How Jazz Lessons Helped My Marriage.

20160904_jay_and_sonia-_english_0060-1.jpg.jpgI’m gonna give some shine to someone who has never verbally asked for it, but you can tell by his actions that he’s always looking for ways to get noticed.  That someone is none other than my crazy, super smart, hilariously uber high-strung side kick/partner in crime.  The English Tribe mascot himself:  Jazz The Big-Black-Dog!  (I bet you didn’t see that coming.)

Not only am I going to give him his own personal shout out, I’m also going to give him credit for helping me be a better husband to my wife by showing me ways to create an environment that helps promote the continual growth of my marriage.

Now, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Jazz, you may wonder what in the world I could’ve possibly learned from an animal that lives his life literally sprinting at FULL SPEED from one place to another.  And while I would have to agree that Jazz’s overly animated personalty is an equally endless source of hilarity & frustration,  I want to share 5 things I’ve noticed about him that I have learned to incorporate into my everyday relationship with Sonia.

1.  He Always Greets Me With A Kiss

Now, Jazz knows that I don’t do the dog kiss thing. I mean, I have seen with my own eyes how much time he spends licking some very personal parts of his anatomy.  However, everyday when I get home from work, he waits for me to open the door, jumps up to lick me on my chin, & then sprints away before I can grab him.

As nasty as his tongue may be to me, (and I do think it’s pretty disgusting) I still can’t help but laugh every time he gets me.  This has literally become an expected part of our everyday routine to the point where I almost miss it the few times he is not waiting on me when I step into the house.

Since I feel that way about him, I now make sure to go get me some “suga” (as my grandma calls it) from Sonia whenever she arrives after I haven’t seen her for a while.  So, if you don’t like PDA then make sure you close your eyes, cause I’m getting me some lips!

2.  He Enjoys Making My Life Easier 

I have always been a believer in teaching Jazz practical tricks that actually benefit me.  I’ve seen dogs who can roll over, or sit up on their hind legs and beg, but neither of those really do anything for me.

You know what does?  Jazz learning how to pick up shoes from the floor and place them in my hand.  Or being able to tell him to go upstairs and bring me his bed from the bedroom.  Or sending him to go find an empty pop-bottle to put his food in.  Or my personal favorite, sending him to the basement to bring me a roll of toilet paper from a box in the back of the utility closet.

While all of these are things that I could do myself, it is appreciated that I don’t always have to.  With this in mind, I’ve made a point of trying to be more helpful around the house and doing things for Sonia so that she doesn’t always have to do them herself.

“While all of these are things that I could do myself, it’s appreciated when I don’t always have to.”

3.  He Vocalizes His Excitement Of Wanting To Be With Me 

Monday through Friday I leave for work every morning and Jazz lays in his create and does nothing.  On Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, when we are leaving for church…again, nothing.   But, let me put on some shoes on a Thursday night, or grab my jacket on a Saturday morning…

I don’t know how, but he knows the difference and can tell when he might be able to go.  During those times he is not only attached to my hip, but he is also talking the entire time.  He’s whining, yelping, and doing everything he can to vocalize the words “Take me with you!”

Please understand that no healthy couple is going to want to be together 100% of the time.  That is definitely not the testimony of my marriage as we do value our time apart.  However, I have tried to do a better job of not just spending quality time with Sonia, but in making sure that I vocalize to her how important that time is to me so that she can know exactly how I feel.

4.  He Is Fiercely Protective 

As silly & well socialized a dog as Jazz is, there is a side of him that most people will hopefully never have to see.  Due to several memorable circumstances, I have found out that Jazz is an incredibly protective watch dog who has no problem with flipping the switch and sounding the alarm in the middle of the night, or going full on hell-hound on someone when the situation has called for it.

Whether it was someone/something sneaking around outside our home or someone walking a little to close to me on the sidewalk.  Or when he attacked and ran off the dominant dog at the dog park that was getting on everybody’s nerve.  Or the time a large German Shepherd ran after me out of a nearby yard and Jazz kept himself positioned between me and the other dog for 10 minutes until the owner came and grabbed him.

Needless to say, there is also a side of me that most people will hopefully never have to see.  And while I cannot guarantee that harm will never come to Sonia in my presence, I can promise you that same harm will have to happen to me first before it will get anywhere near her.

5.  He Has A Terrible Memory 

Out of the five, this is the one that has benefited me the most.  See, with Jazz, it doesn’t matter how many times I walk out of the door in a given day, he is always happy to see me when I come back in.  It doesn’t matter how many car rides he goes on, he’s always ready for the next one.  It doesn’t matter how many times I throw the ball, or how tired he may be from chasing it, he’s going to run after it like it was the first toss.  It doesn’t matter how many rolls of toilet paper I send him to the basement for, he sprints down the stairs like it’s the very first time I asked him.

More importantly, he’s proven that it doesn’t matter how angry I may get at him, what I may say, or how I may treat him during those times when my temper gets the best of me because of something he did.  He’ll give me some space for about 30 minutes, but on minute 31 he’s gonna come find me and push his head underneath one of my hands to see if Ì am ready to make up and move on with living our lives together.

With all of this, Jazz has taught me to spend more time living in the moment.  And in those moments, whether that is writing a new blog post or spending time with a loved one, he has taught me the importance of giving the best of me to whatever/whomever it is that I’m focusing on at that time.  He has taught me the importance of consistency and of treating every request for help as if it is the very first one.

An even greater lesson he taught me with this is the value of not staying angry when things don’t go my way. (This is something I really struggle with.) Instead, I have learned to take some time away from the situation.  Then, once I have gotten my head right, I go back to my wife, make it right with her, and we move on with life together.

“Once I have gotten my head right, I go back to my wife, make it right with her, and we move on with life together.”  

I thank God for my crazy dog as his antics have helped me grasp the fact that every day is a gift to make the most of, and I’m determined to not let him out do me in enjoying the life we have been blessed with.

“Every day is a gift to make the most of.”

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