Category Archives: Holy Matrimony

Baby Daddy.

April 20, 2013

When I was 15 and in the throes of my very first romance I thought very intently about what kind of man I wanted to marry. It was something that needed to be pondered. Weighed out. Decided. And then I made a declaration.

I can remember it very clearly–I was standing in the dining room of our rented Italian home with our nanny Cammy. Every available surface was lined with vintage wine bottles (our renters’ decoration) which they had made us swear with all solemnity not to drink. (Hilarious. They didn’t realize how safe their precious collection was with their Mormon renters.) I had made a decision, and I made the following statement (Cammy, back me up on this):

I want to  marry a guy who is tall with green eyes and curly hair. It would be cool if he were good at computers. And, I like the name David.

Okay, if you know us maybe your jaw just dropped? If not, please know that that is exactly who I married. David Welch, green eyed, curly haired (childhood nickname Big Wave Dave), computer software engineer David.

Or in other words, I think I dreamed this man up and then somehow convinced him to marry me.

There are other weird things about us. Like on our first date (17–I know–17) when I told him I thought it would be great if we got married because I thought it would be really fun to live with him. He thought for a moment then agreed.

Or maybe the time he was present at my first kiss? Me and another 14 year old emerged from the bushes to find David standing there with a smirk. “What were you two doing?” he asked. I yelled something like “Shut up, Welch.” Or maybe the time we were high school gym partners?

Anyway, I digress.

The point is, there is no one who could possible be better at loving me. No one who thinks I’m quite as funny or encourages my writing quite as well. No one who would allow me to scowl at him for hours on end when morning sickness struck. No one who I’d find quite as brilliant and understanding or a better listener.

What’s even stranger is that when he was 13 he said he wanted to marry a blue-eyed supermodel named Adriana Lima. Oh. Wait. That wasn’t me.

The Luckiest Girl in the World

May 3, 2012

Hi.

The other day I logged in to my admin page and saw that regardless of the neglect I’ve slathered on this blog like butter on a warm blueberry muffin–there are about SIXTY of you who still check my blog. Every day. I love you. This post is for you.

For as long as I can remember I’ve considered myself the luckiest person I know. There are obvious reasons. I’ve had over-the-top life experiences that firmly place me in the lucky category. I am also obscenely lucky in love. When I go to see my favorite band in concert I get chosen to sit in the center of the state. Strangers are nice to me. My eyebrows don’t have to be plucked very often. You get the picture. I’m not saying I haven’t had problems–that would be ridiculous–but my life has been pretty darn rosy.

When I was in college I got cocky about my luck. One day I was sitting in an upper level rhetoric class at ASU and for the first time decided to bring someone in on my good fortune. I told the guy next to me that I was the luckiest person I knew and that if he wanted to do well in this class he should follow my lead. (He took this statement rather well.) For the next 12 weeks I proved my luck. If the teacher decided to cancel a test I had just had a weekend of fun that didn’t leave any space for studying. If I worked extra hard on an assignment she had decided to double its points. If I forgot an assignment at home she’d decided not to collect it.

It was actually kind of scary. And made a total and complete believer of guy next to me.

Then one day my luck ran out.

David and I had been married for about a year and things were going really wrong. We were living off a very small amount of money and had been confronted with a large and unexpected bill. Some family issues had gotten so severe that I was waking up in the middle of the night having panic attacks. Our little place was spider-infested. We still had not learned how to keep a house decently clean and many dishes hadn’t seen a cupboard in months. Some meds i was on were making me seriously sick. I had (but didn’t know then) chronic fatigue syndrome and I felt like I was walking around with a giant backpack of bricks. Things felt pretty bad and the harder we fought against the issues the worse they seemed to get. It just kept building and building.

We were sitting in our bed, trying our hardest to be brave adults, when I had a realization.

“I have something really sad to tell you,” I said. David looked at me expectantly. “I don’t think I’m the luckiest girl in the world anymore.” And then I crumpled over on our bed and started bawling.

(I know, attractive.)

I felt like some core of my identity was gone. Real life was…hard. Really hard. I missed the glitz and glamour of being the luckiest girl in the world. And I didn’t have any idea how any of our list of problems was going to get solved. I was just so tired.

We did the only thing we could think to do–we went to sleep.

Then something amazing happened. The next morning we got word that David had been granted a scholarship. Three days later a check came in the mail for some work David had done. The family issue simmered a while so we could catch our breaths. The spiders took a cue from Charlotte’s Web and  started weaving encouraging messages for us (okay, that last part is made up).

