You’ve heard the jokes about it. Here’s one from Rita Rudner: “I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
Author Ogden Nash once said, “Marriage is the bond between a person who never remembers anniversaries and another who never forgets them.”
Let’s face it, marriage is hard work. When Hubby and I were getting married and it was mandatory for us to attend pre-wedding counseling with our minister, he commented, “Marriage is in the trenches.” He was right. It takes hard work to overlook the failures you find in each other over the years: the physical tics/behaviors the other possesses that disturb you, the physical noises that the other donates that exasperate you, and so on. Being annoyed with your spouse didn’t happen over night.
“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?” said Groucho Marx.
Sometimes you might feel like you are in one. You know everything about your partner and then some after decades of marriage.
My girlfriend, Tie-one-ona, was married for 25 years when she was realized she and her husband had crossed over from bliss to reality. It hadn’t happened overnight, but there they were. And like many couples after decades of marriage, complacency and bad habits set in. Her plight is not unusual. Now empty nesters, they were enjoying each other with no demands of a child being at home. It was their turn to enjoy their life without another human being’s contention. It was all about each other. Did you read that? All about each other…every single day…and every hour…and every second. Just them. Day in. Day out. Just the two of them…at home…alone.
Able to reconnect with their shared interests, one of those was watching their favorite television shows together. This intimacy was a special time. They’d have an early dinner at around 5:00 p.m., clean up the kitchen, Tie would get a scoop of her favorite ice cream, her husband his favorite beer, and then find a show that interested them both. They started binge-watching Breaking Bad. Getting comfortable and watching this drama together sometimes kept them up until one or two in the morning. Having pre-recorded the series, they might look at each other after one or two episodes’ cliffhangers and say, “Got another in ‘ya?” and go for it.
Sometimes, while she was out of town for work, her mate would sneak in ahead of her and watch an episode they planned to watch together when she returned. He never mentioned he had but sometimes she could tell because he fell asleep.
Because of the beer, because he was tired, because he had previously watched that episode, and because it was getting really late, he sometimes dozed off. And when he did, he snored. She didn’t mind his previous viewing but she did mind the snoring. He didn’t snore in bed. Why now? Although he was on the couch and she was in her recliner, the sounds he was making while sleeping interrupted her being able to hear the dialogue. She told me she could live for days in that recliner as she had everything she needed at her fingertips on the table next to her – bottled water, crackers, Q-tips, Kleenex, magazines, TV remote, etc. She shared that she tried everything to wake him without having to get out of her comfy seat…she clapped her hands, she whistled, she called his name, she snapped her fingers, and she threw every little thing she had at her disposal at him from that table to get his attention, but he didn’t budge and continued snoring. Nothing, nothing, she tried worked.
Seeing his cell phone in his lap, she called his number, and when it rang, the snoring ended. Stupified, he first looked at whose name was on the screen of the incoming call. Not having his glasses on, he was befuddled as to whose name was on the caller identification, but he answered anyway with a groggy, “Whello?”
“Stop,” came the reply on the other end.
Not fully awake and perplexed he replied, “Huh? Whatszat?”