Things I’d Hate if I Were Married to Me

The View From My Window, Because You Don't Want to See the Other Side.

The View From My Window, Because You Don’t Want to See the Other Side.

Last week I had a hotel room all to myself. Before you get too jealous, the only thing I really did in that room was sleep and study, so it was not some fancy vacation where I went to recharge. What it was though was a chance to reconnect with myself, and while that was great in many ways, it was also a bit eye-opening. Typically, I enjoy my own company. Maybe it’s being a bit of an over-scheduler, maybe it’s just that being a mom of three means there is a lot of noise in my day to day life that tends to drown out any thoughts I may have.  Whatever the case,  I enjoy a little quiet time to actually pay attention to my own self.

This time was no exception, but in addition to listening to my own self, I also had to live with my own self and it turns out I can be a bit of a pain. Turns out, I’m kind of a slob. Oh, I do hate clutter and there are areas that must remain OCD level neat at all times (bathroom counters) but overall, I  might be categorized as a hot mess. One afternoon (before housekeeping came) I came in to grab something and realized the clothes from the night before were in a pile on the floor-exactly where I stepped out of them. And the bathroom floor was covered in towels that I threw in there to get them off the bedroom floor. Oh, and my desk? So full of technology gadgets/cords, water bottles and school papers you could barely see the surface of the desk. Poor cleaning crew!

I’m sure this wasn’t a hotel-room anomaly. My bedroom and whatever surface functions as my desk at any given time (kitchen table, dining room table, bed-damn laptops make my mess that much harder to contain!) are exactly like this at home. I’m also sure this probably drives my husband crazy. I know this because there was the “Great Stevia Packet Incident of Aught Eight” that helped me see the light. The Husband had the nerve to point out that perfect little me actually did something every day that was slowly driving him insane. I left my fake-sugar packets next to the coffee pot every morning and didn’t clean them up until the dinner dishes were being done. I come from a long line of kitchen slobs. My mother passed down the “clean once at the end of the day” philosophy and I’ve stuck with it. Up until that conversation with The Husband, I had never considered this way might not work for him. That perhaps he had not inherited the gene that allows you to ignore the mess until there is time in the day to take care of it had never occurred to me. It’s a fantastic gene, but if it is absent in a person, there may be trouble.

Last week, in addition to being alerted to my pig-sty tendencies, I also learned a lot about marriage. When you spend a week in intense mental health counseling experiences, the topic of love and marriage comes up quite a bit. I learned what we all know to be true; falling in love is a chemical reaction, staying in love takes a lot of hard work.What I’ve learned through experience is that often that work needs to come after holding a mirror to yourself. Sure, you can communicate well and be tolerant of your partner’s stuff, but what really works to make a relationship work is recognizing you have plenty of your own stuff and taking care of it will benefit both your partner and yourself.

So, honey, I’ll be sure to work harder at picking up after myself now. I’ll throw away the sugar packets (most days). I’ll try to tidy more than once a day and I’ll be sure my clothes hit the hamper as soon as I take them off, not only on laundry day.

Well, maybe I’ll leave out the red heels and underthings. For you, of course. I am a giver after all. <wink>


This post was inspired by the novel The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger. In the book, young lawyer Sophie unwillingly takes her first divorce case with an entertaining and sometimes recognizable client. The story in this novel is told mostly through letters and legal missives which makes for a fascinating read. Join From Left to Write on March 18 we discuss The Divorce Papers. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.


Marriage Advice From Some Old Marrieds

vlogmom-new-logoThis week’s #VlogMom question is from Julie Myers Pron from Juliverse. She wanted us to give some marriage advice and since I am only half of this marriage, I invited a special guest this week. Yep, you guessed it, The Husband, makes an appearance. As you might guess, with two of us yammering,  I mean, offering sage advice, this one might go on longer than two minutes!


Have some advice? Want to link up? Go on!

Fantasy vs Reality: Married 15 Years

weddingkissJune 27th, 1998:  Silver Spring, MD- Two pretty young kids say I do.

Those wacky kids had great dreams. They laid on a Jamaican beach discussing how in ten years she’d probably have a new 3 stone ring and they’d be back on that very same beach to celebrate with all their friends. In fifteern years they’d live in Annapolis, on the water (instead of Red Bank where the only waterfront is when the driveway floods) and take exotic vacations at least once a year (instead of… never).

I could wax romantic, as I’ve done in years past, about how beautiful  my marriage is even in its sometime brutal reality. But I won’t. I’ve done that enough for any blog reader.


Instead, let’s do a little fact checking.

Here’s a recap of what those silly kids thought 15 years would bring:


The Dream: Professional dominance. I’d run a school, he’d run a firm.

The Reality: The only thing I run is a house and not even that well some days. As for The Husband, I’m not even sure what he does anymore so I can’t even answer this question in actuality. What I do know, neither of us are where we thought we’d be.


The Dream: Living in our dream house,  on the water where I cook every night in a professional kitchen and we take cocktails on our screened in porch.

