Our Special Guest: Mary Lou Green

Our Special Guest…

Nothing excites me more than reading helpful information I can put to use in my marriage to make it wonderful! Our guest today makes me so excited about my husband AND the love we share. By simply putting these simple tips into place in your own relationship I know how incredible it can and will be! Take the time to read this article. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Mary Lou and her hubby, Dennis. What wonderful people and great examples! And here she is!!

*  *  *  *  *

Hi!  My name is Mary Lou Green, and I am so thrilled to guest blog for the fabulous Dating Divas.  We are aligned in our mission to help couples stay in love for life one day (and one date) at a time!

Wendy - Our Special Guest Mary Lou Green - Pinterest Pic

Giving Your Spouse The Best Customer Service Ever

My husband Dennis and I have been married for 33 years, and we still date.  Every Friday we go to a movie in a theater and maybe dinner after the movie.  It is sacred to us, and we protect this time at all costs.  I think we have missed 24 Friday dates in all that time due to traveling, company or illness.

Our movie dates represent one of the ways we practice customer care in our marriage.  We believe in the principle of GIVE=GET.  If you give your partner what he or she wants, you will get the love in return that you desire.

Our Customer Rule is different from The Golden Rule that says to treat others as we would like to be treated.  Our Customer Rule is to treat our spouse the way he or she wants to be treated.  It’s a switch in point of view that trains our focus on our true love’s interests and desires.  We want to give each other the best customer service ever!

For example, I love flowers, so Dennis knows that if he sends me flowers, I’ll feel he is showing me that he truly loves me and is thinking about just me.  If I treated him the same way (as in Golden Rule) and sent him flowers, I know he would like the flowers because he enjoys their beauty, but it wouldn’t give him the same meaning as it does for me.

Instead, I could prove how much I appreciate him by doing what he wants (Customer Rule).  If I set aside an afternoon or evening for him to watch a basketball or football game from beginning to end without interruptions, hand him the remote, put snacks at a table by his side and sit with him to watch the game, he would hear “I love you” very clearly.

A good date can be the ultimate customer service experience.  Think about one of the best dates you and your husband ever had.  I bet it would include these components of customer service:

  • He planned something for you that you really enjoy
  • He gave you the “WOW” factor and went beyond anything you were expecting
  • He was fun and polite and smiled at you with his eyes and mouth
  • He focused on you, maintained eye contact and really listened to you with his whole being
  • He kept checking in with you to see that you were having a good time
  • He had a good time, too, and showed you he could join you in your happiness
  • He asked you for another date

Often in marriage, the “business side” takes over the relationship side.  We get so busy with our jobs, our kids, our families and friends, our houses and cars and hobbies, that we lose the love connection that brought us together when we were dating.  We start to take each other for granted in our pursuit of The American Dream. If we don’t give our partners what they need, they can always shop elsewhere, if only in their minds.

When we become customers of each other, we are not turning ourselves into robots that serve every whim of our partners.  We are not slaves within our marriages.  Instead of focusing on what is wrong with each other and trying to correct those things, we need to remember all the wonderful things that caused us to fall in love with one another.

Our challenge is to keep the magic going.  Here are 5 ways you can create Instant Dates every day to focus on each other, no matter what the business side of marriage has in store for you.

  1. Give Your Radiance – Smile at your partner every time you see him or her and use your smile to say, “I’m here and ready to help.”
  2. Initiate the 20-Second Hug – Grab each other and experience twenty seconds of just holding on to each other as the most important beings in the world. You don’t need to talk.  Just say, “I still do” with your eyes or your arms or the way you fold into one another.
  3. Ask “What can I do for you?” and figure out a way to deliver that gives added value to your service.
  4. Join Me on the Couch – Set aside 10 minutes each day devoted to listening to each other with constant eye contact and no interruptions.
  5. Offer Verbal Chocolate Every Day – Choose your words so that you treat your partner with respect.  Demonstrate that you wish to communicate rather than annihilate.  Instead of saying, “You forgot to take out the garbage…again,” say “Honey, let me take out the garbage tonight.”

