Tag Archives: relationships

Marriage and the law of averages

Photo copyright 2010 BlueRue Studio Photography

It’s been a month since our blissful nuptials.

Everyone keeps asking how married life is. That’s kind of a hard question to answer. Of course, it’s wonderful. But what do people really want to hear when they ask that question?

Do they want to hear about how we got through the great curtain hanging drama of 2010? (Oy. Flashbacks.) Or, how we snuggled on the couch last night after a power outage? How about the homemade waffles we fixed together on Sunday morning, causing the forgetful-before-coffee Mr. Quirky to have to run to the store twice to get necessary items to create said waffles.

But I think what people really want to know is, have we figured it out yet.

Probably not. But I think have figured him out. It’s all about averages.

Flashback to last night – the power went out, so we lit some candles. I commented on how good they smelled, and Mr. Quirky’s response was “you smell good.”

Now under any other circumstance, I wouldn’t have thought much more about that statement. He’s always flattering me. But I happened to know that my feet were really stinky. In fact, they were kind of grossing me out.

“Have you smelled me tonight?” I challenged.

No, he admitted. He hadn’t. But I always smell good, so he was making a statement about my pleasant scent in general.

But I don’t always smell good, I responded. In fact, sometimes I’m really, really stinky.

But I was starting to get it. The man behind the curtain, if you will.

So, when you tell me I look beautiful, does it mean I look beautiful in that moment? Or, are you basing it on a law of averages that most of the time I look beautiful and while I may be a little disheveled at the time of the compliment, you are pretty sure I can put myself back together again?

He didn’t have to answer that.

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No honey. You can’t register for my butt.

He had a gun.

I had a check-list.

And it was smack dab in the middle of the holiday shopping frenzy.

What on earth were we thinking?

We weren’t even going to register. For the longest time we held firm that registering was just asking for gifts and that’s not what we are all about.

But then social conventions took their hold. We were told by multiple friends and family that we really ought to do this thing for people who will want guidance on their gift buying.

Despite our arguments that we don’t really expect gifts…which was quickly shot down by the argument that people will want to give gifts. End of story.

(To which I still say, I really don’t care if you give us a gift. Honestly. If you are invited to the wedding it’s because we want to celebrate with you.)

And because we procrastinated on the whole deal, we found ourselves at two large chain stores that sell home goods along with every other holiday shopper in Johnson County, KS Saturday afternoon.

It did not evoke any holiday spirit in me.

Or the wedding spirit for that matter.

As the fiance will attest to, I was really into it during the cooking section of store #1. Cooking is my thing. And I had a lot of fun playing  fantasy shopping spree with my kitchen in mind. Oh, the things I could fix…the fires I could catch…the wine we could drink.

But as we entered the bedding/linens area, my enthusiasm waned. I felt the pressure of having to make decisions about our home that could potentially stick with us forever.

Colors, fabrics and pillows. Oh my.

The fiance wasn’t helping.

Me: Oh, I really like this button detail on that pillow.

F: Wouldn’t that poke your head to lay on?

Me: You don’t lay on that pillow.

F: Huh?

Me: It’s a throw pillow. It goes on top of your sleeping pillows.

F: Huh?

Me: It’s for decoration.

F: So you put them on the floor?

Me: No. You put them up when you go to bed so the dog doesn’t lay on them.

F: How will I know what to do with them when you are out of town?

Me: sigh.

And it wasn’t just that. It was trying to pick towels that were both soft and fluffy and pretty.

And colors that didn’t make the fiance heave.

I began to feel like a home-design failure. I didn’t know which vases or picture frames or decor doo dads would look good together.

The fiance, who was even less into the home decor than I was, began to amuse himself by scanning my butt.

“Sensors say…seexxxy.”

He then took advantage of his new knowledge of throw pillows and scanned this hideous mauve feather-covered pillow.

It was very funny, I had to admit. But somehow, being in that store, surrounded by all those pretty things compelled me to tap my inner homemaker.

Only, when I tried to tap it, there wasn’t anything there.

