Tag Archives: Marriage

Bicycle and Marriage Built for Two

“It won’t be a stylish marriage; I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.”

According to writer Harry Dacre, his heroine, Daisy Bell, and her sweetheart seemed destined for marital bliss.

My husband and I? Not always.

Whatever a stylish marriage is, I don’t think ours qualifies. I don’t look sweet, either, red face sweating as Hubby and I climb hills on our tandem bike.

We’ve come a long way since our first tandem ride 19 years ago, when we bought the bike as both celebration and consolation for our empty nest.

Hubby explained this “togetherness” hobby would work for us. “It’s the perfect solution for riders of — er — unequal athletic levels.”

Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay.

Let Hubby do most of the work? Sounded like a plan to me.

After 30 years, we didn’t expect our first ride would send us back to Marriage 101. That we would nearly take out our neighbor’s trash cans. Starting and stopping required the precision of our operating like bicycle gears. Hubby hadn’t realized navigating turns would be like driving a semi. Dragging an extra person up a hill would resemble hauling an oversize load.

I, taking the back seat, hadn’t realized I’d see nothing in front but Hubby’s back. Nor did I understand that without exception, I had to communicate my intention to procure my water bottle. Once, my shift in balance sent us careening toward a pickup.

Image by Simon Gatdula from Pixabay.

Hubby and I still disagree on how to deal with 4,371 dogs that guard roads throughout our county.

Canines always lunge for riders on the back seat. Ergo, my approach: “Pedal for your — I mean, my — life!”

Hubby’s: “We’ll never outrace them. Yell at the dogs to alert the owner.”

What if the owner commutes to Chicago?

Image by S Hermann and F. Richter from Pixabay.

Despite our differences, we enjoy aspects of the Indiana countryside many people miss — rustling cornfields, forested hills and flower-covered meadows. Cows and horses can’t make heads nor tails of this odd, two-headed creature passing their fields.

Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay.

Daisy and her man probably discovered that riding a tandem and achieving wedded bliss are work! Both are acquired tastes — especially puffing up those hills.

Though on that first ride, we hit speed bumps, Hubby and I have kept both tandem and marriage moving. They’re our favorite pastimes.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever ridden a tandem bicycle?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: We Should All Be So Truthful

O Lord, I know You love weddings, and so do I. We’ve attended a lot of them. But OMG, don’t You think this bride and groom were more honest than most?  

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Don’t Tell TruGreen

O Lord, You know that Hubby and I disagree on which describes our lawn best. He says, Prairie Preservation Plot. I say, Best Bee-Feeder on the Block. OMG, Creator of all green things, will You settle this? What do You think?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Girl Vs.Guy Interior Design

O Lord, thank You for lovely pillows that bring spring colors to this brown sofa. That help revive this brown room. But OMG, do You think Hubby and I might disagree as to their, um, arrangement?

She decorates.
He decorates.

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Another Lesson Learned

O Lord, You know camping in 30-degree weather is not my favorite pastime. But OMG, thank You that my lack of anticipation didn’t keep You from sharing Your incredible creation with us!

     

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: from Love to Love

O Lord, don’t You think going directly from Christmas decorations to Valentine’s Day hearts makes sense? After all, both holidays are rooted in Your love. (And, OMG, maybe You could help Hubby take the hint about chocolates?)

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Old People Still in Love? Seriously?

O Lord, You know that when this first pic was taken, I thought people who were 47 years old were ancient. Antediluvian, actually. OMG, how could I have known how rich 47 years of married love — built on Your love — could be?

For My True Love

Image by geralt from Pixabay.

Have you spent endless hours seeking Christmas gifts for your Numero Uno?

We search stores. Dig through photos, files, and websites for unique gifts that say, “I love you.” Right, guys?

We’re all inspired by “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Mr. True Love went all out to find his sweetheart’s presents. Five gold rings notwithstanding, though, romantic zeal doesn’t always translate to gift-giving know-how.

Our first Christmas together, my true love gave me gloves. Hairy-looking, mottled red and gray gloves, the like of which I had not seen before, nor have since. Later, I learned his mother, terrified her 17-year-old was hurrying into something serious, had suggested a pair.

He should have asked her help.

My future husband’s gift-giving impairment didn’t surprise me, though, because my father was the world’s worst. The oh-is-something-happening-tomorrow? thought never occurred to him before Christmas Eve. Second, penny-pinching Dad comprehended zero about Mom’s preferences.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

Around age 10, I noticed their annual conflict.

