Being married is fun. Traveling through life with someone who shares your interests and laughs at your jokes is what you remind yourself of when you have to wash the dishes and clean up Charlie's feces. (By the way, Charlie is our dog. Just in case any of you thought we had a young child or a very old, senile person living with us.) The common theme you hear from people at work or the characters on TV is that being married is all about keeping your partner happy. "A happy wife is a happy life" is often what they say. And while that quote does prove true times infinity, it becomes annoying when that old coworker of yours says it with a sly grin on her face like she invented the term or something (I'm not bitter). The point is, I had a lot of expectations of what marriage would be like. I based these assumptions primarily off of what I heard from old married couples and 7th Heaven reruns. And after six months, there are two in particular that have stuck out.
Happy Wife = Life
Remember when I said "A happy wife is a happy life" is an annoying, cliche phrase that people use as a joke to young married couples? Well, I've learned they don't mean it as a joke, but as a warning. Like some "beware the Ides of March" level foreshadowing. I think it can sometimes be interpreted as "Give me what I want, or I will be mad at you", but I believe it truly means: Make her happy and live.
It's not like Maggie is going to turn into some dragon-like creature and destroy me if I don't do the dishes when she asks. But at the same time, do I really want to find out? Don't get me wrong, much of what I do is truly out of love, and the fact is, she does so much for me that I often want to do something in return. However, there is a small percentage of me that is motivated to do these tasks by the fear of what might happen if I disregard my wife's request one too many times. It's like when your parents counted to three. You just couldn't imagine what terrible torture they would concoct by the time they said "three", so you always waited until "two and a half" then proceeded to cooperate instantly. (Although, I'm sure parents would admit they probably didn't have a specific game plan regarding what they would do if you did nothing after they counted to three.) Like I said, if I chose to ignore my wife's request for me to do something, I'm sure I'd survive. She'd probably just repeat herself one or two more times. But do I really want to see what happens if she's forced to repeat herself a third time?
So, next time you hear "A Happy Wife is a Happy Life" from that elderly woman who thinks she's Betty White, feel free to chuckle along with her (even if it's forced) because she is most definitely right.
What Does She Want?
"Just give me some space." The trickiest words man has ever heard. What does that even mean? Do you want me to literally back away from you for a moment, or leave you and the situation alone altogether? Through all my years of dating/engagement/marriage (I sometimes talk like I'm an experienced old man, just humor me.), I have never been able to answer this question.
Remember this scene from The Notebook? Typically, women (and some men, but I don't associate myself with them) "ooh" and "aah" over this movie and its passion. I can believe the rest of the romantic tale as absolute fact (even the ridiculous Ferris Wheel scene), but this is where it becomes a romantic fantasy. No one in the world fights with that kind of pace and has any articulate words to say. I have tried to fight like this, but by the end, it's just grunts and stuff. What's more important is that I've found that these situations requite the utmost delicacy. If I just kept hammering away at my wife with comebacks during a fight, then she would probably just get mad at me for not listening. When it comes to figuring out what the right thing to say or do in a given situation, I am still completely clueless. I think I just assumed when I got married that I would immediately know the secret of understanding my wife all the time. Truth is, solving the issue of what women want is like finding the last numeral for pi, or what really happened on Lost. All being married has taught me is the importance of listening. If my wife says she needs space, I probably should give it to her. If she says nothing, then that probably means I'm safe to pursue.
To those who aren't married, this may sound ridiculous. I'm aware of that. To those wondering what it's like to be married, don't take anything I say too seriously. I've been married for all of, like, 6 months, and I'm sure the lessons I learned may be subject to change. But, being married is fun. People say it's hard work (and it is), and others complain of how difficult it is (and it is, sometimes). And whether you're single or married, we all have an idea of what relationships should be, based on what we've seen or heard. Some of these may be truer than others. But based on what I've learned there's only two absolutes: You'll never have all the answers, so when all else fails, just try to listen as best as you can. And, while I hate to admit it:
A Happy Wife is a Happy Life.
And I gotta say, I'm pretty happy.
On Saturday morning, as I sat sipping my coffee, uploading honeymoon pictures/video, and intermittently scolding Charlie for wreaking havoc, a question popped into my noggin. Then, an answer.
Question: What does "honeymoon" mean?