Look what we are dealing with here:  we have two bar stools in our living room that we use to eat on when we sit at the couch. And speaking of couch. There is a hideous blanket hung up behind it to block the light and avoid a glare on the TV because picking out curtains makes me tremble.

By the time we entered the “artwork” portion of the store, I was done.

I could not make another decision, even if you told me that I could have all 12 pieces of the Calphalon cookware that had excited me two hours earlier.

It was time to turn the gun over to the nice sales staff and call it a day.

The fiance watched me literally walk out of the store.

Was it something he did/said?

No, I told him. I just couldn’t absorb any more color combinations, style decisions or Christmas crowd dodging. I was through.

But there was still an entire store to get through before we could call it a day. (We decided to register at two stores to give people more options and because one has better cookware than the other and one has electronics and the other doesn’t. Guess who goes with each store?)

Luckily at store #2 we actually had some items to purchase for ourselves. So we were able to distract ourselves me with shampoos and hand lotions.

Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.

And then with the check-out line in view, I just sort of settled into it in the glossy-eyed way of someone heavily medicated. Sure. Scan that box of candy. It will be a good option for the budget- conscious.

Yeah, we really need that Playschool Fake Food set. It will come in handy when I don’t want to cook.

We were done. There were no more decisions to be made. The gun was returned and I could sit in the car for the 20 minute ride to the mall and rest my feet.

What? Did you say mall?!

Yup. Mall. To the jewelry store to purchase my pretty, sparkly wedding band.

That wasn’t such a bad thing.

And so, we are now registered. My band has been purchased. And the clock ticks on closer and closer each day to February 27.

I couldn’t be happier. Even in our un-fashionable house with our crappy cookware.

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Kicking thank you, but….

It’s tough to take a compliment sometimes.

Especially when you haven’t brushed your hair or your teeth and your mascara is smeared underneath your eyes.

The fiance has a way of dishing out loads of compliments when I look like this.

To him I’m beautiful, the prettiest woman in thew orld, super sexy…ok, I’ll stop before you vomit on your keyboard, but you get the drift.

He’ll stop and grab me around the waist or hug me and tell me these things and sometimes all I can think of is, “I have mega cheese breath from the clump of colby jack I just grabbed straight out of the bag in the fridge.” 

But for some reason he doesn’t care (or he has no sense of smell.)

Yesterday happened to be a “no bathe day” for me. I have those periodically. Mostly on Sundays following a big event the night before. It means I walk around all day in the clothes I slept in, I don’t shower and I’m lucky if I brush my teeth. In fact, I try to avoid  all mirrors on those days if possible.

And yesterday, the fiance continued to shower me with praise.

In my mind, I tried to kick the “what did he do wrong?” thoughts. I don’t want to be all “thank you, but you are wrong. I’m ugly.”

Because I know I’m not. Maybe I don’t feel my prettiest. But if he can find the beauty in my unkemptness, then I should let him.

So, I tried to let the compliments soak in (almost as if willing them would make them true).

As a result, I half-believed him by the end of the day.

And then I caught a glimpse in the mirror.

I’m just glad he see’s what he see’s when he looks at me. I’m glad he loves me and thinks I’m beautiful.

And for the sake of our relationship, I think I’ll try covering the mirrors for the next no bathe day so I can enjoy his flattery.

And maybe buy some mints.

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Punching my demons in the you-know-where and filling my glass (of wine) half-full

Warning: lots of cheesy “get real” lingo to follow, including but not limited to terms such as “loving myself,” “self-talk” and “co-dependency.” I can’t help these things. I had three years of therapy in college and I know Betty would be proud…

 I’ve been mulling some things around in my head for a while and debating whether or not to talk about them here. But I’ve always said that if my story can help just one person, then it’s worth putting myself out there…

I’m in the middle of reading 52 Fights, a book by my new friend, Jennifer at Unplanned Cooking. In the book, she is raw and honest about the reality of her first year of marriage. The stories she shares are hers, but the truths about combining two different lives into a family are universal.  It has its challenges. That’s for sure!

