Inside a Relationship

The other day, when I was on my high horse about marriage and how others perceive it, I refuted someone’s views by simply stating “That’s not what marriage is.”

Josh immediately responded with “It’s sitting outside eating popcorn.”


By Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not
a house or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:

The edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn

where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire


I know I say this a lot in this space, but I love that man a lot. I love him for remembering my favorite poems and quoting them back to me when they are most appropriate.

We have spent 8 and a half years together, and we are just now learning to make fire.

Setting: Nationals Ballpark, our second wedding anniversary
Scenario: I’m describing the Duke and Duchess leaving the hospital with Prince George. I mention how deft Prince William was at navigating the car seat insertion.

Me: Then he drove the car away himself!
Josh: He drove the car away? With the baby and his wife in the car?
Me: Yes.
Josh: That is impressive. I don’t even know if I am going to feel comfortable driving the car with you and our baby in it.

First time Josh made a comment about him actually being a father. Ever.

Scenario: I don’t look at houses to buy in DC, mainly because we can’t afford a house here. Our budget puts us more in condo territory. But Dallas, Texas! Oh, we could totally have a house there! Here, look at this house! We could buy own that! But, what jobs would we have in Dallas? What would our income be? So many questions.

Josh: Looking at Dallas real estate = not good for one’s mental state
Me: We could buy a house in Dallas and then your mother could move-in. She could help us with the children.
Josh *surprisingly not looking at me like I have two heads*: That’s an idea.

First time I made a comment about a possible future living situation that might solve some future problems. Or not.

Setting: sitting on the couch, catching up on e-mails before bed
Scenario: Josh is starting to look for a post-clerkship job. He is spending a lot of time on law firm websites checking out who works where.

Me: *peering over to the screen* John Elwood! Didn’t he play quarterback for the Denver Broncos?
Josh: That would be John Elway.
Me: I got so much of that right, but yet.


Setting: our bathroom
Scenario: I purchased a small (but still $15) bottle of Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray over the weekend. I’ve been having some fabulous hair days recently, so I decided to muck that all up by trying a completely new product. I spritz’d some in the air, and it smelled overwhelmingly of alcohol. Never a good sign for delicate curls.

Me: Josh! Come here. Did you put product in your hair yet? *He uses the Moroccan Oil curl cream*
Josh: No, why?
Me: Bend your head down! *I start spritzing his head with the product*
Josh: Oh, that smells like alcohol. *It helps to have a husband who has curls and knows the rules*
Me: You are going to be my control group. I’m testing it on you before I use it.
Josh: That makes you the control group; I’m the test.
Me: So close!

Setting: In bed last night before falling asleep
Scenario: On June 19, 2010, after watching World Cup soccer on TV and napping in our New York City hotel room, Josh and I started to get ready to go out to dinner at a restaurant he had reservations but neither of us remember the name of now. I asked him if I should wear a fancy dress, if he was maybe going to ask me a question. He bantered back, asking if I would like for him to ask me a question. And then, after dating for 5 years, being proposed to once before, and finally just accepting that there was no better time then NOW, it was official. We were engaged.

The first person to congratulate us on the engagement was a woman who took the elevator to the lobby with us on our way to dinner. We skipped the reservation and ate at my favorite steak frites restaurant.

Me: Hey, do you know what today is? I only know the date because Josh has it as a Google Calendar reminder and I saw the pop-up.
Josh: Oh yeah, it’s after midnight making it the 19th!
Me: Thank you for choosing me. Wait, scratch that. That is something Taylor Swift would say. Feminist Taylor Swift would say something like “Thank you for communicating with me that my desires and ambitions in life were something you wanted to support by entering into a legally binding contract romanticized by society.”
Josh: Exactly.

Setting: on the phone
Scenario: the night before we are set to register for the first time at the Macy*s Sip & Scan event.

Me: Remember you have to leave work early tomorrow.
Him: Why? . . . AH! So we can register! I’m writing myself an e-mail right now. *I can hear him open a new tab on his computer to compose an e-mail. He narrates the e-mail.* Leave work early to register. Why? Because you are marrying Jillian and you love her.

* * *

Scenario: showing the Fianc&eacute a wedding related product that has both our last names

Me: My name looks bigger. Sorry about that.
Him: That’s ok. I’m more of a sidekick in this relationship anyway. You are the most important part.

* * *

Setting: on the phone
Scenario: The Fianc&eacute is ready for a break now

Him: Can we go on our honeymoon now and just stay there?
Me: That’s not how that works. Sorry.
Him: That’s what they did on Boy Meets World.
Me: What?
Him: Boy Meets World! They go on a honeymoon and stay. The main character guy starts to grow coconuts. Look it up on Hulu.

Setting: Saturday night at my apartment
Scenario: The Fiancé and I are relaxing after dinner

Me: I need to show you something in the bedroom.
Him: That movie didn’t end too well for the characters.
Me: *closes bedroom door, starts to take off jeans*
Him: Oh!
Me: I need you to look at this bruise situation I have on the back of my thigh. It hurts, and I can’t see it because of where it is.
Him: Um, it’s a bruise.
Me: IT HURTS! There is like a bite mark or something. Do you think an alien attacked me at night?
Him: It’s possible.
Me: I’m cold.
Him: Put your pants back on!

Setting: Nordstrom fine fragrance department
Scenario: I have two wedding day scents in mind and as we walked through the store, we stopped to have the Fianc&eacute smell them. Backstory: I’m marrying a man who gets caffeine withdrawal headaches if he doesn’t drink a cup of coffee within minutes of waking up.

Me: *holding up a small jar of coffee beans* Smell these so you loose the scent of the first perfume.
Him: Oh! If you could just smell like that the entire day, that would be great!
Me: Sure, I’ll just rub coffee beans all over myself before walking down the aisle.

Setting: his apartment (!!!)
Scenario: I wanted to illustrate a possible decor element for our wedding reception for the Fiance. I drew the outside of our reception venue and then the inside.

Me: This is the outside. *notices visible confusion on the Fianc&eacute’s face* This is a sketch. It doesn’t have to look realistic. You were in LEAP, use your imagination.
Him: Fine.
Me: This is the inside *rectangle with little dashes to represent stairs* Now there is a door here. *I draw a circle on that same rectangle to denote a door knob*
Him: *fits of giggles* That was just stairs! Now it’s a door? This is like those UPS commercials!

Lady wig.

Setting: At Target, as I try to decide what I can afford out of the lotion/skincare aisle. They didn’t have my cheap face scrub, so I was deciding between pricey face products and something new and shiny, yet completely unnecessary.

The Boyfriend: *points to the face scrub* Leave the gun, *points to the $10 foot cream* take the cannoli.

* * *

Setting: Watching Giada make pancakes, while making breakfast myself

Me: She just made boxed pancake mix 400 times more complicated by adding mascarpone cheese, vanilla and almond extract, plus almond paste like it was chocolate chips! All to a boxed mix. That’s too much.
The Boyfriend: I wonder how you would make pancakes from scratch . . . I guess you would have to grind the wheat . . .
Me: Get out of my kitchen.

* * *

Setting: Discussing a friend’s search for a wedding dress

The Boyfriend: What about J.Crew? She doesn’t like any of their dresses?
Me: No, they are a little too plain for her.
The Boyfriend: Ah! That’s what I like about them; they are simple.
Me: You are adorable.

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