Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What Makes a Marriage Work? and other thoughts of the evening

Every month in Real Simple they have a question and readers can send in their answers all month long, then in the next issue they will print some of the best answers along with a "winning" answer. That person recieves... something. I dunno. A free magazine or something. I think it's Real Simple, but it might be Country Living. But it doesn't matter. Anyway, the questions are a range of things from "What's the best way to clean a counter?" to "What makes a marriage work?," which was the question a few months ago. I wanted so badly to write in an answer (as if I would know, having been married for a whole eight or ten months at that time) but I couldn't think of any one good answer. But I think I've finally thought of it, and my answer is: It's not worth it.

Not that marriage isn't worth it--it is. But all the stupid, petty little things that seem to happen BEFORE a marriage/relationship (I hate that word) goes sour are not. The dumb picking at each other for nothing. The making mountains out of mole hills. If I were a marriage counselor my biggest piece of advice would be, realize when you've been irrational, apologize, and let it go. For instance, Martin and I used to both have the habit of putting our dirty clothes ON TOP of the laundry hamper instead of INSIDE the laundry hamper. I, for the most part, have conquered this bad habit and started hanging up my clothes again, or putting them inside the hamper. Martin is having a little more trouble mastering this skill. But except for the fact that he'll probably read this post, I probably wouldn't tell him that it drives me nuts that he's still leaving his clothes all over the bathroom while I am not. It might be a little bit annoying, but it certainly doesn't kill me to hang up a pair of his pants every day, and throw a shirt into the laundry basket. And it's DEFINITELY not worth starting a fight over. Neither are the countless other little annoyances and idiosyncracies we both have. An example from the other side: Tonight Martin was being silly and goofing around and I just wasn't in the mood for it. So when he bopped me playfully on the head, I turned around and snapped at him. Why? I knew I was being irrational when I did it. He would've had every reason to get grumpy with me for that--after all, he really hadn't done anything wrong--but he didn't. He just played along and humored me until I came around and shook off the grumpies and decided to be his friend again. It was a dumb little incident that could've easily been blown out of proportion, but instead one of us took the initiative to keep it from mattering, and so it never did! It wasn't worth it!

It's my belief that if women treated their marriage the way they treat their best girl friendship, marriages would last a lot longer. I can't say what would work for a man, because I don't so much understand guy friendships. Maybe it's the same, I don't know. But I know that for some reason girls seem to be a lot more forgiving of their girlfriends' shortcomings than of their manfriends'. I guess it's along the same lines as the idea that people are more polite to strangers than they are to the people they love. Except it's a little different.

Anyway, enough about that. I'm reading this book called "Tilt" that I picked up from the New Fiction display at the library. It's not a chick lit book, it's just a regular novel, and it started out okay but now I'm a little more than halfway through and I'm starting to get annoyed by it. For one thing, EVERYONE has cancer or some kind of controversial characteristic. (And I'm not kidding. So far there have been eight characters, one is the storyteller, two have died of cancer, one has autism, one is gay, and one is manic-depressive. Then there is a narcussistic mother and an infant who doesn't do anything.) But that's not even the most annoying thing. The most annoying thing is the dialogue... everyone says the name of whomever they're speaking to in their sentence. "Talk, talk, talk, BRIDGET," he said, "blah blah blah blah blah." It's seriously almost every time anyone says anything and after however many hundred pages, it's getting REALLY annoying.

Martin was offered a free ticket to a Valentine's Day dinner in Indy on Saturday put on by the Indianapolis Association of Wabash Men. It's a semi-formal event, tickets are normally $45 per couple, and I would love to go, but we can't leave Anja for that long. For one thing, even if we DID want to leave her, I would have to pump, and I'm still too afraid of those things to do that. But it's all the way in Indianapolis, so that's at least two hours right there, down and back, and we'd be there some hours too, and that's just too long considering we've never left her. Well, except for that time I left her with my sisters-in-law when I went to the dry cleaners, but that was only about 20 minutes, it hardly counts as leaving her FOR something. Anyway, we said maybe next year.

Anja didn't take a nap today!! Aaaahh!!! But she was happy and snuggly and smiley all day long. We had a good day. We even walked down to the bank! And I guess she did take three tiny cat naps throughout the day, during which I vacuumed the front of the house and wrote my earlier blog post.

We went to Barnes & Noble tonight to keep Anja awake for a little while and to get me out of the house because I was feeling cabin-feverish, and we spent a good chunk of our time there in the kids books section. We looked around at our favorite books from when we were kids and read a Frog & Toad story. Then Martin pulled out a copy of "The Little Engine that Could" and showed me that they've changed the engine from being a male to being a female. This was after I had read an illustrated version of "Puff the Magic Dragon" in which they changed the last verse to be very PC, saying, "A dragon lives forever, but not so little girls and boys." Um, hello? That's two extra syllables, it doesn't even work for the song. It throws the whole rhythm off, and it's totally unnecessary. Jackie Paper is a boy, let's just deal with that fact, okay? And the Little Engine? He was a boy too. If it was the Little Tugboat, I could see that being changed to a female since ships are feminine, and actually, I guess trains might be too... but who cares?!? You know, believe it or not, people, while women and men might be equal, there are still men in the world and sometimes things are boys without being girls. Take Martin, for example. He's just a boy. I don't call Martin my HusbandWife because I think that it's sexist to just have a manly husband without the choice of him being female.

Okay, I know I'm rambling on and on, but I'm getting really fired up about this. I mean, really! Where is it going to end? When are we going to just stop trying so hard and agree that everyone is equal and nobody is better than anybody else??? Grrrr....

Alright, enough ranting for tonight. Anja woke up, surprisingly and now she is on my lap and wide awake, so I think I'll try to get her back to sleep and then head on up myself.


Anne said...

Here, here, Annie! On both accounts -marriage tips and gender issues! :o)

That's actually the main advice I was trying to give Laura a couple of weeks ago: generally just let it go.

Makes life much easier.

LauraSuz said...

I do like that piece of advice!

I don't remember you saying anything about this though, Anne.

Anne said...

So obviously I did a really bad job.