Answer: I'd go to the moon with you, honey!
Those who knew me during my decade-long aeronautics-obsessed phase understand how that answer could be logical. Now, bear with me as I wade through Maggie-the-English-major logic. Quoted above, Pembroke College and Oxford-educated Samuel Johnson, a.k.a. Dr. Johnson, explains the honeymoon as the first happy-go-lucky month of marriage, where everything seems to be puppies and sunshine, waning as the moon. Kyle and I didn't make it more than 5 days after the wedding before the we were met with waning, to tell you the truth. It got real, and fast. Granted, 3 days after the wedding, we weren't in dream world. We were working, paying bills, pumping gas, burning toast. Because life isn't an episode of The Bachelor, and Chris Harrison didn't give us a key to the fantasy suite.
Have you ever seen It's a Wonderful Life? If so, you remember their seemingly disastrous honeymoon. To be honest, that is exactly how I imagined ours would be. Because calamitous is just how we roll.
So, when I found out we wouldn't be able to take the traditional after-wedding honeymoon, I felt a little gypped, but not shocked. Don't get me wrong, I did my share of jealous whining to my mom on the phone, and then to Kyle when I saw Facebook pictures of people from college jetting off on their honeymoons the day after their nuptials. But it wasn't long before I had a Holy Spirit reality check that sent Hurricane Maggie back to sea.
We'd just started after-college jobs, PTO was practically negative, and we needed to be responsible. Patient. It's embarrassing to admit to G&J readers (Hi, mom!) that I felt cheated when I couldn't take vacation when I wanted to take vacation. How self-absorbed could I be?! After all, there's more to marriage than flashy rings and exotic destinations. Marriage means you'd go anywhere, as long as you're together. Relocate to a different city. Sit up all night in the hospital. Wander aisles at Hobby Lobby. Fly to the moon.
DISCLAIMER - To all newlyweds: if at all possible, don't wait for a honeymoon. You don't need a passport or a plane ticket. Take a week to be husband and wife and figure out your new normal. Just be. Together.
Immediately following our October ceremony, we drove up to Chicago and spent two nights downtown, where our Mr. & Mrs. status began to sink in. Thanks to the family friends who gave us those two nights as a wedding present, we stayed in this sweet hotel on Chestnut Street, conveniently right across from a Starbucks. ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
It took us a few months, but we ended up taking the trip we originally planned. Kyle stamped his passport for the first time, I packed lightly for the first time (only carry-ons), and off we went to Cancun.
Turns out, we had forgotten how to relax. Or, at least, I had. I disabled work email from my phone, and tried VERY hard to sit still while Kyle so easily unwound. (Spousal diagnosis of Busybody Syndrome.) No to-do lists, no places to be, no people to please. It took some time for me to comprehend. I may have been quoted saying, "We should have gone to Disney World." That was the Busybody Syndrome (otherwise known as B.S.) talking.
It took a rainy day with our noses in books to find my vacation vibe. Let's set the record straight, though. Kyle finished two books while we were there. I finished half of one. Too much people-watching on my part.
But you try sharing a resort with a few hundred characters who speak different languages, and wear odd things, and drink too much. Tell me you wouldn't spend your time writing stories about them in your head. Or is that just me?
While otherwise makeup-less, swimsuit-clad, and sunscreen slathered, we tried to class it up in the evenings for dinner.
Keyword: tried. Shortly after arriving, we found out about their long-pants-only restaurant dress code for dudes. Apparently, everyone knew this and had packed accordingly.
Everyone but Kyle.
We weren't about to drop 1,056.20 pesos ($80) for linen pants in the gift shop, so we improvised with these daggum Asics track pants Kyle had worn on the plane. Five nights in a row, he'd throw them over his shoulder (like a continental soldier) to dinner, and hop into them just before entering the restaurant.
We're classy like that.
Would we go the all-inclusive route again? Possibly, not probably. (Although drinking free, frothy cappuccinos nearly charmed me.) Kyle and I have wanderlust something fierce. But we're more of the road-tripping-with-an-airstream, or backpacking-through-Europe type (stay tuned for future blogs).
On this Midwest March Monday, we're expecting a high of 36. In a few hours, I'll be sipping mediocre office coffee, answering too many emails, and putting lotion on peeling skin that somehow managed to leave Mexico without a tan, and yet, I'll be happy.
