On Marriage

I’m in a phase of updating and organizing and pitching out and cleaning. This afternoon I was going through some files on my computer in a folder titled “Journal.” The “Husband Moments” document caught me eye, so I opened it and read some conversations that Brian and I had exchanged years ago.

***

December 31, 2005

Brian and I were in the car together running several errands. We were quiet. My mind wandered as I contemplated love, life, marriage, divorce. Eventually we parked at the next stop on our list.

Walking into the department store, I asked with no pretenses attached, “Brian, have you ever thought about leaving me?”

His immediate reply, “Leaving you where?”

***

March 1, 2008

Driving home from the dessert-house in a progressive dinner organized by a church group, I reflected on an earlier conversation with another woman about wives submitting to husbands.

After a few moments of silence in the car, I asked, “Brian, do I submit enough?”

“Submit what?” was his reflex.

***

And they say that men and women approach relationships differently. Pshaw.

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

A wedding, a birthday, a cousin reunion, a bizarre trip to the allergist’s office, a day with Mom, the National Anthem at a ball game, a 10th wedding anniversary, a mountain biking accident, a couple photo editing projects, some really good days, some really hard days, some spiritual nuggets, laughable moments, a couple fleas…and, yes, my comprehensive exams.  I certainly cannot attribute lack of material as the reason why I haven’t written any posts for nearly the entire summer.  I told myself – in an attempt to channel all writing energy towards my comps – no posts until my paper was turned in, which was supposed to happen in June until I had a little meltdown in my advisor’s office and got an extension.  The second deadline was again a soft one – no specific date was set, but the new game plan was to be done mid-July.  Well, it is officially August and still no paper.  Still a lot to go, in fact.  So I will keep not posting until I get relief from this project, which hopefully can be completed within the next ten days, though I’ve completely surrendered any attempts to mark a specific date.

I’m writing a little blurb now, however, because I posted a new masthead this month, a slice of a painting, and I wanted to give props to the artist.  For our TENTH anniversary last Friday, Brian and I were simply going to celebrate with dinner and a movie.  Because we are exciting people.  All day long I anticipated the movie theater popcorn.  Because I like to think about exciting things.  But then, at the last minute, we spontaneously slipped away from our world and spent the night at a high class resort.  It was a rare opportunity to experience the type of luxury the rich and famous experience on a daily basis (and to spend more money than we normally would ever pay for a bed and a couple meals).  For the twenty-four hours we stayed at the resort I was sure that I would run in to either the Queen of England or Jessica Simpson.  Didn’t happen, though.

Our hotel was named the Chateau LaFayette.  It was designed to replicate the Ritz Paris, which is slightly ironic because nearly twelve years ago a bellman kicked me out of the Ritz in Paris, yet last weekend the bellmen anticipated and met my every hotel and traveling need before I could even ask.  So I guess the Chateau is just like the Ritz Paris only kinder.

I cannot speak about every floor of the hotel, but our gorgeous hallway was lined with artwork by Boyer.  Just outside of our exquisite room – decorated with a recessed ceiling, crystal chandelier, and marble in the bathroom – was the painting that I used for the masthead.  If I were Boyer and someone posted my artwork on their blog then I think I would want people to see the entire piece, so here it is:

01-chateau-painting

I wanted to find out more about this artist so I could cite him (or her) appropriately, but according to Google there are a lot of Boyers out there who like to paint.  This makes you wonder, are all of these Boyers related?  Wow, what a testament to genetics that would be!  Anyway, Boyer, if you are from this century, are currently alive, happen to be a faithful reader of Moore Tokens, and recognize your artwork that I posted, please give us an “About the Painter” blurb in the comment section!

Boyer?  Boyer?  Boyer?  Boyer?

