Monday, October 13, 2008

All you need is love… and sleep.

I am very proud to boast to all of you that it is my wedding anniversary today. My wife and I have been married eleven glorious, blissful, harmonious years (for the most part). That’s right. You heard me. I’m not even just saying that to score points. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty certain she’s asleep by now. I’m sure you’re thinking that she’s probably exhausted from a full weekend; jam packed with romance and adventure. Well, not so much… We did get to go out for dinner last night. We actually got to use a gift certificate to a local restaurant that we received on our anniversary last year. Or was it from the year before?

There was a time when our anniversary meant long weekends out in the country or fancy dinners by candlelight. My wife could pretty much count on a few dozen roses arriving on her doorstep, usually followed by a lavish piece of jewelry to boot. I’m pretty sure my wife sold most of that jewelry last week for a nice amount of coin. Gold is at an all time high you know… You know what? It’s fine by me. Even though this year was an uneventful anniversary, it was very special all the same. I’m not sure there are any real secrets to a successful marriage. I certainly am not the one to write the book on it. But I do feel like each year I get closer and closer to understanding why a good marriage is so difficult to maintain. I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. For that matter I think that very statement is what helps me pull my weight day in and day out.

Marriage is something two people need to work at. Some days it’s easier than others. When my wife and I were newlyweds, (which I now believe is any time before there were kids in the picture) it was all pretty simple. We both had jobs that were slowly turning into careers. We both had hobbies that kept us busy and slightly independent. We went out to breakfast, lunch and dinner, most of the time on a whim. We’d see movies, sometimes two or three a week. We’d go away on spontaneous weekend getaways. We’d stay up until all hours of the night, only to sleep the day away without even bothering to change out of our PJ’s. These were the good old days. I’m sure some of you reading this are smiling and thinking about how easy it used to be. Marriage was a cakewalk back then. We hardly ever fought. Pretty much didn’t even argue. We could hardly keep our hands off each other. Why is that? Um, let me see… NO KIDS!!!

I’m not saying that kids ruin everything but they kind of mess things up a bit. Instead of going to the movies with my sweetheart, I watch the Doodlebops until I want to puke. Instead of spontaneous weekend getaways, I change dirty diapers in an alley behind the pizza parlor (seriously, this happened to me today and I’ll write about that some other time.). Instead of staying up until all hours of the night, I usually fall asleep at around 10pm with a fair amount of drool on my pillow. Not even sure if it’s my drool half the time. It’s funny, today we had some friends over for a BBQ and I walked in the house and my wife and my buddy were laughing over something that was just said. Before I could ask what was so funny, she asked me… “What’s the one thing in our marriage that we argue about most?” That’s a great question to have to answer on your anniversary. The funny thing is, I knew exactly what she was referring to. I turned to her and answered without hesitation. “Who gets to sleep late on the weekend?” My buddy was pretty impressed that we were so in sync with our answer and my wife rewarded me with a hearty high five. That’s what we fight about now. Eleven years of marriage and that’s what pulls us apart? It’s sad but true. My wife and I have had this conversation many times. It’s actually a pretty sore subject. We’re both equally as passionate about the topic. When we fight about it, we go at it pretty good. In the end we just wind up talking about how stupid it is to fight about such a petty thing. But it’s the one thing that makes both of us happy. Sleep. Precious, undisturbed, unadulterated, sleep. It has become our respective hobby. It’s the one connection we have to the old days. I sometimes pretend that there are no kids outside my bedroom door. If only for a few hours. Having kid is hard work. It’s hard. Did I just have a George W. Bush moment right there? I think I did. That’s what happens when you deliver some straight talk my friends. Wait, I think I’m going insane.

I guess the point I’m trying to make with all of this is that there doesn’t have to be a romantic dinner or a weekend getaway for me to realize how very lucky I am to have found my wife of eleven years. I’m reminded of it every day. She’s the one who keeps me honest. The one who still makes me laugh at myself when I get too serious. She completes me and she had me at hello. She’s my Renee Zellweger. Anyone can claim to have a great marriage but throw some kids into the mix and the going get tough. There’s no “I” in team. It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta site. All the cliches are right. That’s why today when I was wiping my 2 year olds ass in the alley behind the pizza parlor, I had to stop for a second and wish myself a very happy anniversary. I did this because I knew that somewhere at that very moment, my lovely wife was probably wiping our other kid’s ass thinking the same thing. That my comrades is true love. On this day, our eleventh anniversary, we were both Out-Numbered…