I have an interesting wedding ring. It was made for my Great Grandmother at the request of my Great Grandfather for their 25th Anniversary…I think. I’m not sure.
That being said, it’s become another symbol as of late. I’ve realized that the face of the ring looks not only like an eye, but also a storm—-a hurricane, perhaps. Most people have white diamonds as the center stone, but we chose green, a color of growth and change as well as new life. And so when the bank account dwindles and tempers flare, I’ve found myself studying it, and I’m constantly reminded that in the midst of the storm, there is growth. No matter how difficult life is right now, we will not stop growing and changing, and neither will our relationship.
It’s true, wedding rings are pretty symbols of love, but I’m so glad that mine can speak so much more.
So, it’s been 4 months since October 2nd, 2010. If my memory is correct, we should be right at The Nest issue discussing buying our first house. Which is good, because that’s where we are, and we need all the advice we can get!
Here are the latest contenders:
"The Grandma" - (Haven’t toured) Perfect location, ridiculously cheap price, permanently yellow, nice uh, handicap ramp….no inside photos online. Yeah, that’s not suspicious at all. Houses in that neighborhood are generally $100,000+ more than what this house currently is. It’s a block away from a Frank Lloyd Wright house for freak’s sake. What is your malfunction, Grandma House!?
"The Hud" - (Toured) Great location, very cute, lots of character and potential…and a complete money pit. It’s livable, but needs at least $35,000 worth of renovation to be super awesome. It was built in 1920 [by insane people with little feet] and there are still unfinished rooms on the second floor. I also call it the Mini Mansion because it looks teensie but actually has 4 bedrooms and 2 baths, a basement, a hunormous walk through closet in the master bedroom and the most random not-quite-bedrooms/sun-porches I’ve ever seen. It’s currently going for $4,000 more than it’s worth, but since it’s a HUD, we can bid lower. However, the general consensus is that it’s a baaad idea since we have 0 money/construction skills.
"The Almost Ghetto" - (Haven’t toured) It’s a little too close to the ghetto for some people’s taste, but it’s so cute and a decent price. I really don’t want to leave my neighborhood, and this isn’t too far away from where we are now. The downside (besides the ghetto part): 1 bathroom. But that color and the hardwood floors make me so happy!
"Stonewashed Jeans!" - (Haven’t toured) It’s a decent price (Cheaper than the HUD, actually), a block away from us and a very nice size. Inside, it’s been 90’s-ized, which is most unfortunate. I call it the Stonewashed Jeans house because the bathroom, while actually fairly nice, is bedecked in tile that looks very much like stonewashed jeans that I find atrocious. I don’t mind the idea of updating old houses that need love, but I really don’t care for trying to fix up houses that are functional but have been made ugly by stupid people with bad taste.
There are plenty more to look at, but these are the ones we want to check out this weekend. It’s actually been a pretty fun bonding experience for us, looking at houses. The process sparks our creativity and creates a nice mini adventure for winter weekends stuck in town (which is pretty much all of them.) After we viewed the HUD house Tuesday, we even sat down and sketched out its floor plan and played Sherlock Homes (wakka wakka), trying to figure out what the crap happened to that poor house the past 91 years. It was engaging, fun, creative and useful—-all the makings of a perfect (if temporary) hobby for us both.
Because yeah, we don’t have much in common as far as hobbies go, but we do have a love for old houses and history. We like sturdy Craftsman bungalows with nice porches, Japanese influenced art deco and anything inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. This shared love makes house hunting one of the most pleasurable “outside the house” activities we do together, and I wouldn’t mind if we didn’t fine “The One” just yet. (Maybe! I can’t wait to start feathering! Haha.)
I believe in arranged marriages. And I don’t believe in marrying for love.
My Father picked a boy for me to marry before the day I was born. I had no say in the matter. I was to grow into a woman, and this boy into a man before He would tell us that we were created for each other. To this day…
He said he was delayed by traffic. What he meant was “delayed by truffles” (and roses!) <3
It all happened so fast.
"I have no idea what I’ll do tonight," I said. I could already feel the boredom sinking in even though I was barely 5 minutes through the door.
"You could go to game night, you know," He said.
"Yeah?" I replied warily.
"Yep. Nerds find girls ten times more sexy when they join in on game night."
"Um. Right. You know I’ll have no idea what’s going on…."
"That’s okay! You can just sit and watch!"
"But it’s boys’ night! Are you sure you want me there?"
"Of course I do!" And I looked at the excitement in his blue eyes, like a puppy just asked if he wanted to go for walk, and with great trepidation I replied:
"Fine. I’ll go."
And so I went. And from 7:30 to 10:30, I sat on the sofa while 7 grown men played something called CthulhuTech at the dining room table behind me. I remember there was a thing…and they had to try to kill the thing…and a warehouse…and riot shields…lots of guns…and dice…I don’t know. It was a like big, nerdy blur that sucked up 4 hours of my life.
