Marriage: What bring us together today

25Aug10

One of the things no one ever told me about marriage is that — no matter how much you may love each other — things are going to get on your nerves. If you live with someone long enough, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll find yourself resenting your heart of hearts over some petty, stupid, laughable-in-hindsight annoyance.

On Sunday afternoon, I could tell that Esteban was upset about something. The resentment was palpable, just hanging between us like a cloud. “What’s wrong, sweetie?” I asked. “Nothing,” he replied. But I knew differently and persisted (which no doubt only added to his annoyance).

Finally, the truth: “Every time we have a dog in the house,* I can’t find a clean comforter. You cover the couches and make dog beds with them, and I can’t find a clean one for the bed.”

“That’s it?!” I thought. How wonderful to be presented with a problem I can solve. Why, we have a washing machine right downstairs. Give me 20 seconds!

Well, the tables were turned this morning. I usually have scrambled eggs for breakfast with a little salsa and some low-fat cheese. As the eggs were sizzling in the pan, I went looking for the salsa. But all I saw was rows of maple-flavored yogurt, stretching into the horizon, as far as the eye could see.

OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. My point is, there was a lot of yogurt in the fridge. Big, quart-sized tubs. Here, see for yourself:

“What would possess that man to buy SIX tubs of yogurt?” I muttered internally. He’s taking up half the fridge!

As I grumbled to myself about Esteban’s mindless grocery-shopping habits, I realized that this was one of those small moments that can shape the course of a marriage. I could nurture my petty frustration and stoke it into a full-grown ball of resentment. Or I could recognize it for the ridiculous situation that it is and laugh it off.

I chose the latter. But just to help things along, I had a bowl of yogurt with my breakfast.

* Editor’s note: Esteban and I don’t have a dog, but there always seems to be one in our house. Our neighbors’ dogs show up routinely (sometimes on their own) to lick the kitchen floor. We’re also the dog-sitters of choice for Tucker, Karma, Lambeau, Lindsay, Dante, Katrina, Lucky, Polka Dot, Maggie — and the occasional stray. So I’ve got to concede that Esteban has a point when he complains about the dog hair. Maybe we should institute a policy of vacuuming them at the door.


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