You have a set idea in mind for your evening: a few lit candles, an organic bottle of wine, some jazz playing at a very low volume, and some nice sauté fish and herbs. With this picture in your mind, you opened the door to your house, prepping everything before arriving and as you step in, you hear the sound of the electric guitar amp multiplying its resonance on every inch of your body. Your hair all straight in the air as you freeze right there. Somewhere in your head, the candles blow out and the wine bottle tips over on the table, as its content spills out. Some years ago this would had made me happy, but now I had it.

Many of you will agree that being flexible is a much needed tool that requires mastering. Some days, it’s the best tool you have in your tool box and on other days, you forget to use it altogether. On those days, I lack the ability to understand the differences that make my relationship so entertaining, and so, I lose control of those things that enhance my love life with the partner I have chosen. Honestly, it is quite a welcome home when you come back from work with the whole romantic scenery already layout in your head and realize that your husband came back earlier than you and decided to take out all his instruments, orchestrating a marching band/rock & roll/Latin jazz event. So I learn to be a little more empathic towards his impromptu musical extravaganzas. After all, when the music session is done, our children are usually so tired that the bed time routine is a breeze.

Synchronizing your expectations with an open-minded attitude is my go-to key to relationship success. Those two elements have served me well when confronted with many of the day-to-day parenting and marriage events that my family and I go through. Being able to stay open will avoid you throwing apples and oranges at your husband when he starts playing the saxophone without letting you know beforehand. It’s so loud. It startles your body like nothing else. Maybe a ship leaving port has that same heavy sound. Imagine that: you are putting your clothes away, slicing some fruits or talking to one of your children and suddenly, boom. So we have agreed that there has to be a time for music and that spontaneity should also have some thoughtful patience added to its flow.

Most of the time when we have family dinners at my husband’s relatives, I feel like time is ruled by another clock that I have never seen. I feel a little bit of an outsider because that same spontaneous attributes he possesses are taken to another level. We are all eating dinner at this huge table and everyone is talking, remembering past events, telling jokes and all of the sudden one of my husband’s brother leaves and comes back with a guitar and screams to his cousin: hey Chicho, listen to this!

And that’s it. The frijoles negros and their nice spiced scent are no longer the source of the evenings attention. My husband leaves the table, his sister too, and in a matter of seconds everyone has some kind of sound making instrument. Spoons, knifes, pots, everything becomes music and there’s me of course, with my mouth open, the black beans on the spoon, the avocado salad and the lemonade sitting on the table half eaten and half drank, while I stay in complete awe at how they just shifted from one thing to another, no need to finish one completely to start another one. They live in another reality altogether; music takes them to other places. Singing La Guantanamera, while eating Yucca con mojo (a root vegetable in a garlic sauce), has such an effect on me that, for a second, I completely forget about the conversation I had with my husband about his spontaneous music playing. How can I stop such a beautiful thing? This goes beyond any synchronizing I may be able to pull. Being open-minded is their most used tool when it comes to music. It is like the ocean in all its stages, at times calm and meditative, but at other times so stormy that you get swept off your feet into a rhythm you must follow or be swallow by.

And so as I stood there half angry, half angrier still, I had to simply breathe and listen and find a pattern in what he was doing. So I started humming to the notes he was playing and I walked up to him, smiled and kissed him; after all, this is what I have chosen. The whole package.