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- Happy Marriages
Don't Forget to Say "I Love You".
Since I can no longer cut meat for a living because of my injuries, I decided to try my hand at owning and running a café. My wife and son and I took over an other wise unsuccessful café at a small local truck stop and completely revamped its appearance and style. It seems that anyone and everyone that opens an eatery here in the Lulawissie area serves the same thing: “Good ol’ country home cookin’”. There are more of these small greasy spoons here in Lulawissie County than there are fire ant hills in all of the Appalachians. So far we have done well and last week we began to show a small profit.
There are some dead times while running this business, and it gives my son and I a chance to talk about life. He and his new wife are celebrating their first wedding anniversary this month and are planning a getaway down in Savannah at a hotel that has been purported to be haunted by ghosts from the Civil War. He’s a history major in college so he is anticipating the hotel stay but she’s not a big fan of ghosts in her bedroom. She has voiced her mild objections to the accommodations, but it was to no avail.
But as well as I could, I offered my fatherly advice to my son on the subject of marital relations. He is still perplexed as to the intricacies and complexities involved in having a wife. My advice to him was to not try and figure her out because it can’t be done. It is nothing that can be explained because each relationship is different and each participant is different. The one thing that remains constant is that no matter what goes on in a marriage relationship, the husband is usually wrong.
So with that logic now set in stone, I tried to explain to him that there are other more creative ways to have an easier time of it all, things such as selective hearing and selective memory, playing dumb and other fun “games”.
The Magic of “Yeah”.
I’m sure that this concept has been illustrated on sitcoms and in movies, but the fact of the matter is, it rings true. My wife has frequently reminded me of a promise or of a plan that I had made to do something that I wasn’t really interested in doing anyway, but I wanted her off of my back. When she asks me if I had completed the task, and I apparently hadn’t done it yet, my answer isn’t “yes” or “no” but rather “When you asked me the first time, what’d I say?”
She’ll usually respond with “You said ‘yeah’.”
Then I respond with “Did I say ‘yeah’ or did I say ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah’?” Usually the conversation ends there or with her saying “Never mind, I’ll do it myself!” which is what I wanted in the first place.
This is almost the same as playing dumb, but not quite. Usually, If I am not interested in doing something (like going to a wedding or to the in laws for dinner) I tend to sock that bit of information away in the “not that important” file in my brain. It can be recalled, but not readily like a random thought that would float through in the middle of the day, but still, I am aware of it. As the day draws near, she will undoubtedly bring it up and I will respond “what wedding? I was going fishing with Rich on Saturday. We already put a deposit down on the boat.” I stated before in another blog: “I’m not losing my memory. My brain just doesn’t remember things that I’m not interested in.”
This usually gets me out of whatever it was, but it depends mainly on her current state of PMS. If the timing isn’t right and I give the wrong answer, I can expect to have the flesh peeled from my skull just with her glare alone.
This takes some practice at keeping a straight face and avoiding a poker one. And as I mentioned above, it is closely correlated to having a selective memory. Playing dumb is best used for getting out of having to do something that requires a certain skill or knowledge, such as cooking or baking, planting flowers, doing laundry, ironing, etc. As always, she will get really annoyed at my “ineptitude” and will push me out of the way and do it herself. Again, that’s what I wanted in the first place.
Know When to Speak
This is a very important and crucial issue. Knowing when to speak is just as important as knowing what to say, or better yet, what not to say. I explained to my son that as he gets to know his new bride (which is taking me 30 years with mine) He will learn what subject matter is sensitive and what isn’t , and will choose his conversations accordingly. But…what works well as conversable topics will change 180 degrees during those “ladies days”. I urged him to keep a calendar and to plan ahead. It could save him the embarrassment of explaining to others why there is no flesh on his skull.
Sometimes it’s Better to Remain Quiet.
As I had stated in a previous blog:
“If I know for a fact that you’re wrong, it’s not worth arguing over it to prove that I’m right. I’ll just agree with you and live with the quiet satisfaction of knowing the truth.”
And then there is: “If I am unusually quiet, it is because speaking my mind will only lead to an argument that I can’t win.” That logic alone leads to:
Choosing Your Battles
Once you get to know your spouse well, you can pretty much predict her response to any given thing that you might say to her. If you have become “telepathically connected” like my wife and I seem to be, you already know the outcome of any given conversation, much less an argument. It becomes incredibly annoying to have a stressful issue pop into your head knowing that any second now she’s going to bring it up and start a bit of a discord over it. So the first thing that you do is try to think of something else so that the idea or thought will leave her head. Thinking about Baseball sometimes works, but then she starts in on the fact that I never take her to a game.
