I know, right? Where have the posts been? Sorry, loyal readers! So kind of you to write and inquire if everything’s okay. Awwww.

And here’s what I’ve said – with a smile, of course – to you who’ve noted an absence: The end-of-semester is for academics like tax-season must be for accountants. Invigorating! Nuts. Crazy. Thank goodness for it (lucrative?!) But amen that it is over. Exhale.

Thanks for logging back in and not losing faith in the What Happy Couples Do Blog. Amen for you, I say. Exhale. Repeat. Ahhhh.

A couple of (pun) things as I get back at it:

1. Okay, so I and my family are heading to Japan for part of the summer. I’m teaching study abroad. And my sweet 15 year old’s response? “I don’t like rice.” Ugh. Anyway, expect some hopefully neat (I’m optimistic) observations about couples who are influenced by confucianism. Yay! Issues and cultural values of harmony 調和 (“Wa”) consume me lately … and will be my lens while in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Kusatsu. While the course is about interpersonal and intercultural communication more generally, I have – no surprise – assigned a reading to my students titled “Intercultural Marriages in Japan:  Cultural Conflict and Harmony.” We’ll see. Might I discern significance for happier couples right here in the complicated U.S.? 絶対に Surely, right? My dear sweet hubby and I are going to be spending some much-anticipated time with his BFF (also named Brian) and his wife Yuka (+ their two cheeky Japanese wonders, age 4 and 6). I’m proposing to friend-Brian that we do a little research on rituals of connection in a Japanese context. He’s got a Ph.D. in Japanese stuff and lives a cross-cultural marriage. I’ve got a degree in marriage stuff … and I live a life of intense curiosity about why it’s so dang fun — yes, and hard — to stay happily married for 72 years. Arigato gozimasa. Oh yea! (and oh so U.S. American to say as much, I know, right?).

2. Tonight at 5 p.m. I did a little (yes, real-time makes me nervous) live segment with Twin Cities’ Fox 9 news, commenting on the much-publicized “relationship contract” issued between Mark Zuckerberg and his new wife Pricilla Chan. In a word: billion dollar idea, Pricilla! Why? But, of course, she basically was saying to billionaire husband: “I’m making our rituals of connection – our relationship — a priority.” Amen, I say. アーメン Watch, if you want (and yes, you have to watch the commercial first – be patient – but it’s kind of funny anyway): http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/video?clipId=7321623&autostart=true

What do you think about the Mark-Pricilla contract?

In addition to what I said on camera: I think a contract of the “let’s stay connected” sort is one that simply gets out front of the whole deal and says “I anticipate that it might get tough … and I want it to work!”

But, honestly, what say you?

3. More blogs soon, promise. Thanks for reading!