Marriage

On Year Five

When Dustin and I started dating we would attempt to run together. Sometimes it went really well and other times it did not. I’m a runner, always have been. Dustin did not run at the time. I would want to go faster and longer than he would. He would constantly inquire as to how much longer we had to do this. Dustin likes to talk when he runs. I just cannot do that. We would argue. It was annoying to say the least.

Six years later, we’re still trying to run together. Same story except Dustin runs now. Sometimes we run really well together. We can slow it down so I can talk, we can be stride for stride, it seems easy. Other days we simply cannot figure it out. We will argue about a pace, distance, and why the other person is or is not engaging in conversation. There are times we wish we had just run on our own. Sometimes it just seems impossible. It’s frustrating.

We’re celebrating our five year wedding anniversary today. Five whole years. That seems so nuts. If I’m learning anything it’s that we’re five years in this thing and we still don’t always run well together. We’re five years in and we’re still learning how to run together. I’m also learning that’s totally okay. This has been a year where we didn’t always run perfectly together, but we ran well together. We found a stride that worked. We found the rhythm of us.

We learned when to challenge each other and when to back off. We learned that some things really are worth fighting about [and some things just straight up aren’t] but it’s only ever worth fighting if you’re fighting well. We learned that sometimes you just need to get over yourself and go see your counselor. We also learned that sometimes getting over yourself means apologizing first and moving on.We learned how to truly let things go. We learned that there are times in marriage where you’re growing and challenging each other. We also learned that sometimes that stuff is for the birds and marriage just needs to be the safe place. No growing, no challenging, no moving, no shaking. Just a safe place to be. We learned that sometimes you just need to get on a plane and go somewhere together. We also learned that sometimes you just need to stay put, but stay put together. 

We learned that “happily ever after” is not a thing. Instead we learned that this is hard work for the rest of your life. We learned that it really is okay to be sad together. We learned that it’s also really okay to laugh together when you’re sad. We learned that sometimes it’s okay to walk away from an argument but you’ve got to always come back to the table. We learned that spontaneity really can save a Thursday. We learned how to dream together. We learned how to say, “this is what I need from you.” We learned that you really can get through hard things.

It was one of those years where I remembered we’re good together. We’re not perfect together, but we’re good. Really good. So I think we’ll keep running. Or at least keep figuring out how to.

Here’s to year five. DK, you’re my absolute favorite.

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Santa vs Jesus

A few nights ago, Dustin and I were talking about deep theological world-changing stuff like, Santa Clause. I saw Santa once when I was a young tot. It was in the middle of the night on Christmas Day, I heard something downstairs, went to see what it was and lo and behold it was Santa. He saw me and said, “shhh.” After learning the dirty truth I did some serious investigating by shining lights in family member’s eyes and asking them intrusive questions about their whereabouts that night and if they owned a Santa costume. I learned nothing which leaves me just plain confused about Santa.  Like, deep down I know he isn’t real but at the same time I’m like, “Yeah, but I’ve seen him.” I mean, it’s whatever.

We were talking about what we were going to tell our kids about Christmas and Santa. Do we let our kids believe in Santa or no? How do we talk about Jesus and Santa? How do we make Jesus cooler than Santa? Because let’s be real, Santa trumps Jesus all day every day. Santa brings you real gifts and Jesus brings you the gift of eternal life. Womp. Womp. (omg I’m kidding but you know what I mean). If our kids don’t believe in Santa, how do we even do that without our kid making other kids cry with the truth and us getting on parent’s hit lists. We didn’t come to any solid conclusions. By the end of the conversation I was denouncing all things Christmas, including the NSYNC Christmas cd (which is blasphemy), and Dustin was defending Santa like they were precious friends and I had just said something super hateful. So we just dropped it and ordered another round of chips and salsa. Ole.

Last year we went rogue and didn’t celebrate Christmas. Well, we celebrated just not per usual. We did three things: served at a homeless ministry on Christmas night, bought nothing and gave financially. It was a good Christmas, if I do say so myself. Dustin and I recieved a black nutcracker and my family fought over where and what we were going to eat post-serving Christmas dinner to homeless people. But seriously, it was simple, refreshing and not about us.

