My Husband Drives Me Crazy ... But I Love Him Anyway
When Your Husband Acts Like Your Child
It was a rainy Saturday morning and all I wanted to do was sleep in. I'd had a hard week at work and this was finally my chance to catch some much-needed rest. But then right in the middle of a pleasant dream, I started to hear it ... a song. "Fuzzy, fluffy Maya!" the voice bellowed. "Mushy, squishy Maya!" I sleepily opened one eye and to my dismay, realized that I was now awake and the noise wasn't part of my dream. Jon was singing to our cat.
"You know, I was asleep," I grumpily told him. "Your stupid song woke me up."
"Sorry," he said sheepishly. "I didn't realize..."
"My eyes were closed. I wasn't moving!"
"Oh... uh..." he stuttered, at a lost for words.
"Never mind," I said, shaking my head. I crawled back under the covers and went back to sleep.
It's incidents like this that lead me to tell my husband -- only half-jokingly -- that when I married him, I got a spouse and a 5-year-old in one package. The spouse is the guy who takes care of our bills and put together our furniture. The 5-year-old is the person who will lean over to touch something in a museum or stack all of the tiny cream containers into a pyramid at a restaurant. Then again, we were both responsible for inventing "SMOWSC," a disgusting concoction made of sugar, milk, oil, water, salt and cream, so I guess we can both be immature at times. But Jon's the one who actually dared to drink it ... so my point stands!
Seriously, we've been married for 9 1/2 years now, going on 10 this April, and for the most part, I have few complaints. But sometimes I think being a married, which is supposed to be this grown-up step, has made us both regress. Perhaps this is what makes our marriage work!
The Happy Couple
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In The Beginning...
Jon and I met each other back in 1993 when I was living with his younger sister in college. She showed me a photograph of her brother and I thought he was cute. When she shared that he was also a journalist (he's since become a criminal defense attorney), I asked if she could set us up. She agreed to arrange something when he came up for homecoming weekend. But when he arrived, he spent all of his time with our outgoing friend. I decided to move on.
The next year, Jon returned for homecoming weekend, only this time, he actually spoke with me. We chatted about my job at the local newspaper, as well as some other things about our lives. I found myself wanting to get to know him better, but we were both dating other people at the time. Besides, he was in New York City and I was upstate at school so dating him didn't seem to make sense logistically.
I then went home with his sister for Passover and of course, he was there. Only he'd come with his girlfriend. After dinner, the whole group of us were playing Legos with his youngest sister. I built a house. He built a jail with an electric chair in it. I guess this was a sign of things to come.
The next year, I came to their home for Passover again, only this time, he came without his girlfriend. We ended up talking until about 2 a.m. Before returning home, Jon asked if I'd like to go to dinner sometime and I agreed, but I never followed up on it -- at least not then. For one thing, he was still dating that woman. Also, I wasn't sure how his sister would react since we'd now been suitemates for two years. But when I told her, she was thrilled. Every time, she and Jon would talk, he'd ask about me. Still, I held off on dating him. There were just too many things going on in my life at the time and I didn't want to complicate things.
I didn't think about Jon much during the year I was in graduate school. I was too busy trying to get my Master's in 12 months and then find a job. I'd also tried to get back together with my ex, but he wasn't interested. I swore off men and found myself surprisingly happy with the decision.
A couple of weeks after I graduated, though, Jon's sister called and said that he'd been asking about me again. "So have him call me," I told her. She explained that he was going to Finland for a few weeks. "Tell him to call me when he gets back," I answered.
He ended up calling me pretty much the next day after he returned. We spoke on the phone for about an hour and before I knew it, we'd set up a date for that weekend.
Truthfully, I was kind of freaked out by the idea of it. I mean, if it didn't work out between us, would it be awkward between myself and his sister? Would his family ever invite me over for Passover again? And what about our friendship? I considered Jon to be a friend at this point and didn't want to ruin things. Would a date change everything?
Well, yes, it did. I'm not the type of woman who's looking to be swept off her feet by grand romantic gestures (though they are nice). I never minded getting my share of the check at dinner, even on a date. But Jon was the classic gentleman. He gave me a scarf which he'd picked up in Europe for me. He held out my chair for me at dinner. Hell, he even paid for dinner! Given that all of the other guys I'd been on dates with were in high school or college and never had any money, this was foreign to me. I didn't care about the money so much, but it was flattering to me that someone was going out of his way to treat me so well.
From there, we began meeting every Sunday to do something in the city. Things turned serious between us pretty quickly.
The First "I Love You"
The first time Jon told me he loved me wasn't in person. Actually, it wasn't even directly at me. It was January, 1998, and Jon, who at the time was in the Army Reserves, had been called up to deal with an ice storm in upstate New York. We were supposed to go out that weekend, but his dad called me at work, explaining why our date had to be cancelled.
When I came home that evening (I was still living with my parents at the time), my dad had a big grin on his face. "Listen to this," he said, leading me into the living room. He played our answering machine for me, on which Jon had left a long message apologizing for missing our date. He ended it by saying he loved me. I was thrilled ... but also kind of embarrassed that my parents were there to witness this moment.
Once Jon returned, we finally got the chance to say, "I love you," to each other in person. That June, I moved in with him and about two years later, we were married. And here we are, going on 10 years. It's amazing how quickly time flies.
Secrets Of A Happy Marriage
People often ask me what one has to do to have a long and happy marriage. Honestly, I don't consider our union to be that long because both sets of our parents have been married for over 40 years at this point. That's a long marriage!
What works for us, though, is that we treat each other like equals and have a lot of respect and understanding in our relationship. We do a lot of things together -- we've traveled all over the world to Australia, New Zealand and Iceland, among many other places -- but at the same time, we each have separate lives. Jon enjoys debating politics with his friends online. Meanwhile, I sometimes like to go out with the girls. It's never an issue if we do our own thing; in fact, I think this keeps things interesting because we have something to talk about.
We also came from similar families and share a warped sense of humor. I'm not appalled when he makes up songs about criminals; I help him come up with the lyrics! And when I tell him that he has a flat head and isn't as smart as the cat, he agrees with me. In fact, when I told him that I was writing this hub and planned to give some tips on having a happy marriage, I was about to joke, "Tip No. 1 - Don't Marry Jon." But he jumped in and made the joke before me!
I'm proud that we're coming up on our 10th anniversary and that our love has remained strong after all these years. It hasn't always been easy, but it's certainly been an adventure. I look forward to many more years of marriage, even if it does mean telling my husband not to stick his hand over the candle in the restaurant because he might get burned.
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