And then I learned how to be the luckiest woman in the world. Because it is pretty easy to feel lucky when everything is fantastic. When you’re riding your Vespa through Tuscany or strolling down Portobello Road in London. When your responsibility list is low and your enjoyment factor high. But it takes a little more effort to see your luck in regular, problem-ridden life. You have to look to see how lucky you are while you’re doing a stack of dishes or sitting in traffic or trying to make your marriage okay on an off-day.

But the luck is still there–every ounce–and it would be such a waste not to notice it.

 

Another Actual Conversation From an Actual Marriage

January 9, 2012

We’re sitting on our new couch. The very first piece of furniture we’ve ever purchased. Okay, we’re not sitting, we’re sprawling. His head is on one end, mine is on the other. Its a microfiber heaven. There’s really no reason for us to ever leave it.

And then I say “I’m thinking about writing a post on what my Christmas list would be if I could have absolutely anything. Guess what #1 would be?” (It was a tiny giraffe that runs on a treadmill, like on THIS commerial. People have actually tried to order them.)

But he says “A baby elephant?” And that stops me. Because not only did he guess some sort of infantile jungle creature (close, very close to my original number 1), but he was totally right. I would choose a baby elephant.

I have a fierce love for baby elephants. Ever sine baby Zuri was born at the Hogle Zoo. She was 251 lbs of pure joy. I went to see her 3 times after her unveiling. I once saw her resist a nap for so long that she fell asleep standing up and fell down. Another day she spent a full ten minutes trying to climb over a log and me and the whole crowd clapped when she finally made it. I almost peed my pants when a friend recently told me that Zuri taught herself to do headstands. Please watch this video of her if anything is wrong in your life. Or maybe this one. Your problems will instantly go away.

That’s when the following happened:

HUSBAND: If me and a baby elephant were tied to train tracks and you could only rescue one of us, which would it be?

WIFE: (Long, thoughtful pause. Then in a hopeful voice) Will it always stay a baby?

HUSBAND: Yes.

WIFE: Does it like watermelon?

HUSBAND: Loves it. And popcorn.

WIFE: Does it have theme music that plays wherever it goes?

HUSBAND: Yes.

WIFE: Will it ever get to be over 500 pounds?

HUSBAND: No.

WIFE: Can I ride it?

HUSBAND: Yes.

(WIFE pauses for dramatic effect. They both know what’s about to happen but WIFE wants to make it look like she’s at least a little conflicted.)

WIFE: (patting husband lovingly) I’m sorry. But I guess this is G’bye.

(Scene fades.)

Note to readers: If anyone knows a guy who knows a guy who might be able to get me a baby elephant, please email me promptly. I promise the elephant will have a very good home. A new split level house with a large garden, a room painted with tinkerbell fairydust, a nearby dog park for all her haloomphing, and a shihtzu to keep her company. Plus a devoted mother who will never tire of watching DUMBO with her and makes a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies.

And in case you were wondering, here’s what the rest of my fantasy Christmas list would be:

  1. Baby elephant.
  2. An old fashioned bath tub with feet. That I’d never have to leave.
  3. A chocolate fountain that runs 24/7.
  4. A sky blue T-bird convertible.
  5. For someone to include me in a flash mob.

Yep. That about does it.

 

An Actual Conversation from an Actual Marriage

May 27, 2011

The following true life events occurred over the weekend. As I feel the scene has great dramatic potential I am presenting it to you as a screen play. Movie agents are to contact me directly through my email.

SETTING:

Costco. A warehouse-type store that sells everything in post-apocalypse supply quantities. For example, 30 rolls of toilet paper. Or 20 onions. Or 80 oz of Cetaphil lotion.

CHARACTERS:

WIFE. HUSBAND. Married 3 years, generally get along famously.

DIALOGUE/ACTION:

HUSBAND and WIFE are standing in giant doorway of warehouse, showing warehouse employees their membership card.

HUSBAND: (speaking in whisper) Have you ever noticed that there are really good looking people working here? I swear there was a gang of Swedish models working the registers last time I was here.

WIFE: (looking annoyed) Really. That must have been so nice for you.

HUSBAND: (oblivious) Yeah.

Cut to registers. About an hour has passed and cart is full of items in ridiculous amounts, including 6 bottles of shaving cream and the world’s largest box of condoms. (not to be used together)

HUSBAND: (touching WIFE’S arm and pointing discreetly to woman working at register, who is in fact, gorgeous even in her warehouse red polo). See. I told you. Where do you think they find these girls?

WIFE: (Turning on HUSBAND) You want to know what I think? I think that is the second time you’ve brought up how hot the Costco workers are. I also think you probably should have married a COSTCO WORKER if you find them so interesting.

