Diary of a Marriage: 2011 Marriage Resolutions, Revisited

Last year, I made some marriage resolutions. I faced J. this week to hear how I did.

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So I’m sitting on the couch next to J., faced with the resolutions I wrote almost exactly one year ago for this blog. There are 11 of them, and I’ve called J. to the couch to review them with me. It’s very official—a State Of The Marriage meeting. I feel like I need a podium or something.

“Okay, let’s get started,” I say, calling our impromptu meeting to order. I ask him to mute the football game. He starts to object, but then realizes that it’s no use: I’m on deadline for this blog, and we need to review this now. (Resolution #1 for next year: Stop procrastinating.) I explain to him the ranking system—1 for not good, 10 for great—and then tell him to be honest. Why not? I’ve been a great wife this year. I am amazing. I am Super Wife.

“Number one,” I read out loud. “‘Write more love notes. Even if they’re scribbled on Post-Its before I dash out the door in the morning.’” Crap. I think this as soon as the words are out of my mouth. Definitely didn’t do that.

J. hesitates, and then gives me a 4. “For the month of January you were good, but then…” He trails off. It’s official: I’m a horrible person. He writes me at least two notes a day—one in the morning and one at night. I consider calling off the whole stupid State Of The Marriage thing. But I’m on deadline. I need to plow through.

“Number two: ‘Notice the little things he does … like putting a new bar of soap in the shower, emptying the trash cans when they get full, filling up my gas tank when it gets low, scraping off my windshield in the morning.” I look at J. Surely I get at least a 7 or 8 for that one.

Hit and miss, J. says. He gives me a 4.2. Apparently, I’m great about noticing things like soap and Q-Tips, but I never have a clue when my car’s out of gas, and therefore never notice when he’s filled it. Whoops.

Resolution number three: Say thank you for these things. “You get a 10,” J. says. “Once you recognize things, you always say thank you.” I smile smugly. I am Super Wife again. “But,” J. continues, “is a person really good when they recognize two things out of 50? If you were a baseball player and your average was two out of 50, you’d be riding the pine.” Before he has the chance to explain this phrase, the TV volume is back up. Something’s happening in the game.

I’m fine with this distraction. I don’t want to read my fourth resolution to him. Maybe I’ll just skip it. And then TV volume’s off; he’s waiting.

“Number four. ‘Make dinner for him every once in a while.’”

He laughs for a very long time. “Point zero five,” he says. I think he senses that I’m ready to abandon this blog, so he kisses me and assures me that it’s okay. He doesn’t mind that I still don’t know the overhead light switch from the garbage disposal switch.

Worst. Wife. Ever.

We agree that number five (“let him pick the movie”) is meaningless, as we basically like the same movies, and we don’t really go to see that many anyway. He gives me a 9.

For number six—try to enjoy watching sports—I get a 2. J. sees that I’m getting despondent. “I’m talking to you as a journalist, not as a woman,” he explains. “Can I watch this football game now?”

Number seven: Eat a proper dinner together at least once a week at the kitchen table, not slouched in front of the TV. “When’s the last time we did that? March? We were good for the first quarter of the year,” J. says. I agree—we’ve been way too lax about that.

My eighth resolution last year was to kiss him more. “An 8,” J. says. “Even when I don’t want you to kiss me when you have lipstick on, you still try.” And my next resolution, to lose 15 pounds?  “You get a 10,” J. says. We high-five and I give myself a little cheer. (Okay, so maybe I’ve only lost just over 10 pounds, but close enough.)

My tenth resolution was to learn to stick to the point when arguing. “Negative 2,” J. says. “We rarely argue, but when we do, you never stick to the point. You go off on tangents.” This was the worst blog idea ever, I think to myself, and I close the laptop in defeat.

“I did absolutely nothing to be a better person this year!” I wail. “What’s wrong with me? I didn’t cook once, I don’t stick to the point when we fight, and I still have five pounds to lose.” I hate 2011. It was the year of being pointless.

J. takes the computer and flips it open. “You’re fine, babes,” he says. “I think we had a really fun year.” He nods emphatically. “It was a really good year.”

I guess, in the end, a stupid list of resolutions isn’t any way to define a marriage. There are countless moments in between the first and last days of a year—some good, some not. I might not be Super Wife, I will never cook dinner on a regular basis or actually enjoy watching sports, and I’ll probably never be able to stick to the point in the heat of an argument. But, I will kiss J. with lipstick on.

And, dammit, I will lose those last five pounds.

Do you and your groom do a resolution list for your relationship? Either at New Year’s—or do you choose another time (maybe your anniversary?) for a State Of Our Marriage meeting? Share how you guys do it in the comments!

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