This year we’ve decided to step back into the celebrating Christmas arena. We’re calling it an intentional Christmas and it looks like this:

1. Any gift we buy for anyone will be socially conscious.

2. Dustin and I will be exchanging 3 gifts on Christmas morning- something to wear, something to read, and something to use to bless someone else

*Dustin asked me the other night, “What are we doing again for Christmas gifts? Something borrowed, something blue..?” No. Just no.

3. I downloaded the Holy Bible app on my iphone (because I’m a heathen and didn’t already have it on there) and we’re going through an Advent daily devotional/scripture reading plan. We’re doing “Good News of Great Joy” by John Piper. You are welcome to join us at dinner any night between now and Christmas to discuss what we read that day.

This is how we’re choosing to celebrate Christmas this year. I won’t be surprised if I do indeed get something borrowed and something blue from my husband. So, basically I’ll just let y’all know how this whole intentional Christmas thing goes. Merry Christmas, y’all!

30 Minutes

Dustin and I are opposites. I’m emotional. He’s rational. I’m spontaneous. He’s a planner. I think cereal for dinner is ridiculous. He thinks that’s what heaven will be like. I think speaking before 8 a.m. is a sin. He wakes up chatty. I never follow recipes. He FREAKS OUT in the kitchen without one. I hate dessert. He has a legitimate dessert compartment. I’m an introvert. He’s an extrovert.

I could go on all day. All. Day. (Said in your best Schmidt voice, please)

The one that gets us the most is the last one. Introvert vs. extrovert. It’s a battle, y’all. It’s taken us four years to figure that one out. There has to be a balance or one of us is miserable. There has to be give and take on both of our parts or it gets ugly.

Dustin and I both talk to people for a living. We both love what we do. I leave work feeling drained. He leaves work feeling pumped up and ready for more. When I get home from work, I don’t want to talk. I need a minute to chill out, process the day, change my clothes, sit, etc. When Dustin gets home from work, he wants to chat it up, tell some jokes, talk extensively, do a song and dance, etc. The first few years we were married the toughest time of the day was the 30 minutes when we both got home at the same time. I didn’t want to answer his questions and I didn’t want to ask any of my own. I was rude and annoyed when he would ask questions. I seemed disinterested when I wouldn’t talk or ask anything myself. We would argue. It would ruin the night. You get the picture.

We finally had what we call a “come to Jesus conversation” about it. Just a this is what’s up, a let’s shoot straight, no hard feelings conversation.

I asked for 30 minutes. On the days we get home at the same time, I need 30 minutes. 30 minutes of no talking. 30 minutes of no questions, no noise, just 30 minutes of silence. If you can give me that; I will gab it up with you all night long. If you can give me those 30 minutes, I will write jokes, ask questions, and tell you everything you want to know and more about the day. But I just need 30 minutes.

Let me just tell you something. Those 30 minutes have saved a small part of our marriage. We had to make a deal. We had to compromise but man, y’all. So. Worth. It. Sometimes Dustin has to circle the block or go to Starbucks because he knows I haven’t had my 30 minutes but he’s willing to do it. And for that I am grateful.

Take it or leave it. Either way, can we just take a moment to fist bump for those 30 minutes?

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Spontaneous Thursday

Spontaneity is my love language. It kills a little piece of my soul every time someone breaks out their calendar. Angels lose wings when a pros and cons list is made. The phrase “shopping around” takes me to dark places. Just buy the $&@! thing. Dustin calls it emotional and rash, I say it’s freedom. Whatever, man.

Spontaneity is Dustin’s fifth level of hell. He is a thinker, a planner, and rational to his core. Dustin’s hands get sweaty at the phrase, “let’s just wing it.” To Dustin, the answer to WWJD? is create a pros and cons list. Every time. Opposites attract, y’all. For real.

Over the summer we came up with something genius. We call it “spontaneous Thursday.” Every Thursday Dustin gets to plan a spontaneous activity for the evening. See what we did there? Planned spontaneity. Brilliant. Just plain brilliant I tell you.

