Glad I Waited

By Phil Goldstein | North Forty News

I didn’t get married until I was 48. Knowing how cautious, particular and self-indulgent I am, I figured the longer I waited, the better my chances of getting it right. That included anticipating the issues I’d face and figuring out the adjustments I’d make in dealing with them.

And with our 25th anniversary approaching, it’s only fair that I acknowledge some of the lessons I’ve learned toward that end:

I thought marriage meant having a sympathetic ear, someone to console you when you’ve erred in some way. Nope… instead of compassion when I acknowledge a misdeed, I get, “Yes, you are stupid.” At least the dog licks my face when I share my foibles and faults with him.

I’ve mastered reverse psychology, such as “A week isn’t nearly enough time for your whole family to visit, how about a month?” Or this gem: “I really think you’re working too hard. Why don’t you take some time off? We don’t need the money.”

To avoid discordant domestic discourse, I’ve learned a more prudent means of asking her opinion on some matters. No longer do I express my opinion first then ask hers. Now I innocently raise the issue, ask her what she thinks, then heartily concur. 

Relatedly, I’ve discovered that “Whatever you think, dear,” is surprisingly not the correct answer to many inquiries. Apparently my disingenuous attempt to go along to get along is too transparent, so I now favor a new response to inquiries, namely, “Why don’t you suggest what my response should be, and I’ll go with that?”

I’ve also discovered the hard way that “or not” is always the prudent follow-up to any suggestion I make.

Then of course there’s the silent treatment when I’ve done something wrong—often I don’t even know what it was. Now truthfully, this is a positive circumstance since I value peace and quiet above all else. But what’s disconcerting during this conversation hiatus is receiving intra-family advisements such as ‘dinner’s ready’ via text messages from across the room.

But even with some of these issues, where ‘like’ is sometimes lacking, ‘love’ endures, hence the following tribute to my wonderful wife Amy upon this milestone occasion:

I love that you let me practice my drums daily and host my rock and country band’s weekly practices, although I’m not sure why you wear those noise canceling headphones when we’re playing.

It’s terrific that you’ve always kept up with me in every sport and recreational activity, although it would be swell if you could chase down those pickleball lobs for me.

I appreciate that you give good advice about my many conflictions as the longtime HOA president. It would mean more to me though if you actually attended the meetings, but I understand not wanting to be prominently guilty by association with the guy who can’t keep all the people happy all the time.

I’m proud of you for starting a now-flourishing business. I challenged you to fill your spare time with some worthwhile endeavor after you retired in order to stay busy and relevant; making money was secondary. But the Humane Society, your Bark ‘N Purr Pet Sitting business’s ultimate beneficiary, thanks you.

I love that you edit my writing in this and other publications. Of course you regularly advise me that, ‘you can’t say that’, but I appreciate your acknowledgement that my satirical writing helps me stay busy and relevant.

Here’s to another 25 years, Amy, and I’m glad I waited for you to come along! Now, what time is dinner?

Phil Goldstein is in his fifth year writing Tales from Timnath for North Forty News. Phil is a 13-year Timnath resident who is finally using his West Virginia University journalism degree after getting sidetracked 51 years ago. The views expressed herein are Phil’s only. Contact him with comments on the column at [email protected].


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