Friday, July 1, 2011

With French Onions on Top

Marriage brings its share of challenges, that’s for sure. Some you can anticipate. There will be conflicts over money and chores, or the clashing of different expectations concerning whose family traditions will continue. For example, my husband’s family always had a Siamese cat whereas my family always had a black cat. We also always only had ONE cat as opposed to the two or three that his family would own at one time. I swear I may have been open to the idea of having a Siamese cat if it had not been for the evil ones depicted by Disney. You know the ones, “We are Siamese if you please...we are Siamese if you don’t please”?! Eric and I luckily have melded most of our traditions together over the years and we began our own original traditions too. But yes, we own one black cat.

But there are also the challenges in marriage that you can never anticipate. Who knew, for example, that lugging a new treadmill up a flight of stairs in our house together would cause such discord between us? Or that the day we tried to hang shelves together on the wall of our newly painted study would be one of the worst days in our marriage? I wish I were kidding. We have learned over the years that as compatible as we are, there are some things we simply cannot do together. I get too competitive perhaps, or we both tend to be know-it-alls, I don’t know. We’ve come to accept those times when we realize one of us needs to walk away from a project or at the very least, call for a time out.

There are moments when we stretch ourselves however, and we find ourselves trying out one anothers' favored things. For example, I’ve learned to love sleeping with two pillows, following his lead. More times than not, I find myself enjoying the television shows he starts watching, despite my initial hesitation. I also treasure Eric’s idea back in 1992, the year our first child was born, to begin our tradition of buying a new Christmas village piece each year and setting it up together each December. And he’s come to accept and simply chuckle at my weird quirks such as my need to have only a digital clock that emits blue light because red lights seem evil and my need to sleep with the fan in the window on summer nights when he’d rather fall asleep to the music of the crickets or peepers. (I like those sounds too but for some reason, the hum of the fan gives me the best sleep).

I still need to get better at remembering to make his favorite tuna noodle casserole with french onions sprinkled on top (just like his Mom used to make) and he would do us good by not taking it personally when I sometimes grip the door handle of the passenger’s side of the car when he’s driving, but after twenty-two and a half years of marriage, it is a pretty good darn good sign that we can laugh together as we look at that treadmill (now down two flights of stairs in the basement...thanks Joel for moving that for us) and the shelves in the study (one we successfully and calmly hung back up after it came crashing down just the other day). With continued patience and loving acceptance, we just might make it another twenty-two and a half years!

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