Ted and Trudy

Ted and Trudy had been married forever; four years, in fact. Each still said he or she was in love. Still, each found himself or herself dreading the drive home after work.

Their marriage counselor tried. “What you need is to find and speak each other’s love language,” she said.

Ted and Trudy tried.

Physical intimacy didn’t touch on the issue. Spending quality time together made the evening drag on and on. Neither received gifts presently. Words of affirmation didn’t speak to either of them. And we won’t even mention how self-absorbed each became when performing acts of service.

It wasn’t until Ted finally snapped and complained about it all that Trudy felt an unexpected spark.

“Ooooh. Say that again, Ted,” she cooed.

Ted blinked. “Uhhh… the counselor’s charging way too much for something that’s not working?”

“Yes, Ted! Yes! What else isn’t working?”

“Uhh…” he thought for a minute. “That plumber we hired this morning was late, incompetent, and left a mess.”

Trudy sat up and perked up. “What else??”

“No one knows how to drive anymore?” He was starting to get excited as well.

“Yes! Yes!”

“Whenever I go shopping, I can’t ever find a good clerk! How difficult is it to know where the polos are?”

“Ohhh, Ted.” She drew right up to him. “What else?”

“The governor’s an idiot and this country’s being run by imbeciles!”

“YYYYYESSSSS!”

…..

Their counselor was surprised to see them practically bouncing at their next (and last) appointment.

“We did it!” Trudy gushed. “We found our love language!”

“Oh?” the counselor asked, intrigued. “Which is it?”

Ted and Trudy looked at each other, smiled; then, in unison, answered, “Complaining!”

©2021 Chel Owens

Down-Home Marital Advice

I’ve been married to my husband for almost 16 years. Before you start adding on your fingers in order to determine my age, I’ll also tell y’all that we initially met in junior high school and began dating at 16.

Just as the term ‘high school sweethearts’ does not involve the clean romance touch of a Hallmark movie, sixteen years of marriage does not involve …well… the clean romance touch of a Hallmark movie, either.

We’ve been having a rough patch lately. I’m a bit too honest, honestly, and have brought up our roughness and subsequent marriage counseling to other women. I have yet to encounter one who does not respond with, “Oh, yes! Marriage is tough. I think everyone ought to do counseling!”

But I’m a people watcher. I’m a people reader. Other people tell me they all have problems and marriage is a challenge, but other people do not act the way my husband and I do.

I’m not asking to be placed in other couples’ bedrooms. I am often wondering if the issues we have are really the same as others’. -Because I have also had other women talk about conflicts or personality quirks with lighthearted humor.

“You know how (my husband) gets,” a neighbor told a group of us at lunch. “He’s always cranky when we travel somewhere and he has to spend money on food.” She laughed; we laughed. She and her husband have been married long enough that they are now empty-nesters. She also said, “I explained to my son that married people like us may complain and tease, but we love each other.”

My teasing comments about my husband started a recent fight because he got self-defensive and then withdrew. Then I, quite maturely, nagged at him and complained so he (naturally) got more defensive and eventually said mean things to get me to go away or (as I told him) hurt me as much as I hurt him….

It all sounds rather childish typed out, but is quite devastating in the moment. Don’t worry; we’re working on it.

Our therapist says we’re not unique but I’m a doubter. Does everyone really have problems in marriage? Do you laugh it off and know you love each other anyway? Or, is couple-hood what Erma Bombeck used as the title for one of her books: A Marriage Made in Heaven, or, Too Tired for an Affair?

—–

What a week! This was the schedule, at least according to my sneaky back-posting:
Wednesday, December 12: What is the Beat of YOUR Creation?, a short, sweet post about music and its role in creation.
Thursday, December 13: Skinwalkers, XLV
Friday, December 14: Winner of The Fifth Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest announced. Congratulations, Ruth Scribbles.
Saturday, December 15: Beginning of The (Sixth) Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest (Check it out!).
Sunday, December 16: Fractured Fairy Tales That Lost, my entries in Carrot Ranch Literary Community‘s contest awhile ago.
Monday, December 17: Inspirational Quote by Matt Kahn.
Tuesday, December 18: Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Six,
Wednesday, December 19: This post.

I’ve been swamped with Christmas projects. I have only to make cookie plates for all the neighbors after uncovering my kitchen, then wrapping all the presents whilst the children are snuggled all very tightly in their beds.