And it was odd, too, how Dan changed in front of his friends. I always sort of expect to be ignored when he’s around other guys, but in this case, it was just the opposite. He’d get up and visit me on the couch, give me a little kiss and ask me how I was doing. I came to visit from time to time to see what was going on (there’s no physical game there, I found out) and he’d pull me over, give me a squeeze and hold me next to him for a while. Totally not expecting that. But I suppose when you consider that 5 out of 7 guys at that table didn’t have girlfriends, much less a wife, it’d make sense if this was Dan’s slightly geeky way of showing off a bit. While less than subtle bragging usually drives me up the wall, it didn’t feel so bad to be a trophy wife for a night. :)
But when I was back on the couch, nose glued to my phone, I did try to listen as the guys talked. I had decided that my only goal was to pick up enough that I could honestly ask Dan questions when he was done and deserve the nerdy trophy wife status. Much to my relief, I actually caught a few things towards the end that sounded kind of like my LoTR video game, so I had a small arsenal of questions at the ready when we got into the car. I knew I’d be regaled for hours about aliens, H.P. Lovecraft and various other things that I didn’t fully understand, but when we got home, he thanked me for asking questions and for sitting through it all, and it felt worth it.
Just like the books say, husbands really do appreciate it when you show interest in their extra-curricular activities (you don’t say!) So my advice is, no matter how boring, how dorky, how silly it may actually be to you, sometimes loving your husband just means going to his game night every once in a while, be it joining him on the couch for football, reading up on political events or even donning your dork shirt and spending the evening listening in on a post-apocalyptic world full giant bug wizards. He’ll feel more respected and you’ll probably gain +42 Wife Tenacity in the process, and that’s always ftw.
Every night we read one chapter in a book before we go to sleep. They’re usually of the Christian-Marriage-Relationship sort, but last night Dan wanted the Christian-Marriage-Relationship-Sex one. Whoo! He had enough of the Dobsons and their old married people blah blah blah and was ready for something a bit more…interesting. I groaned and he snickered as he grabbed my phone and hit the Kindle app, all ready for his naughty bit of education for the evening. His face quickly fell as he read the chapter: Knowing Who You Are.
Wow. We had come to the (what turned out to be one of the most important) chapter in the sex book where they talked about husbands stating who they are, what they want in life and how to share it with their wives so they can be a better lover. Whether he knew it or not, this was exactly what we both needed to hear last night. By the time he had finished reading, we had talked a lot, thought more and even sniffled a bit. The “mood” was quelched (momentarily), but let me just say that I really like this book.
What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Sex
Don’t let the boring, churchy cover/title fool you. It’s real, honest and written by guys who know what they’re talking about. Which isn’t to say the Dobsons are clueless by any means, but unlike them, this book is really in-touch with the modern Christian guy and guys in general, and certainly doesn’t tiptoe around sex in Christian marriage. It’s usually really hard for us to read sex books in general because there isn’t any grounding for the act itself—-it’s just animal instinct and pleasure, and reading it leaves us feeling a bit nauseous. Not to sound like an Amazon review (too late!), but finding this book has been a breath of fresh air because it’s meant that the giant sex guide (or The Big Book of Smut as I call it) that we got as a wedding gift gets to stay under the bed.
And these guys not only talk about sex and love, but what makes a good lover. How to build your relationship with your wife so you’re happier as a couple and therefore honestly happier in bed. I can’t even count the times I’ve stopped Dan mid-sentence to say, “That’s exactly what’s going on with us right now! Listen to these guys!” It’s just really awesome how many good conversations this book has stirred up, and I can tell Dan has formed a kind of respect for these authors, more so than any of the others we’ve read so far.
So even though I might not know what all I want my husband to know about sex right now, we have a reference so we’re both learning together. And if my husband ever complains about the lack of “action” in our literature, I’ll let him know he’s more than welcome to dig around under the bed and wrestle the smut book away from the spiders. (Hopefully they’re the only ones who’ll ever have to look at it again once we’re finished!)
Most relationships tend to feel like carnival rides, with the ups and downs and whirling about. But as I get to know him, it has been feeling more like one those scrambler-type contraptions where the arms swing out wildly, thrusting the revolving cars in one direction and tossing it wildly back again in the other. When you ride with a friend, you eventually get squashed up against the wall, and while it’s a bit awkward and feels like you might have broken a rib, it’s still lots of fun and you both want to do it again. But in this case, he’s usually riding by himself and I’m the one left standing at the gate, watching as his car swings by and we’re close enough to touch…and then he’s gone again.
It’s like he doesn’t know how to not distance himself times. He forms his everyday conversation with articles and facts because growing up, no one asked him what he thought or how he felt or what he wanted, so it doesn’t even occur to him to talk like that to others. He’ll talk about silly things he’s done and elements of games and shows and books he likes, but never about his life. Never about serious things or sad things or dreams he has for us as a couple…just generic banter about things that interest him. But he doesn’t realize how much he interests me. I want to know about his thoughts and his heart. If I wanted to know what Joe Schmo wrote about such and such, I’d look for it and read it myself. I understand that guys usually aren’t big sharers, but it helps me know he’s aware of things when he goes beyond what he’s read online today. It is a sign he’s thinking of himself and about and us and our future. When you pay attention to the world around you, talking about it should come naturally, and since I know he hasn’t been walking around with his eyes closed for 27 years, I want to hear proof, not secondhand stories!
