During the first weeks following Luke's and my wedding, I felt like a fraud thinking of us as husband and wife; our marriage was too new, too innocent, to be valid. Just like Jello has to sit in the fridge for a few hours before it'll assume its permanent shape, so must our relationship undergo the same process.
While I wait for time to mold our union into something less liquid-y, I think a lot about what it means to be a good wife. As a person, I thought my scorecard was pretty good: close family and friends, good job, nice car, strong belief in God, desire to make babies and improve the state of the universe. As a girlfriend, well, I patted myself on the back for that, too, taking pride in my salary for sustaining our livelihood and my unconventional attitude for letting it happen. I thought bringing home the bacon meant I was an equal contributor to our household. It was as if Ward Cleaver had staked his claim on the new millenium.
Since we've been married, I've been reading a lot of books, including one called Lies at the Altar: The Truth About Great Marriages, written by Oprah's new Dr. Phil, Robin Smith. The book uses a financial checks and balances metaphor to drive home the idea that just like a savings account, a marriage won't survive if you withdraw more than you deposit. It then challenged readers to transcribe one week's worth of their marital credit history.
My deposit? "Stayed up late to view wedding photos." Cuz, you know, I'm the breadwinner and need my beauty sleep. But even that doesn't really count, because a credit is described as something one spouse does for the other without complaint, and there may have been a "But I'm so tiiiiired" whine involved.
My withdrawals? "Didn't cook dinner." "Didn't do laundry." "Asked Luke to run boxes over to Goodwill." "Asked Luke to run to the post office for stamps." "Asked Luke for a foot massage."
Looks like Fifth Third isn't the only one who gets to harp on my @$$ for insufficient funds.
I think about how lucky I am to have Luke in my life and it hurts to breathe. Every morning he gets up to pack up my lunch. He begins his e-mails with "Hi, sweetie," and ends them with "I hope you're having a great day." He'll make a Wal-Mart run at 11:30 on a Thursday night because I forgot to buy contact solution on my way home from work. He never complains that the only dishes I make involve spinach and cheese, and when we go to sleep, he holds me as close as I'll allow, which usually isn't much, as my limbs have a mind of their own and need to be free in the event an urgent head scratch or toe stretch is required. He tells me often how proud he is to be my husband, and then I recall responses to simple requests like rubbing his temples to alleviate a headache and I'm embarassed. I can't rattle off the characteristics that comprise the perfect Eve to Luke's Adam, but I know what he's worth, and I fail to make par. My husband deserves better than eye rolls and sighs that imply my "allowing" him play Nintento DS before bed provides sufficient grounds for sainthood.
It's a good thing we'll be together the rest of our lives. I already have a lot to make up for.