“The bottom line is that people are never perfect, but love can be. We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.” (Tom Robbins from Still Life with Woodpecker)

A little more about me…

Dennis (my Renaissance Man) and I have been married and worked together to invent and market consumer products for the last 33 years, and we own over 50 patents, trademarks and copyrights.  To share our success with other entrepreneurs, we started a publishing company called Boulevard Press, and we wrote two books to show couples how to become indestructible:  The Marriage Story and Give Your Spouse The Best Customer Service Ever. You can learn more by visiting www.boulevardpress.com or www.DennisandMaryLou.com or by emailing me at Marylou@boulevardpress.com.

The Marriage Story became an amazon.com Best Seller when it launched December 6, 2011.  It tells about a young couple’s desire for a better life and is written entirely in verse.  Most books tell us how to love each other; this book inspires us to want to love each other.

Our next book, Give your Spouse the Best Customer Service Ever, tells how to stay in love by becoming customers of each other.  We teach ten skills that follow our Customer Rule for Couples:  “Be customers of each other to delight not fight.”

See you at the movies!

*  *  *  *  *

Love that! It is such a breath of fresh air having such fun new ways to approach our marriage. This one might be one of my favorites! I challenge you all to look more into their site and the wonderful books they have to offer! Thank you Mary Lou! Now, are you ready for a giveaway??? Woo-hoo!!! Mary Lou has so kindly given me the opportunity to give to a lucky reader, a copy of The Marriage Story! Dennis and Mary Lou’s most recent book! I am stoked! This book is great!!

Log-in with your Facebook account or email below and follow the instructions. 🙂 Ends 2/28/12 at midnight EST. Winner will be announced the following day on our Facebook Fan Page and also at the bottom of this post. Good Luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author: Wendy

I am crazy athletic and super fun! And I can't get enough of my family and friends! I have an amazing hubby and 3 incredible kids! Life is great as we know it!!

We Love Your Comments

We LOVE hearing from our readers! Thanks for leaving us some love!
P.S. If you want a picture to show up next to your comments, get set up with a gravatar!

Recent Comments

193 Responses to Our Special Guest: Mary Lou Green

    1. Dear Erica,
      I think your three words are a great description of two loving people living together! What talents do you offer to make it complete, and what talents does he offer?

      Monday hugs,
      Mary Lou

  1. That was a great post! I really like the perspective about showing love to your spouse not being like the Golden Rule… makes perfect sense. It reminds me of the book “Love and Respect”, which I highly recommend!

    1. Dear Hillary,
      I think the best example of when I used the Golden Rule instead of the Customer Rule was when I arranged for a limo to pick us up to go to dinner one Valentine’s Day with another couple. We ended up on the seats facing backward going up a winding road into the Colorado mountains, and Dennis became very ill! Romance quickly turned into nomance! I’d forgotten that winding roads made his stomach go crazy.

      Eggerichs’ book is a great one. I learned early on in working with my husband that respect is key for men and love is so important for women. The Customer Rule helps me remember to offer service rather than criticism which translates into respect, and then love increases. Love that verbal chocolate!

      Wishing you love and respect,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Angel,
      Your three words are so alive! How long have you been married? What does your husband do that helps you grow, stay interested and makes your life amazing? What do you do for him that contributes to the same three words? I am always interested in how people create magic!

      So happy for you,
      Mary Lou

  2. What great advice! So simple, but something I never connected. I’ve been trying to show my husband love in ways that I feel loved, like physical touch, but that isn’t his love language. What was I thinking?

    And our marriage story in three words? Haha… That’s impossible. Maybe three phrases?
    mutual friend, amusement park, college

    1. Dear Hilary,
      Sounds like you read The Five Languages of Love, one of my favorites. Your three words sound like an interesting story. My three words back: care to share?

      Looking forward to your story,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Jenna,
      When do you think yo first realized that it would be a good idea to treat your husband the way he wants to be treated? How do you discover the ways he wants to be treated? What do you like best about the way he treats you?

      Wishing you continued happiness,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Jenna,
      It sounds like you have so much excitement and promise packed into your three words. How long have you been married? How did you meet? Did you “know” right away that he was “the one”? I knew that I wanted to marry Dennis after just six weeks, but he needed more time to be sure.

      Hope to hear your story,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Brooke,
      You bring up such key words to go with our Customer Rule! Whenever I get impatient with my husband, I think about how many wonderful qualities he has and his patience in dealing with me, and I redirect my thinking into more positive directions. I never forget that marriage is a contract (vow) that we made to each other, and I want to be sure that Dennis always feels he got a great deal. If I work on my own happiness and self, then I don’t have time to pick at him!

      Do you keep a gratitude journal? I try to find at least one moment each day that reminds me of the richness of our relationship.

      Keep up the attitude of gratitude!
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Tessa,
      I was trying to picture everlasting and came up with some interesting images. I think that will be a good topic for discussion with Dennis…”What does everlasting look like?”

      To reach everlasting, we have to be willing to live our vows. I was thinking about saying my vows on our wedding day, and how there was no way at that moment to truly fathom how important each word would become when faced with challenges like illness, death and financial worries. What is important is to mean them and practice them when the moments present themselves.

      James C. Dobson said it well…”Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can’t live without.”

      Wishing you everlasting love,
      Mary Lou

  3. I’ve had a very hard marriage for the past 15 years. We were too young and married too quickly. In the last year we have given our marriage over to God and He alone has grown our love and renewed our relationship. My three words would be “Given to God”

    1. Hi, Merritt!
      I waited a few days before writing to you because I wanted to hear what you tried last weekend and how it worked out for you? Did your husband notice anything different?

      Can’t wait to hear about your experience,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Merritt,
      Would love to hear more details. Who did the refusing, how did the winning happen and what are the main ingredients to “loved”? Thanks for reading and responding!

      Saturday hugs,
      Mary Lou

  4. I’m not married yet, but my boyfriend and I are praying about getting engaged soon and married next summer 🙂 so our love story in three words right now would be:

    Forever: Coming Soon!

    1. Dear Kristi,
      It sounds like you are truly allowing your souls to come together, and I wish you all the best. Dennis and I dated for three years before we married, and it was so good for us to truly know and understand one another when we said our vows. I think that is why we are so compatible and have weathered so many ups and downs together.

      Wishing you a happy future,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Tricia,
      I like that your first word is “forever”. I think when we both truly believe that, it helps us make our marriage work unless there are some serious problems like abuse or addiction involved. I think you have a winning formula by wanting to be together forever, be willing to grow and including each other in your personal growth. I am always checking in with Dennis to see if my beliefs and perceptions about him are accurate, and I usually learn something new every time I ask. We ask so many questions about each other when we’re dating, and I think it’s very important to do the same throughout our days together.

      Congratulations on being Forever Growing Together!
      Mary Lou

    1. Hi, Stacey!
      I am interested in your three words because they are very different from what I know in my relationship with Dennis. Are you total opposites, or do you have areas of common ground? How did you find one another?

      Can’t wait to hear more,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Shaylise,
      When I read your three words, I pictured one of those thermometer posters that we had in school for contests and we kept coloring in our success until we finally reached the top! I hope that you continue to feel so positive and blessed with each other.

      Enjoy it all!
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Becky,
      Isn’t wonderful to live with your best friend? You don’t have to call and make a date or try to confide things over the phone! What qualities make your sweetheart your best friend?

      Monday hugs,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Tricia,
      Selfless actions are such a key to customer service. It’s great to have a life that balances how much time you spend together and how much “alone” time you have.

      I like this quote: Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate. —Barnett R. Brickner—

      I continue to seek the wisdom and selflessness to be the right mate.

