Dialogue from a Marriage

New Year's Eve 2013
The Mister and I are getting married in June. We’d like to get married in Pennsylvania but of course marriage equality is not to be found here in our great state! So we will probably get married in one of our neighboring states, like New Jersey (gasp) or Delaware.  We wanted to get married in the state in which we’ve chosen to make our home and build a life together but we don’t want to wait any longer. After 17 years we feel we’ve more than earned the right to get married, whether Pennsylvania law agrees or not.  But that’s not really the point of this post.
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.
June 1997 with Channing
Me: Honey, why are the candle sticks in the freezer?
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?
Grace: Yup!!

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.
Me: What?
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 morning
Me: 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?
Me: Me.
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.

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  1. That was lovely, and so funny. I think I'm the 'you' in our marriage, but hubby is the practical one. I think having space is important - a sense of humour - and basically, respect and being able to get along. You've been together a heck of a lot longer than many people. Well done!

    (Polly from Twitter)

    1. thanks, Polly. I agree with you humor is important and respect is paramount, so that even when we are teasing each other we know there is respect and love there.

      Space is important too. I admire couples who can live in a 500 square foot studio and happy to spend every second together. We need more space. Perhaps because we met in our late 30s so we were used to being alone and on our own.

  2. "It's called a knife."

    I love these stories of 'married life'. It just goes to show that you don't need Pennsylvania to validate what you have, but come on PA! Isn't it about time you got your act together?

    On knives and marriage, I have many tales to tell, but I fear I would get arrested on suspicion of spousal abuse, so instead I shall share Nigel's joy in his (limited) successes at proving me wrong. Like, for instance, the day he went to help out the owner of our local shop and I told him it was a pointless act of altruism. Of course he was gentleman enough to not smugly shake his alcoholic thank-you gift in my face. Then there's also the occasion when I had to eat my hat (literally) because I had wagered on a Christmas number one (The Darkness 'Don't Let The Bells End' - it was a fix, I tell you!). And then there was the time when...well, that's about it really.

    The secret to success? Always let one person think they're right, always. No, seriously, work through and around the stuff life throws at you, and talk to each other. Always.

    1. Good sound advice. I think talking is crucial; not talking being what, I think trips, up some couples.

  3. Larry, Larry, Larry! Like your brother "Romeo", you do have a way with words and endless humor! LOL!

    You are so descriptive & detailed with your writing that you have the ability to transport anyone to that very moment as if the event happened yesterday! But, I think you missed the boat on this one Larry!

    The most memorable moment of the New Year's Eve Party week; was the moment of revisiting the reciting of your written vows! It was emotionally charged and it really makes you realize that you've made no mistakes! Seventeen years ago, both Stanley & yourself have made the picture perfect choice in choosing a life mate, lover & friend! Who can ask for more?!

    You've both got the complete package; the ying & the yang! How can you possibly come up with more intimate, loving and kind vows this year than you did nearly two decades ago? It will be an unforgettable moment that you will treasure. We can't wait to comeback and revisit you for the Martha Stewart home loving feeling that you both perfectly provided us with last month.

    Congratulations, on having such an amazing union. Many people are not equally as blessed to find the one person who can love them for who they are. Thank you, for sharing such vivid memories with all of us; as we look forward to the future adventures of your LOVE!!

    1. You're so sweet! we definitely have the Ying and Yang though we're more often Mutt & Jeff. LOL

      I think the thing about Stanley is he is probably the only person I have ever met who doesn't make me feel I need to be more or less than I am.

      He tells me I can do anything. But he doesn't just say it, he means it.

  4. Larry, this is absolutely lovely. Well done!

    What are the keys to successful relationships?

    Definitely humor. You have that one covered.

    Patience. Thank goodness Stanley has that one. *grin*

    For us, I'm more the word person, but it's Mark's use of language that constantly challenges and amuses me. For example, he insists on pronouncing the "b" in "subtle." He mispronounces "croutons." He does these things on purpose because he knows it annoys me.

    Where he excels is in his misuse of words. My favorite story took place one year at the Del Mar Fair in Southern California. Resting after a day of walking the fairgrounds, Mark turned to me and complained about all the commercial products being promoted over crafts and animals. "When I was a kid," he explained, "the fairs had big tractors and giant concubines!"

    "That was some fair," I agreed before all but collapsing to the ground laughing.

    Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

    1. Thanks Ken.
      Yes, I suppose I do require patience. But I'm fun, damnit!
      Mark sounds adorable. I think you're lucky to have found each other. I can't stop laughing about the "concubines."
      The wedding...thanks! I hope I survive the planning. Where's Jennifer Lopez when you need her?


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