Although I don't believe in the pretentiousness of stiff manners like having to sit straight at the table with your elbows off so that people will think you're well brought up, I do believe in fostering good habits, even when I was a kid.

Because both my parents were working, my sis and I rarely got to see them, so things like spending time together at the table for meals was an important ritual for me. I remember being the one who used to wake up early many mornings when I was a teenager, rousing the house while I tried to get breakfast together, or be the one setting the table so that my family members would get the hint and NOT eat at the TV. My father supported the idea too, and always insisted we ate together as a family so that we could talk about our day.

Yesterday, Lokes and I had a disgreement, one of many in our years together, usually about things such as this, which would usually be considered trivial, but when it happens enough, I start to wonder if he respects any of my ideals at all. As unimportant as they may seem, when someone spends the time to clean up the house nicely, cook a nice dinner (his mom, in this case), it's the least one can do, to sit down and enjoy it with the same amount of respect as one has given into making the meal, never mind the bonding part.

It is these times that I feel most alone, knowing that while this is all part and parcel of marriage, the wearing down of one's patience and respect of the little quirks and habits of one's spouse, I also wonder desperately if there is some way to fix it, make it slow down or better still, eliminate it once and for all. Am I asking too much, just to sit down for dinner? If it is so insignificant, why did we clash over it?

And it's not just this either. It's to do with how we agreed to raise our kids sometimes. More than once, he's allowed Rae to have ice cream right before meal time, even when he knows how hard it is to get her to eat. Ice cream was supposed to be the incentive to finish a meal, next to the gold star she gets. He seems to forget ever so often what these 'rules' are for, and how difficult it is for me to 'undo' the damage when his kid starts asking for ice cream at all times of the day, screaming "My daddy lets me have ice cream!".

Respect. It's what we need to afford each other after the fires of passion and the romance of marriage have been reduced to cosy embers so that they can still last a lifetime.

And that's all I need from you.