Category Archives: marriage

Beyond Obligation

He has been contractually obligated to love me for 19 years. And I him.

Half my life. My entire adulthood tied up in another person. And his in me.

There are times past and will be times future when duty must override feeling. The selfish whims, the natural drift, the impulse to escape and countless other sleep-deprived, frustrated, overwhelmed miseries life inevitably brings. We hash out problems and overcome obstacles and treat each other well because we must. Because there is no other option we’ll consider.

Which is more romantic than it sounds.

Although we are tethered by both legal documents and sacred vows, these are not what keeps us together in the long run. It’s the things we choose to share. The jokes, the plans, the goals, the memories, the passions, the understandings, even the troubles.

I’m my own person. He’s his own person. But there’s an overlap, an US, that makes life so much more than it would be otherwise.

He’s different from the man I married at 19. God knows, I’m different than the optimistic kid he married. Somehow we’ve managed to grow and change ourselves without compromising US. People ask us about it – what’s the secret to a long, happy marriage – and I’m never sure of an answer. Maybe there isn’t just one. There’s no magical compatibility like in the movies. There’s no process or technique that guarantees success. There’s just two human beings doing the best they can, and praying it’s enough.

We date. We talk. We fight. We hide under the covers and wish the morning away. We debate. We make love. We tease. We laugh. A lot.

At first we “fell” in love and it was easy. Then we “vowed” to love forever and it was expensive. Now we “live” our love every single day and it is the best and hardest thing to do.

I have been in love with him for 19 years. And he with me.

The best part of my life is OUR life.

Happy Anniversary!

Yes - those are hockey sticks. How Canadian.

Yes – those are hockey sticks. How Canadian!

So here’s us.

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The Marriage of Two Minds

The challenge: “Tell a story, in 50 words or less.”

“Opposites attract!” friends quipped.

He, drawn like a moth to a flame, warmed to her vivacity, sparks of passion and life. She, lured by his depth, quenched herself with serene and steady.

Inevitably, her words burn and his silence douses. Opposite becomes opposition. Coexistence, a chore.

So they become something new.

Together.

fire and water

So here’s my verse for the Word Press Writing Challenge:Fifty http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/writing-challenge-fifty/
That was easier said than done.

The title of this piece is a play on Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare. It’s one of my favourite poems, a tribute to timeless, unfailing love. Although love itself must never alter or compromise, we must if relationships are to endure. Not entirely, not unilaterally, but in little ways every day.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

 


Once Upon a Marriage

This feels deeply personal, and a little strange to post. But I’ve enjoyed reading and learning from the other letters in Amber Haines’ Marriage Letters link-up. So, I’m jumping in with a letter on this month’s topic: Once Upon a Time.

Dear Glen,

Remember once upon a time, when we lived to be together? Starry eyed teenagers… with a smug certainty of our own importance and bright future… with a mix-tape blasting cheesy love songs through the speakers of your Volkswagon Rabbit… with plans growing, morphing and changing in all aspects except one – we’d be together.

We weren’t wrong about that.

I got to know a lovely young woman in my last writing class. She’s 19, the same age I was when I chased our happily-ever-after down the church aisle in my white dress. She’s in love with Mr. Wonderful and they’re making plans. She assured me that their happy ending wouldn’t dare start until they had finished school, established careers, built a nest egg, and put a down payment on a reasonably-priced nest in a good neighbourhood.

The Sensible Mom in me was pleased. The Romantic Teenager in me sighed.

It wasn’t easy, getting married as young as we were. But we were too stupid naïve, too thrilled with our new-found freedom and togetherness to care. Remember the hideous second-hand couch we were so excited to receive? It was SO uncomfortable! But we threw a green sheet over it and decided we were really grown ups now. At our age uncomfortable seating didn’t seem like such a big deal. Besides, it was just temporary. Eventually life would get easier, better, more secure.

Somewhere along the way we stopped scrambling for every penny. We added meat and the good toilet paper to our grocery list each week. Acting like grown ups stopped feeling like a thrill. We faced losses and victories, created homes and packed them into boxes, had children and buried children, changed jobs and sizes and styles and beliefs. We bought ourselves a huge brown sectional, big enough for a family of 6 to stretch out and watch American Idol together.

It is SO comfortable!

And crowded.

couch

All along, we’ve expected things to get easier, better, and more secure. Someday.

I don’t think it ever has. The things we planned on – careers, moving away, having children… are harder than we ever expected. The things we hadn’t planned on – grief, changing goals and ideals, special needs… are more than we could have anticipated or prepared for. In many ways, those early years were the simplest ones.

