Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Marriage 101

The other night I dashed off what I thought was a clever little blog entry. Following are the first few paragraphs:

Talkin’ Tabloids

I’m interrupting the regularly scheduled content of this blog to express shock and dismay about an oh-so-trivial matter. My media savvy college professor husband does not know what Jon Gosselin looks like.

This was revealed to me when I commented to him how the husband of someone we know resembles the TLC-traumatized male half of Jon and Kate Plus Eight. In my defense, I have never watched the show. Ever.

However…I have been known to peruse the glossy tabloids in the supermarket checkout and even to plunk down some hard-earned dollars if the cover promises a story on a contestant on the Biggest Loser or Kirstie Alley’s weight battles.

Jon and Kate’s marital woes had been plastered on magazine covers for so many months that one magazine promised a ‘Gosselin-free edition’ on its cover.

I then segued into talking about my favorite TLC show, ‘What Not to Wear,’ and how I love makeover shows. How the power to transform oneself never ceases to fascinate me.

Somehow I wrapped it all up by proclaiming that unlike Kate Gosselin, I love that man of mine, even if he wouldn’t know a picture of Jon Gosselin from a picture of Celebrity X.

And that’s when I got into trouble.

I like my husband to read my blog posts before I put them up. Husband said he certainly would know the difference between Kate’s mate…and Gilligan. Yes, I used Bob Denver as my example. There’s a slight resemblance, after all. Okay, very slight.

It is important to note that in our marriage I am the mercurial, clever (or so I thought) one. He is the highly intelligent calm one. His feathers are never ruffled, and if they are, woe unto the ruffler. My dh took umbrage with my not-so-clever wordplay, and I took umbrage with him.

We joke about it nearly twenty years later, but we once had a horrid argument about the grammatical correctness of a sentence in The New York Times. Husband said to me coldly: “I could diagram it for you.”

When two journalism majors marry, life can be weird.

Our second year of marriage we rented an old farmhouse in rural Iowa. We were both working at the local newspaper, he in the newsroom, me in circulation then composing. A ‘nepotism’ policy prevented spouses from working in the same department. I was miserable.

That house was so cold we literally had ice in the bathtub and needed to thaw the tub before using it. As the wind howled around us at night, huddled as we were in our long underwear in bed, we wondered what we’d gotten ourselves into regarding marriage. It would have been easy to go our separate ways at that point. But when I thought about what kind of future I wanted, it always came back to wanting babies with the man I’d married. The man I loved. He felt the same way. One night I sprang up in bed and told him I thought he should apply to grad school. He really wanted to be a college professor.

The rest is marital and parental history.

Now it doesn’t even take ice in the bathtub to set me off sometimes. I’m happy to pout over petty annoyances if I’m feeling cranky. But when I think about the imminent empty nest years (and I suspect the blog ‘incident’ was triggered by my realization that my youngest goes to college in just three and a half years…my youngest!), I can’t imagine not spending them with my husband of two and a half decades plus.

Even if he doesn’t know what Jon Gosselin looks like.


  1. What a sweet post, Pam. Thanks for sharing with us!

  2. I have to say that I love the photo... what special memories! I enjoy your blog very much -- I find myself in similar situations that you describe from your past and can totally relate.