      What are three thoughts you’d share that you’ve learned help you be in the “selfless” mode? I would appreciate your insight.

      Wishing you continued success in your marriage,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Sara,
      Isn’t it fun to love and live with your best friend? I think fun is such a key ingredient to love. As I mentioned in my guest post, we love to go to the movies for fun. We also love to play golf together. I learned to play just so I could spend the time with Dennis.

      What is your favorite fun thing to do together?

      Smiles to you,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Stacey,
      So you are a newlywed…congratulations! I hope you will continue to feel the bliss that comes with pledging yourselves to one another, and that it forms the glue for a lifetime of love. How did the two of you meet, and how long did you date before getting married?

      Best wishes to both of you,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Jenny,
      I love to finish each day with something positive to put good thoughts into my dreams and tomorrows. One of the best ways to stay connected is to focus on every day whether it’s treasuring how wonderful life is at the moment or just trying to keep our heads down and get through the challenges of the day. If we can manage to do that together, then we have strengthened our marriage by one more day.

      I find I have a lot more quality memories if I reflect on the day and find one smile to write down in my journal or file away in my mental file cabinet.

      Best wishes for great days,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Amanda,
      I like the word “comfortable” because it implies intimacy. Isn’t it just the best to know you can be yourself, and you’ll be loved for who you are? It’s like being in a warm bubble bath when you’re together!

      I hope you stay comfortable and in love always,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Rachael,
      It sounds like you have overcome struggles in your relationship and gained from those times. I hope that things are looking brighter now, and I wish you all the best in your future together.

      Wishes for long-lasting love,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Becky,
      What do you think your husband offers that makes him your best friend?

      For me, it’s the acceptance that Dennis gives me even when I share something with him that doesn’t show me in the best light! He always sees me accomplishing more than I think I can, and his belief propels me to achieve more. I also like the fact that he always gives me a second chance.

      Congratulations on finding each other!

      Best wishes for forever love,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Melissa,
      Love those “L” words! It sounds like you make every day count. What is the one thing you count on every day in sharing life with your husband?

      Wishing you lots more of living, laughter and love,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Sheila,
      Congratulations on 28 years! Sounds like you could write your own book about a successful marriage!

      What are three things that your husband has brought to your marriage that has kept you loving him all this time? What do you think you have given him that has kept him so happy?

      Wishing you a continued awesome marriage,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Kristine,
      I think that these words fit together so well. Trust is built on honesty and together they forge a lasting love. Congratulations on your strong triangle of love.

      Wishing you a lifetime of all three of your happiness ingredients,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Donna,
      Do you think you became best friends before or after you were married?

      I believed in my friendship with Dennis the more we had long talks in the car or over dinner. Meeting his friends helped me, too, because I could see what kind of friends he had and the quality of his friendships. We still have some of our best times with his friends from high school.

      Best wishes for a lifetime of loving and friendship,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      Isn’t is so much fun to wake up and be glad that you’re still married? Every day I learn something more about why I love my husband. Today he offered to take me out for a quick bite to eat when I walked in, and he could see I was tired. He’d had a rough day, too, and it helped for us to get away and share our experiences over dinner. We came back home ready to get back to work on our projects.

      What does your husband do for you that makes each day better?

      Best wishes for sunshine days all of your marriage,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Jolene,
      Do you think you’re looking for a marriage like your parents had, or are you crafting one that is different from your parents?

      What does adventure mean to you….not knowing the future or planning special events that make each day special?

      Wishing you fun and joy as you travel along together,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Mallory,
      You are so aligned with our Customer Rule! What are the special ways that you take care of your relationship? How do the two of you celebrate your joy?

      Best wishes for a lifetime of love and joy,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Diana,
      Supporting is such a key word in offering yourselves to each other and to the sanctity of your marriage. What are three ways that your husband supports you that causes you to feel loved and appreciated? What are three things you try and do for him to show that you support him?

      What’s the latest silly thing you did? ( I always love to hear what silly means!)