The only thing we got right was that we’d be doing it all together. And even that isn’t as easy as we expected.

So I told my young classmate that. That I didn’t regret our years of eating ketchup sauce on noodles and going to the library as a “date.” That there’s no way to skip ahead, past the hard stuff. That as much as I’d like my own kids to take an easier road, I’m not sure it’s the best road. Or that it even exists.

She laughed at my jokes and nodded her head at my advice. But she didn’t really understand. Of course not. No one does. Not until they live it.

Growing up is hard. It’s been 22 years since you held my hand in the halls of our High School. We’re not the people we were then. In some ways we’ve grown together, in others we’ve grown apart.

Most days we feel old, and tired, and a little bit overwhelmed. This life stage is tough. I want to believe that it’s going to get easier, better, and more secure. I want to believe that we’ll be finished growing up and have life all figured out eventually. But I doubt it.

Maybe the only realistic goal is that we’ll face it together.

After all we’ve been through… that’s good enough for me.

Loving you more than ever,
Christie

MarriageLetters-598x600

So here’s us.


18 Years of Best and Worst

You greeted me this morning with “By the way…” then gave me a passionate kiss.

My hands were full of dirty laundry. My heart was pounding frantically as I rushed to get us all out the door for an early morning dr’s appointment. My mind was overflowing with forms to finish and children to dress and snacks to pack. My hair was a frizzy mess. My glasses askew. My eyes still gritty with sleep.

I wasn’t my best me.

I’ll admit, my first reaction wasn’t entirely positive. I’m not a morning person. I have tunnel vision when I’m in a hurry. And I don’t like to be interrupted at the best of times. Which is why we don’t usually make out in the hallway in the middle of the morning rush.

As you grabbed me, I thought “What the…” As you leaned in, I thought “Really?!” I may have even growled under my breath.

I have so much to do. All the time. Most of it is important, or at least seems important at the time. And it never stops. Not when you get home from work. Not after “bedtime.” Not on summer holidays. I don’t get it all done. I don’t even try most days. But it’s always there, hanging over my head.

This is a particularly busy season of life. For people who once enjoyed sleeping in, lazy days and reading for hours, the past decade has been an adjustment. We’re often snappy and overwhelmed. We’re usually sticky and smelly. And we’re almost always exhausted.

We’re not our best us.

We’re parents. Parents of young children, at that. This isn’t a crisis or a problem, or even a surprise. This is just the way life goes. It’s easy to get stuck in survival mode.

But I kissed you back, in the middle of the chaos, and by the end I was smiling.

Because you are still so good at that! It wasn’t something I thought I needed or wanted right then, but, boy, was I wrong. It’s one of those important things, that doesn’t seem urgent, but probably is.

Sometimes I forget to kiss you. Or hold your hand. Or tell you the ways you are wonderful.

That just won’t do. This year, I promise to kiss you every time you leave me and every time you return. Because “being us,” even in the middle of chaos, is a habit worth pursuing. We need it more than ever these days.

18 years ago today we promised to love each other, at our best AND at our worst.

Not just when it’s expected. Or easy. Or convenient.

We have some pretty great moments – romantic moments, life-affirming-can-you-believe-how-awesome-our-family-is moments, inside joke/kindred spirit moments, laugh-until-we-cry moments… but I think it’s the not-so-easy ones that matter the most.

This is when I know you love all of me, the parts that aren’t so pretty or so fun (or so rational if I’m honest). Not in the gushy, I just-FEEL-so-loving-towards-you way… but in the I’ll-stick-around-and-won’t-just-take-your-crap-and-will-hash-it-out-and-forgive-and-apologize-and-hug-you-anyway.

And I love you that way too!

For Better or For Worse.

Happy Anniversary to the best man I know!

xoxo

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Romance in the Digital Age

It’s always been about the words for us.

love-notes-718721Since I was first allowed to get calls from “a boy” and I reassured my parents that we were totally just friends anyway and somehow the hours sped by while we talked about everything and nothing, until my Mom would pick up the downstairs line and yell up the stairs to “GET OFF THE PHONE!”

Since those early days when we wrote long rambling notes on loose-leaf paper, doodling in the margins and folding them into elaborate shapes before handing them off to each other in between classes.

Since the poetry unit in English 20, when he took a 10% penalty rather than read his poem to the whole class, but printed it up, glued it to a giant red heart and gave it to me for Valentine’s Day.

