Friday, September 23, 2011

Bertha’s Alphabet ™: The “ABC’s” of Marriage (A-M)

A is for Acclimation.  Also known as “getting used to the other person’s crap”.  Just saying ...

B is for Built-in Date.  You will never have to wonder who is going to go with you to the next boring office party.  You may have to wonder how your “plus one” is going to behave, dress, or get you fired, but you’ll never have to wonder who it is.

C is for Clandestine.  The only way you will ever get any time to yourself.  Or sneak a Christmas present into the house.  Or find out what really happened to leave him with that scar on his arm.  Hmmmm ….

D is for Dreams.  Throughout your entire marriage, you will dream together.  “When we retire, we should live over a café in Paris.”  “When we win the lottery, let’s buy a new roof for every church in town.”  “When the kids are able to take care of themselves, let’s take a weekend trip somewhere that doesn’t involve animated characters.”  Those dreams give you something to shoot for; a goal you want to reach together.  Hold on to that in the lean times and you’ll be more apt to attack your problems rather than each other. 

E is for Eyes.  The new method of communication you will adopt within the first few years.  One look can mean, “Let’s get out of here” or “Don’t go there” or “Come hither” or “If you make fun of me again, I’ll hurt you in ways not usually visible to the general public”. 

F is for the Flu.  Sooner or later, the two of you will catch the flu, a virus, or some raging tropical disease at the same exact time.  This will require understanding, teamwork, and two separate televisions.  He will get sick of “rom-coms” and you will get sick of cartoons, tool shows, and hair band reunions. 

G is for Glamour.  Setting up house can seem glamorous on the surface.  I mean, you’re picking out a new house or deciding on a china pattern or dreaming of the days when your grandchildren will want you to buy them candy.  Seldom do we consider real life in all that.  “Real life” as in the mouse in the kitchen, the vomit somebody has to clean up as soon as possible, the horrendous flatulence that sends your spouse heaving to the back deck for fresh air, the bounced check you’d rather forget about, the hideous hair-raising screaming match about crown molding … makes the glamour of Ward and June Cleaver seem like a badly written romance novel, doesn’t it?

H is for Honesty.  And it is so over-rated.  Yes, his hair looks like something Don Knotts sported back in the day.  Yes, that fish he made for dinner was dry and hard to swallow.  Yes, his funny joke is the same one he’s told you twelve times.  But is it worth being that honest?  Not really.

I is for Inside Jokes.  After you’ve been married a while, you’ll have little inside jokes that mean nothing to the rest of the world.  Who else could look across a room, say, “There’s a wall there” and have your spouse dissolve in laughter?  No one else gets it … and that’s precisely the point.

J is for Jealousy.  I told myself I was above such things and, really, jealousy is so childish.  I was wrong.  When The Yankee was a groomsman at a wedding and the bridesmaid he walked down the aisle was a size-4 blonde with more hair than my entire family put together, I felt the twinges of jealousy burning.  I just kept telling myself, “She probably can’t boil water.  She probably can’t pronounce ‘croque monsieur’.  She probably has that un-fresh feeling.”

K is for Kin and Kith (that means “friends and family”).  Those ever-so-helpful people who have plenty of advice to offer when you’re first starting out but run for the hills when the REAL crap falls on your heads years down the road.  (At the engagement party): “Never go to bed angry.”  “Let him have a boys night every one in a while.”  “Remember to send flowers, Dude.  Chicks dig that stuff.”  “Don’t let the little things get you down.”  (Six years later): “Oh, gee, your kids have pneumonia, the company is downsizing, your house lost $25,000 in value, the dog bit a cat lover, and the pregnancy test was positive?  Golly, I’d love to stay and chat but I’m late for my, umm, uh, golf game … yeah, that’s it.”  Don’t worry about these people.  The ones who matter will be there for the good times AND the bad.  Lean on each other and then take evil pleasure in erasing the nincompoops off your Christmas card list …

L is for Laughter.  The oxygen of a marriage.  If you forget to laugh, you will remember to fight. 

M is for “Money”.  That magical green stuff we all need, want, and desperately hate at the same time will somehow disappear faster than fried chitterlings at a bluegrass hoedown. 

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