Oh, marriage. It's a weird thing that never quite sits still for a definition. Sometimes I suddenly remember I'm in one. A marriage, I mean. I remember I'm a wife, I'm not alone, and that I have someone else to worry care about.
I think most marriages must have a code, or a way that we talk to each other in ways that don't destroy. Take sweetheart. When I call Kenny sweetheart, I'm not really remarking on the sweetness of his heart. It's rather a polite way of calling him an idiot. And he knows this. He doesn't really appreciate it when I call him sweetheart, but it's much better than being called an idiot so he doesn't really complain. And it goes both ways, too. Sometimes he says to me, "It's incredible!" And I know that what he's really saying is, "It's incredible how dumb you can be sometimes." But he didn't call me dumb, and so I don't complain. I think these ways of expressing ourselves without using abusive language are important. Because you can't be satisfied with your spouse's behavior 100% of the time, but you don't want to go throwing hurtful words about, either. I mean, sure, it would be PERFECT if we didn't use "sweetheart" or "it's incredible" at all. If our hearts were always open and gracious towards each other and we forgave each other immediately for shortcomings. But hello? Real world, calling. It's not possible. And so the marriage code words are the next best thing.
Above all, I believe we is the most magical of all the marriage words. For example, when Kenny says to me, "We need to clean the house. We can't live like this," I know he means YOU need to clean the house. I can't live like this. But he didn't come out and order me about. He threw himself into the guilty pile with me. And so, even though I knew he wasn't as guilty as me, I didn't have to be mad at him for accusing me of being an absolute slob this week, which would have been accurate and justified.
Or, when I say, "We need to remember to give the cats their medicine," what I really mean is "Hey, YOU don't forget to give the cats their medicine." It's also a kind of secret code. It's also kind of what marriage is about, in a word. No matter whose fault or responsibility it may be, we throw our lot in together. Ruth said to Boaz, "Where you go, I will go." I say to Kenny, "What you are forced to do as a grown up person who lives with another grown up person, I will do with you."
So, with my 8 months of marriage experience under my belt, I have discovered marriage is...
washing the dishes
scrubbing kitty poo off the floor
making out like you'll never see each other again
smiling at each other over coffee
marveling at how blessed you are
having sex before work and secretly smiling about it all day
taking out the garbage together
deciding not to buy a car
best cuddling position
using the word we... a lot
holding each other accountable
playing lullabies on the guitar in bed
waking up together
being grouchy and cute at the same time
laughing some more
reading out loud to each other
supporting each other's dreams
and washing the dishes.
We wash a lot of dishes. I am coming to believe that washing dishes is true love.