It’s the words that made us friends in the first place. It’s the words that made us laugh until it hurt and console each other and get closer than anyone had ever been before.

We built our own world with those words.

And now they come with a 140 character limit. And a data bill at the end of the month. And an audience of friends and family and people we sort-of knew in elementary school who we haven’t seen in years.

Sure, there are times when I roll my eyes and glare at the iPad. “You’re with the REAL people now” I say. Then hastily tuck my iPhone back into my pocket, lest my hypocrisy come back to bite me on the ass. It can feel like a barrier; a virtual distraction in our already busy lives. Bound to happen when both Mom and Dad are social media junkies.

But I can’t imagine our relationship without it. Especially not now, when time is at a premium and life moves at warp speed (that’s really, really fast for you non-nerds). Every day we text and tweet and message and status update and comment and like, and yes, even blog our way to intimacy.

We build our own world with those words.

If you’ve never live-tweeted a date, then maybe you won’t understand. When something goes wrong, I text him. When something tickles my funny bone, I send a picture with a caption. When he can’t be there with us, he’s the first to like it on Facebook. When I want him to know how much I appreciate him, I tell the world (here and here and here).

If it weren’t for this, we’d be ships passing in the night. Instead, we end our days on opposite ends of the couch, with our feet tangled in the middle – sending me a link to that great blog he was talking about, pulling up the funny YouTube video on Apple TV for us to watch, and commenting on each other’s pages. Real and virtual romance inextricably entwined.

I used to doodle “G+C 4ever” on my binder covers, now I download cheesy gifs and emoticons to send him. The medium has changed, but not the message.

This is what flirting looks like in the digital age.

So here’s my entry to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Love in the 21st Century. My love story predates internet dating, smart phones and Skype chats, but we’ve embraced online romance in our own way.


Groupies Need Groupies Too: A Love Story

My husband is a cool guy. In temperament, if not fashion. He accessorizes with adjectives like steady, dependable, logical… not given to flights of fancy or emotional outbreaks (totally my department).

Which is why it surprises most people to know he is a SUPER fan. A trivia spouting, memorabilia collecting, cyber stalking, concert hopping, backstage haunting, true disciple Groupie. He doesn’t scream like a teenage girl or throw his underwear, but it’s a close thing.

Under that stoic exterior runs a vein of intensity. A passionate devotion which very few things incite. Things like…

His wife (score!)

His children

His favourite books

His hockey pool team

And his favourite band: The Airborne Toxic Event

Setting the Stage

You can imagine the thrill… the joy… the utter celebration when he heard they were coming to the Pacific NorthWest this spring! Three shows in three nights were within reach: Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. You couldn’t tell by looking at him (his excited face looks pretty much the same as his cleaning-out-the-garage face), but he was ecstatic.

There are very few things my husband enjoys more than a rock concert. Certainly nothing I can publish on a PG blog.

My appreciation for live music, however, lies somewhere between blech and meh. Between the crowds, the noise, the standing, the haze of weed and nicotine, and the ringing in my ears that lasts for days, I’m left feeling like a cranky old woman longing for home and flannel PJs.

It’s not the music. I love the music. I simply prefer singing along in my car, or in the shower, or dancing around my house with the volume up and the headphones on (which is probably really good for my hearing). Sometimes I even listen to The Airborne Toxic Event.

I’ve done my time. I’ve seen more live shows than most hard-core music fans. Conversation starters like “remember that time we saw Def Leppard AND Tom Cochrane?” or “remember that cold, outdoor music festival in a muddy field in the middle of Podunkville, Nowhere?” are followed up with “which time?”

As Glen outgrew his love of 80s hair bands, our family outgrew frequent concerts. Not only is there the expense of tickets to consider, but babysitting and that most precious commodity of all: time. So, he started going without me (insert huge sigh of relief).

Usually, he’s able to harness the inestimable power of “The Concert Buddy.” Eric is his go-to guy, but there’s a list in his head. When he asks you what kind of music you like, he’s not just making conversation. But, he’s not opposed to going all by himself if need be. Like I said: Super Fan.

But this time he wanted me to come with him.

…really?

…ummmm

…doggonit

…okay

The Getaway

Grandpa Barb and Grandma Bill (as they’re known in our house) drove out from Calgary the week before. I updated my Anal Mom Family Manifesto Handy Babysitter’s Guide with our schedules and health care numbers and emergency contacts. I gave myself numerous pep talks about my baby (he’s in his own house, he loves my parents and knows them well, his sisters will help, there’s nothing they can’t handle and I really, really, really need a break). And we set off for Portland.

