Tamera Schlueter Love and marriage take time and humor

Column-writing night found me in the Valentine card aisle, sifting through sad puppy/fuzzy kitten options until I found one featuring a polar bear splayed out on a glacier with his tongue hanging out. Who knew it could be so hard to find just the right card? So here’s the column that ran in the Feb. 14, 2013, issue of the Hastings Tribune. Behave yourselves and have a great week.

Valentine’s Day has me thinking about love and marriage. Proposals are being made throughout the land; nervous men on bended knees, asking lovely women to take the plunge.

“Be my wife?” he’ll ask, as his innards twist with fear of rejection.

“YES!” she’ll shriek, and a restaurant full of surprised diners will burst into applause.

They’ll marry in a charming church or on a rolling hill. “I’ll love you forever!” they’ll say with all their hearts — those wonderful, naïve little buggers.

This is the 30th Valentine’s Day Hunka Burnin’ Hubby and I have shared as man and wife. We are far from experts, but we’ve learned a thing or two about love and marriage.

Let’s begin with respect for properly folded towels. That was our first newlywed fight — how to properly fold towels. It was a big one, too. I screamed while Hunka looked at me like I’d lost my marbles, and rightly so.

I was a complete boob about the subject, but in early marriage you think everything will be happyskippy- wonderful with a dose of ice cream. You pack away the wedding gifts, send out thank you notes, and think marital bliss comes with a lifetime guarantee — as long as your spouse complies with your every request.

Then reality hits.

Someone snores like a chainsaw, spends too much, hunts a lot, or ignores the “check engine” light. Somebody blows up the microwave or forgets to pay the light bill. Suddenly the “I dos” muttered at the altar sound like a foreign language. But love and marriage require a thick skin and a big sense of humor. I’ll demonstrate.

“Hunka,” I might say, in the early years of marriage, “the garden hose was lying in the driveway like a dead snake again. I ran over it when I pulled the car in the garage.”

“I saw that,” he might reply. “Thanks for smashing the nozzle as flat as a pancake. I just love it when you do that.”

“Do I detect a note of sarcasm?”

“Note? Heck, Darlin’, that was a symphony of sarcasm!”

“Fine! Leave the hose in the driveway again, and I’ll do a burnout on it!”

An argument erupts until he stomps off, I bawl, and we don’t speak to each other for days. He refuses to acknowledge the rules of proper hose placement. I refuse to admit purposely pasting the nozzle to prove a point. We’re complete dinguses.

But funny things happen as a marriage matures. The stuff that once drove you nuts is no big deal. You laugh about hoses and snoring and dead microwaves. In reality they’re as bothersome as a cloudy day. You have bigger issues to tackle, so you learn to work together — especially when kids come along.

Tomorrow I’ll give Hunka a card, a box of chocolate, and a smack on the head. I might even buy him a new hose as a snarky joke. Maybe he’ll give me flowers and a nicely folded towel. We’ll toast Valentine’s Day with a long-stemmed glass of cold and delicious, and laugh about the dumb stuff we’ve done. Later on one of us will snore the other awake. It’ll be predictable, secure, and completely wonderful. That, my friend, is marriage.

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