      Congratulations on your success in marriage!
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Katy,
      Unconditional love provides such a welcome safety net under the high wire of our daily lives. One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa: “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”

      I wish you everlasting love,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Alicia,
      I often tease Dennis that if weren’t for our commitment, I would need to be committed! He keeps me sane, laughing, loving and achieving.

      What do you like about your commitment to each other?

      Hoping your love stays strong all life long,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Sunnie,
      Our Customer Rule is designed to keep it going. So do The Dating Divas with their strengthening of marriage one date at a time. What do you do that makes it work for the two of you?

      I hope you’re going strong all life long!
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Lindsay,
      I love surprises! Dennis slipped a greeting card under my computer keyboard yesterday, and it really was a fun surprise when I sat down to write. Now I have to think of something to do for him. He told me to quit baking because he’s gaining weight, so I will have to come up with something non-caloric. Maybe I’ll detail his car!

      What surprise are you planning next?

      Wishing you an acre of surprises,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Krista,
      Your three words made me think of a husband and wife on a teeter totter. As you go up and down you have fun, some thrills and you both try very hard not to give one another a rough landing.

      I hope you have lots of fun in the years ahead!
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Laurie,
      Your three words really hit home for me. We have practiced them so much in both our businesses and our marriage. When I was 25, I decided I would just date for the rest of my life and pursue my teaching career because I couldn’t find “Mr. Right”. Then I met Dennis and I didn’t give up on him even though it took him a lot longer to be ready for marriage than I was! After we were married and started our own business, our first product didn’t turn out so well, but we didn’t give up and eventually started writing greeting cards that made us successful.

      I’d be very interested in hearing some of your successes that resulted from not giving up!

      Here’s to your continued success!
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Marie,
      I love that you think of your marriage as a journey. I do, too! Sometimes I’m in a rocket ship and sometimes I’m on a love boat, and sometimes I’m in a dingy! As long as we’re moving forward together, I’m happy! We have taken some pretty interesting exits off of life’s freeway along the way! What is your favorite “trip” on your journey so far?

      Bon voyage!
      Mary Lou

    1. Hi, Penny!
      Hurray for butterflies! Isn’t it fun to see your true love and have all those little critters in your stomach? The good news is that they can still be there after 33 years! What caused you to feel them most recently?

      A butterfly fan,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Penni,
      Sounds like the bumps have caused the two of you to hold on together! Dennis and I have been fortunate to hold on to each other through some rough times involving money, illness and job changes in our 33 years.

      What is your secret for staying strong and committed through the bumps?

      Congratulations on your staying power!
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Lorraine,
      Thank you for your kind words. Would you do me a favor and let me know which idea you tried first? I’m trying to see if one tip is more popular than another. Thanks!

      Wishing you long-lasting love,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Jennifer,
      I often sign my birthday cards this way because I think these three words describe the elements to a happy marriage and life. If someone asks me how I am, I often reply, “Glad to be vertical!” because it gives me one more day to live, laugh and love!

      Wishing you all the best in your life and marriage,
      Mary Lou

    1. Hi, Lore!
      I’ll be anxious to hear if you receive more attention from your husband by trying some of these ideas. By giving we often are blessed with more receiving.

      Also, if you have one tip that you like the most, would you please let me know? Thanks for your help!

      Wishing you great days ahead,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Alexis,
      These three words are great Customer Rule words! If you care enough to be concerned when you see your husband in need and you desire to help him and act upon your desire, he is a very lucky husband!

      Wishing you and your husband all the best,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Julie,
      You sound like you have lots of fun and intimacy in your marriage. I just love a good hug, and it’s even better when we’re laughing, too! I would love to hear about a great laugh you and your husband shared if you would be willing to tell it to me!

      Smiles to you,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Rebekah,
      Friendship makes intimate love so much better, I think, because I find I need to trust a friend as part of love. The more I share, the more my husband truly knows me.

