I’m writing a series of essays, collectively called “Marriage Conversations,” around the real-life conversations John and I have on any given day; conversations about anything and nothing. These snippets of dialog are common to people in long-term relationships. I felt compelled to do this to combat the ridiculousness of the Hallmark Channel. As much as John and I love each other, we don’t gaze into each other’s eyes and deliver beautifully-phrased platitudes like “love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
First of all, that sentence – that’s complete bullshit right there.
Love means saying sorry when you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, but you know your partner needs you to say it. Sometimes over and over and over again. Love is rubbing your partner’s head (or butt), even when you’re sleepy, because they asked you to and they need comforting. Love is taking out the trash because you know she hates the smell of days-old salad. Or cleaning the bathrooms because the toilet skeeves him out too much to even think about doing it himself.
Secondly, not everyone composes conversations like a scriptwriter, and watching these syrupy, overly-sentimental “movies” increases the likelihood that you’ll miss the everyday romance in your relationship, simply because your partner doesn’t wax rhapsodic about your eyes. More bullshit.
So, this is a conversation John and I had a few months back, which I immediately wrote in my notebook, because it struck me as a perfect example of our love for each other and because I am weird. You’ll never see this on Hallmark, but it’s the real deal.
Also, poor John. This guy…letting me write about him – that’s true love!
Mild Case of Meh Presents: An Evening With John and Heather…
Scene: The kids are in bed, the dishes are done, and we are finally cuddled up next to each other on the sofa, sharing the minutia of our day over the opening strains of The Great British Baking Show.
J: Tell me about your day, honey.
H: It went really well, but on the even hours I felt good about my writing, and on the odd hours, I thought it was all crap and wanted to jump off a bridge.
J: You writers are so dramatic.
H: We do narrate life, you know.
J: You put the color in my world, baby.
H: Rub my head and tell me I’m pretty.
J: (doing as instructed) You’re pretty.
H: Will you rub my butt* when we go to bed?
J: I’m rubbing it now.
H: I know, but I have to pee and you know it will take me about an hour. I don’t want to move because it’s so comforting, but I really, really have to pee.
J: So go pee. I’ll continue when we go to bed. Don’t I always rub your butt? You don’t even have to ask.
H: This is why I love you.
*Note: I have been reminded (because John reminded me) that John is considerably more reserved than I am, and is not accustomed to having stories written about him (well, that’s all changed now, hasn’t it!?). Specifically, he is not comfortable with compositions containing the word “butt,” whether referring to his own or mine. Now, never let it be said that I don’t care about my partner’s need to remain
uptight reserved, and in the spirit of compromise – the hallmark of a good relationship – henceforth, all references to “butt” in my writing will be replaced with “back.” So now, dear readers, when I write something like, “please rub my back,” you will wonder if I’m really asking him to rub my butt. It can be a game – what fun! Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. – Heather