Dialogue from a Marriage
|New Year's Eve 2013|
Like I said, we’ve been together 17 years. My older brother, Michael, and Susie, his girlfriend visited us for New Year’s. Susie told us they’d met a couple who’s been married 34 years. She asked the wife what the secret to a long marriage was. The woman responded, “Yes, Dear.”
Susie then asked us what we thought the secret to staying married was. We’ve been together so long, we each have our roles; I’m the designated family spokesman, our joint voice. I don’t remember exactly how I responded but later in the day, I said something teasingly mean to Stanley and Susie laughed. Stanley didn’t hear me but knew I was making fun of him. When he asked me what I’d said, I responded “Nothing, honey.”
I turned to Susie in triumph. “There ” I said, “The two secrets to a long marriage: ‘yes, dear’ and ‘nothing, honey’.”
We laughed. That got me thinking about our interactions over the years, our conversations. I’m the talker, the quick-witted mouthy one. He’s the quiet, thoughtful one. What follows is a sampling of some of our more memorable interactions over the last 17 years.
I opened the freezer to get ice and was confronted by a pair of vintage Waterford candle holders.Me: Honey, why are the candle sticks in the freezer?
|June 1997 with Channing|
Stanley: Oh, it'll make it easier to get off the wax.
Me: (peeling off wax, which really did come off quite easily, thinking) This is why I support gun control...
One night I told Stanley we'd be attending a neighborhood function with our elderly neighbors.Stanley: Okay. Do we need to bring anything?
Me: I don't. I'm bringing youth and vigor. You, however, should probably bring a bottle of wine.
Sometimes publishing our conversations gets me in hot water as when I posted the following:I park in our garage while Stanley parks his car on the street. With wind chill it was -22 this morning. After getting to work, Stanley sent me the following email, which by the way is wordy for him:
"Got here in reasonable time, but had fun getting in the car to get here. Only the rear doors would open, so I got in the rear passenger side and lowered the front passenger seat back to more easily climb over the seat diagonally into the driver’s seat."
Laughing I posted the email on Facebook. My friend Grace immediately wrote back.
Grace: How come YOU get the garage??
Me: Um...because I tend to have a fit if my car gets dust on it, never mind frost.
Grace: Wait. You get the garage cuz you're a b*tch??
Me: Certainly not! I get the garage because he drives a Subaru; I drive a BMW (Wait that still makes me a b*tch, doesn't it?
In October, we lost our beloved Lhasa Apso, Coco. She had a bad heart and we’d been seeing a cardiologist and treating her for nearly four years at the time. One night over dinner, before she died, Stanley asked me what one of Coco's meds was for.Me: She's been on Vetmedin for four years how could you not know what it’s for?
Stanley: (shrugging) That's what I have you for.
Me: (proceeding to rant) Why do I have to remember/know/do everything?
Stanley: (with maddening equanimity) Well, someone has to be the boss of us.
The there was the night in May I came home to roses and Champagne and a lovely gift bag (containing underwear if you must know). Puzzled I turned to Stanley.Me: What did you do?
Stanley: (after kissing me) I know it's two days late but Happy Anniversary.
Crap! I’d forgotten our 16th anniversary. I was immediately consumed with guilt. I felt awful. I went upstairs to change while he opened the Champagne and then it hit me. I looked at the calendar to be sure. I went back downstairs.
Me: Honey? It’s May. Our anniversary is in June.
He just stared at me dumbfounded. I took the glass of champagne he held in his hand.
Me: What I want to know id how you’re going to top this next month.
One morning while putting away the dishes, I noticed new glass storage bowls.Me: You bought more storage bowls? We have storage bowls.
Stanley: They’re plastic. They start to smell after a while so I bought new ones. Besides the glass ones were on sale. It was buy one get one free. I saved us $8.
Me: (Thinking of the new shoes he had just explained buying by saying, they were on sale): You know we’re going to go broke if you don’t stop saving us money.
Stanley: I guess I won’t tell you what else I bought.
And then I saw it. I picked it up.
Me: What’s this?
Stanley: It’s a Pizza cutter.
Me: We have a pizza cutter.
Stanley: (looking alarmed) We do?
Me: Yes, it’s called a knife.
Leaving our favorite dinner in Rehoboth after breakfast one morningMe: Don't think I didn’t see you eyeing the cute guy sitting behind me at breakfast.
Stanley: What? Do you have eyes in the back of your head?
Me: Yes, yes, I do.
|June 28, 1997|
I must confess: I talk a lot and at times I can be a bit hyperbolic. And I’m given to taking off on flights of literary fancy mid-conversation. This sometimes frustrates Stanley.Stanley: (In response to something I’d just said) Huh? What does that mean?
Me: (annoyed) Oh, never mind.
Stanley: Oh, come on. You know I don’t understand Shakespeare.
Me: That wasn’t Shakespeare.
Stanley: Oh! Who was it?
Stanley: Oh. Well, I don’t always understand you either.
So there you have—dialogue from a marriage. What about you? What memorable comments/conversations have you had in your own relationship? What do you think is the secret to a long relationship? Feel free to post in the comments below.
Join ME4PA, Pennsylvania’s grassroots movement for equality for the entire LGBTQ community, in the fight for marriage Equality.www.larrybenjamin.com