Marriage is hard work. We’ve all heard people say this and typically, every adult within earshot nods their heads in vigorous unified agreement. But, there must be at least a few compensatory upsides, otherwise the institution wouldn’t have thrived throughout modern civilization as such an enduring sociological trend. I think possibly one of the most sought-after benefits of marriage, is the sense of security we derive from sharing our lives with a partner that we know inside-and-out. Familiarity in an ever-changing, stressful world is obviously something that most of us seem to crave.
That’s why the flicker of marital discord we experienced on our trip to New York City last weekend was so particularly unsettling…
We were in a restaurant, surrounded by friends and family. There was a lot going on and my Self-Diagnosed Social ADD (acronym =SDSADD) was in full tilt. I was chatting up a blue streak and I’m sure I was in the middle of telling a riveting story to our dinner companions, when the waitress started taking our food order. When she got around to me, with nary a thought to how my actions might adversely affect others, I rattled off,
“I’ll have the Pasta Special!”
I vaguely remembered her earlier description of a couple of the Featured Entrees and I recalled that the ‘Ravioli Special’ sounded appetizing – Ravioli, filled with puréed sweet potato, covered in CREAM SAUCE, topped with chopped BACON and Caramelized pecans!
To fully understand what happened next, requires a morsel* of information about my husband: When dining out, Jimmy believes it his God-Given inalienable right as a Restauranteur/Foodie to sample everyone’s meal; he writes off his bad manners to “work-related R&D.” So, no matter what the occasion, if you are in a restaurant with Jimmy, YOU may simply be dining, but HE is actually “working.” Several years ago, we were in a restaurant and a waiter delivered something unique and interesting to the table beside us. Ever the food stalker, Jimmy leaned over and asked our fellow diners about the dish, and before I could say,
“O-M-G!” they were urging him to sample their appetizer…
God’s Honest – True Story- eating off the plate of Complete and Total Strangers!!!
So, needless to say, the second our food hit the table, at this fairly swanky restaurant in NYC, Jimmy swoops in, with his Omni-present fork and snags the first bite off of my plate. All of a sudden, he gets a look of shock and bewilderment on his face and says,
“Are there sweet potatoes in that Ravioli?”
Somewhat affirming, I explained that they weren’t exactly Sweet Potatoes per se, but rather a sweet potato FILLING.
“But, we don’t like sweet potatoes, he reminded me, “we agreed 30 years ago that we Jointly hate sweet potatoes!”
I do recall that we have been in perfect accord for several decades regarding our mutual disdain for yams, and have sustained this pretty consistently through the years. (Now that I think about it, we never even fed our babies Gerber Sweet Potatoes from a jar.) I guess I just failed to recognize this was akin to a sacred covenantal agreement. They’ve come a really long way since our grandmothers’ sweet potatoes (ditto their beets and their Brussels sprouts.) Did I mention these were slathered in cream sauce, and topped with bacon and Carmelized pecans? Nonetheless, my logic did nothing to dissuade his sense of betrayal.
You could practically see the wheels turning in his head: It’s like you think you know someone after 35 years, and then “WHAM,” they go pull a stunt like that right under your very nose!! What’s next? Who even are you?
One of my closest friends had a similarly disturbing situation with her husband recently. They’ve known each other since their first date in college over 30 years ago, and have been more or less joined-at-the-hip ever since. The other day, a song came on the radio and he enthusiastically announced,
“I love Judas Priest!”
“No you don’t!” She responds.
“Yes I do -always have…”
“You do not. You’ve never had an album, an 8-track, a cassette or a CD of theirs! They aren’t even on your iPod,” she says settling the matter once and for all.
And yet, he persisted, maintaining that, regardless of any evidence to the contrary, he “Did, in fact, know his own musical tastes and does, in fact, love Judas Priest!”
She went on to tell me that they, “share a cloud” and if any Judas Priest music mysteriously shows up on their iTunes account in the next few days, she would be deleting it immediately. (We both agreed that must’ve been what Mick Jagger was referring to when he sang, “Hey You, get off of my cloud!” What a modern day prophet he turned out to be.)
When I asked her why she hated Judas Priest so much, she said she didn’t hate Judas Priest. She actually wasn’t familiar with their music at all, but was quite familiar with her own damn husband.
I can personally attest that my friend is a devout Catholic and probably does not hate Judas Priest or any other Priest. Rather, she, like Jimmy and the rest of humanity, counts on a modicum of stability and consistency from her primary relationships.
I totally get that. Makes perfect sense. I guess as we enter this week of Thankfulness, I am grateful that I never cheated on Jimmy, since he barely survived me committing Spudultery**
* Puns in this blog are always intentional.
**Spudultery – A married people’s version of the game ‘Hot Potato!’