With that kind of connection, you can already play out each and every conversation in your head and decide if it is worth bringing up or not. This is how I choose my battles. If I think I have a shot at winning, I go for it. Then she starts crying and I lose.
The Truth vs. “Little White Lies”
I encouraged my son to always be truthful and honest in his relationship with his new wife. Not just because of building a new relationship on truth and honesty is a good thing, but because eventually it becomes impossible to keep up with all of the lies you’ve told her just to keep your own sanity afloat. But when she comes in wearing a red gingham dress with a giant sunflower in the middle of her chest with her hair in a beehive hairdo with bright red hoop earrings and asks “How do I look?”, then it’s okay to bend the truth a little…especially if it’s getting close to her “time”.
“Do you think I’m pretty?” This is where selective hearing comes in to play, followed by a quick exit out to the garage to drink beer.
Two Sets of Everything
As my son has probably already learned, there are two sets of everything, which is why they have two bathrooms. She has her cosmetics, perfumes, hair dryer, curlers, nail polish and whatever else she can think of. He has his razor and his deodorant. He’s already learned to hide his razor, and most definitely will never use her pink one on his face. Wives don’t like to use their husband’s towels because of the fact that they have dried their “junk” with it and flossed their butt crack with the edge. But I don’t think that there is a husband alive that hasn’t secretly gone into her bathroom just to use her towel on his “junk” and butt crack and then laughed about it as she dries her face. But along with two sets of material things, there are also two sets of the other things. Things like opinions and rules. I should say now, again, as I said earlier in this piece, that the husband is usually wrong, so there is no need in discussing the difference of opinions here. But as far as rules go….there are two distinctly separate sets, and most of them involve the restrictions put on his “fun”.
“Just because you don’t want to drink doesn’t mean that I don’t want to drink.” Sorry pal. That’s exactly what it means.
“How come we only have sex when you want to?” It’s because she wears the panties in the relationship.
“I don’t care if we do live on ‘Morningwood Drive’. I have a headache!”
“Why did you rub the lamp if you didn’t want the genie to come out?” One of life’s oldest puzzles.
She can go out with the girls to Chippendales until 3am, but if you come home an hour late from work smelling like beer, you’re sleeping on the couch.
It’s 5am Saturday morning. Your fishing buddy pulls up with a boat in tow and waits. You go into the bedroom to say goodbye to your wife and suddenly you are made aware of that time of the month.
“But who is going to stay with me today?” she asks sobbingly. “I feel lonely.”
“But honey, you knew about this for a week now. Rich is waiting for me outside! He has a new boat.”
“You don’t love me, do you?” She begins sobbing. “It’s Saturday. Why can’t you stay in bed and hold me a while?”
You know deep down if you go fishing with Rich, the rest of your weekend will be a living hell. So you go out to Rich’s car and tell him your wife is sick, and needs to be looked after. Rich knows better, and gives you a look of compassion. “I stopped saying goodbye to my wife 5 years ago.” Rich says. “I get more fishing time in that way”. You slap the top of his vehicle as he speeds off and walk back into the house and go back to bed.
“I thought you were going fishing with Rich?”
You grit your teeth and try to go back to sleep.
But the bottom line that I try to tell my son is that this woman that is driving him crazy is the girl that he fell in love with. This is the girl that he dated for 6 years before popping the question. She is his best friend, lover and confidant. She will bear his children and raise them with a sense of morality and ethics. She is a keeper and she struggles with all of his issues just as much as he does with hers, and despite it all, they love each other and have stood by each other through all sorts of adversity for the past year and will do so for the next fifty. And just like my wife of 30+ years, his lady is the best thing that has ever happened to him and to this family. My wife and I love her as if she were our own natural daughter.
So as I sit here next to my wife’s hospital bed writing this piece on her laptop, I think back to all of the episodes that we have shared together in our married life. The births, the first days of school, sick kids, arguments, dancing together at weddings, arguing about bills and taking care of one another. I frequently joke around about marriage, why not? It’s a humorous subject. But my dear wife is right there with me joking back, slinging the manure back at me that I have slung at her for so many years. Now she is down, laid out by a stroke that was caused by a bad reaction to some vitamin supplements. She can barely talk, she has severe pain in her head and her left side is weakened. She is much too young for this at 49. But I know that she will recover. She’s a stubborn Irish woman that wouldn’t have it any other way.
For now, the café is closed. I can’t go back to running it until I know that Sammie is okay. I know that we have bills to pay, but without Sammie by my side, the rest means nothing. She is my life.
Thank you all for reading. As always, work hard, do a good deed for someone that you don’t know and give the Good Lord thanks for everything, the good and the bad.
And tell your significant other “I love you” more often.
©2012 by Del Banks