Armchair Critics Lend Insight On Keys To Marriage

By Sharon Randall
Tribune News Service.

In every marriage, there comes a test, a battle of wills, an ultimate impasse that will end with one question: Are we going to get over this, or not?

For some couples, the test happens several times a day. They clash so often they find themselves longing to live in a state where “The fool needed killing” is justifiable homicide.

Others, however, seem to sail through thick and thin, bumping heads on occasion but always finding the grace to “get over it.”

Marriage takes a lot of getting over it. They don’t teach you that in school. It’s something you learn, if you’re lucky, on the rocky road between “I do” and “I don’t think so.”

My husband and I consider ourselves lucky. We met at work. He was my editor. We were just friends for nine years, dated for five, and have been married now a decade.

We’ve had our share of differences. He can be, well, a bit bull-headed. And he has a tendency to correct me, whether I am wrong or not, which I often am, but still. I’m just saying.

For the record, I am far from perfect. You might not believe it, but it’s true. I could recite a long list of my shortcomings, but whatever, let’s just move on.

The point I want to make is this: Seldom do we end up, my beloved and I, snarling at each other. Today was an exception.
Two months ago we decided it was time to replace his old, ugly “marshmallow” recliner with two good chairs, one for him and one for me, so I’d no longer need to prop myself up with pillows on the couch like a trauma patient in traction.
The decision, though mutual, raised considerable debate over which chairs, what color and how much to pay for them.
The fact that we reached agreement at all should tell you something about the extent of our compatibility and our willingness to compromise, not to mention, our aching backs.

The chairs we chose had to be ordered. Then the order was delayed because we ordered the wrong ones. Duh. Finally, the right ones arrived, and that morning we began rearranging the family room, trying to make them fit, while at the same time, trying not to kill each other.

What is it about moving furniture that can turn civilized people into foaming-at-the mouth attack dogs?

“It won’t look right there!”

“Yes, it will!”

“Move it to the left!”

“It needs to move right!”

“Two inches is all I’m saying!”

“Two inches is too much!”

“Just try it!”

“OK, fine! How’s that?”

“Wait, that’s too much!”

“#@ percent&#$#(ASTERISK)!!”

Funny, isn’t it, how you can love someone so much you can’t imagine living without him, but sometimes, you’d like to try?

Marriage is a constant give and take, rearranging the pieces of two distinctly separate lives to fit together magically as one.

I once asked a woman happily married for 50 years how she and her husband made it work?

“It’s simple,” she said. “Twice a week we go out for a romantic dinner at our favorite restaurant and take a long, leisurely walk in the moonlight. It’s lovely. He goes Tuesdays, I go Thursdays.”

I liked that woman a lot.

My husband and I finally got so tired of moving furniture we each gave an inch and shook hands on a compromise. It wasn’t pretty, but it was done.

Then we collapsed in our new chairs to watch an old favorite movie, Christopher Guest’s classic, “Best in Show.”

If you need a good laugh, I highly recommend it. We laughed so hard we cried.

When it was over, my husband went to the gym to work out. I stayed home to write a column.

But first, OK, you guessed it _ I moved the chairs. Just a little. I don’t think he will notice. Maybe he will.

Either way, we’ll get over it. We’re married. It’s what we do.

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