      What better friend to have than the one who shares your pillow every night.

      Wishing you a lifetime of love and laughter,
      Mary Lou

  5. We have had some pretty serious roller coaster rides and I have learned to not coast through this marriage – that we are going to have to work at it!

    1. Dear Alli,
      One of the reasons I like our Customer Rule so much is that it is something that I can do every day. I am in charge of giving happiness to Dennis, and I can “work at it” by doing this as part of each day. I can start to distribute happiness instead of waiting for him to do something.

      One of the ways we talk about providing good customer care in marriage is by Preparing to Care. Keep a diary of things your husband talks about liking or wanting or not liking as a way of deepening what you know about him. Try to look at him as a new partner on that roller coaster seat instead of the one that you bumped along with before!

      Maybe you can try our Start-Stop-Don’t Change method of communicating in The Customer Rule. Just ask him to create a list of one thing he’d like you to start doing, one thing he’d like you to stop doing, and one thing he doesn’t want you to change.

      You make a list, too, so you’re ready when he asks for yours. If he doesn’t ask, just hold on to it and see if he starts to pay more attention to your needs once he sees you are interested in meeting his needs. Let me know what happens, okay?

      Wishing you a smoother roller coaster ride (more thrills and fewer spills),
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Shannon,
      I love happy endings (like the one in the movie “Hugo”). Did your marriage have a fairy tale beginning? How did you meet?

      I’ll look forward to hearing your happy story!

      Wishing you love forever,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Debi,
      Your word “intentional” was unique in all the answers. I am interested in hearing more about why you chose that word if you would be so kind as to write back. It’s very thought-provoking!

      Curiously yours,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Halley,
      This is such an important part of marriage! I read a recent poll conducted by Reuters that said that the Seven Year Itch is now a Three Year Itch because couples are giving up on each other a lot sooner. To me, a big part of not giving up is finding a new solution to a problem by creative problem-solving together…not necessarily to compromise which implies each of you giving up something…but to create something new where you each contribute to the solution in a unique way.

      What is something that you are proud of that you didn’t give up on? I’d love to hear it!

      Wishing you creative love,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Lisa,
      You like the re- words. I love that because it shows that you and your husband give each other the opportunities for second chances. One of the things I appreciate about Dennis is his willingness to always give me a second chance. If he hears something I say that hurts him, he gives me the chance to clarify what I said with the underlying trust that I would never intentionally say something to hurt him. It is wonderful to have a “pillow-top verbal mattress” for my words to bounce on and rearrange themselves into something that conveys the correct message!

      How do you keep your marriage rejuvenated? I would love to hear your tips!

      Reminded to restore, revive and rejuvenate,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Stacey,
      You chose two of my favorite words. The Customer Rule makes me believe that we can make marriages last forever by constantly showing one another that we always care for each other above all others. If you have a chance to read The Marriage Story, you’ll see why your two words have so much meaning for couples who have lost their way and then found one another again.

      Wishing you forever and always and magic every day,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Karen,
      This is so weird, but when I first read your equation, I read “pencil” instead of “perfect”, and it made me think of how great it is to write with a pencil because I can erase my mistakes and start over. Maybe we should write our marriages in pencil so we can erase our mistakes and try again!

      Now relating to what you actually wrote…what is the difference in height between the two of you? I am guessing it is significant since you chose these three words.

      I am 5’9″ tall, and I’ll never forget my first date with a guy who took a box out of the trunk of his car so he could stand on it to kiss me goodnight! I liked his creativity, but I never did get beyond our height difference of three inches and eventually we parted ways.

      I can’t wait to hear more from you!

      High on love,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Kristi,
      When Dennis and I take time to listen to one another and share our feelings, our togetherness puts us on a bench under a big old oak tree instead of each of us perched on single seats going up a ski lift! I love the grounded feeling I get from our emotional intimacy.

      I am so happy that you share understanding and togetherness in your marriage.

