Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Muggle Conjures Up Wizardry for Surviving 20 Years of Marriage


The world celebrated all the make-believe magic it could the other week, the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter novel.
In the real world, I celebrated how I made my wife believe I’ve been worth staying married to for 20 years.
Now that’s a real magic act.

Our getting through the ceremony, let alone the two decades that followed, was in its own right an act of wizardry.
The night before the big day, My Love and I had to supervise our own wedding rehearsal at our chosen venue, the Sheraton Stamford Hotel on Summer Street, because neither the hotel manager nor our priest were available to lead us. Yes, non-believers — priest. We received a special dispensation from the Bridgeport diocese for a non-church ceremony the way most good Catholics do: we lied about everything. Living together, attending Mass regularly, having Mother Teresa on speed dial. The holy shebang.
You’re probably thinking: Dude, not the best way to start out a lifelong relationship based on trust and faith. But since the priest who performed our Pre-Cana marriage counseling was some years later arrested for using the internet to try to lure underage boys to a motel, I think it all balances out. Lord, I hope so.
The day of the ceremony, hotel security escorted me and a groomsman out for trying to bring cases of beer to the bridal suite for that evening’s after-party. We ended up sneaking those upstairs an hour later in duffle bags and borrowed luggage.
I arrived for the wedding barely 20 minutes before it started, sweaty and shaken. Not from cold feet. From a panicked high-speed drive up town and down looking for where in the name of He Who Must Not Be Named I had left our marriage license. Turned out it was in the trunk of my car the entire time. Right next to an empty case of beer.
When we finally did get to the “I do” part, the wedding ring I had for My Love got stuck on a knuckle halfway down her finger. The priest (no, not THAT priest — the other one) chided me for giving up too easily. I made silent note not to fold so easily again.
Two decades later, I’m still not folding. Especially fitted sheets (impossible) and towels (I’ve been told by someone for 20 years that I don’t do it right; I feel the same way about how someone illogically “loads” the dishwasher).
That’s the secret to marriage, I think: Tenacity in trying to make it work along with a willingness to admit you’re weaknesses and acknowledge your partner’s strengths. Or it could be:
Earplugs. For the spouse who doesn’t snore.
An eye mask. For the spouse who doesn’t like to stay up late reading in bed. Or for fans of “Fifty Shades of Badly Written Porn.” If that’s what you’re into. No judgment here.
A vehicle GPS system. So you never have to argue over directions. If you get lost, just blame the technology. Or Russian hackers.
A definitive toilet-paper policy. Change it when the roll is clearly empty. Leaving a new roll on top of a bare cardboard tube does not count. Ever. Take five additional seconds and be courteous to the next user. It might be you.
Those last two are probably what My Love and I have had the most arguments about in our 20 years of marriage. And if that’s as bad as it gets, well, I’ll let Professor Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts, have the final word: “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”

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