Oh, look honey, here’s a study guide on dealing with relatives and in-laws—ON WAR, written by Karl von Clausewitz.
Well my friends,
You loved his visit last week so much that after promising him at least one BLT a week, Ma Significant Otter (code name Jerry) will be making a weekly appearance here in this space. I have no idea what he will write about but I promise it will be witty. He’s good that way. So let’s raise a glass to our new Tuesday feature…I give you the funniest man I know…Ma Significant Otter…
Greetings Blog Readers,
It’s me again, your friendly neighborhood guest blogger, or as Mary likes to say:
Thanks for to opportunity to opine again…apparently everyone thought I was amusing…
I thought long and hard about a suitable topic, besides of course, bacon…which I could write melodious odes of joy about, but which most of you don’t care about…harumph.
Therefore, I considered this a good topic: Things I Wish I Had Learned in Marriage Prep.
Yup….there are so many things about marriage, relationships, and sharing your life, home, and bacon with someone that you don’t really learn about until you live them.
Now, before you think I am going to write some sappy, Notebook inspired romance guide..STOP. Not going to happen. I had big feels once, but I quickly got over that nonsense, as my wife will testify.
Several years ago our Pastor asked us to do the married prep for engaged couples at our Parish. Now my wife figured that since we had been married for over 20 years, had endured many hardships and trials, clearly our Pastor wanted us to pass on our accumulated wisdom.
I replied, NOPE, he just figured we fit the old saying of “Sometimes your life is lived to be an example to others of what not to do.”
Yup, I considered that having us teach about marriage and relationships would be like Kim Kardashian teaching about modesty and decorum, but with a good fire hose wash down of the Holy Spirit..off we went.
So here are my big takeaways about married life that I would teach any young couple…not the usual sex, money, in-laws, children things…those are in the “STUDY GUIDES”…
Takeaway 1: Now, I’m going to be brutally honest here and say, many couples in this day and age have already moved past this lesson, but it was kinda hard for my +1 and I to master…SLEEPING together. NO, not having sex (more on that later) but actually sharing a bed with someone else.
Now, generally there are two kinds of sleepers—sprawlers and snugglers.
Sprawlers are like the Mongol hordes of sleepers, they will conquer as much territory as possible, defend it to the death, and curse your ancestors if you trespass. You know who you are.
Snugglers on the other hand, have to have some sort of physical contact with their spouse and will actually move around the bed at night to ensure contact.
Yes, we are the second…huge snugglers.
Which raises more than a few eyebrows when we tell sprawlers that we sleep in a full-sized bed. Yup, shocker..we are not petite people…due to bacon mostly…and we sleep in a full-sized bed like two puppies on a cold winter night in our old Cape Cod house. This is a very good thing…however, this has caused some issues lately as my +1 has entered a certain stage of life that involves becoming a human torch….which can lead to some awkward moments.
Me (crawling into bed after a long day and sliding up to snuggle): “Hmmm, honey I love you”
Wife (having 30 minutes of continuous hot flashes): “Touch me and die, Bacon Boy.”
But that’s married life.
Have I mentioned that we could hang meat in our bedroom? That’s how low the air conditioning is set..in addition to the huge fan pointed directly at my honey all night long.
So, first lesson, sharing…you will need to learn how to share a bed…and blankets…okay, maybe not blankets.
Me (shivering in the middle of the night): “Honey, where’s the blanket”
Wife: “Get your own blanket burrito boy, this one is mine”
Takeaway 2: As you get older, have children and settle into your life together, you need to keep your relationship as a couple alive. HOWEVER, you do have to set some realistic expectations.
When we were dating, my +1 and I would go on long dates that might involve dinner, a movie and some activity where we could talk for hours…like say miniature golf. Hmmm, did my lamby-pie ever blog about the time we played miniature golf…that is an interesting story in covert operations that Brad Thor would be proud of….and no, I wasn’t much more of a conversationalist back then.
Of course after children, especially Courtney, it was very tough to find a sitter…really only Jonathan or Mary’s mom were comfortable with Courtney..so we learned the fine art of speed dating, married style.
Me: “Ok, honey, we have two hours, what do you want to do?”
Wife: “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”
This went on for what seemed like eternity+8 hours before we finally decided we didn’t have time for a movie so let’s just go out to dinner.
NOW, somehow, this habit never dies from dating and it is one of those strange things that only couples do…have you ever been out to dinner and your +1 says “Let’s get different entrees and we can share.” BEWARE of this…it is codeword for either 1) I’m going to eat my dinner and ½ of yours or 2) If I don’t like mine, we’re going to switch…and NEVER fall for the “Let’s get one desert and share” trick either..even if the waitress brings two spoons, where chocolate is concerned, my sweetie uses that spoon like d’Artagnan uses a rapier to fend off my efforts to get a bite.
Of course if we did go to a movie, we learned another important thing young couples don’t really think about. Men and women generally have very different taste in entertainment.
Women: “I want a deeply romantic story with sympathetic characters and a lot of internal conflict until the couple realize they are really madly in love with each other and have a happy ending.”
Men: “Does the movie have guns and explosions or dinosaurs?”
Now, over time these tastes may merge….ok, not really, but that’s where you learn to compromise…one of those very important parts of being married. So now my lamby-pie and I take turns choosing dinner and a movie on those rare occasions we go out. Someone picks the movie and the other person picks the restaurant. Needless to say, if she is picking the movie…there will be meat at the restaurant…preferably meat wrapped in bacon.
Second important lesson compromise.
Like finding a movie with a budding romance between a man-woman team of secret agents hunting down rogue dinosaurs using rocket-propelled grenades.
Takeway 3: ANDDD, last but not least, the MOST IMPORTANT benefit of being married…back scratching….no not in the metaphysical sense…I mean actually back scratching.
Now this may seem silly..however, LADIES…and you know I’m speaking the truth…how many of you find utter joy when your husband scratches all those bra strap places at the end of the day when you take off your bra?
NO, I am not kidding….
And guys…I now understand why those orangutans spend so much time scratching and grooming each other. Seriously, guys, when you have that one spot in the middle of your back that you can’t reach and don’t want to use a meat fork to scratch (Hey, don’t judge)…isn’t it nice to be able to say with a straight face…”Honey, can you scratch the hairy spot?” and know your spouse will help you out?
After many years of marriage, you will learn that your significant otter really is the only one for you…your soulmate, etc, yadda yadda yadda. Here is where I move beyond the Biblical definition of love..you know-“Love is kind, love is patient” to the ever so important real life definition of love.
Yup, that pretty much sums it up…after a certain point, you know that you have grown together as a couple to the point that no one else will put up with your sh**.
That my friends, is the definition of True Love we need to teach young couples…never be afraid to scratch each other’s back.
Oh, and one more piece of advice for the grooms out there…NEVER, EVER do this
Because no, she will never laugh and they will never find your body.
Thus endeth the lesson…until next time.
– Mary’s Significant Otter