It was our first getaway since adopting the boy 8 months ago. The first extended “Just Us” time in a couple of years. And boy, we needed it.

I had planned our first romantic getaway a bit differently. There would be sleep. And room service. And sleep. And lingerie and candles and romance. And more sleep. There would be NOTHING on the schedule (except for sleep). There would be NO demands on us. We would do anything we wanted. For a change, it would be all about ME, ME, ME.

Instead, we had a deadline. The show started at 8:00pm. So naturally, we had to be there by 4:00. Super Fan isn’t interested in leisurely drives or romantic dinners, it’s all about Front Row seating.

Seating. That’s the other thing. There’s no actual sitting. Not for Front Row people. Sounded miserable to me.

We brought our camping chairs and umbrellas and warm clothes. I was briefed on concert line etiquette. Apparently, there are rules.

The Wait

Here’s where I admit, I wasn’t looking forward to this experience. At all. And he knew it. We arrived in Portland amidst a flurry of “thank yous” and promises to make it all up to me.

groupie loveTurns out, our extensive line prep was unnecessary. We were able to spend the afternoon in the bar downstairs from the concert hall, keeping an eye on the door and policing the line up with a judicious use of guilt and peer pressure.

Turns out, the “we” wasn’t just Glen and I, with nameless strangers in the line up; it was a strange community of instant concert friends. Some Glen knew from online or previous shows, some we met that day. There was a kinship as we snacked and drank and peeked out the window at passing band members and swooped in for pictures and handshakes and “I can’t believe it, he totally put his arm around me and gosh, isn’t he dreamy and WHY do I look so goofy in this picture of us…” and talked music (and I just nodded my head and tried to look intelligent).

Turns out, those 4 hours were kind of fun, even for an introvert like me. There were fans from different generations – parents and their grown children. There were single folks and couples and professionals and students. There were people who lived down the street and people who flew in from Idaho and people who took a ferry and drove half the night. There were people who scraped and saved to find their way there and some who didn’t give it a second thought. As different as we were from each other, we were a team. We were galvanized by the inevitable line-cutting drama (insert grave head shake here). We passed the time getting to know each other, sharing pictures, exchanging e-mail addys, handing out concert advice and taking turns going to the bathroom (with one eye on the line cutters all the while).

Turns out, Glen got to go in and see the band! They agreed to put their handprints on a canvas as a fundraiser for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. I’ve not seen him that nervous in a long time. Nor have I seen him so elated, when he came back and told me how kind/cool/funny/wonderfully human they were, how one of them remembered meeting him before, how they took a picture of his new Airborne tattoo and asked him what song he wanted to hear.

How he didn’t request his favourite song in the world, but mine: The Graveyard Near The House.

Awwww.

airborne

This canvas will be auctioned off to raise money for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation.
If Glen can part with it.

The Concert

As promised, there was no sitting for us. But there was a lovely fence to lean on, right at the very front. It might have felt claustrophobic, with all those other people pushing up against me. But by now, I knew them – Stephanie and her best friend from UVic (it was her first concert and she was SO excited), Karen and Mistie (who also have 4 kids close to the same age as ours and are very sweet), Kari, Andy and her daughter Kara (yes, the Kar- thing was a bit confusing), Elva (who calls me Mrs Glen, has great concert connections and takes care of everyone), Morgan and her parents (she helped Glen with the handprints and felt like it was a favour to her), and all the poor schmucks who came after 7 and didn’t get a great spot.

I wasn’t looking forward to the two opening acts. I mean, isn’t it enough that I came to see one concert?

However, the first act was excellent. The Parson Red Heads (excellent name) were pure Portland with their plaid shirts and bushy beards and folksy-hipster style. The music was just my style and the words… well, I’m a writer, so that’s the kind of thing that makes me fall in love with a band.

The second act was misplaced. I felt bad for them. They might be the best screaming thrasher band in the entire NorthWest. How would I know? It was so loud you couldn’t hear the music. Besides, I hate that kind of thing. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one, since their reception was lukewarm at best. But, there was a videographer filming some of their songs for their new album. And I felt so bad for them. So whenever the camera panned our way, I screamed my head off and jumped around like a real fan. I’m sure suburban soccer mom isn’t their usual niche, but who knows, maybe I’m in their music video now.

