With limited experience and a five-year-old to mature the process I do have, what I believe to be, the best marriage advice.
Humor and throw in some sarcasm from time to time.
Today at work my fellow married colleagues and I discussed how marriage is all about compromising when it comes to the little things, not necessarily the big things. A few to name are listed below, in no (quite possibly a subconscious) particular order:
1. Sleeping with the fan on high, even though he wakes up every morning wrapped up like a cocoon in the comforter.
2. If I hear my husband walking up the stairs to our bedroom, I immediately change the TV channel to anything unrelated to the Real Housewives of Anywhere.
3. Due to ESPN being the number one channel on throughout the day, I know an impressive amount about sports…like all of them.
4. My husband only orders pizza for dinner when I am not home, because he knows I can’t eat it.
5. In the attempt to get him to go to the Farmer’s Market with me, I promise him a double dip at Braum’s.
And I am sure the list could go on, but you get the idea.
I sat with all we had discussed and began to really over think marriage, specifically my marriage. With almost three years in and five years together, was it the compromises that made all the difference or could it even be something more? And by more I mean not as obvious or normal. That’s when I noticed a theme…we use humor as a tool in our marriage.
I know what you are thinking, “Humor is not a form which to base your successful marriage on.” Well I am going to, so feel free to exit this window and get back to scrolling through your Facebook news feed if you think I am going to get extremely profound from here.
I remember the months leading up to our daughter’s birth and the months that followed our wedding. We had found ourselves in a couple’s slump. We were grumpy, unhappy, tired, moody and focused on everything with an extremely serious point-of-view. It was getting us no where and frustration began to take over. Needless to say there was little to no compromising.
My main complaints were being stuck at home and adjusting to life as a new mother. His complaints tended to lean towards never having enough money and the stress that put him through. I would then make suggestions on cutting back things such as Direct TV and he would immediately shoot me a “the Cowboys and the Cardinals are the only thing keeping me sane right now” look. He then would tell me I needed to spend less money on eating out and watching how much I spent on food in general.
I really like food and I love it even more when I don’t have to prepare the meal. It’s a curse.
So we set out to budget (which I believe every couple should do, but that is another blog for another time) and make grocery lists instead of shopping blindly. We felt smart and for the first time in a long time, there was a small boost of confidence in our marriage. Then it happened.
Jack had just went grocery shopping alone that day. When he returned home I helped unpack the bags as he brought them in from the car. Milk, bread, eggs…you know all the necessities. That’s when I saw it. A small, triangular white cheese with little specks of herbs throughout it all wrapped up in a fancy package. The cheese you only find on the top shelf. And on the package was the price tag $7.
I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks, my heart pounding and tunnel vision slowly beginning to take over. All I could think about was how this cheese couldn’t even make two full grilled cheese sandwiches! WHERE WERE THE KRAFT SINGLES!? As he turned the corner into the kitchen, my eye began to twitch and I tried to hold it together…but it was too late.
“Did you really buy $7 cheese?”
“Yea, looks good.”
“How can you justify spending $7 on a piece of cheese, when all you do is complain about having NO MONEY!?”
Pretty sure I blacked out from there because everything else about that fight is very blurry. I do know it was heated and we went to bed with no resolution. He believed I was only upset about the cheese and therefore overreacted (true), but the cheese had just been the final straw.
The cheese was my metaphor, it was everything that was wrong with our marriage. In true womanly fashion I asked myself, how could he not see what the cheese meant? He literally only saw cheese. We weren’t even on the same page and no matter how much we talked about it, we could not find common ground.
A few nights passed and we were settling into our bed for the night, when I turned to him and expressed my feelings of desperately wanting to move past the cheese fight. He politely agreed and rolled over. About five minutes went by when he rolled back over to my side.
“You know what?”
“That cheese wasn’t even good.”
I don’t know if we have ever laughed for so long and so hard before. It was truly the turning point for our marriage. Had it not been for his comment, I am not sure I would have ever honestly got over the $7 cheese.
After that we started to laugh more. And we learned to laugh at ourselves and the situations we would get into. Once the laughing made more of an appearance in our lives, we slowly rediscovered the once young, witty couple we had been.
We’ve been laughing ever since.