My husband and I recently celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. This means our marriage is now old enough to drink.
That’s good. It needs a drink.
On the one hand, you could say that the romance has gone out of our relationship. The honeymoon stage is so long over that I’m pretty sure it is some other couple that went on our honeymoon for us and just told us about it. I’m just as likely to refer to him as the exit to his digestive tract as ‘honey’ or ‘sweetums.’ I’ve contemplated the sweet release of solitary confinement in a prison instead of spending more time in a house with him.
And I wouldn’t change a thing. Really, that’s what romance is.
My secret to a long and successful marriage? When you want to brain him with a frying pan, don’t.
Seriously, don’t. There is no possible way to live with someone for 21 years and not want to kill him at some point. In that period of time, “you look beautiful” turns into “can you see if this wart looks funny?”. “I’m so lucky to have found you” morphs into “Let me get in there before you stink up the bathroom.” Presto-change-o, “you are the love of my life” becomes “if I give you tweezers, can you yank the hair out of my ear?”
And let me tell you this – the change is for the better. I can tell a stranger in the grocery store she looks beautiful. Platitudes are easy to come by. Once a person has seen, say, two or three movies in his or her life a person knows what they are expected to say in a romantic situation. Comment favorably on looks. Say how lucky you are to be in their company. Promise the moon and the future of all moons.
But intimacy? That’s something you have to earn. There is exactly one person on Earth whose ears I can touch at will. Think about it. Even my kids are too old for those kinds of shenanigans, but if I walked up to my husband and grabbed his left ear, he’d ask me what my problem was, but we’d all move on with our day. Anyone else would probably have me arrested. He’s the only one I know whose Big Toe I feel comfortable grabbing. Every time I see him with his shoes off and his feet up, I pinch his toes just because I can. I don’t like feet, especially, and I wash my hands afterwards, but I like that I can grab his piggies. It’s super personal. There are probably fewer people that would object to me grabbing their genitals than people that would object to me grabbing their feet.
I know. I’m weird, but think about it. It’s truer than you want to admit.
I can be crabby and mean, I can be ill and four days post-shower, I can have (and have had) weeping surgical scars that need the dressing changed, and he just comes back for more. I trust him with my money. I trust him with my kids. I know he’s not cheating on me because a) he’d change his shirt more often and b) he’s so disorganized I’d have to make all the arrangements. He trusts me that I’m not cheating on him (and I’m really not!) even though I have plenty of good-looking male friends and go out of town on business trips all the time. I gained a good number of pounds since our wedding day, and he doesn’t seem to care. Good boy!
I admit that sometimes I watch a rom-com and wish some handsome guy would stand out in the rain serenading me and then sweep me up in a soul-jarring kiss that makes my knees buckle. But then what happens when the kiss ends? That guy? I would never feel comfortable leaving my checkbook around him or randomly tugging his earlobe. And goodness knows I’d feel obligated to shower every day and keep my ever-expanding stomach sucked in. Who needs that kind of pressure?
Not me. I’ve got what I need. Comfortable is the new romance.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.