The rules are as follows:
1. Dustin plans it
2. I am not allowed in the decision making process
3. I am not allowed to change the activity
4. We aren’t allowed to talk about it until Thursday afternoon

We’ve done happy hours, new restaurants, movies, ice cream, favorite restaurants, community events, and concerts. It’s simple. It’s so fun. Thursdays are my favorite.

Spontaneous Thursday makes me want to high five a million angels. It’s how we’re keeping it fresh and we’re giving it to you today fo’ free. Pound it.

Think Before You Post

Back when we were starting our adoption fundraiser over the summer, we were trying to figure out a way to stay organized with all of the donations coming in. Dustin created an Excel spreadsheet where we could plug in people’s names, donation amount, and how many puzzle pieces they got. We failed to include a column for whether or not we had written a thank you note to them. Stupid us. We started writing thank you emails and notes and it got a little chaotic. We were constantly asking each other, “Have you written these people a thank you yet?” or “Are you writing them or am I?” I’m sure there are some folks out there who received multiple thank you notes from us. I mean we’re just REALLY thankful. Or bad at creating Excel spreadsheets. It’s whatever. 

One morning, we were both at work and a texting conversation happened that was one of the most frustrating ones ever. We could not communicate what we needed to and neither of us was understanding what the other was saying. In essence we were arguing about thank you notes, who was writing who, why we hadn’t written them already, and adding a column to that said spreadsheet where we could note if they had received a thank you from us. Dustin thought I was at home and had access to a stack of notes we had already written. I wasn’t but assumed he knew I was at work. You know these kind of conversations or is it just us?

We got it resolved and Dustin texted me this: 

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I laughed out loud when I read it. I laughed throughout the morning when I thought about it. I could just picture Dustin saying it and  I genuinely thought it was a funny text message. I laughed at the struggle of communicating through text messaging. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t even frustrated by the end of it all. I just thought it was funny.

Then I did something that I don’t normally do. I posted the above picture on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the caption, “Sometimes it’s just a struggle.” I didn’t ask Dustin if it was okay to post it because I didn’t think it was a big deal. I thought it was funny and I knew other people would think it was funny, too. My motivation wasn’t to make him look bad. We were both a part of the conversation that made it a struggle. My intentions were just to post something real life and funny. That’s it. The picture was posted out of context but seriously who can summarize the above story in less than 140 characters?

You want to know what happened next? I got a lot of “likes” on Instagram and Facebook. I felt confirmed in what I had put out there for the world to see. People thought it was funny just like I thought they would. I win, right? 

Wrong. I got home and Dustin expressed that he was PISSED I had posted that on social media. I was genuinely caught off guard. IT. WAS. FUNNY. However, to Dustin the picture was posted out of context, it was about him, it was something he had said, and he felt like it made him look bad. I hadn’t asked if it was okay to post that and it hurt him to be scrolling through social media and see that posted there unbeknownst to him. He didn’t want to publicize that argument. Period.

Did I fully understand where he was coming from? No. Did he fully understand where I was coming from? Not really. Did we eventually work it out and everything was okay? Yes.

Looking back I should have just deleted the picture when he told me he didn’t want it on social media. Or I should have clarified the picture and put it in context. I should have done something but I didn’t. I chose to let my pride win. I chose to let “likes” on social media win. I chose to justify and make my point over letting it go. I chose social media over my husband and that makes me sad. 

Ever since then I’ve tried really hard to be careful what I put on social media. About my husband, my marriage, what I’m doing, what’s going on, about my job, etc. I don’t want to put a picture out there with me and a group of friends hanging out because I know there are people who were not invited to said hang out. And let’s get real, that sucks to be scrolling through social media and find you were the one not invited. I don’t want to put quotes from students because I didn’t ask them and it’s a part of their “story” I’m telling. I don’t want to put something out there that could jeopardize my marriage or my relationship with my husband. I don’t want to put something out there that could jeopardize my relationship with my friends. 

