“Getting Over it,” column for Sept. 22, 2015

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 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!”

“#!@*&#$!#!!”

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 fed up with moving furniture that 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.

Comments

  1. Glenda Barry says:

    Hi Sharon,

    I enjoyed this column very much and it underscores the importance of compromise. My husband and I are on our second go-round. We were married for 25 years, got really stupid and thought we were drifting apart, so we got divorced. We were apart for 7 years, then got remarried and next week will be our 4th anniversary this time. He has prostate cancer from Agent Orange in Vietnam and also had double kidney cancer. Had to have half of his right kidney removed and all of his left kidney removed, so far doesn’t need dialysis, so thank God for that. I’m a writer, too, and when I look at Vernon, none of the little nit-picky things matter, I’m just so thankful to still have him with me, and have written many essays about our lives now. We have also been rescuing cats for over 30 years and have a houseful and feed many homeless outside cats, so our lives are very full. Here is an essay that I wrote not long ago: My husband looks at me with love in his eyes and says, “Do you know what I want to do with you?” I answer “Yes.” He says “I want to slow dance with you for a long, long time, outside, under a starry sky, forever.” I say “I want that, too.” And so with cats winding in and out around our ankles, he holds me and we sway together in silence. I notice how thin he is since he got cancer, but still strong in all the ways that count. We have been together for half of our lives. I close my eyes and feel his arms around me, slow dancing down through all the years, in good times and bad, and swaying to the music that is in our hearts.******* Right now, I’m posting almost daily essays on Facebook, and trying to find an agent. Thank you for your insightful columns that are also humorous at times. I know your husband had cancer, too, and there are lots of challenges involved. But compromise, that is a way for everybody to win. Thank you for sharing your life with us, I appreciate you.

  2. Kate Sciacca says:

    Simple wisdom as usual ? We will be married 40 years next year and two little sayings have served me well…. The first is when we have a disagreement I simply respond (with a smile, and the number refers to the upcoming anniversary year) ” 40 years dear? I give that a fifty-fifty chance!!” ?
    And the second is when some new little thing shows up in the house and he inquires as to the cost… “Now now honey, you have had such a very hard day, I don’t want you to worry your pretty little head about the cost!” ?
    So far, it is working…. 8 kids, 10 grandkids, 4 in-laws…. We will see if we make it to 40…. I give it 50-50 ?

  3. Jan says:

    My husband and I have been married over 52 years, after dating for 4 years. Now I’m losing him to metastatic pancreatic cancer. I’m not ready for this. There can be difficult times in marriage, but if couples stick it out it will get better (Yes, there are incidents of abuse, etc, and that’s different). Couples need to cherish each other while they can, life can be shorter than one expects. Love your columns, Sharon – they are so real!

    • Sharon Randall says:

      Jan, I’m truly sorry for what you and your husband are going through. My heart goes out to you. I wish you grace and peace.
      Sharon

  4. My husband and I have been together 50 years though married only 45 of those. I could not have explained marriage better. It is always give and take. We try to always be on the same page. It is tricky, especially as you grow older your needs, likes, and dislikes change. Try and change together. We have seen couples loose each other because of too many girlfriends or boyfriends. Those friends come and go; you only need each other, all the way to the end of your journey.

  5. Hi Sharon!

    I laughed when I read your article about husbands. Russ and I have been married 35 years. We met in Washington, DC through friends. It was a whirlwind romance. He is the love of my life. Having just moved to Colorado, we are making some changes to our home. We are going through the same things, move the chairs, fix the picture, go to the left a little, go to the right a little. I would like 2 new chairs. He disagrees as our old furniture is comfy. In the end, I have to smile as I know it will all work out.

  6. anonymissus says:

    THANK YOU, SHARON. I needed to read that. I think God purposefully directed me to read that column today.Been reading your work for awhile. And I enjoy your column very much. But this time it was extra special. Thank You&God bless. Please pray for me&mine. Strength in numbers. I need more strong and Godly women in my corner.
    Peace,Luv,&Blessings,
    Mrs. F.
    (Mr. F’s wifey of going on 14 years)
    p.s. Yes, every marriage goes through cycles of things being good, great, and not so good. But I know I am his missing rib and wouldn’t want to be on this ride anywhere else with anybody else.

  7. shashi says:

    Yes , husbands can be pickky , fussy like kids but they forget about all what happened a while ago . And wives too .

  8. Nancy Davis says:

    Sooo0000, true, we can finally “accept” it after our 52 yrs. lol. But….lol that little moving that chair just a teeny bit while hubby was at the gym, lol think we women have figured out how to do just that. A well kept secrete in my house. I’ll never tell “him” lol the devil made me do it! I’m going to save this column, and send it to my granddaughters when they find Mr. Wonderful, with a little side note.OK to move that chair a teeny bit.

  9. Sarah Christopher says:

    Trust me, he probably won’t notice. I can change the entire color and seasonal schemes in the bathrooms and mine doesn’t notice. Of course I am certain I fail to notice lots of nice little things he does for me. His goal is for me NOT to notice! What a guy!

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