Diary of a Marriage: A Good Influence

I finally understood how J. works—and I liked it. But is it really for me?

Brand X Pictures photo, courtesy of ThinkStock.com.

Something happened this past weekend. For one morning, I almost completely understood how J. works. I lived like he does for one hour—and I sort of, just a little, liked it.

It started at 9:30 Sunday morning. I had a friend’s baby shower to go to in Princeton. I planned out my morning as I usually would for an 11 a.m. event: alarm set for 10, and then I’d snooze twice, get up at 10:20, and tornado about the bedroom in a flurry of makeup and jewelry and clothes, leaving twenty minutes late. I typically leave the house with wet hair swept in a high (very knotty) bun and half-applied makeup. (I’ve become an expert at behind-the-wheel mascara application, something I’m not particularly proud of.) Sometimes I race out of the house wearing one shoe, hopping on one foot while I shove the other one on. Other times I leave carrying three potential pairs of heels that I study at red lights before finally deciding which to wear. Jewelry is thrown on last minute, too—a handful of bangles, a few rings, a pair of earrings thrown into a pocket, earrings I’ll inevitably forget to put on until halfway through the day. Sometimes it’s a wonder that I leave the house fully dressed, buttoned and zippered, given that I cram an hour of primp time into twenty measly minutes. But I don’t mind it. I think some of my best looks were actually put together in these frantic dressing sessions.

J., on the other hand, minds it. My way of last-minute living stresses him out. So on Sunday morning, at 9:30 a.m., he decided to pull me—quite literally—out of bed. Then he stood guard at our bathroom door lest I dive back under the covers. Even when I protested that I wouldn’t need a whole hour to get ready, I could at least sleep for another half an hour, he stood firm and forced me to get into the shower.

I glanced at the clock as I toweled off. Huh. I had enough time to dry my hair. So I did. I even brushed it, something I don’t always do. And then I put on my makeup at the bathroom mirror. Another look at the clock. Still had time. I kept glancing at the clock, waiting for the moment of ‘I’m going to be so late’ panic that never came. Because for what was probably only the third time in my life, I wasn’t running late. I wasn’t flustered and running out the door, shoes in hand. I had to admit, it was kind of nice. I even had time to remove my chipping nail polish and write out a proper card at the kitchen table rather than scrawling a few words against my steering wheel in a parking lot.

When I finally did walk downstairs, on time, wearing shoes and makeup, J. looked bemused. I lifted my chin as I walked by him, and pretended not to notice him. I walked out the door at exactly 10:20, feeling calm, put together, and not the least bit harried or flustered. I’d experienced the calm of his world, and I had to admit, it was rather nice.

Why is it that some people thrive on stress, I wondered as I walked—in my heels—down our walkway. I’m sure there are studies that prove that people like me are selfish, that we value our time more than the time of others. Maybe there are studies linking us to adrenaline junkies; like them, procrastinators like me aren’t happy unless we constantly feel that we’re in a state of upheaval. Maybe this morning would change the way I lived—maybe I’d stop putting things off, maybe I’d always be on time, prepared, put together, just as I was that morning.

And then I heard J.’s voice at the door, and a jangling. I’d forgotten my keys.

Are there any ways you could stand to do things a little bit more like your husband or fiance? Any ways you positively rub off on him, too?


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