Can we make a pact to think before we post things? Whether it’s a picture, a status, or a blog post. Whether it’s about just you or it involves other people. Whether you think it’s harmless or not. Whether it’s posted in context or out of context. Whether it’s posted to hurt or to tell a story. Just think. Social media can be a great tool or it can be really hurtful. You can get “likes” or you can keep relationships. What are you going to choose? 

P.S. Dustin doesn’t know I’m posting this. 

P.S.S. KIDDING. 🙂

Birth Control, Errand Running, & Whisper Fighting: Koctar Year 4 In Review

It’s our anniversary today. Whoop. We’re four years in and still kicking. Hive fives all around, y’all.

Let’s be real for just a minute. Marriage is wonderful. Marriage is ridiculous. Sometimes we both feel like we’ve been married for a stinking century. Other days we feel like we got married 5 minutes ago. There are days where we cannot wait to come home to each other. There are days we might take an extra lap around the block before coming home. Sometimes I think we should win an award because we are so awesome. Other times I think the Kardashians are better at marriage than us. Sometimes all we do is laugh. Sometimes all we do is fight.

Love is just a battlefield, y’all.

We didn’t publicly talk about this past year much. It was a hard one and honestly, just really weird. We lived with my family for 8 of the last 12 months (which we are beyond thankful for). We slept in my old childhood bedroom. We shared a bathroom with my youngest sister. Dustin quit a job. I worked 2 jobs. Dustin worked multiple odd jobs. Dustin got a new job. We moved out in April. So, yeah, it was a weird one BUT boy did we learn from this last year.

So, in honor of today, Dustin and I teamed up to bring you a few things we learned in this year 4 of marriage.

1. Whisper fighting. When you are living with others, you can’t really fight. It’s awkward for all. So, we learned to whisper fight. We are champions at fighting at a level -4 voice volume. We could now fight in the middle of the moment of silence and no one would hear us.

2.We are bed size snobs. My parents did it right. They bought me a bed as a teenager that is only suitable for one human to sleep in. Here’s to 8 months of feeling like your going to fall off the bed, elbows in the face, middle of the night kicks to the shin, and awful sleep. If you want us to sleep in anything smaller than a queen; well, you can just get to steppin’.

3. Running errands with your mother- in- law isn’t so bad. Dustin unemployed + my stay at home mom= lots of errand running together. I would often come home, ask Dustin what he did today, and get this as a response: “Oh, I just ran errands with your mom all day. We went to Costco, the grocery, ran through Starbucks; you know.” No. I don’t know.

4. You must be a CPA(certified public accountant) to do anything in America. Dustin looked for a job for months. Had countless first interviews and lots of second interviews. And you want to know what they ALL said? You need to be a CPA. It was probably the most disheartening thing ever. You’re interviewing for a job that has NOTHING to do with accounting? Oh, I’m sorry, you’ll need to be a CPA. You need to go to the bathroom? Oh, too bad, you’ll need to be a CPA to do that.

5. If you want to fly through your reading list; be unemployed. In between running errands with my mom, Dustin read. A lot of books. 13 books in 3 months, to be exact. I often wished he could have been working under the table for high school students. Reading their books, writing reports, and getting paid for it. No such luck.

6. Queso & Margarita Friends are the answer to everything. Q & M friends are those people you can call when you are literally feeling any emotion at all and they will meet you for queso and margs. Happy? Sad? Pissed? Frustrated? Excited? Tired? QUESO AND MARGARITA FRIENDS. They are necessary, vital for the soul and your marriage. We have them. We love them. Go getcha’ some of your own.

7. Birth control was created by Satan. I used to be pretty normal. Then I started taking birth control and I became a psycho. For the first 3 1/2 years of our marriage my sweet husband was walking through an emotional land mine. During a 5 minute span I could: bawl my eyes out, laugh hysterically, say I’m depressed, be chipper, and sit in a dark room with a glass of wine all at the same time. It was SO awesome. So I said peace out to the BC and our marriage has never been better.

8. The holy spirit is real and it tells you to do stuff. Listen to it and do what it tells you. Life is crazy cool if you do.

