Thank you to Whitefish Bay Library for hosting Tim's book release event.

Excerpts from "Love Together"

Tim Clausen donates a copy of his book, Love Together, to the Whitefish Bay Library.

On December 13th, 2014 the Whitefish Bay Library hosted a book signing and lecture for the release of Tim's book. After the event, Tim donated a copy of Love Together to the library.

Below are some readings from the book that Tim shared in his lecture.

"It's almost a cardinal rule to not take your partner for granted.
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Every once in a while we have reality checks where we remind each other, "Hey, I've got a lot on my plate right now and I feel unappreciated." Ian and I are really good at telling each other when something like that happens, and the other will make a course correction and say, "I'm sorry. I'll be more thoughtful." I mean stuff like that happens often and it's healthy to communicate about it. If one of us is feeling neglected, we'll tell each other and address it. I feel very blessed to have that level of open communication in my life, that I can say whatever I want without fear that my partner's going to think less of me or think that I'm whining or insecure or whatever."
"Chemistry is really important in a relationship...
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and good chemistry can make for a healthy and lasting bond. Communication is absolutely key; you have have the most open and honest communication possible while being loving and constructive with each other. Commitment is another key ingredient. It's saying, "I'm going to consciously commit myself to this person, knowing that we're going to have some difficult times and some struggles which we're going to have to get through." I have to be willing to say, "I know these bumps in the road are going to occur and I'm willing to put in the work to get through them and to get to the other side, and it's going to make us better people for having gone through them, and will make our relationship even stronger." Conscious is another important "C"; to be conscious in your relationship, and realistic in understanding that neither you or the other person are perfect, but together you can help each other improve in certain areas. It's also important to allow and encourage your partner to be their own person, their own unique and independent self. Even if you'd rather they be different in some ways or more this or more that, try to let go of that. Say "I love you for the person you are and I want to encourage the person you are."
"In one of my marriage vows I said, "I have never been bored...
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for one minute in all the twenty years we've been together," and that's the truth, because there's enough teasing and play and goofing around together. It's not a relationship of two people who are just so fond of each other they just sit together and cuddle and "Oh sweetie pie this," and "Oh sweetie pie that.' There's a certain amount of tension between us. He has a part of him that's pretty critical. Like for instance when I make breakfast--I make breakfast most of the year until summer comes--he seldom praises what I make. He makes observations about my cooking: "Hmmm, you put an awful lot of onion in this..." He may like it but he's not saying that, and a lot of times what he's saying sounds critical to my ear. So that critical part keeps me on edge a bit, not just relaxing into "I know he's going to love whatever I make for him," or "It doesn't matter." No, it really matters. Every fucking meal it matters! I don't get hurt by it very often anymore. I just hear it and start laughing and wonder, "What is he going to criticize today?"

One thing that he said in our marriage vows was that one of the things he liked about me was that I will take all that stuff from him, because he knows that he cannot take it. As soon as I start being critical of him, he has a little boy part that immediately gets pouty or whatever. But it's worked out for us that we can tolerate each other in that way. So it isn't a relationship where you can take the other person for granted very much, because you definitely have to be present and need to be ready not to get defensive! It's a sort of dance really. I feel like we're dancing all the time."
"My brother, who lives in another state, found out via the internet that gay marriage went through in Connecticut and called and said, "When are you guys going to get married?"
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He really wanted us to get married, and I just thought, "Wow! What's this all about?" Our neighbors also stopped by and said, "Are you guys going to get married?" And "Can I come to the wedding?," and all this kind of stuff. It was just unbelievable. Ultimately both sides of our immediate family came to our farm and they helped clean it up and beautify it and set up everything for our wedding. They were here for two days, and we had this incredible event. A lot of sharing of love--I can't even describe it--it was just overwhelming. What we understood was that this was extremely important to our family. They wanted the world to understand and validate this relationship that they had been witnessing all these years, to bring it up the caliber and standing of any straight relationship. That just blew us away. It wasn't at all like we had to be concerned about "Do you want to come to our wedding?" They almost forced themselves on us! They were amazing, and talk about glimmerance and good feelings and lasting, wonderful memories... I will never forget it as long as I live. It was just way over the top. WAY over the top! It was best day of my life, and I didn't even know that it could be like that."
"We laugh about the fact that throughout our relationship...
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whenever things got tense, really tense, that we'd each be decorating our apartments in our minds, mulling over which china to take, and which art, because you always have to feel you have an escape. We have had days and experiences of, "Fuck you!" "Well, fuck you!," and then we would laugh after a while. Both of us can go to the back of the cave when our feelings are hurt, when we just withdraw, shut down and don't talk, and we've had periods where that was really painful. I think you get wiser with time, and we both have been helped with therapy. We've had to become aware of how our behavior impacts the other, and we've had to learn to sit and listen without being defensive. If somebody had told me these things when I was young, I would have said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah..." Regrettably, so many of these lessons you have to learn yourself. But an important lesson for us in our relationship was learning to just listen to the other. You don't have to solve the problem or the feeling the other person is describing. If you sit and just ask them to talk to you about how they're feeling, they can feel heard and understood, where an hour before they were feeling that you had no clue how they felt, and how your behavior was impacting them. Learning to say, "I'd really like you to tell me how you're feeling, and I promise not to interrupt you" is extremely important."
"When we were in Washington last week at the White House...
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this ambassador friend of ours that we went to see had this darling little boy there as an assistant. He was young and just cute as hell and he was a former speechwriter of Obama's. He was from Florida and he was openly gay. He told me that he had a partner who works for the C.I.A. in Oregon and I said, "Have mercy, how do y’all ever get together?" He said, "We both enjoy our space and we get together once a month." I said, "That's the strangest relationship I've ever heard of!" If I'm around five years from now I'd sure like to know if that relationship is still going on. But anyway I'm going to write him and in this note I'm going to tell him that I hope he realizes how far we've come. Because I got thrown out of the C.I.A. for being gay, and he's going around Washington telling everyone about his lover. We've come a hell of a long way. I couldn't believe it!  
"But I would suggest to anybody, "Don't look for a relationship.
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When you meet the right person, it will come to you." I'm not saying to close your eyes. Look around and make eye contact with people and start friendships. A lot of long-term relationships we know of started off with people who knew each other already. In several cases the partners died on both sides, and because they were friends they decided, "Well let's try living together and see what happens," and they end up being long-term lovers. That happened to at least two couples we know of personally. But my point is not to look too hard, and if you don't get a permanent lover, so what? You can still be a healthy, attractive human being and enjoy sex with other people."
"We renew our vows together once a month.
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I wrote the vows for us, and they're inserted in a very simple way into a kind of Buddhist verbal envelope, and we do that every month. On occasion we forget. We forgot this month. But remembering to renew our vows has really been an important piece in our training of loving one another, because we might be having an argument about something and I'll say, "Well it's time to go to the shrine room and do our wedding vows..." There we sit across from one another, reciting words that bind us together and remind us of our commitment. I have tried to persuade many people--I don't know how many successfully--that after they write their vows to at least repeat them to each other, if not every month, at least every six months. "
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