Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why marriage is subject to MY interpretation

Our wedding day, nineteen years ago. Oh, no, that's not a filter.  That is a photo of a photo on our wall.  Hence, the reflection of my Iphone.  Classic.  Nothing but the best for my audience.

Today is my husband, Brad, and I's 19th Wedding Anniversary.  (I am fairly sure that is a poorly structured and grammatically incorrect sentence. Who cares?) Following tradition, it is customary to reflect on your relationship, and as I was changing the sheets this morning, I was thinking about what I wanted my "shout out" on Facebook to be.  This is also a long standing "custom" passed down from generation to generation on one's anniversary.  No, silly, not changing the sheets - posting a status update about the state of your marriage and then TAGGING your spouse.

My initial thought was to post "To my SMOKIN' HOT husband on our 19th Wedding Anniversary" and then I thought, Noooo, that's too short, how 'bout  "to my SMOKIN' HOT husband on our 19th Wedding Anniversary.  Everyday since October 22nd, 1994 has been like Christmas morning." And then I thought I'd add a little dash of honesty, "like, except for every third Thursday or so, when I want to stab you in your jugular while you sleep" and then I thought, "Oh, hell, I'll just write a blog.  My Boo DESERVES that."  This is the way my brain operates, y'all.  If you give me a mundane task, my psyche compensates by dreaming shit like this up.  Sort of like when someone loses their sight, another sense of theirs becomes heightened.

Sooooooo, here we are.  Fasten your seatbelt, Brad, and stop group texting your friends because I have chosen YOU and our MARRIAGE as the subject of this blog, which I then, intend to generalize to other married people, where I will then TRANSFER all of my aggression on to them. SIGH.

So, let's be clear.  Brad lives in a house full of females. At any given time, there is a hormonal meltdown going on and you cannot take three steps without stepping on a tampon wrapper or a hairband.

I think one of my favorite things that Brad does, is when he tries to engage one of our daughters while she is literally the eye of a menstrual storm, and he is shot down so hard and so fast that I make a mental note to check and see if his penis still exists.  And then I forget, of course.

Ewww that video is scary.  But, not HALF as scary as when Brad tries to impart some testosterone laced wisdom on our girls.  When he uses a sports analogy, well, that is just icing on the cake.

ANYWAY, in my eyes, marriage is subject to interpretation.  What works for one couple WOULD NOT work for another couple and so on and so forth.  I am sure I am not telling you anything you do not already know.  It's just that the MORE I look around at other couples, the more THEY all look similar and mine looks well, UNIQUE.  Except when it comes to husband bashing, that is.  THAT, my friends is a universal language.

Any marriage therapist will tell you that in every marriage, you make concessions.  You HAVE to, in order to coexist.  Compromise is the only way to to truly cohabitate with another person and then when you add LOVE to it, then the power structure becomes that much more complicated.

For example, when Brad and I were first married and we lived in a tiny studio apartment in Boulder, Colorado (Sooo fun.  GREAT time in our marriage)  he would watch football as I folded the laundry, even though I was sitting RIGHT next to him, and our stackable unit was RIGHT next to the television he was watching.  When I would complain, he would pick up a towel and spend the next 45 minutes folding it.  Now, I thought this was ADORABLE at the time, because he had just put a ring on it, and I was in that delusional honeymoon period where ironically enough, everything that I found captivating about him then, I simply ABHOR now.

You see, I made concessions then, about the laundry, and without realizing it, gave him the permission to NOT help me, and now with a family of five, I literally feel like I live at an Asian dry cleaner in New York City. Especially since our dryer vent has a bunch of puncture wounds.

But, then like all oppressed people (read: French Revolution/Storming of the Bastille and Kanye West/Not enough people realizing he is the Second Coming) you begin to rebel.  But, like all rebellions, it revels itself in increments, until the proverbial straw is placed on your sorry assed, laundry schleping back, and you do something so outlandish and so out of character that you even surprise YOURSELF at your own audacity.

For instance, the other night, we went out with our friends Jackie and Andrew.  I have mentioned Andrew before in several posts ( http://gratuitousguidance.blogspot.com/2011/02/shoneys-happy-hour-is-better-than-their.html) and he is an absolute TRIP to go out with.  You see, Brad and I are not married to him, so we anticipate his idiosyncrasies the way one might anticipate their favorite HBO series on a Sunday night.  But, for his wife, she is OVER IT because she lives with it, so she is relegated to little acts of rebellion to maintain her sanity.


Let me explain.  Ohhh, I am so excited to share this with all of you because I have literally thought about it ALL WEEKEND!  Anyway, we are sitting at the expansive bar at Gallo's, in the corner, so it is as if we four are at a table together, but we are closer to the booze and the t.v.'s.  So, Jackie tells me that she and Andy were there the night before for Andrew's mom's birthday, and that she became so irritated with him at one point that she left the table and went and sat outside for a minute.