Here’s to year 4 and one of the funnest days ever. Onward to year 5. Cheers!

C & D

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Group Texts, Fighting, And Marriage

This post is coming out of my intense need for a sarcastic outlet. I’m dying over here. I have a post in draft status entitled “$&@! People Say To People Adopting.” FOR THE LOVE Y’ALL. 

A few weeks ago, Dustin and I were driving each other crazy. Like, the kind of crazy that has no explanation. Just the presence of the other was annoying. The sound of the other breathing was enough to make us want to tell others to not get married. I can’t even say what the sight of each other was like.

At the same time we were getting on each other’s nerves; Dustin and I were involved in a group text. Curse you, group text. It was shameless. Really, it was. We were meeting some friends in Atlanta in a few weekends and they were texting us to work out an arrival plan. They were flying, we were driving. An arrival plan was a necessary evil.

At the same time we were group texting; we were also getting ready for a run. Dustin was putting on his shoes and getting licked to death by our dog. I was reading the text messages out loud and asking him what our plan was. Dustin was yelling at the dog. The dog was going bat$&@! crazy. I started yelling the text messages aloud to be heard over Dustin and the dog. Dustin didn’t want to do THIS right now. I said we HAD to. They are booking FLIGHTS. (I LOVE talking in ALL CAPS.) Dustin said some more stupid stuff. I said some more stupid stuff.

We left the house and Dustin took off running. I had been given the dog in some smooth transition out the door. The dog takes off running after Dustin; leaving me in question as to if I do or do not still have my arm attached to my body. I’m yelling at the dog. I’m yelling at Dustin. Now we’re both yelling at each other IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR STREET. We yelled things like:

“What is YOUR PROBLEM!?”

“Do you really want to do this in the middle of the street??”

“I don’t want to run with you.”

“I don’t want to run with YOU.”

“Give me the house keys.”

“No.”

“What is YOUR problem!?!”

“You’re not invited to my birthday party.”

At this point I literally threw the dog leash AT MY HUSBAND. [Did I mention we’re still in the middle of the street?] I turn around and run 3 miles to the left. He turns around and runs 3 miles to the right. We passed each other once and ACTED LIKE WE DIDN’T KNOW EACH OTHER.

We ran our 3 miles separately and met back at home and literally shook on the fact that we were just moving passed whatever THAT was and haven’t talked about it since.

All that to say; if you’ve ever found yourself yelling at your spouse in the middle of the street: you’re not alone, friend. You. Are. Not. Alone. Stay strong. Peace be with you always.

CK

Dear Mindy

I just finished reading Mindy Kaling’s (Kelly from The Office) book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). It was good. I laughed. I would recommend it. In this book there is a gem of a chapter entitled “Married People Need to Step It Up.” It is brilliant. If you do nothing else, at least go to a book store and sit in an aisle and read this chapter. It’s pages 183-187. Just to make that one easy.

Mindy, here is my response to your so brilliantly written chapter on marriage.

Dear Mindy,

Hey girl hey! I FINALLY read your book. I’ve just been so stressed out lately and haven’t had any time at all to do fun things like read good books. Since we’re friends, I obviously know that you don’t like it when I talk about being stressed, so I’ll move on.

I want to redeem it all for married people. Sorry we suck sometimes. You’re right, marriage is work but at least it’s work with a person we like (hopefully). Sorry we talk so much about it being hard and make it seem like a chore rather than something awesome. Being married is so fun. Dustin is one of my favorite people. He’s definitely my favorite husband… see what I did there?

What I like most about marriage is I genuinely like my husband. I like to hang out with him. Don’t fool yourself, I don’t like to hang out with him all the time but a lot of the time I do. I like that we can do just about anything and have fun together. I like that we laugh a lot. Dustin is funny and I am funnier. I like that we can make fun of ourselves and each other and still love one another. I love that his tribute to Valentine’s day was, “On this day in history, five years ago, you completely ignored me. I thought about ignoring you all day, but my heart is full of love.”