The Reality: Our house would probably fit inside the dream porch. My kitchen is 60% functional but I still have to cook every night. There are still cocktails on a porch-though there is no screen.


The Dream: 2 Kids (mine) 4 kids (his) one yellow lab named Gibbs.

The Reality: 3 kids (a nice compromise) a grey cat and a running argument over the mythical future dog’s name.


The Dream: Traveling the world with our kids, teaching them about the world through experience seeing the world. Twice annual “parent vacations” where we reconnect and renew our vows, figuratively and sometimes literally.

The Reality: A whole lot of kid and mom car trips to Maryland and the hope to someday have enough scratch to take our kids to Busch Gardens or Epcot so they can “see the world”. A 15th anniversary vacation to our living room and if the weather holds, the beach we go to every day so we can reconnect with a cold can of Miller Lite.


The Dream: A warm home full of happy  healthy kids, good friends, laughter and every day with our best friend.

Reality: When all the dust of 15 years of real life settles, we can see  we actually are  living the dream.





Sometimes You Don’t Want to Go Home Again

This was originally posted  a few years ago.  The Newlyweds now have a baby and we are heading into our 15th anniversary. Still, I feel exactly the same. What do you think about these marriage musings? I’d love to hear from  you.

KingsWVUI spent the weekend with my husband in the college town where we fell in love what seems like 100 years ago. It was not his college, but he visited me enough that I consider it our town.
We were accompanied by a couple of newlyweds, which of course led my stroll down memory lane back to the year I was in their shoes.
It made me shudder.
I adore my husband. We met (and some would say married) when we were kids and have grown up together. The Husband has become an even better man than I expected and  let me assure you, I expected a lot.
But that first year? I don’t even like to think of it. I was lonely, disillusioned, frustrated and gaining weight by the second as I ate my way through all the fear and uncertainty.
We were engaged for a year and we thought we were very realistic about married life. We had talked ad nauseum about what we wanted. We knew what our job plans were. We worked out our financial ideas. We talked about when to have kids, how many we wanted and what we would do when they came. We knew each other inside and out.
We didn’t get caught up in the wedding hype, we were just excited to start our lives as a team.KCWedding
Then we came home from the honeymoon and began crashing into one another at every turn. This strange man moved into my apartment and he was kinda dirty and a little self-absorbed. Even worse, this man’s wife, who was formerly fiercely independent, fun-loving and laid back, suddenly morphed into a needy, nagging brat.
It seems we had prepared for the big stuff, but we didn’t count on how much trouble taking out the trash or leaving the toothpaste cap off would cause. We started to be unrecognizable to each other and the sense of permanence was terrifying.
All these years later we can look back and laugh at it but back then, it was one long year.
The good news is we survived and I would argue, it is because of that year that we are strong today. Back then all we had to worry about was the toothpaste cap and who paid the cable bill. We didn’t think so then, but our problems were pretty small. This mean we got a chance to learn how to fight without too many distractions.

That may sound weird, but let’s be real; in marriage, you fight. And, from my perspective, there is some unwritten rule that you treat your spouse worse than anyone else in your life and expect way more from them in return, so the fighting can get ugly.

If you’re not careful, every little pet peeve can become a slight and every slight can become perceived as purposeful hurt.
What we did that first year is figure out when to politely draw the line and when we needed to move the line further down the road. I gave up expecting The Husband to read my mind and he decided to be more forgiving when I reminded him to do stuff over and over and over. I know he’s not doing things on purpose and he knows I don’t think he’s a dope or worse vindictively forgetting to put clothes in hamper.
Back then, we let go of our egos and stripped away the layers of miscommunication when garbage was the biggest of our troubles. Thank heavens, because now we hash it out over much larger obstacles and without the security of knowing that we are still on the same home team, I am not sure we would survive.

These days our problems are heavier and we have the added bonus of constant children background noise to remind us that not only do we need to figure our stuff out, but we are being watched while we do it. Thus, we are passing on a model of relationships to the next generation.

Kids make it hard to be self-absorbed. You can’t really microfocus anymore on your spouse’s behavior because you need each other too much to tear each other apart. Not to mention, you (should) consider your spouse through your children’s eyes. That makes it easier to see the disagreement as just a disagreement, instead of a potentially fatal character flaw.
That doesn’t mean we don’t fight and annoy each other (sometimes daily) or that our egos don’t rear their ugly heads from time to time. It just means that it is more important than ever that we are on the same team so we remind ourselves of that every time which makes the fighting shorter and easier to move beyond. Our arguments tend to be fairly superficial, short lived and much quieter than they used to be. The real stuff, the heavy stuff, is done in an environment of kindness and concern rather than anger and accusation. We did learn, after having kids, that sleep deprivation can do a number on our normally reasonable selves. So, we instituted the nothing after midnight counts rule. We get ugly at 3am.
We are still a work in progress, The Husband and I,  but we have discovered that the work isn’t all bad and the progress is usually a fine payoff in the end.
Here we are, three kids later and 11 years into this and while I never want to go back, I wouldn’t trade that newlywed year for the world.
I could go for another honeymoon though. I think we’ve earned it.