Because everydayness is something to be thankful for. And our next adventure is today.
-Kyle & (mostly) Maggie (gent & the journaler)
It's about time we followed-up with you on that one day. Specifically, the "I do" part of that October Sunday. Is it weird that we got hitched on a Sunday instead of a Friday or Saturday? Probably. But when your favorite venue is booked every Saturday from August - October, you compromise. Don't worry. We aren't going to go JK Rowling on you and make this an 7-part series. We'll go the Suzanne Collins route and keep it to 3. As with all of our wedding photos, props to Jer Nelsen for being awesome!
It may appear as if my bridesmaids were building a fort, or were off to a pre-wedding picnic. But in reality, I was wrapped up in there. Hooray for gigantic quilts and best friends who transport a bride from motor home to barn, unseen and unscathed. Traditional, right?
Sidenote: my sister MADE that quilt as a wedding present! It's up there with the best presents I've ever received, ranking with my Loonette the Clown doll.
Swapping love notes before vows. It's the Pinterest thing to do.
This was a surreal moment. After all the planning and preparation, things were getting real. Side note: I am a very ugly crier.
Had I known our photographer was going to zoom in on my neck, I would not have such an uneasy look on my face. Props to our photographer, Jer Nelsen, for making an awkward Hoosier look somewhat classy.
Daisies are my favorite, and so is that flick. Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks & New York in the fall can't be beat.
If you think that navy blue hankie was chosen to go with our rustic barn theme, you're only half-right. It belonged to my farmer grandpa. You'd never catch him without one in his back pocket. And since he couldn't be there to wipe my tears, I think he'd be okay with me carrying it.
... and I think he'd be glad I saved a seat for him and his sweetheart.
God knew what he was doing when he put together this family of four. Of course, He always knows what He's doing. I'm just thankful He picked me to be Pop's "Magpie," Momma's "Ladybug," and Mal's "Sissy."
Cracking jokes with my mom before the ceremony. Thanks, mom, for calming my nerves. She also happened to be 100% ready for this picture. How did she even find the camera?
Momma was stunning.
Also, THIS LIGHTING! Just seeing that harvest twilight glow makes me taste apple pie and smell pumpkin candles and hear crunching leaves and feel free - feel incandescently happy.
It's so hard to be three at a wedding. But this little stud did such a great job.
Moreover, it's so hard to be one-and-a-half at a wedding. But throwing crunchy leaves helps.
And when you're one-and-a-half, throwing baskets is just as fun.
Stand up, y'all!
If it weren't for the arm of my Pops, I'd surely have tumbled down that hill, Humpty Dumpty style.
By golly, they're right. The groom's face is the best part.
I look GOOD. Which surprising, considering my insides were on fire with a combination of butterflies, excitement, and indigestion.
Oh, hey there, crying face. You aren't very cute.
This, right here, is everything I dreamed of. I love each of those people sitting in those 182 white chairs. And those people standing next to us. And that dude holding my hand.
I had this grand idea of how I wanted to eloquently convey my love for Maggie. I even wrote it down on that paper, shaking in my left hand. But I looked at her and ended up stammering. She's so darn cute when she cries.
Finally built a dam to block the tears. (For the moment.)
Kissing pictures feel so personal, so I've never been a fan. But this kiss is kind of important.
Feel free to cover your eyes.
(That's literally what we're saying in this picture.)
Hands-down, the giddiest series of pictures we've ever taken...
Disclaimer: crazy face is thanks to my crazy teammates. I was so happy to see them. And, I just got married.
So. Much. Smiling.
This is not a line for food. It's a tunnel for leaf-launching.
The stunning ladies.
The studly gents.
And so begins the leaf frenzy.
A picture of regret. No, not the marriage. Regret in choosing leaves over bubbles.
We made it out alive, and were able to take a few moments to breathe before rejoining our guests for the rest of the shindig.
My thoughts at this time:
"My cheeks hurt."
While our cheeks hurt and smiles were looking more and more forced, we couldn't help but do it anyway.
Stress = lifted
Joy = abundant
Love = overflowing
One more wedding post to go. Here's a teaser for That One Day: Part 3:
1.) It includes pie.
2.) It does not include the Chicken Dance (gross).
3.) It's the best part.