I like that just a second ago Dustin google chatted me and asked, “are we allowed to go to Baja Burrito on Valentine’s Day or do we have to go somewhere fancy?” Baja. Duh. Every time.

I love that we have “our shows.” Modern Family, The Office, Community, Parks and Recreation, The League, Breaking Bad, FNL, Happy Endings, Entourage, and 30 Rock. If we watch any of those without the other it is game on. One time he watched an episode of FNL without me and I cried. That is a true story. I hate that I’m addicted to Breaking Bad because of him. But I slightly love it. I love so much that he does the thing from Happy Endings where Brad snaps his finger and his pants fall off. Except Dustin’s version is more like snapping the finger and then an awkward shimmy to get his pants to fall to the floor. Hilarious. I love that he pretends he isn’t watching Gossip Girl with me. I love that we have a qoute from The Office or 30 Rock for just about everything. If we go into hybernation for weeks at a time it is most likely because we have picked up a new show and are Netflix-ing every season available. I love that on Friday nights you will find us on the couch Hulu-ing every one of these shows from the week. Call us lame but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

It makes me laugh so hard to think about the time he woke up before me and made bacon. I couldn’t wait to tell him, “I can officially say… I like waking up to the smell of bacon. Sue me.” (That is a good one y’all. Seriously.)

It makes me die a little when he calls me by my maiden name, “Flow.” I thoroughly enjoy addressing him by his twitter handle @dustinkoctar.

I adore that when we’ve had a fight or done something stupid our response is always, “We/I/You are better than that.” By “done something stupid” I am recalling the time we went to the beach and I asked him to put sunscreen on my back. I guess he thought I said half of my back because I got 3rd degree burn on HALF OF MY BACK. Like blisters third degree burn. You are seriously better than that my friend.

Being married makes me happy. It’s not that hard to make it work. You can indeed get married and be pals. You don’t have to gaze into each others eyes. We’ve literally never done that and I think if we did we would just start laughing. It is possible to like being married. Trust me.

Peace, Love, & “The Injury” being my favorite Office episode,
CK

2012 in Review

We’ve decided to change things up on the blog a little bit. It’s a new year. Anything goes.

We joke a lot about how much we have hated this past year. If we’re being honest, those haven’t been jokes. If you thought we were joking you either don’t know us very well or we have poor joke delivery skills. We have literally hated this year. I have never been one for eating black eyed peas on New Year’s day but yesterday we ate a ton of them.

2012 was a hard year. It was a weird one. We felt called to do stuff that didn’t make sense. I cried a lot this year. We fought a lot. It was an uncomfortable year. A year of financial and job insecurity. It was a year of hard conversations. A year where we had to do stuff we didn’t want to. It was a year I probably would not ever want to live again.

2012 was also a year of adventure. A year of crazy stories. It was a year of great trips. A year where we experienced God in straight up awesome ways. It was a year full of community. It was a year where I felt so blessed by family. A year where I have never been more thankful for the friends that we have. It was a year that has changed us forever.

On that note, here is my year in review and things I have learned from my not so favorite year.

1. When you have to eat pasta every night, buy it in different shapes. You kind of feel like you’re eating something different. Kind of not, though.

2. It’s okay if you have to sell your TV and Xbox.

3. Going to New York City, Washington DC, London, and Uganda is a legit travel year.

4. When you’re living with your parents and you get the opportunity to house sit? Take it. Every time.

5. Only talk about finances in public. You can’t yell or ugly cry. Well, you can but that’s embarrassing. (Thanks for this one Buzards.)

6. If you go 3 weeks without washing your hair it will start to fall out.

7. The Beatles were right. You really can get by with a little help from your friends. I’m assuming you can also get high with a little help from your friends. I wouldn’t know about that one.

8. If you cry all the time your husband will not want to hang out with you.

9. When life doesn’t go the way you had hoped, you can either pout or get over it. I’ve tried both. I recommend the latter.

10. When God calls you towards an adventure, go. Or he’ll send someone else instead. That would stink.

Here’s to lessons learned in 2012 and a hopeful 2013!

