So Mike and I have officially been married more than a year. Time definitely flies! I thought we had agreed that we were saving money this year and not giving each other gifts but Mike insisted that he didn’t recall that conversation and he presented me with a sage green bathrobe because he said I always look cold and shivery for awhile after I shower. Aww. Seriously, am I blessed or what? Now, since Mike would not approve of his sweetness being talked about to the exclusion of his logic and engineering abilities, I have to talk about the bathrobe hook.
When Mike got me the bathrobe, he planned on putting a hook in the bathroom on which to hang it. So, shortly after giving me the bathrobe (mere minutes later actually) he was in the bathroom with his stud finder looking for a stud in which to place a hook. He was extremely disappointed to find that on the wall where he had hoped to put the hook, there didn’t appear to be any studs. He ran both some type of electronic stud finder and a magnetic stud finder over the wall and got some readings, but nothing strong enough (he said) to indicate a stud. When I pointed out that the magnetic stud finder was sticking to the wall, he told me that was likely because of nails, not because of an actual stud. Only moderately disappointing for me since I had just learned of the existence of the bathrobe minutes ago and hadn’t worked up enough excitement about the bathrobe hook to feel disappointed that it didn’t seem destined to have a place in the bathroom. Extremely disappointing for Mike who had his heart set on a bathrobe hook on that particular wall. He took a break to think about it but came to find me literally 2 minutes later.
“So I have a solution.”
“The bathrobe hook.”
“But it’s a crappy solution.”
“Come look.” Mike led me to the bathroom and showed me the hook, which somehow miraculously seemed to have the hardware to loop right over the top of the door. I opened and closed the bathroom door and verified that the hook didn’t hinder the door from moving in the slightest.
“That looks like a great solution!”
“No, it’s crappy.”
“Because there are no screws. No nails. Just a stupid hook hung over a doorway.”
I processed this, searching for the right response.
“Something doesn’t have to be difficult to be good.”
Mike just sighed.
“I can use this hook for a week and see if it works out. And if not we can search for studs on another wall.”
Mike sighed again. I think he thought (correctly) that I was trying to pacify him and there was about a 0% chance that I would complain that the hook “wasn’t working out” hanging over the bathroom door.
Mike is still not happy about the hook, and I suspect that’s why he’s keeping the magnetic stud-finder on the wall of the bathroom stuck to one of the areas that he claims is just a nail. That’s serving as a reminder to him that he wants to find a better bathrobe hook solution. I, however, keep seeing that thing on the wall out of the corner of my eye and forgetting what it is. Half the time I instinctively think it’s a giant cockroach (if those come in the yellow-and-black variety), and the other half of the time I instinctively think it’s a thermostat (because it actually looks like one) and reach out to adjust the temperature before I realize what it is.
Last night Mike and I settled in with Piper and watched another Poirot. I came closer than usual to guessing the murderer in this one. I correctly identified him for the first half of the show, but then in the second half additional data came to light that made me renege on my decision. Unfortunately the killer turned out to be the person I originally thought it was. So close! 🙂
I in no way feel qualified to dispense a bunch of marriage advice just because Mike and I have made it through a year. However, I do feel like it’s a good time for me to mention things that have really helped our relationship (and I’ll be honest… most of these weren’t even learned in the past year… they were learned probably six years ago and practiced ever since. So these aren’t technically even “newly-wed tips”. And some of them are extremely specific to Mike’s and my relationship.) So with all the disclaimers out of the way, here are a couple things that help Mike’s and my relationship.
1. Retain a sense of humor. I can’t count the number of times that Mike and my arguments have dissolved into laughter because one of us senses that the other is getting really angry and starts turning things into a joke on themselves that the two of us share rather than a battle in which we’re on opposite sides. So, for example, some one-liners that have effectively ended arguments for us are things like:
“Well, I admit people have referred to me as a know-it-all, but I think they meant it as a compliment.”
