How Married Life Is Treating Me

Take a look at my girlfriend.

Because I'm gross, I play video games on my cell phone while I'm sitting on the toilet (or, as we say in Missouri, "ter-lit"). When I'm playing Tetris while copping a squat my phone will automatically re-direct my calls to voicemail and hold my text messages. Honestly, I wish it wouldn't do that, but I don't get that many cell phone calls anyway.

For some reason, though, my phone decided to remind me of my father-in-law's birthday while I was attaining a high score. This reset the whole game and ruined the winning streak I was working on.

Also, while typing the previous sentence, I got another alert reminding me that I'm back from my honeymoon today. As if I didn't know it.

The person who sets these alerts is, of course, not me. It's my wife. The day we got married I was receiving a cell-phone-alert every 45 minutes reminding me that I was getting married. In retrospect, I'm glad I had those alerts because there were times when I forgot why I was wearing a tuxedo and had no money.

Since the wedding people have been asking me if I feel any different. My standard answer is no, but now that I have health insurance I hope to feel better. In reality, the only thing that's changed is the title.

Kim is now "my wife." I am now "her husband."

Those titles carry a different connotation than "my fiancee" or "my girlfriend." If I were to say to you, "My fiancee wants to have lunch with me," it'd sound sweet, romantic, even cute. But when "my wife" wants to have lunch with me it sounds like a hassle. If I, as Kim's "boyfriend," am too tired to make dinner, then it's because I've worked hard all day and I need to relax. If I, as her "husband," am too tired to make dinner, then I'm a lazy prick.

The reason for this, I suspect, is pop culture, specifically television. In the movie Knocked Up (which I bought on DVD last night) Paul Rudd's character compares married life to an unfunny version of Everybody Loves Raymond (as if Everybody Loves Raymond could be less funny). We view marriage this way because, increasingly, the TV is the family we have, thus the only thing to compare ourselves to.

Now, I'm not stupid enough to think that the antics of Ray Romano speak to my life in any way, but Everybody Loves Raymond, Mad About You, and similar TV shows do shape our societal opinion of what interpersonal relationships are supposed to be, especially when it comes to marriage. The wife is annoying, the husband is lazy, the kids are smarter than both of them, etc. Real life isn't like this (or, at least, I hope it isn't).

When it comes to Kim and me, the split is about fifty-fifty. Half the time I'm right, half the time she is. Half the time I'm annoying her, half the time she's annoying me. Half the time I start the fight, half the time she does. I'm no bumbling fool and she's no controlling shrew. We're just two normal people.

Anyway, I'll let you know how married life goes. Happy birthday to my father-in-law, John Lennon, and the oldest kid from Home Improvement.

No comments: