Self-reflection is a valuable exercise. Students are encouraged to practice self-reflection on academic performance or presentations to improve on skills or knowledge gained. Employers promote self-reflection and self-evaluation when reviewing the year’s job performance. Parents may have instructed a misbehaving child to, “Go to your room and think about the consequences of what you have just done!” In the spirit of the worth and benefit of self-reflection, the authors of “Things that Make You Blush” reflected on the past four years of sharing our thoughts and experiences regarding dating and relationships with the women of Forsyth County. We discovered during our self-reflection that creating this column provided us, the authors, who have been dating for four years, a monthly “audit” on the health of our relationship. We realized that during this monthly creative process that we had to review our own experiences, both recent and past, good and bad, to share worthwhile advice or suggestions to others. What a wonderful addiction to be obliged to do on a monthly basis! But, would we still do this reflection if we stopped writing this column? We think we would continue this habit because of the benefits we have gained.
One of the most important benefits of these “audits” has been regular, honest communication. While writing this column, the authors have to (or at least try to) listen to each other’s opinions on which ideas are interesting, what style of writing to use, appropriate examples of what men and women do right and wrong in relationships and maybe grammar! We have shared almost every story of past romances and dating errors in order to write “some honest dating advice” for our readers. We listen with a non-judgmental ear and craft the stories with a sense of humor instead of a sense of jealousy or resentment of former lovers.
Regular relationship audits also prevent the dating experience from getting stale. When you have to come up with monthly examples of events, dating ideas and activities that a couple could enjoy together, it makes you more aware of what your community has to offer. More importantly, it encourages couples to learn more about the likes and dislikes of their partners. One of the authors learned early on what “restless leg syndrome” meant as it related to dating. While there is nothing wrong with watching TV every night snuggled up on the couch together, a person with “ants in their pants” may not be able to sit still for an entire episode of “Dancing with the Stars.” Instead, the antsy partner may get up at every commercial to check “something,” “anything,” just not to sit still. Before getting upset about this trait or feeling neglected, a conversation about alternative activities is in order.
Romance can also get stale if neglected for too long. The authors talk about romance and “audit” our relationship at a minimum of every month to write this column. Even better, we suggest hinting at romance every day in a relationship. Whether it’s holding hands, sending a sweet note or card, planning the next date or kissing each other every day (a must in our book), making an effort to stoke the romantic fires is crucial for a long, happy relationship; and shagging on the back porch doesn’t hurt either.
Writing this column is an enjoyable experience that we hope reaps romantic benefits for the readers. The authors reap the benefits of a monthly relationship audit, and we encourage readers to do the same with their partners.