Dad bought Mom a blue eyelet dress, perfect for running through daisies.

“Pretty!” I cheered. “Like the ones the eighth graders wear!”

Mom grated, “I’m not in eighth grade.”

True. Most eighth graders didn’t have five children. And even I saw the dress was four sizes too small.

The following year, Dad bought her a practical gift. A slip the size of your average city bus.

After 25 years of bombing, he finally welcomed his daughters’ help in choosing Mom’s Christmas gift.

My husband learned much faster. Now he’s so good, he should teach gift-giving lessons. Hubby could have helped the guy who teased his girlfriend one holiday season, insisting he’d give her an iron.

Image by stevepb from Pixabay.

She responded with cute giggles.

He purchased a super-cheap iron, gave it away, and packaged a romantic gift in the box.

She unwrapped it. No cute giggles.

He spent the rest of Christmas trying to persuade her to: Open. The. Box.

If it’s the thought that counts, a traveling salesman’s wife blew that aspect. She gave him a week’s supply of socks, all dotted with her portrait.

Having dissed all these givers, I tried to be fair, asking Hubby, “What Christmas gift for you did I blow?”

He shrugged. “None I remember.”

None? Our relationship has spanned almost five decades.

I threw my arms around him. “You’re so forgiving!”

“Forgetful’s probably the word.”

“At our age, same difference.” I hugged him again.

During the holidays, I often lie awake. Did I buy the teens’ gift cards from stores that will ruin their reputations for life? Are the in-laws allergic to blue? Do little ones’ toys contain kryptonite?

Hubby’s forgiving/forgetting my Christmas miscues is the best present he could give me.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s the best/worst gift your spouse has given you?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Not Everyone’s Martha Stewart

Lord, amazing that I not only have chosen most of our gifts, but Hubby and I are wrapping them. His packages, with their economic use of paper and perfect creases, could grace a Christmas photo layout. Mine, however, always look bumpy and lumpy. OMG, it is the thought that counts, right? Even if the love looks lopsided?

Classic Post: The Perfect Christmas Tree?

This post first appeared on December 9, 2015.

Ask a thousand people to describe what makes a perfect Christmas tree.

You’ll receive 966 rapturous — and opinionated — answers.

What about the other four? A few Christmas-tree-impaired people don’t get it. My father, who loved trees, saw no sense in chopping down an evergreen, hauling it inside, and decorating it with expensive baubles.

Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay.

Fortunately, Mom overruled him. Because of Dad’s reluctance to contribute, though, we celebrated with a tree that looked as if it had been mugged by a Grinchy Weed eater. But Mom filled our tree’s gaps with strategic placement of greeting cards. We decorated with our scanty string of big-bulb lights, the ornaments we and our pets hadn’t yet broken, plus glittery Sunday school paper bells and stars. We draped random garlands of popcorn and, as a finishing touch, tossed on wads of shiny icicles. Finally, we gathered outside the picture window, shivering and marveling at the most perfect tree in the world.

With my background, I am not choosy. I always allowed Hubby and the children to select our tree. If it appeared undernourished, we dangled extra ornaments and strategically placed large greeting cards á la Grandma. If its lower layers stuck out too much, I sympathized, as mine tend to do that around Christmas, too.

Image by Meelina from Pixabay.

On the other hand, my husband makes great tree choices. While flexible, he insists upon one stipulation: the tree’s trunk must be straight, as in a perfect ninety-degree angle to the ground. No leaning, even if it’s a little tired of the holidays.

I only ask that the tree look fresh and green. No yellow needles. And they must cling to the branches like a scared-of-Santa toddler to his mommy. Please, no needles scattered abroad, their prickly presence lodged forever in my socks, sweaters and undies.

Although we miss the kids, our empty nest simplifies the selection process. Hubby, measuring trunk angles with a protractor, will get his Christmas tree wish. I, giving each one the super-shake test, will too. We’ll haul home a fresh, green tree with a straight trunk.

Our straight and fresh Christmas tree.

So far, we’ve never found a flawless one. But that makes sense. Advent is all about God’s coming because we — and our world — are flawed. A Christmas tree reminds us what He can do with imperfection.

After we’ve decorated our tree, I will drag Hubby outdoors by the picture window and force him to enjoy the view.

“It’s straight,” he’ll say proudly.

“Yes, isn’t it?” I’ll answer as we hold each other close in the darkness, shivering with delight.

No, our tree is not perfect. But it’s the most beautiful tree in the world.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What makes your tree the most beautiful in the world?