“Oh that Jerry,” I said to my best friend after my husband-to-be and I had been dating for a few weeks. “He’s so cute. He watches football every waking moment from August until February!” My friend nodded in agreement. “You’re right. He sure knows his teams. If you two ever get married, you’ll definitely be very knowledgeable about football since he talks about it all the time!”
I continued, “And have you watched him eat potato chips? It’s just soooooo funny! He takes a huge handful of chips and then stuffs them all in his mouth at once. Chips fly everywhere and he sounds like a hog at the trough. Isn’t he so cute when he eats?”
“He sure loves his food,” my friend replied. “Remember when we all went out for steak dinner together and he asked if he could chew on my bone?”
We giggled as I went on, “I’ll tell you something. He just looks so sweet when he’s watching television and scratches ‘down under.’” She gave me two thumbs up. I sighed. “I don’t know why wives complain about their husbands all the time. I just don’t see how any of Jerry’s endearing qualities could ever get on my nerves. I mean who cares if he walks out to the mailbox in his underwear or if he never, ever signals a turn while driving or that he changes the channel on the television every 15 seconds?”
“So true,” my friend agreed. “Don’t sweat the small stuff, right? Who bothers with the little details like that he might just wear the same shirt fourteen days in a row?”
“I can totally look past all the silly mannerisms,” I announced. “We are sooooo in love that I promise you here and now that Jerry will never, ever become annoying to me, no matter what. We, my friend, are going to be different than everyone else.” I wiped a tear away as we hugged.
My friend announced, “My husband will never, ever get on my nerves either. I am going to look past all the habits and love him for who he really is … whoever he is.” It was truly a profound moment.
Fast forward 18 years, two months, three days, and fourteen hours.
“If you don’t stop shoving chips in your mouth like a caveman who has been living on tree bark his entire life and suddenly discovers a Frito-Lay factory in the middle of the woods, I’m going to hide all your underwear and then you’re going to have to get the mail while wearing absolutely nothing but your work boots and a smile,” I threatened one afternoon last week as he laid on the couch watching football.
“The neighbor ladies would get the thrill of their lives,” he chortled as chips flew everywhere.
“Don’t you ever need to get up to go to the bathroom?” I added. “You’ve been in a horizontal position for two days straight.”
He rapidly changed the channel 26 times while scratching vigorously down under. “I see you’re multi-tasking again,” I remarked.
The phone rang. It was my best friend. “I’ll tell you what,” she whispered into the phone, “If my husband slurps his cereal out of his spoon again tomorrow morning, I may be in jail by tomorrow afternoon.”
“That bad?” I asked.
“He’s been eating his cereal with the soup ladle,” she replied. “He says he gets more of a milk and cereal balance that way. Quite frankly, I don’t know how he gets by without a bib.”
“Say no more,” I answered. “Do you remember when we made that stupid promise that we would never, ever let our husbands get on our nerves when we got married?”
“Boy, were we naïve,” she grumbled.
After we hung up, I stood in the doorway and watched my husband who was now snoring; his shirt covered in chip crumbs and his hand firmly grasping the remote. He really wasn’t that bad. After all, he still ate his cereal in the morning from a regular-sized spoon.
I think I’ll stop hiding his underwear.