Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Modern Translation: The Awesome Wife's Guide (Rule #6)

(This is the 7th post of this series. To read the entire series, click on the label to the left that reads "Modern Translation Series.")

* Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction. 

It's awfully hard to think about cooler months after the weekend we've just had!

Thank you 1950s Housewife for the suggestion, but I think I’ll pass on this one! If for no other reason, my husband seems to be a little to good at lighting fires on his own. I'm referring to the Opening Day Bonfire Debacle of 2010, otherwise known as “The Day I Prevented my Husband from Burning Down the Garage.” 

Mid-April marks the Opening Day of trout season here in Central PA- maybe in other places too, I couldn’t tell you. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the bonfire incident I wouldn’t even remember when it happens here each year. 

My husband grew up fishing but like so many, he fled his small, rural hometown the day after college graduation in search of a more exciting big-city life. After about 5 years in the DC area, he felt his soul slowly being sucked away from him and moved back to Central PA. Fishing was one of the big draws back to the simple life. 

As with most of his fishing outings, Opening Day 2010 started at, what I like to call, the ass-crack of dawn.... roughly 5:00 am. My husband always sleeps through this early morning alarms. I, of course, wake up as soon as I hear the first beep. About 10 minutes later I finally get him awake enough to turn off the alarm but by now I am fully, completely, no-doubt-about-it awake with 0 chance of falling back asleep. Dammit! So, once he downs a Red Bull and gets on the road I decide to make the most of my longer than usual day. In Spring 2010 I was knee-deep in wedding planning, so I set off for a full day of errand running and wedding-project-supply shopping. 

I couldn’t tell you what exactly happened in the Hubs world between the hours of 6:00 am and 3:00 pm but I can promise you it involved beer... and lots of it! My understanding of Opening Day is that about 10% of the day is spent fishing and the other 90% is spent drinking. Consider it St. Patrick’s Day for non-Irish Pennsylvanians. Opening Day also tends to usually have the worst Spring weather: rainy, cold and windy. Opening Day 2010 was very... very... windy. I cannot stress this enough- very windy. 

I arrived home with an armful of wedding madness at 3:00 pm, just in time to witness my husband strike the match, starting a bonfire, as Thing 1 and Thing 2 (his partners in crime that shall remain nameless) crack open new beers. I believe the exact words out of my mouth, as I walked into the house were “This cannot end well.” I have said those words on other occasions to my husband, to name one when he attempted to do a keg-stand on his 30th birthday, but never in the history of our relationship did the words ring truer than that day. Did I mention it was windy? 

To cut a long, dramatic story short the day ended with a flame-singed section of lawn, a garden hose and a passed out husband. I mention this story because a) it was the first memory that came to mind when I read 1950s Housewife’s advice on husbands and fires and 2) I learned a lot about my husband and myself that day. It was, actually, the day I knew I was 100% ready to marry him. (I promise I will explain.)

I have never been madder at my husband than I was that day but, in the three years we’ve been together, it was the only time I was truly mad at him. I’ve been upset, I’ve overreacted before, I’ve acted mad for short periods of time, but I have only once been exceptionally, fuming mad at him. I felt that day that my husband had put himself, myself, our guests, our cat and our property at risk by drinking beyond the point of responsible behavior. 

So, what did I learn that day? I rely on my husband and I need to be able to trust him 100% of the time. Even on Opening Day, my husband is responsible for taking care of me and us. He doesn’t get a day off from being an adult. He doesn’t get a day off from being responsible, trustworthy or accountable. He doesn’t get a day off from being a husband. But, even the man I hold in the highest regard and lean on each and every day can make a mistake and I don’t get a day off from being his wife. I don’t get a day off from loving him unconditionally. I don’t get a day off from better or worse days. 

One week after we were married one of my bridesmaids filled for divorce. They had been married around a year and a half. They were miserable. They fought all the time, over the littlest & grandest of issues. This husband and wife had many challenges stacked against them and in the end they were not committed to overcoming them. I remember once hearing a quote about marriage by Will Smith (and thanks to Google I will share with with you now): “Marriage is the hardest thing you will ever do. The secret is removing divorce as an option. Anybody who gives themselves that option will get a divorce.”

Now, I’m not saying that divorce was a reasonable response to this fight/situation involving my husband and the bonfire. Actually, it couldn’t have been because we weren’t even married yet but I’m using it as a talking point because we’ve yet to have our first post-wedding fight. I mention it because it brings up a discussion on the obligation a husband & wife have to one another and the dedication they must have to their marriage. 

I learned that day that he is obligated to me and I am obligated to him and that never goes away and it brings with it serious pressure that some can buckle under. I learned that even in the face of pure anger my husband and I can have a healthy fight. In our conversations following that incident we discussed our feelings about our obligations to one another, not specific wrongs or actions. It was important to me that he understand that it was not the bonfire or the drinking that upset me, but the fact that he gave up responsibility. I learned that I am always committed to him and us, regardless of when he or we make mistakes.

So, in a round-about way I have a point. Part of our obligation to one another is to provide a “haven of rest and order.” We won’t always do that. In fact, some days, we may provide a haven of chaos and dysfunction and you know, that’s okay, because nobody is perfect. What is important is the comfort that comes out of learning from those days and mistakes, and the personal satisfaction that comes from rededicating to one another and your marriage even in the wake of bonfires.


Dear 1950s Housewife, 
Thank you for reminding me that fires can be good or bad... or bad before getting good. Thank you for reminding me of my obligation to my husband and I will take this as an opportunity to thank him for fulfilling his obligation to me (except on that one day). We will both continue to work on providing a haven of rest and order in our home and within each other, but I think we will let the fire pit rest for a little while longer.  

Have a pleasant day,
The 2010s Housewife

8 comments:

  1. What a wonderful story. Than you for sharing I will go to bed with all that you have written in mind.
    On the 50's house front. I'd light a fire if we had one, and we certainly have the weather for it here right now. But we don't, instead I have a split system a/c, so that will have to do :)

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  2. I loved your story and really identify with the things you have said. We got married last year too and I'm loving being a wife so far :) Have a lovely weekend, Anna.

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  3. It's funny how when something endangers your world (your loved one, home etc) that you see things so clearly. This week something happened at my place of work where I was concerned whether I would still have a job or not. It wasn't the job that I was upset about the most, but that I dissappointed my partner, and endangered our life together with a stupid action. You never have a day off protecting and being the best you can for you, your partner and the both of you together.

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  4. It's funny how when something endangers your world (your loved one, home etc) that you see things so clearly. This week something happened at my place of work where I was concerned whether I would still have a job or not. It wasn't the job that I was upset about the most, but that I dissappointed my partner, and endangered our life together with a stupid action. You never have a day off protecting and being the best you can for you, your partner and the both of you together.

    ReplyDelete