Thirteen years

This week the Carpenter and I celebrated 13 years of marital, um, (words escape me)…bliss?

Yep, lucky 13. Given that I am superstitious, it makes complete sense that we are both sick with sinus infections, sore throats and barking coughs, because nothing says I love you like phlegm and a squirt of hand sanitizer.

As I always try to look on the bright side, I thought I would convey to you what I consider to be, without a doubt, the best thing that ever happened to our marriage.

It is the secret that we discovered just this year, and now that our anniversary is again upon us, I can see the difference it has made since last year in helping us be a happier, healthier (usually) couple. If only we knew this secret 12 years ago, we might have jumped on it sooner.

The secret, dear friends, is a pull-out couch. Every couple should have one and every couple should use one. In fact, in 18 months, when we finish paying for it, we might even celebrate by buying sheets that actually fit it.

I know what you’re thinking: married couples should share the matrimonial bed. Oh, whatever. Married couples with kids and jobs and after-school activities should sleep, period.

If you slept next to the Carpenter you would know that he is safer when I am in another room than when I am sitting up, wide awake at 2am listening to the rumbling rhythm of his post-nasal drip, contemplating cruel and unusual punishments like, oh, I don’t know, seeing how long he can hold his breath if I put the plastic clothes pins on his nose or wondering if duct tape can be used to wax one’s legs – using him as a test dummy.

Of course, I would never do such a thing, (ahem) but at 2am, I do fantasize about such things. Then I move on to the laundry list of worries: did I re-book the kids with the dentist? Where is that library book? I forgot to book hair appointments. Did I pay the cable bill? Is tomorrow pizza day for the kids? I am out of milk. So much drama.

But not for the Carpenter: he sleeps, perhaps not soundly, but he is not lying awake thinking of his failures. Nope. He is gloriously ignorant of his disruption or impending doom. Twelve years is a long time to keep me awake and get away with it.

The pull-out couch is my lumpy oasis of springy solitude. Oh sure, there is a metal bar in the proximity of my kidneys that makes for several awkward stretches in the morning, but the point is, the bed is mine, all mine. It’s a snore-free zone complete with a flat-screen television. When one of us is ill, it’s contamination-free. It is my little island of paradise for seven-hours of shuteye.

Unfortunately, it is located in the main thoroughfare of our home, the room that links all the others, which means the 4:30am alarm and subsequent light show, foot thumping and general banging and clanging made by the hearing-impaired Carpenter as he lumbers from bedroom to bathroom to coffee maker wakes me up long before I intend to be kind.

Rest assured this isn’t every night, but when the going gets tough, the tough head to the couch and nobody gets hurt.

That’s the secret to a happy marriage.


Kelly Waterhouse