Thursday, May 1, 2014

Functionally hitched

For someone who talks a big game about not being a functional adult, I do have one impressive qualification of the mature: Husband and I have been married almost half a decade. Though it’s far more a reflection of his infinite patience than anything I do - he still puts up with me even though I’m a screwup - it’s still pretty good. Compared to, say, famous celebrities, we have been through:
  • 14 Bradley Cooper / Jennifer Esposito marriages
  • 16 Nicholas Cage / Lisa Marie Presley marriages
  • 31 Kim Kardashian / Kris Humphries marriages
  • 191 Dennis Rodman / Carmen Electra marriages
  • 718 Britney Spears / Jason Alexander marriages
(thanks, Time Magazine, for this helpful information!  Way to be a serious news source covering the Issues of the Day!)

You might think comparing your marriage length to celebrities isn’t fair; it’s like laughing at a dachshund for not being able to reach something on a high shelf. But lawyers generally aren’t all that much better at lasting marriages, so I still think some credit is due - I haven’t yet nitpicked Husband to distraction, so that counts for something!

Now lest you begin to think I’m going to have to retitle my blog to Smug Mature Person Brags About Her Marriage, let me state immediately that the very fact of our marriage was seen by many as Highly Irresponsible. Because we got married young, son - not stereotypes-of-the-Deep-South young, but young enough that the minister who hitched us felt the need to comment during the ceremony that he had worried about us because we were so young.

Everyone thought we were CRAZY. Which had its upsides: none of our friends had ever been to a wedding before, so there was no wedding-planning pressure and they were all just really excited to come celebrate. (And, bless its digital heart, Pinterest hadn’t been invented yet, for which I am so thankful.)

We weren’t old enough to be ridiculously set in our ways, and we didn’t each already have a bunch of nice furniture that conflicted. The main thing we had duplicates of was spices, and somehow we have yet to shake this? Like how much dried tarragon does one household need?

Everyone was, of course, correct that we were crazy. But one great thing about getting married young is you get to work on your timing. Because my conclusion about marriage is that it’s like a comedy routine. Actually, it’s not like a comedy routine. It is a comedy routine. And the longer you’re together, the more you get your timing right.

We have a couple of routines we do, really without thinking about it. For example, there are the ones where I’m the straight man and it’s Wacky Husband Doing Wacky Things. So I roll my eyes about [Topic] and set him up for the good punch lines. This one is usually about his unending car restoration or fondness for old trains and rusty buckets or whatever. But then we’ll switch at other times: he’s the patient exasperated one and I’m the wacky linedancer/overemotional suitcase packer/ indignant moviewatcher objecting to legal inaccuracies in the film.

I think a lot of couples do this: you know each other’s stories and so you can either get bored by them or you can take the fun option and inhabit them. You learn where the slow spots are and help your esposo steer through them; you make it funnier by providing a contrast, or a pseudo-conflict, or a commentator. And you get better at it with time - we leave ‘em in stitches, Husband and me. (Sometimes we even make them laugh! Wait, no, too soon for an actual stitches joke?)

Though I wonder sometimes if unmarried people think married people spend their times alone with each other rolling their eyes at each other and exchanging barbs. Like they live in this horrible, real-life version of the parents’ marriage from Home Improvement.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ll tell you this: when it’s just us, we are often just laughing at the squirrels in our yard. You guys, those squirrels are hilarious. The eye rolls are all for your benefit. Just like my inexplicable wedding-planning pins on Pinterest: just because I’m never having a wedding again doesn’t mean I won’t pin for your wedding. You’re welcome.

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