“You just don’t want to trust the opinion of someone who still talks to stuffed animals.”
“Well Piper just wants this argument over so that she can get her dinner.”
Of course discretion must be used here. You have to make the joke more about yourself than the other person or else you risk them feeling like you’re making fun of them and their feelings. And this is much more effective in small, everyday arguments rather than arguments over legitimately serious topics.
2. Always view yourselves as a team even if you don’t feel like one. The more your thoughts stray towards “me” and “him”, the harder it is to have a good relationship. The more you view yourselves as a team, the more naturally you think of what’s best for “us” and what’s a problem for “us”. The key here is definitely the “even if you don’t feel like one”. Because many times you won’t feel like a team. And you might not even want to feel like one. But it’s a habit like anything else, and the more you practice viewing yourselves as a team, the easier it will get.
3. Embrace each other’s idiosyncrasies rather than allowing them to drive you crazy. This is so important, especially for Mike and me who have a LOT of idiosyncrasies between the two of us. Prime examples:
Mike: “I don’t know if that nail’s really straight. It might be slightly crooked.”
Me: “It’s fine.”
Mike: “Did you actually look at it? How do you know it’s straight?”
Me: “It looks straight.”
Mike: “No, no, no! Something can look straight based on your viewing angle and in reality be completely crooked.”
Me: “Ok, well even if the nail’s a little crooked, that’s fine.”
Mike: “No, it’s not. Can you get a level?”
Mike: “A level. There’s one on the desk in my room.”
Me: “You want me to hold a level over a nail?”
Mike: “Yes. And there are two on my desk actually. Bring both so we can compare.”
Me: “But we’re only hanging a small picture on that nail. What’s the worst case scenario if the nail is crooked?”
Mike: “The nail being crooked is the worst case scenario. There doesn’t need to be anything worse that happens as a result of that.”
Me: “I’ll get the level.”
Mike: “Levels. Plural. Bring both.”
Mike: “Can we stop at this burger place quick? I’m hungry.”
Me: “This fast food burger place uses trans fats to fry their French fries in.”
Mike: “It probably won’t kill me just once.”
Me: “Trans fats don’t result in instantaneous deaths, no. At least not typically. They’re more about long, slow poisonous deaths characterized by declining health, increasing disease, and the presence of heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other diseases. And anyway, they also use conventional potatoes and don’t use eggs from cage-free, free-range hens fed a healthy diet containing omega-3’s.”
Mike: “Conventional potatoes sound good.”
Me: “Conventional means “non-organic”. They also don’t use grass-fed beef. Do you really want to eat cows that are fed an unnatural diet of genetically modified corn? And that’s just in the best case scenario. You don’t want to know what they’re fed in the worst case scenario. And all those cows are crammed into giant factory farms where they’re forced to live in and among their own feces. Do you really want to support that industry?”
Mike: “Um… never mind. I’ll eat at home. If I ever want to eat again.”
So, yeah. Let’s just say that Mike and I have had to our share of adjusting to idiosyncrasies. 😉
Tonight we are supposed to get 2 – 4 inches of snow in Seattle! Not a lot, I know, but more than enough to shut down the city if it actually occurs. We’ll see if we actually get that much! I was talking to a friend of mine at work about how the snow shuts the city down and he said the reason for that is fourfold.
1. We have a lot of hills that are very difficult (read: impossible) to navigate with snow on them.
2. We aren’t prepared for snow and don’t have giant trucks that dump salt and dirt on the roads.
3. Because our temps are usually hovering right around freezing, we typically get snow that melts and then refreezes as ice. So we’re not technically driving on snow; we’re driving on ice, which is significantly tougher especially on hills (see number 1).
4. Seattle drivers are terrible under the best circumstances so throw in any additional difficulty (like ice on hills for example) and you are set up for a catastrophe.
I feel like his analysis is almost exactly correct. 🙂
I hope everyone else is staying warm and looking forward to a relaxing weekend before Christmas!