…Courtney

Anniversary

My wife and I are celebrating our second anniversary today, so that pretty much makes us marriage experts.  It’s amazing how quickly the time has passed, even though sometimes it feels like we’ve been married 20 years.  Married people always say, “It’s not easy.  You really have to work at it,” but that advice is very vague.  Therefore, my wife and I teamed up to make a list of the top ten things I learned during our first two years of marriage.

10. If I don’t change the toilet paper roll, then no one will.

You know this post is going to be good if the first subject refers to the bathroom.  Supposedly, my wife grew up in a house where a magical fairy would come by in the middle of the night to replace all of the empty toilet paper rolls.  Changing the toilet paper roll is not a task to which she is accustomed, but she does get an “Exceptional” rating for being able to get the toilet paper out of the cabinet and placing it on the counter.

9. My wife tries to practice her counseling skills on me.

Courtney recently received her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and I sometimes feel like a case study.  Early on, she would ask me questions about my feelings, and I would be oblivious to the fact that I was “unpacking” my emotions.  It took me the better part of two years to figure out that the counseling process begins when my wife asks, “How does that make you feel?”

8. I am the family compass.

Nine times out of nine, if left unattended, my wife will go the wrong direction.  Some of the most difficult discussions that we have had occurred on the phone while my wife was lost.  The conversations usually go like this: “I’m lost.” “Where are you?” “I have no idea.” “Well…”

7. I had more sleeping space in my twin bed during college.

I always assumed that when I graduated to a queen-sized bed that I would have more sleeping space.  Marriage showed me the truth.  On a typical night, I have to fit my husky, 6-foot frame into a space smaller than a bookshelf.  My wife has plenty of room, though.

6. My wife is passive aggressive.

While this issue was addressed during pre-marital counseling, I’m still not an expert in my wife’s passive aggressive techniques.  I’m getting better at figuring it out, but sometimes I drop the ball.  For a simple example, when my wife says, “Do you want Baja Burrito for dinner tonight?” it means, “I don’t care what you want, you better take me to Baja Burrito tonight.”  Here’s another one: “I heard Target has some really cute stuff out now,” which means “I’m going to Target, and I’m going to buy something.”

5. We have to take a trip every three months.

This one is actually pretty fun.  Every three months my wife and I get restless and we need a vacation, so we take a quick weekend trip to Atlanta, Pensacola, St. Louis, or Santa Claus, Indiana.  It’s great; I highly recommend it.

4. You can’t simply live on love.

…Especially when you have a single income that is 100% commission-based.  Love is great, but it won’t pay the bills.  It only means that you will always be together…even if it’s at the homeless shelter or under a bridge.  It hasn’t been that bad, though, but money has definitely been the reason for a lot of stressful moments over the past two years.  But that’s life.

3. You don’t need a TV.

My wife and I went through the first year and a half of our marriage without a TV.  It was amazing.  During that time, I probably read 35 books, I exercised regularly, and I went to bed at a reasonable hour.  My mom gave us a TV for Christmas last year, and our marriage hasn’t been the same since.  Instead of watching The Office on hulu.com on my laptop, we can actually watch it on a real TV.  We still don’t have cable, though – just the basics: NBC, ABC, CBS, Telemundo, and 4 home-shopping channels.

2. Weekends are two days for a reason.

Last winter a pretty crazy snowstorm came through Nashville, and when I say “crazy” I mean we got about four inches of snow.  It may not seem like much, but it shut down the city, and we weren’t able to work on Thursday and Friday.  That meant my wife and I were stuck together for an extra 48 hours before the weekend.  If you do the math, we spent 96 total hours together that weekend, and tensions got pretty high.  After a heated discussion Sunday afternoon (the 89th hour), I declared, “This is why weekends are only two days!”  My wife quickly replied, “This is why old people hate each other!”  Oh, it was great.

1. I’m awesome, and my wife is lucky to have me.

Just kidding – I’m lucky to have my wife.  As you can tell from the nine previous subjects, we have had our ups and downs, but we still love each other.  We’ve made it this far, so I guess this means we can stop trying and just set the cruise control for the rest of our marriage.