Finally, the main act arrived. They reminded me of my boy, with all that energy and jumping around. Did I mention that I was a bit homesick by now – how sad is that?

I’ve been to a lot of concerts. From U2 to Petra to Jann Arden to Coldplay to Arcade Fire. And I’ve tolerated them all.

This was one of the best ones, top of my Most Tolerable List. They are excellent performers. I knew all the words to all the songs (inevitable if you happen to live with this man). They are more storyteller/poets than simple songwriters, which appeals to me the most of all. It helps that I’d heard all the back stories of each song, what they meant and where they came from. Somehow it means more knowing the context. I cried when they played Timeless.

What’s more, they seemed genuinely surprised and deeply grateful that we all showed up. I hope that never goes away, because it’s so appealing in a rock star. And a human being.

But the best part was the Huge Ridiculous grin on the man beside me. It’s kind of amazing to me to see him so exuberant.

with Mikel

Goofy Grin with lead singer Mikel, showing off his tattoo,
and for some reason, giving us all the finger.

The Romance

Over the past couple years it’s become easy for me to think of Glen as “the other parent” and “the guy who does the banking” and “the man who holds my hand.” More co-worker and teammate than person in his own right. It’s easy to forget that he exists apart from our world together.

He was pretty thrilled that I shared this concert/road trip with him. I thought I was a pretty darn-good wife for giving up my romantic weekend dreams. Turns out, it WAS a romantic weekend after all. Better than anything I had in mind.

He shared a corner of his world with me. I got to know him better. In a new way. And he was genuinely surprised and deeply grateful that I cared enough to show up.

Sometimes love looks like this.

I recognize it, because he’s done it for me so many times. At every sci-fi movie he’s sat through. In the museums and art galleries he’d rather just bypass. On mall benches and ski lifts and holding my purse while I ride the roller coaster one more time.

Concerts aren’t my thing. But he is.

In fact, I’m a SUPER Fan.

So here’s me, and lest you think me too heroic, I got ME time too. I spent the next morning in a huge bookstore, the afternoon poking around Seattle and the evening BY MYSELF in a hotel room with a movie and pile of junk food. I felt so bad for Glen, having to go to another concert while I revelled in the quiet. To each their own.


Eat Your Heart Out Mona Lisa

I hate looking at pictures of myself.

It comes second only to listening to my voice on the answering machine in the line up of cringe-worthy activities-to-avoid-at-all-costs.But when I came across this Writing Challenge: tell the true story behind the picture of a smile, I knew immediately which story to tell.

Because I remember exactly what this little girl was thinking in this moment.

smile

YOU!

I’m so glad to see you!

You look great.

In fact, you’ve never looked better to me!

I’ve missed you! I know it’s only been a day, but what a day.

I have so much to tell you. Nothing seems real until I tell you.

Have you seen my Grandma’s hat? All blue feathers. You’re going to laugh. But try to be cool. She’s awfully proud of it. It’s cute.

Guess what we did last night? My cousins and I pulled out Mom’s wedding gown and her bright yellow bridesmaid’s dress from Aunt Lois’ wedding. We tried them on and looked at pictures and giggled like crazy.

I couldn’t eat at all this morning, I was so nervous. And I just wanted to talk to you and I needed you to hold my hand and make me laugh. But I sucked it up and pasted on a smile and tried not to throw up.

Everything feels right again now.

You always make me feel better.

I have so much to tell you. It’s only been a day, but what a day.

There are so many people here. Our whole gang from highschool is here. I even saw some friends we haven’t seen since graduation. Did you see Jason? He looks like a movie theatre usher. He’s wearing a bright red suit jacket. Of course he is.

There’s family here I haven’t spoken to since I was little. Yes, I consider third and fourth cousins family no matter how much you roll your eyes.

Also, it’s weird to have your parents together under one roof, isn’t it? But everyone seems pretty happy, so don’t start getting stressed.

There was some kind of problem with the decorations. And you’d think that kind of thing would make me nuts – you know how I get. But after all the planning and the choosing and the fussing and the debating and the detailed schedules with each person’s part carefully highlighted, I don’t actually care about any of it.

I’m just SO glad to see you!

Can you believe we’re doing this?

I’m trying to pay attention now.

Come on, Christie, get it together.

Mostly I’m waiting until we can leave. And it can be just us again.

Just us from now on.

Just us forever.

It’s only a day, but it’s OUR day.

I’m so absurdly happy that I get to keep you!

scan0002

So here’s me, still a grinning-like-a-fool bride. That cute boy is still my best friend. And as I’m sure you can imagine, he does a lot of listening.


