Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Marital Bliss

As a lover of language, I occasionally encounter a word or expression that enthralls me. Sometimes, however, I come across one that disturbs me.

Let’s talk about one of the latter: marital bliss.

Let me stipulate that I am in a happy marriage. We respect each other, love each other, and take good care of each other. We show each other extreme consideration.  I cannot stress this enough. All is well here on the home front.

All the same, I plunge ahead to plumb the fallacy of marital bliss.

Even superficially, ‘marital bliss’ just sounds inane. It evokes cartoon-character, lovesick goofballs mooning at each other. Images arise of intertwined arms and necks and lips, and the crazy period early in a relationship where neither of you ever comes up for air. Of course, this leads to brain damage, which is why it can’t possibly go on for long.

‘Marital bliss’?  Who comes up with this stuff?


My adorable husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU), may have a tendency to use “selective listening.” I realize that this is a common trait in the male of the species, and of course we women may have comparable flaws, but that is a topic for another day, or more likely, another columnist.

CoTU also has a tendency to believe that he is right, he is always right, and that his way of doing something is far and away the best possible, if not the only way. To do anything. Everything. The combination of these two traits sometimes leads me to homicidal thoughts, but I say in all humility that I control the impulse.

My point, and I do have one, can be demonstrated in this brief exchange that took place between us recently.

I had refilled the clear glass hand soap dispenser in our powder room earlier in the week. I did so, knowing that the scant half-inch of soap remaining in the bottom of the vessel was an opaque white, lotion-y soap, and the refill stuff, just slightly shy of the 55-gallon drum, was a clear soap.

In so doing, I had full awareness that CoTU was likely to be dissatisfied with my decision to commingle the two soap types, and that I would hear of his displeasure in the very near future. I considered that, and still chose to jump off that cliff, rather than waste the remaining white soap from some previous gigantic vat-o-soap. But nothing happened. No words of rebuke, no indication of irritation, no tsk-tsking.

Interesting, I thought.

Four full days after this little chore was executed, I was reading an e-mail at my computer when my husband came upstairs with his camera in his hands.

“Did you see that soap dispenser?” he asked.

“I did.”

“No—you couldn’t have,” he said.

“Yeah, I use that bathroom every day, and I always wash my hands,” I pointed out.

“I don’t think you saw it,” he insisted.

“In the powder room—Honey, I’m not joking—of course I saw it.” I was nodding as I said this, to reaffirm my position.

“You didn’t notice it, did you?” he persisted, still unconvinced that we were on the same proverbial page.

Me: “You mean the swirls and whorls of the two soaps, looking like a lava lamp of clear and white?”

Silence. I could almost hear the gears in his engineering brain click into place.

“Yeah—that’s so cool. I just took some pictures of it. How’d you do that?” he wanted to know.

I could tell you, babe, but then I’d have to kill you.