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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

From Romance To Reality

A young couple that we're acquainted with recently had their Big Day. Instead of he and she, they are now Mr. and Mrs. A few days after the wedding, which we didn't attend (it was across the country, and we're not really close friends), I was thinking about the changes that will now come to their relationship.

When people are dating and courting, they naturally put their best foot forward. You don't catch someone's eye by being unkempt or always late or just plain rude. And we don't want others to see us in a negative light. It doesn't mean we're hiding anything, it just means that we don't want to scare away someone that we really like. So in addition to being schmoozy and starry-eyed and lovey-dovey, we're also very polite.

Then we are living in close quarters and the layers of illusion start to crack and fall away. At least that's the way it seems in a lot of relationships. Suddenly we're aware that the love of our life doesn't spring out of bed looking like a picture from a magazine. They snore, or their breath is bad. Suddenly we have to use the same bathroom. Do they leave the door open when they, you know, pee and poop? I have heard of some people going to the extreme of never using the toilet at home for anything stinky. Seriously, we had a radio host in Denver years ago that said that even though she was married, she never pooped at home! She would tell Prince Charming, as she called him, that she needed to get something at the store and would drive to a nearby gas station to poop. I guess that she thought he wouldn't love her any more if she had natural bodily functions. I'd wonder why she always had to get something but never came back with anything.

When Trent and I were fairly newly engaged, my coworker Brooke asked me an odd question. One day, out of a clear blue sky, she asked me if I had, well, tooted my horn in front of Trent. Since we were full-on in the romance phase, I said that of course I had not. She replied that when that happened it would mean that I was completely comfortable with him. I sort of shrugged it off and went about my business.

Some weeks went by and Trent and I flew to Las Vegas and got married in one of the many quaint wedding chapels that are all over the city. A few weeks later we were sitting on the bed watching television when it happened. My body didn't care if we were in the newlywed/honeymoon phase, you see. Right in the middle of enjoying the movie, my body let loose with an audible expulsion of air.

I was embarrassed. Heck, I was mortified. Trent didn't bat an eyelash. He said, "Oh, my gosh! I didn't know that this apartment had spiders!" When I asked him what he meant he said, "This apartment has barking spiders! Did you hear that?  Nobody told me there were barking spiders here!" I considered myself very lucky to be with someone who reacted with such kindness and gentle humor to my moment of embarrassment. I didn't fully realize how fortunate I was until a few years later when we found out that a couple we know, who have now been married at least twenty years, have never (yes, I said NEVER) tooted their horns anywhere near their spouse's presence. Please excuse me for saying this, but part of me wonders if they spend a lot of time having a lower-tummy bellyache.

I'm certainly not saying that one should throw all politeness to the winds, I'm simply saying that we are all human. We have colds and boogies, digestive problems, snoring, and all sorts of other human conditions. We are all mere mortals. So don't act like you're part of Honey Boo-Boo's family and try to be an entire orchestral wind section. But allow yourself and those you love to have moments of being only human. You know someone really loves you if they stick with you when you're sick or depressed or your backside betrays you.

These are the types of things I was thinking about regarding this newly married couple. As time goes on, they will still love one another, but they will journey from romance to romance mixed with reality. If their feelings are true, if they deeply love one another (rather than being in love with love and romance), they will grow to love and tolerate their partner's flaws as well as their strong points. I just hope Mr. doesn't ask her to pull his finger... 



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