(WIFE storms away to food court to buy a large hot dog or perhaps a giant piece of pizza, leaving HUSBAND looking bewildered.

Scene fades.

 

Please tell me you’ve had this conversation.

How to Stay in Love with Your Spouse Even When He/She Does Annoying Things

March 31, 2011

On February 15, 2008, the first full day of wearing my brand new sparkling engagement ring, I realized something alarming. Everyone, and I mean everyone, wanted to give me advice. Some of it was great (Write in your journal! Have your bridesmaids help you with your thank-you cards!), but some of it was not—and I mean inappropriate, make you squirm, get me out of here, advice.

For example, during a meeting at work one of the organization’s ancient members offered me the following pearls of wisdom:

  1. Marry a return missionary. (Ignored.)
  2. Make sure your fiancée doesn’t look at porn, because if he does, he’ll never stop.( O.M.G.)

A mere 3 days later I was forced to sit through a 45 minute lecture with another work associate who walked me through all the reasons why I probably didn’t know my spouse well enough (I assured him we’d dated for several years), and the statistics of how many marriages end in divorce. If it wouldn’t have caused negative repercussions for the organization I worked for, I would have told him to go to hell.

After David and I got home from our honeymoon in Maui and real life started, I did an assessment of all the advice I’d been given and mentally threw out most of it. However, there was one bit that really stuck and I think really is worth something:

Give your spouse a free pass on 5 things you find annoying.

Sounds simple, right?

When you chose to be with your partner I’m sure you had a long list of reasons why. Mine included important things like his green eyes and the fact that he can befriend anyone. I know you had a list like this. And I’m hoping that at some point you also thought about your then boyfriend/girlfriend’s faults and decided that the pluses outweighed the minuses.  Then came the Annoying Things.

You know what I’m talking about—and this doesn’t just apply to spouses. Annoying Things are those little habits belonging to the people around us that for no apparent reason drive you completely up the wall.  They never rinse out their cereal bowls. They chew too loud. Maybe they’re ridiculously perky at 6 in the morning, or they clip their toenails on the couch. And suddenly these little things are a big deal and are taking away from your relationship with that person. You can be sitting there—surrounded by everything you ever wanted in life (someone you love, a happy home, and a giant bowl of stir fry) but all you can think about is the way they slurp their noodles. You know it’s ridiculous, but you just can’t help it! It bugs!

You’ve got two options here. You can say “Quit slurping your noodles/Clipping your toenails/Whistling through your nose when your sleep/ Singing lyrics wrong/etc.!” And end up feeling more bugged, only now your spouse is on the defensive and perhaps brings up something annoying that you do. OR, you could invoke what I like to call the 5 Annoying Things clause.

Here’s how to use this important bit of marital wisdom:

1. Make a list of things you love about your spouse. Remember the reasons you’re with them. Spouse appreciation is a big deal, so do this even if they’re not doing Annoying Things.

2. Remember your own flaws. No matter how perfect you think you are, know that you are doing at least 5+ things that your spouse finds annoying.

David and I haven’t shared our 5 Annoying Things lists with each other, but I can imagine that his looks something like this: changing clothes repeatedly when I’m nervous to go somewhere, being able to decimate a clean kitchen within 6 minutes, never answering my cell phone, having terrible taste in music, and my ability to tune out everything (including small kitchen fires) when America’s Next Top Model is on.

3. Make your Free Pass List. Make a mental list (it’s not important enough to commit to paper) of Annoying Things you are willing to quit obsessing over, and keep it secret.

4. Think of reasons why the Annoying Things may actually be endearing. For example, during our first year of marriage David and I had conversations like the following about 3 times a week:

JENNA: (Walking into the room) You’ll never believe what I saw on Animal Planet. There are monkey in Japan who have learned how to hot tub during the winter to keep warm. They look hysterical!

DAVID: (Working on his computer) Uh huh.Really.

30 seconds of silence.

DAVID: (Coming to) Wait, what did you say?

You can see where I’m coming from. Here I am sharing completely interesting and engaging bits of knowledge and he has the nerve to keep his mind focused on his work. Really. However, once I started using the Free Pass list I realized that this delayed reaction thing was actually quite endearing. David’s mind seems to constantly be churning out new ideas, programs, etc. and his intelligence is one of the things I love the most about him.

5. Work the free pass. The next time the annoying thing comes up (and let the list be flexible) remember the list and just let it go. Hallelujiah. Freedom.

 

Right now I’m sitting across the table from David at a Starbucks. Just told him what I’m writing about and he said “You’re worth 10 Annoying Things.” I knew I married well.