      Wishing you a lifetime of love, understanding and superglue togetherness,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Samantha,
      I think communication and unity go hand-in-hand as I wrote to Kristi who used the word “togetherness” in her three-word list. An article titled “The Psychology of Close Relationships” at http://www.closerelationships.com talked about four points to use to maintain closeness in communication:
      1. Say what you mean–stick to how you feel
      2. Use Active Listening by checking to see if what you heard is what your partner meant
      3. Stay cool and polite
      4. Respect and validate each other

      What do you think of this list? Is there one that you really agree with? One that you don’t agree with? Communication is a tricky thing, and I’m always trying to find out ways to improve it.

      Hoping to communicate with you more,
      Mary Lou

  6. Dear Lorraine,
    Glad you enjoyed the post. Which idea do you think you’ll implement first? I’m always interested in seeing what triggers positive action. Thanks for your feedback!

    Monday hugs,
    Mary Lou

  7. Dear Tricia,
    Selfless is such a key word to our Customer Service Rule. Sounds like the two of you already practice it. What is the best thing your partner does for you that makes you smile? For me, it’s the words, “How can I help you?” I love answering that question!

    Monday hugs,
    Mary Lou

    1. Dear Suzanne,
      You used a key word in fostering Customer Care in marriage when you said “nurture”. One of the key components to living is growing, and nurturing is key to good growth.

      What are your tips for nurturing your marriage and giving time and service to one another? It sounds like you already practice what we are talking about, and I’d love to hear how the Customer Rule applies in your marriage.

      At your service,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Sarah,
      Your three words match our marriage mission statement: “To stay in love forever”.

      I like this quote from Robert Anderson, Solitaire and Double Solitaire: “In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.”

      Do you have any secrets you’d like to share that can help us stay in love?

      Wishing you love forever,
      Mary Lou

  8. Some good ideas. I think it’s good to remember that the \golden rule\ isn’t necessarily the best in a marriage because we all need/want something different. Sometimes I think figuring out what your spouse needs/wants to feel loved can be tricky – especially since my hubby is one of those guys who isn’t particular about anything. But holy cow, just asking can make a big difference! Thanks for your post.

    1. Dear Jessica,
      Isn’t it funny how we try to be mind-readers instead of just asking our partners what they want?

      One of our skills is our Start-Stop-Don’t Change method of communication in our Customer Care metaphor. Ask your hubby to tell you one thing he’d like you to start doing, one thing he’d like you to stop doing, and one thing he doesn’t want you to change. It’s fun because it’s open-ended, so you can try and anticipate the answers, but there will be surprises.

      Hope you have fun learning more about the love of your life,
      Mary Lou

  9. I can relate to this so well. My husband and I have had a difficult year and trying to really figure out what says I Love You to each other has saved our marriage.

    1. Hi, Shawna,
      Are you using The Five Love Languages to help you figure out what brings each other the most happiness? I think that is an awesome way to find out more about each other. I would be interested to see if our Customer Rule can help you, too.

      I congratulate for exploring this territory with one another instead of just trying to guess.

      I wish you all the best and lots of “I Love You’s”!
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Jennifer,
      You’re right, our Customer Rule is similar to the love language concept of loving the other the way they want to be loved, not the way you think they want to be loved. We chose the Customer Metaphor because we think it is easy for both men and women to relate to the concept. We have all experienced an exceptional customer service moment that we can immediately recall if someone talks about the best customer service ever. We have also experienced the worst customer service ever at some point in our lives, and we recall that, perhaps, with even stronger emotions attached. I know it seems I hear more bad customer service stories than good ones!

      If we can elevate our good feelings for one another by making life easierl with great customer care, then we can tell one another every day by our actions that we understand and truly love one another.

      Have you had a great moment in your marriage where you felt that your husband truly “got it”? If so, I would love to hear about it!

      Wishing you lots of smiles,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Lisa,
      Unselfishness is a great word…one I need to continue to work on.

