenty of things you do that he would rather you not, and when he communicates them to you, that is normal and healthy and you should respect them like he respects yours. Too often I see girls get upset by the requests their boyfriends make- that they stop texting a certain guy, or dress more modestly. Yet these same girls complain that he’s out with the guys again or refuses to compromise on an issue. It’s the same thing, girls! If you expect him to respect your needs, you need to respect him as well. It does not matter if you really like wearing short skirts, if you love a man, and he is uncomfortable when you’re always bending over in front of other guys, then you should respect that and cover up, because he respects your requests. This is not controlling, this is putting each other’s needs and wants before your own, which, everybody, is called selfless love, and it’s the best and most fulfilling kind out there. Stay tuned for a whole post on the hard work and amazing rewards of selfless love on another night. There is nothing wrong with your boy not liking other guys looking at you…it means he values you, and he values your body, and he likes that he is the only one you let have it. When you show it to other guys without him around, it makes him feel like you’re not completely committed to him, and you want attention from other guys. That’s not a good feeling, and its definitely not a feeling you would like, so why would you inflict it on him? It’s okay to compromise, it’s better to respect his wishes when he respects yours, and don’t let anyone ever give you a hard time for having a mature and healthy relationship, or tell you that he’s controlling you by asking something of you. In a relationship, you do things for each other, to make each other happy, because when you make them happy, you’re happy. Other people often do not understand this, especially single people…so don’t ever let them get into your head, or affect your choices in your relationship.
I don’t remember the last time I wore leggings as pants, or short shorts, or a tight, short dress. No, I’m not a prude. I used to dress like that all the time. I wouldn’t consider my old self a slut, either. But why did I change? Well that’s a loaded question, but I think it all starts with respecting the exclusivity and commitment of your relationship, and understanding how far that really goes.
This topic has always been prevalent in my relationship, and I will explain why in another post. But the idea for this post came from one of my followers, who made her own post on this topic, and emailed me asking what I thought about it. It seemed like the perfect time to cover it. There are a couple different sides to this idea that girls in relationships should be more modest than single girls, and first I have to say I disagree with that statement. Personally I think all girls should respect their bodies and cover at least some parts of them most of the time. I have my reasons for that, and I will go into them in part three. But why do girls in relationships have more reason to cover up? Well that’s a very good question.
First you have to ask yourself, why do you dress the way you do? When I was single, I wore tight or revealing clothes only when I was going out or seeing guys. With my friends, I wore relaxed clothes or outfits in style, like riding boots and blazers, which admittedly girls would think were cuter than guys would. Therefore, there are some times when girls dress for girls, girls dress for themselves, and girls dress for guys. The quote that it’s only for themselves and girls is just not true. There is a time and a place for all three. When you dress for yourself, you’re probably the most comfortable, or the nicest outfit you have to make you feel your best. When you dress for girls, you’re probably wearing the latest trends to look good in pictures with your friends. When you dress for boys, whether you admit it or not, you’re dressing to get attention. You want to look good, you want them to think you look good, to be attracted to you, either so you can hook up or so they can be interested enough to get to know your fabulous personality and fall in love with you. Either way, it starts with the looks. You know it, I know it, and they certainly know it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, because humans are visual, we react off first impressions and what they see. Obviously we like to look at things we’re attracted to, we naturally perceive that we get more positive results by giving something nice to look at. So now that we can admit that we wear tight clothes and low shirts occasionally to turn a few heads or get a guy to notice us, we can move on.
What is wrong with dressing this way when you already have a boyfriend? Well my first question is, what’s your point? If we’ve already established the premise that girls (generically) dress that way to get attention of guys or have guys appreciate how they look, then if you are in a committed relationship, why would you continue to show off? Why do you need attention from any guy other than your boyfriend? If you are in a committed relationship, that means you are exclusively sexually active with each other. This means that your body is the only one he is touching and seeing, and his body is the only one you are touching and seeing. When you show off your body to other guys, you’re giving the message that they can look at what is visible. That’s common sense. If you didn’t want them looking at your boobs, you wouldn’t be wearing a push up bra and a low shirt to make them noticeable. If you make a certain part of your body stick out or obvious, and call attention to it, it is going to receive attention. Assuming you dress yourself, you knew you were making certain parts of your body more noticeable than others, therefore you are, logically speaking, asking for people- and that includes guys- to notice it. So if you’re dressing like this, guys are looking at your body that is meant for your boyfriend only. In my opinion, in a healthy, serious, exclusive relationship, you would not want other guys to look at you sexually or give you that kind of attention. In a real relationship, your boyfriend is enough for you, your boyfriend ‘s attention and affection is all you could ever need. If this is not the case, the problem is not that you’re dressing slutty, it’s that your relationship isn’t committed or healthy enough to make you want to stop. If you still dress slutty, think about why. If you just were innocent or never really thought it through, then now is a great time to stop. If reading this makes you realize you don’t get attention or affection from your boyfriend and you find yourself looking elsewhere, then you need to talk to him about this! It is definitely something you can work on together.
Dressing for attention is not a bad thing. But if you’re getting attention and affection from your boyfriend, you should not be trying to get it from anyone else. An exclusive relationship is just that- between only you two. In Part Two, I will go into why its not controlling for your boyfriend to worry about the way you dress, and explain how modest dress plays a role in my own relationship (and why I no longer even want to wear anything too short or tight). In Part Three, I will talk about partying without your boyfriend, the risks, and why I personally believe its not a good idea (for either one of you). I will make a post on generic female modesty, what I define it as, and why I think it has its merits, but that won’t be a part of this series. This is just a really big topic and I think it deserves more than one post since I really believe in it. Comment or tweet me what you think about dressing “to impress” while in a relationship, don’t be shy if you disagree;) I love to hear different opinions, and a big thank you to this girl for suggesting this post!
There are probably a million ways you can go about Reasons I Love You Projects. I’m sure you’ve all seen the deck of cards. This is a popular one as well, but can be for a lot of different holidays. Last year I gave it to him for his birthday, with one reason per day leading up to it. This year I just made it for Halloween, since its candy themed.
You can get the supplies pretty much anywhere for only a couple bucks. Here is where you can get a giant box of the candy if you’re feeling ambitious, and the stickers can be found here in a large count as well. Any small candy he loves works, if its not rounded at the bottom, rectangle labels are available too in office supplies aisles.
With a fine point pen, writing reasons or things you love about him on the stickers- I did 25 for this project, but you could also do a countdown to something, like his birthday or christmas, or the amount of days you’ve been together. Get creative, here are mine if you need ideas:
A jar, cute box, or printed gift bag would all be good containers for this project. I used an old take out container, and decorated it with scrapbooking paper. My finished product:
Email me yours at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will tweet them! Have fun spoiling your boys!