I'm intrigued.  I live for this shit.  There is NOTHING more dissatisfying to me than to go out with another couple that feigns respect for one another.  Let me put it to you this way, if you sit down with us for dinner and begin with some opener about how your husband surprised you with a sitter "for no reason at all" and whisked you away to a spa last weekend, you are DEAD to me, and you are in marriage counseling. Fact.  Sell it some place else, sista'  'cause I ain't pickin' up what you're puttin' down.  And that's why Facebook is such a joke.  But, I'll stop there, because I am trying to keep this post from being a hate blog, especially since it's supposed to be wishing my husband  a "Happy Anniversary".  It's okay, though, 'cause he's met me...and met me...and met me.

So, anyway, Jackie says that Andrew orders a glass of red wine and makes a big point about getting the $10 Cabernet, instead of the $7 Cab "cause it's SHIT," he declares and then he tells Jackie to order it for him, if the waitress returns while he is in the restroom.

So, the waitress returns, and she orders the $7 GLASS and he comes back and asks if she ordered the $10 one, and she lies and says she did, and no one is paying attention at the table about what is going on but the two of them, and then Andy is all "This Cab is fantastic!  It is sooo much better than their other $7 one" and all this bullshit and then he circles his pointer finger in the air above the rim of the glass and bellows, "I'll take another round!  This is delicious.  I can really tell a difference between a $7 glass of Cab and a $10 glass of Cab, because I have a refined wine palate." Jackie was imitating him at the bar next to me as she recanted the story and apparently, as he pontificated about his palate, he was swirling the wine in his glass and looking through it, and it was poised in the air as if he was about to make a toast.  We were howling with laughter.


Now THAT marriage is REAL. 

But, then, that is only MY interpretation of a marriage.  I don't think you have to have a reenactment of War of the Roses or Mr. and Mrs. Smith every evening, but every NOW and again you need to take little shots at each other to retain your sanity.  Otherwise, in my mind, if you don't, you will blow like a shaken up 2-liter of Diet Coke.

I met Brad when I was 19-years-old and he is the love of my life.  We have three bright, hilarious daughters and an insane dog.  We have been through a lot together and our marriage has gotten worse sometimes before it got better, but each time we've come through something, we have done it on our own terms, with our own special set of marital coping skills that we have acquired over the last 19 years.  I suppose it is based on our parents' marriages and is a combination of our special set of circumstances and each of those factor's outcomes.  I also view our marriage as something fluid and continuous and that it has to be, because there is so much more to be experienced.

Of all of the vows that I recited 19 years ago, "For better or for worse" pretty much encompasses OUR MARRIAGE.  What is implied here, is that we will go the distance, and that being apart in this life is not an option we are going to chose. 

I think it's in the subtext here that "obey" can kiss my ass. Brad and everyone that knows me, KNOWS that obey is not in my vocabulary. But, it BETTA' be in HIS, or he is gonna FEEL MY WRATH.

So, my gift to you, today, other than this heartfelt post that will surely be translated into many languages, is also a confessional of sorts.  For the past year, I have been buying new socks every month, rather than laundering them.  I am dangerously close to adding underwear to my list.  I anticipate by 2015, our washer and dryer will become obsolete, much like the relic that is our treadmill, and the long forgotten ironing board. With any luck, and my free will, our laundry room will resemble a ghost town at some point in the near future.

Brad, it is no secret that you have suspected just a tinge of peri-menopausal-induced instability on my part, and for your anniversary I am copping to ONE of my tiny revolutionary strikes against you and our marriage.  No, no, shhhhhhh, don't speak, my love.  You're welcome.

On a serious note, Brad, to me, marriage is all about weathering the storm with someone.  Love is not a new ring or a trip to The Maldives or the finest dinner money can buy.  What I look for in a mate, and what (thank the good Lawd, here) I feel is synonymous with LOVE is ACCEPTANCE.  To have someone see you every which way and still like you, and want to be with you, is true love in my eyes.  I'm talkin' about unadulterated grown up love - the kind of love that endures, the kind of love where you say you are sorry, not because you lost a marital power play, but because you really are. Because maybe you shouldn't have lost your cool like that. And because the other person didn't do anything to warrant it.  And because you care what the other one thinks and how they feel about what goes on behind your closed doors.

Brad and I have mastered this dance and I am appreciative because I believe that it is just human nature to show your most unpleasant sides to the ones you care for the most, not only because they live with you, but because you CAN.  Thanks for the acceptance, B, and hopefully I show my pleasant sides at least as often as I reveal the ugly. I just love you to pieces.

Happy Anniversary, honey.  And so help me GAWD, if you dump your filthy, nasty Medina overnight bag in my kitchen tonight, right under the laundry shoot swinging door thingy, instead of loading it in there, I will jump on you like a Mama Puma, anniversary or no anniversary. Ya' feel me?

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