The Entertainer

A couple weeks ago, my husband barreled down the stairs and across the living room, stumbled over the over-sized ottoman, and then collapsed onto our over-sized chair. Brian is both coordinated and athletic, but occasionally around the house he carries himself with this sort of lazy, bulky gait. Sometimes it manifests as sort of a limp, sometimes it’s more like a clumsy sedated state of being.

One time in particular, his stumbling sedated state culminated into one of my all-time favorite bloopers. It was late at night and Brian had fallen asleep on the big chair. I gingerly woke him and told him to go upstairs to bed. Usually when I wake him up his first response is to rhetorically mutter “Wuh, wuh?” This time was no different. After the “wuh, wuh?” he scooted across the chair and ottoman, stood up, took one step forward, and then collapsed to the ground. Nothing had impeded his step other than his own motoric malfunction. He had rolled into a fetal position by the time his entire body hit the carpet, like a caterpillar would do if you poked at it or a person getting beat up would do to protect their gut from a kick. Unphased, Brian stood back up and walked off heavily to bed. He has no recollection of this event, but sometimes, when the world around me is quiet, I visualize this incident and laugh out loud.

Actually, it just happened. Someone just passing by my office stopped and asked why I was laughing: “Are you watching a video online or something?” No, no I’m not, but this is the amusement that I get from replaying this memory. The closest I can come to demonstrating the randomness and sweet innocence of Brian’s fall is this video, only imagine it in human form.

So like I was saying, a couple weeks ago Brian barrels into the living room and says, “You know what you haven’t asked me yet?”

Me: “What?”

Brian: “What I want for my birthday.”

Brian, whether it’s your childlike eagerness for a birthday, or the way you use onomatopoeia, or the fact that you said “true dat” today, or your gait when you’re being silly…that goofiness (intentional or not) that typically is only fully unleashed within the comfort of our home, I love that part of you. The rest of you is not so bad either. Today I celebrate all of those parts that have me so in love with you. Happy Birthday!

Better and Worse

Last month my husband and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary. When I sat down an hour before our dinner date to write out a card for him, I had wished that I would have written the note a couple days earlier when I was in more of an appreciative, lovey dovey mood rather than the funk that I was in at that moment. This predicament inspired me to reflect on love, marriage, funks, and how the three interact.

I’m pretty sure when I stood in that white dress nine years ago, hand in hand with my husband-to-be and promising to take him for better or for worse, that I naively thought the ‘better’ and the ‘worse’ had to do with external factors. Like there was some conglomeration of worsts through which I had to be sure I could promise to love Brian before I committed to marriage – I will still love and cherish you if you lose your job, if our house burns down, if your leg is amputated by a chain saw during a freak Christmas tree cutting accident… I don’t know if I really considered the internal or personal aspects of ‘better or worse’.

Of course I figured marriage would bring moments of frustration and bickering over petty things like chores or directions or flatulence. I suspected that there would be conflict when we couldn’t agree or were just out of sync for whatever reason. Beyond these seemingly trivial issues, at the age of 22 I couldn’t have predicted all of the physical, emotional, and spiritual highs and lows that I would experience as an adult, wife, graduate student, female, human. When we made this vow though, we promised to love each other even when the other person is at their worst. When I am aggressively impatient, my spouse vowed to love me. When I am depressed and lethargic, my spouse vowed to love me. When my focus is off track, Brian vowed to love me. When I have shamefully messed up, which I have, he promised to love me, which he has.

Brian is so good at it. Other women may be able to say the same thing about their husbands, but for me, I have never seen such a wonderful earthly example of unconditional love. When I feel like I am at my ultimate worst, he makes good on his promise to love, honor, and cherish me.

This past weekend we attended a wedding at our church and the pastor said to the couple, “God brought you together to do what you could never do alone.” It is so true for so many reasons that I am a stronger, better person married to this amazing man. Both individually and as a couple we have been able to accomplish things that we couldn’t have accomplished alone. I know that this is founded in the freedom of the vow to be committed for better or worse – this vow that Brian and I have made to each other…and that God has made to us.