Gimme Your Heart...Stains and All

I’ve been just apeshit-swoony-cow-eyed-googly-giggly-girl in love with my wife lately. You laugh, but fuck man, it’s been almost 11 years we’ve been cruising through life as a Unit. Having these bouts of goofy love is a major shout-it-from-the-rooftops bigass deal. 

Fuck the rom-coms, marriage is NOT picking up his sweaty boxers up off of the floor for the 453rd night in a row, throwing your hip out, putting your hand on it in a mock-angry stance, giving him a cute-pouty look, and rolling your eyes as you say Boys will be boys! Oh well, I love that big lug anyway! It’s NOT shaking your head as you sip Chardonnay with your gal pals, flip your hair, and say Oh well, you guys know how forgetful he can be!

It’s tripping over those boxers for the 453rd day in a row as you stumble out of bed each morning, pick them up, look at the washed-in skid marks that no amount of bleach can save, and think I fucking hate you. I really, really hate you. It’s having to leave your job because your spouse forgot to pick up your kid from school and thinking I might as well just be a single parent anyway. I do EVERYTHING around here! It’s basically allowing yourself to heap all of your rage, shortcomings, and impotence about problems beyond your control onto the person you’ve vowed to love above all others...the person for which you have forsaken all those hookups from your twenties and thirties...your boo...ya BAE. 

It’s keeping the (unwanted, yet somehow present) tally in your head of how many times you unloaded the dishwasher/took out the trash/did the laundry/walked the dog/fed the cat/changed that diaper vs. how many times your partner has done those things. Uh...none...no times...not once...nada...zilch...Obvs. 

On some nights, it’s sitting at the dining room table over dinner, listening as he’s droning on about work, nodding enthusiastically, and literally thinking shutupshutupshutupshutthefuckupshutup the entire time he’s speaking. It’s God I hate your father and I should have just married a fucking accountant. 

In some sense, marriage brings out the worst in us, eh? It’s one thing to quietly be aware of all of the ways you fail as a human being, all of the ways in which you can be terrible to yourself and others, all the ways you can manipulate people and situations, all the mind-fucks you can unleash on people you think have wronged you, all the grotesque mental gymnastics you engage in every day to justify why or why you are or aren’t behaving a certain way. You can be as fucked-up as you’d like to be as long as you’re not dragging another person down into your muck (see: every entry about my last girlfriend). 

It’s another thing to spend 25 years with a person and not to be able to conceal your worst traits, thoughts, and motivations from them, no matter how good of a job you think you’re doing. And worse, often it’s punishing that person for having seen you pick your hideous scabs because I just couldn’t help myself and now here they are so now you have to deal with them too...SURPRISE! So you sit in the corner, snarling at your lifemate while you bleed and tend to your wounds while they stare at you wide-eyed, doing the mental calculations to figure out how much they actually want to deal with this. If you’re lucky, they stick around to help you in spite of yourself. 

So pardon me if I spend some serious time rolling around in the fresh clover of my resurgent love. Goddamn right I will. Pardon me if I enjoy frolicking with the memory of the first autumn we were together, and I can vividly remember walking up the hill to the gourmet grocery store across from her apartment in the cold November rain. She’d planned a quiet dinner at home for the two of us---one of our first in since our whirlwind courtship began a few months prior---and as I crested the hill and looked through the glass windows into the store, I saw her at the seafood counter, buying a whole Dungeness crab because I’d told her it was my favorite. She was bundled up against the rain, her brightly-colored scarf wrapped around her neck and face, up to the bottoms of her fogged-over glasses. We saw each other through the window at the same time and both broke into giant grins and waved at each other. Her smile is infectious, and I remember well that day how my heart swelled at the sight of that smile, how grateful I was for her, how crazy in love I’d fallen, how much promise I felt, and how warm I felt standing in the drizzle just looking at her. 

It’s hard, once your life becomes so intertwined with someone and every damn day becomes about logistics. You forget about the lifetime of those rainy sidewalk moments you’ve built together when you’re bickering about rounding up enough money for taxes or screaming at her that her dream is crushing your soul. Why don’t we force ourselves to sit quietly and remember those moments more often? It would do our psyches and our relationships so much good if, rather than lying in bed staring at our phones, mindlessly scrolling through our feeds, and occasionally saying “did you see this?” to one another when a funny anti-Trump meme or adorable cat video pops up, if instead, we spent 20 minutes each night talking about a good shared memory, turning it over and over, recalling everything leading up to that moment. 

Yet laziness wins. Sometimes it’s just that we’ve had a long day full of too many people and we want to shut down. Sometimes it’s because we’ve had a fight over dinner. Sometimes it’s that we hate the sound of our spouse’s voice that particular day. But whatever the reason, you can’t tell me hunkering in and playing “remember that time that we...” wouldn’t be a better option to whatever else it is you’re doing on your phone. 

We have Roku and can stream from our laptops to the TV. Tonight I’m gonna stream all my photos from the last 10 years on the big screen while we lie on the couch and laugh about all of the amazing times we’ve had together as a couple. Any time you can do something this simple that makes you feel all the feels again, it’d be stupid not to. I love my wife. We may often be messy, preoccupied, and disorganized as we stumble through life, but we kick ass as a couple, and it’s good to be reminded of that---that we are better together than apart. 

She has seen my Ugly. And she stayed anyway. Everything else can fall away for the time being.