      Getting the “What about me?” out of first place in my brain can be a challenge, especially when I’m trying at accomplish the million and one things on my “To Do” list. Of course, Dennis has his own list because we are both Type A personalities.

      Our Customer Rule invites us to get better at acting unselfishly by putting each other at the top of our lists.

      Do you have some good tips for how you practice being unselfish? I would love to hear them.

      Wishing you a lifetime of great moments,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Jenny,
      I’m curious…were you friends who started dating, or did you meet and become friends as you dated? Dennis and I met in the shrimp line at a bar (all the boiled shrimp you can eat free with a drink purchase). We have always laughed at meeting in the shrimp line since I’m 5’9″ and he is 6’5″!

      We dated for three years and became the best of friends through all the time we spent getting to know one another. We continue to find out more about each other, too, because life brings so many challenges our way that demand new responses.

      How did you meet your husband? Were you able to connect right away, or did it take some time? I am always interested in love stories, so I would love it if you’d share yours.

      Anxious to hear your “Once upon a time..”,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Teresa,
      Respect is such a key word. No marriage problem can ever be solved to a couple’s mutual satisfaction without showing a genuine respect for each other’s attitudes, interests and opinions.

      Experts say that marriage requires compromise. Still, it’s not easy for strong-willed couples to temper their needs in favor of each other. We learned early in our relationship that if we were going to make it together as a couple, and moreover as entrepreneurs, we would have to respect each other’s ideals, judgments and points of view while maintaining our individual identities. Now that we are writing together, respect is even more important.

      What are three ways your husband shows you respect that you treasure?

      Mary Lou

    1. Dear Cara,
      I see two figures walking into the sunset holding hands with the word “forever” above them when I read your three words.

      What do you think makes your friendship so special compared to friendships with other women or men? How did you forge that close bond? I’d love to hear more!

      Forever curious about finding and keeping friendship,
      Mary Lou

      1. That’s a great image for us :o) Our family always teases us that we’re the romantic ones and cheesy Higley Wiggleys. Our friendship is so special because we truly care about what each other thinks, feels, is going through, etc. We love taking time to lay together on the bed and just hold each other and talk! My husband does such cute things for me like leaving sticky notes around the house with I Love You written in different languages or one day I was having a really hard time and he got me flowers and gave me a massage. We do have hard times but we know we are in it forever so we work it out. We are there to support, share and love each other! THanks for your comments, advice, website, etc. Marriage RULES!

    1. Dear Dawn,
      I’m glad you tuned into the Instant Dating ideas. Which one did you try first?

      I talked to my step-son last Saturday, and he said that his wife Kathleen turned the 20-second hug into 20 minutes of just staring at each other…no talking. I haven’t heard yet how that went.

      I served Dennis coffee this morning and held on to his hand longer than necessary when handing him the cup. Just wanted to say “I want to stay connected throughout the day.”

      Do you have any other ideas that work for instant connections?

      Living in the moment,
      Mary Lou

    1. Dear RG,
      I “c” that each of your words involve forming a connection with one another.

      Isn’t compassion wonderful when it’s extended to us? I love it when my husband listens to me and gives me a comment that values what I’m feeling. No judgment…just understanding.

      I think compassion provides the energy to help us achieve compromise and cooperation.

      Wishing you continued happiness,
      Mary Lou

  10. Hi, Amanda!
    Adventure, huh? That’s a good one. Are we talking house and city adventure or world map adventure? I think comfortable is an interesting juxtaposition to adventure. When adventuring, do you seek comfort or look for the unusual?

    Do you plan adventures together? What’s the best adventure you’ve had?

    Inquiring mind wants to know…
    Mary Lou

  11. Dear Sierra,
    I’m glad you enjoyed reading about practicing our Customer Rule.

    I love the Dating Divas because they give us such great ideas for practicing customer service in our marriages. Their surprises and wonderful imaginations make it easy for us to find ways to say \I love you\ in so many ways.

    Enjoy each day together!
    Mary Lou