Which is why dinner surprised me last night. With an odd, uncharacteristic creak, I saw his old shell of facts and articles slipping off his back. He asked me what I thought on a facebook post that was causing controversy, which started up a true conversation, where I talked and he responded, and he talked and I responded. We discussed religion and our childhood and our views of the world growing up, and after months of talking to an Internet search engine who loved me, I was finally talking to a real live person. He’s done it before, but it’s so rare that it always takes me by surprise and leaves me wanting more.
But it takes a long time for him to trust someone enough to talk like that. He’s like an Ent in more ways than I care to count; slow to talk, slow to decide, slow move, even slow to eat. You’d never think he has ADHD, really. But that’s my husband. He loves me, but he’s been hurt by people he’s loved in the past so I suppose it makes sense that he’s slow opening up. I’ll just have to have patience, ho hurrr, and show him love as much as I can when he gets close—-as he did last night—-so that one day the ride might be able to slow down and I can get on, and we can lovingly crush one another’s ribs as we’re flung through life together.
The great thing about getting married at a little-known park a few blocks from your house is that you can go there anytime you like and it will still be your wedding place. Churches are pretty, but 10,000 people might get married there in its lifetime and they will go there every Sunday and the industrial Berber carpet and padded chairs will forget you were ever there in all the traffic—-if such things can retain memories at all. But with a park, the chances of anyone else getting married in that exact same sandy, ant infested patch of Bermuda grass that you did are very slim. The trees and earth, even in their winter slumber, will remember you and will secretly belong to that moment forever.
Which is why last night, on the date marking our second month of marriage, we walked together to the park. We exchanged lace and suits for puffy down coats and hats, but I had stuffed my grandma’s wedding handkerchief in my pocket—-a little token that I had with me walking down the aisle in October. When we got to the place, we split up and he took his spot beneath the trees and I came down the hill in the dark, white lace handkerchief draped humorously over my green stocking cap. The park was silent and dark and geese squawked somewhere out of sight. Nothing hinted of a windy, warm October afternoon 2 months ago, but in the silence I could imagine the red and cream paper lanterns swaying in the trees, sweet, sad fiddle music and the rows of smiling people watching my dad and I make our way up the bumpy runner. Dan would be waiting for me then, dressed in a sandy suit, untidy Dennis the Menace hair gleaming like the halo of a 6 year old in a Christmas play. Tears streamed from his ice-blue eyes and his smile radiated with every ounce of happiness a person could contain. Our pastor’s son would preside with words of wisdom that we would repeat, hardly hearing them….
I was still only halfway down our darkened “aisle” before Present Dan, at the altar spot, reminded me that I needed to trip a little bit on the invisible runner if we were going to make this legit. (Hurrah for being eternally ungraceful!) So after an over-dramatic stumble, I walked up to my husband of 2 months and we happily skipped all the ceremony bits we could barely recall. Flipping the handkerchief up, he went straight to the part where he could kiss the bride, with only geese and raccoons to cluck if it went overlong.
We stood there in the frigid December air for what seemed like ages. The park shelter that once held a wedding party was once again dirty and inhabited by the brown paper bags of hobos’ empty whiskey bottles. The small patch of forest that had walled the place into seclusion had a gash cut into it by a newly finished road that let in ambulance sirens from the hospital across the river. The stupid neon sewer pipes from the McLean/Central intersection pierced the once tree-lined horizon like the tacky skyline of a Star Trek planet. The grass where we stood was dead, but then, it was dead when we got married too. We had changed in the past 2 months, but not as much as our surroundings it seemed. Still, it was our spot, and with or without an overpaid videographer, I’m sure I’ll remember how it looked that day forever.
We slowly walked back down the aisle, extremities half-frozen and ready for the warmth of apartment and bed. Halfway home, we passed Dan’s old apartment complex and a part of me still twinged with the old familiar fear that he might have to go back to that place and leave me for the night—-but we kept walking. Christmas lights turned unremarkable Craftsman bungalows into fairytale cottages and we longed for each one as we passed. At 11:00 we reached the front steps and the cat greeted us noisily as we locked the front door. We brushed our teeth and fell into bed with the devotional book my mom gave us. Between the dishes and tacos, French movies, weird British sodas and long walks, that night encompassed married life as we had hoped it would all the months prior to October 2nd, 2010.
Admittedly, two months is hardly a landmark, and today only marks our first year together. Still, something tells me it’s a good idea to stockpile memories in writing why they are still fresh, and gauging from the length of this post, I’d say they are ripe for the picking. Marriages are a bit like parks, after all, and we will go through winters and the color will leave the world for a bit. But when we’re standing together in the dark and cold, we can still walk to that patch of grass in a half-forgotten park where once upon a time, on a golden Autumn day, two stories ended and one story began, “And they lived….” And the earth will be there to help us remember.
So far, being married feels just like dating, only easier and without the awful part where he says good night at the end of the day and sleeps somewhere else.
I know I still have a long road before me, but as of right now, this is the happiest I’ve ever been and it is freaking amazing.