I’m not going to lie. For me, on the edge of getting married again, the fear of failure is on the peripheral. When I let myself go to a bad place, I can hear the voice of my ex-husband in my head telling me hurtful things about myself — “You’re selfish. It’s all about Stephanie.” “You are crazy. loco.” “You are such a [insert expletive here.]”  and then the stinger – one of those things said in the middle of the divorce, purposely to hurt me – “You know you’ll get divorced again.”

And anyone who has ever been divorced will get this — you  let yourself go back  there in your head sometimes. You let the negative self-talk take hold.  It’s not right. It’s not fair. It sucks. But you do. You must work toward not letting the past control your present and future. And you know this.

I’m not perfect, but anyone who knows me, knows – I’ve worked really, really hard to move past the pain of the divorce, the sense of failure it brought to me and all the lies. Lies. Lies. Lies.

I’ve embraced truth. (Ok, so I lied to get a piece of cake, but you know what I mean.) And I found a guy who is about as truthful as it gets. Sometimes his “tell-it-like-it-is” style makes me giggle. Like when he once told Roomie that a new haircut looked fantastic and much better than the old way she wore her hair. [hand smack on forehead…]

I’m going to be really honest here. I didn’t mean to fall in love again so soon. Every book warned against it. Every expert said, watch out! Old habits will quickly return, patterns will resurface. And sometimes, in my relationship with the fiance, I can smell those old patterns of co-dependency, putting my needs before his, non-communication…and so on.

But I fight it. And I work on myself [almost*] every day. *We all know there are days where you lay around and don’t work on anything but sitting on your butt.

What this comes down to is loving myself, staying true to myself and being ok with some failure. What this comes down to in my relationship is communication, support for the other person,  trust, allowing the other person to fully thrive as themself and loving them for who they are,  being ok with some failure and a sense of humor. 

The other night we had an argument. He gets angry when I go into defeatist mode. It’s his biggest struggle with me. (Some day, I’ll share with you about issues I have with him, but this is about me today.) I get really negative sometimes, like there’s no water in the glass negative.

And in that fight, the fear crept in.  The voices swirled in my head. I tried to stay in the moment. What this discussion was about. Focus on communication and resolution.

He told me how he would like us to resolve the issue at hand. (He is such a good communicator, I must say.)

I wondered if he could live with me if we didn’t resolve it.

Like could he still love me, even if I wasn’t perfect. Even if I was selfish and negative and whiney?

I needed to know that he could still love me. Codependency crept in.

I love myself. I need to do this for myself.

We finished our discussion on a good note, but in the back of my head, there were underlying issues, related to the argument that I needed to figure out.

The next day, I made some mental adjustments, took action toward a positive change and resolved some of the conflict that I was bringing into my own life.

This wasn’t about him. This was about me. About my journey. And when I work on myself, our relationship only benefits from that work.

Later that night, I told him about my adjustments and the steps I took to better myself. Because I love myself. And I’m lucky enough to have found someone who loves me too — and yes, just as I am with no changes. (I knew that, but that stupid divorce doubt tried to rear its ugly head.)

And so, while I’m at odds with some nasty national statistics about divorce rates for second marriages, I know the following things are truth:

  • I will get married again on February 27 to the love of my life.
  • I’m so glad I met him, even if it was “too soon.”
  • Marriage can be tough, and you have to work at it. But it’s worth it.
  • Not only am I loved, but I have a support network that is outa this world.
  • I can only change myself and not him. And I am responsible for loving myself. This love will help me better love the fiance and make our love stronger.
  • I trust him with all my heart and do not doubt him. Our mutual trust makes us stronger.
  • I am a work in progress and not perfect. Our marriage won’t be perfect, but when it’s not, we will communicate and laugh. Because that’s all you can do sometimes.
  • The glass does have some water (or wine) in it. And when it comes to my relationship with the fiance, it’s over flowing.
  • I’m kicking my divorce demons in the balls and saying to hell with the lies. 
  • He doesn’t complete me (because I don’t believe anyone can), but I am sure lucky to have him sharing my life with me.

 Those of you who are married, what are some of your secrets to success? Those of you who are divorced, how have you moved past your demons and would you get married again? Single friends, what is your take on marriage and would you do it?

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