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The Man I Married

May 19, 2014

This weekend Tom casually asked during Saturday morning breakfast, “So…what are your plans for today?” My ears perked up. I instantly gave him my alert and wary attention and set my coffee cup down. I know this man. I’ve known him for decades. “What are your plans?” means “I have a plan, and you are going to be part of it unless you absolutely refuse.” That simple sentence has launched a thousand projects over the years, and I knew enough to see what I was getting into.

I also love this man…so I said, “I don’t know…why?” (which is an absolute LIE, friends, because, trust me…a free Saturday does not yet exist that I cannot fill!) Tom’s plan turned out to be loading all sorts of data into a software program that helps with financial planning, working together to set up this complex system to track spending and savings for retirement. (It was four hours of work that he insists was two and I believe was six.) It involved heavy duty sitting at the kitchen table pouring through bank statements and the unbelievable frustration of filling in screens on website after website to set up online passwords (and by the way who really wants a set of security questions that begin with your prom date, first love, and first kiss that are all people you are NOT with?)…but I digress.

During this process I noticed something. This is the kind of thing we’ve done together many times through the years. It typically begins with one of Tom’s good ideas (or one of my goals to “really get this part of the house clean”) and along the way there is drama, intrigue, snarky dialogue, some tears and foot stamping on my part, condescension, smarmy behavior, irritable commentary…well, you get the idea. It’s a play we’ve put on thousands of times–the longest running show on our marital version of Broadway. I’ve seen it so many times that I settle into my seat ready with my lines, and I know just how to hit my mark time after time.

But I will honestly say that our little project Saturday was actually pretty great. We worked together like the team we are, and yes…that does mean playing the roles we know so well. But I noticed as I sometimes do these days just how the years have tempered us and how the miles we have travelled together in this life have knocked some of the rougher edges off us so we fit together better than ever. We laughed (mostly at one another). We were snarky in ways that celebrated and spotlighted all the silly things we know to be true about each other, and we knocked that project out and enjoyed ourselves. At one point just before I descended into the abyss of irritation from which there is no return, he suggested, “How about a break and a Diet Coke?” and poured me one which I gracefully and gratefully accepted. The timing was perfect. This is the man I married. Our afternoon project was the work of a well-oiled machine built during a quarter century of marriage. Not romantic in a hearts and flowers way but such a good example of love in action.

And the next day when I had Tom and Joe both twisted around each other peering inside the small opening in the wall behind the bookcase feeding an HTMI cord from the tv through a tiny dark space with a bent coat hanger to hook up the Apple TV so you didn’t see cords in unsightly places, I had my own “to do list” moment. That’s marriage, folks. Today I’ll set up tedious financial data instead of curling up with the good book I’m hoping to finish, and tomorrow, you’ll turn off the basketball game and fetch a coat hanger and a flashlight to hide a cord that isn’t bothering you. It’s a dance that gets more beautiful over time, and I love dancing.

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