My husband and I celebrated 14 years of marriage this week.
I had hoped to write up a sweet little list of what 14 years of marriage has taught me. Lists are popular. Everyone loves a good list. How would we fill our down time at work if we didn’t have Buzzfeed?
After giving it some thought, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I’m not an expert on marriage. My husband and I don’t follow the rules. We go to bed angry, we forget to schedule date nights, we criticize, we nag, we forget to say “I love you.” We have ignored the wisdom of all the happy couples who have gone before us.
But, I think we have a good marriage. In fact, I think our marriage is so good, I have tried to use our blessed union of souls as an example of a good relationship whenever I have a single friend who is debating whether or not to start dating someone. I tell them our story because I think it’s a good one.
My husband and I had a fair amount of obstacles in our way – we were friends, we weren’t each other’s types, he had a girlfriend and I was obsessed with someone who wasn’t obsessed back. We weren’t really on each other’s radars as potential partners. But, we kept spending more and more time together, and then it became clear that we really liked each other. I mean like liked each other. We took a chance and it worked.
So, my advice has typically been: “Give it a chance. It could be the most wonderful relationship you’ve ever had. Look at me and Shawn!”
Unfortunately, outside of my own marriage, my track record with this piece of advice has been astonishingly bad. Without fail, the relationship doesn’t work out – sometimes tragically so – and I’m left wondering if I know anything about relationships at all.
Really, though, what would I know about it? I’ve been married to the same man for 14 years. Unless my single friend is about to start dating my own husband, I’m probably not much help.
If pressed to answer what I know about marriage, this is really all I could say:
- I know my husband needs a banana every morning, like a toddler or a monkey.
- I know that if he starts to fall asleep while watching a movie, he will deny it. He could be asleep for a full 10 minutes and if I laugh out loud, he will wake up laughing like he’s been awake the whole time.
- I know he will be wearing Converse sneakers when he’s 80 years old.
- I know we have a whole language based entirely on quotes from “The Simpsons” and Cameron Crowe movies that other people find confusing and weird.
- I know he was obsessed with sports when he was a kid, but as a teenager, he chose a “Rolling Stone” subscription over a “Sports Illustrated” subscription and it changed his life. We probably would not have ended up together if he had chosen “Sports Illustrated.”
- I know if something history-related comes up in conversation, he will try to inform me against my will by giving me a 10-minute dissertation on the topic.
- I know he will always pick cleaning the bathrooms.
- I know my husband won’t kill spiders or bugs. If one is in the house he will usher it outside like its a stray child who’s wandered away from the twisty slide, and assumes it will stay outside based on some inter-species honor system. We both know the bug will just end up back in the house, or, worse, breed and lay eggs somewhere outside the house where its offspring will only continue this farce. But, he’s a kind-hearted man, and I respect that.
- I know that he only knows how to cook spaghetti, so I have had to overcome my aversion to spaghetti so I can have a night off from cooking every once in a while.
- I know him and he knows me. We know each other better than we know anyone else.
- I know I will love him until the day I die.
So, the only thing I can talk about with any certainty is how to be married to this specific man. I am the world’s leading expert on my marriage. I doubt it is useful to you, but there it is.
I guess I ended up making a list after all.