Five Minute Friday: Beloved

They were on sale the day after Christmas. Nothing fancy. Nothing exciting. Just two plain gold bands. A thicker one for him and a delicate one for me. That’s what you get when you marry at 19.

With the wedding just around the corner (at least that’s how it felt with stacks of wedding magazines and enthusiastic, wedding-crazed mothers in the mix), we knew we had to check one more item off the to do list. It didn’t seem that romantic to find the cheapest alternative at the Boxing Day sale. But, that’s what you get when you marry at 19.

We agonized about what to engrave inside our rings. We may have had a few less frills, but we didn’t want to skimp on the meaningful stuff. We wanted something that would still make sense in 10 – 20 – 50 years. Something timeless. We wanted something that would be ours. Something “us”.

And it has been. When you marry at 19, you grow up together. You live on a laughably small budget. You sacrifice. You change. You meet someone new. Someone lying next to you in bed each night and you fall in love with them all over again, every 10 -20 – 50 years. That’s what you get when you marry at 19.

Those plain gold wedding bands may not fancy, but they are timeless; they are “us.” Inside they say:

This is my beloved. This is my friend.

February 029

So here’s us, 18 years later… still skimping on the extra frills, but heavy on the meaningful.

Once again, linking up with lisajobaker.com for 5 Minute Friday writing flash mob:

On Fridays around these parts we like to write. Not for comments or traffic or anyone else’s agenda. But for pure love of the written word. For joy at the sound of syllables, sentences and paragraphs all strung together by the voice of the speaker.

We love to just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. For five minutes flat.

Here’s how we do it:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog’s footer}.

3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.


To Love and To Cherish in Real Life

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,

while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

~ Lao Tzu

Cherishing…

romanceIt’s not like in the movies. Where they roll the credits and the absurdly good-looking, skinny folks prance off into the wild, blue yonder with nothing but adventure and excitement and passion and equallly good-looking children in their future. Of course, the good-looking children arrive to well coifed, only slightly flustered Moms after 20 minutes of pushing (and the dramatic breaking-of-the-water-in-the-restaurant scene, which always seemed strangely thrilling to me).

In real life, there’s a lot more sweat. And tears. And long stretches of less exciting stuff.

In real life, cherishing is less about passion and more about dirty socks. And casserole. And scraping your wife’s windshield for her.

In real life, marriage is work. But it’s worth it. Not because of the Hollywood-esque perfection of it, but the gritty closeness. The intimacy of the mundane. The humour that doesn’t come with a laugh track, because no one else would get it, but just the two of you.

You can’t cherish someone in a 90 minute highlight reel. It takes a lifetime.

STOP

5minutefridayOnce again, I’m joining Lisa-Jo Baker for her Five Minute Friday writing challenge.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. That is like the one rule we all really care about. For reals.

So here’s me, where cherishing looks a lot like taking out the recycling bin. And for the record, there’s passion too. Especially if you volunteer to wrestle the kids into their pjs and put them to bed, so that your wife can write her blog.


Context is Everything

This year my husband bought me an exercise machine for my birthday.

I wonder if the Craigslist sellers thought he was an enormous douche. I probably would’ve. What kind of birthday present is that for your wife? What message does it send?

Likewise, when he bought me a steam mop for Christmas.

He didn’t buy them because I’m fat and the house is dirty (insert self-deprecating remark about how this is nevertheless true, which he will edit out while getting after me for writing something absurd).

This is why it is okay. Because he’s my biggest fan, whether I deserve it or not. Because he isn’t trying to change me or improve me. He’s only trying to make me happy – by giving me what I want.

Believe it or not, I wanted both the elliptical and mop very badly. I researched them. I talked about them. I fantasized about all the ways they would make my life better: once I had them, an immaculate house and instant skinniness would no doubt ensue. I wondered out loud when we might be able to afford them.

Context is everything.

At the right moment, with the right intentions, it is a win. Encouraging. And helpful. And thoughtful.

But it could so easily go wrong. Marriage is just as much about tact and and understanding and supportiveness as it is about honesty and pushing each other to be better.

The best part isn’t a kitchen floor you could eat off of (and the littles often do). Or the 268 calories I burned while watching YouTube the other day (ameliorating my Halloween candy angst for about 10 minutes). It’s the fact that, occasionally, he listens when I talk.

So here’s me, not necessarily WANTING to work out or do housework, but since I need to, I might as well do it in style!


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