Like many marriages, Chuck and I have had wonderful years together paired with those times when we’d like to kill one another and hide the body. We’ve been close, we’ve been distant, we’ve crawled down into the pit with one another to make it through a difficult season. We’ve seen several sides to this marriage thing and yet we’re still together by choice. Marriage, if I could describe it with just one word, is a decision.
We decide to overlook the things that annoy us.
We decide to put the other’s needs before our own.
We decide to put our marriage before the kids.
We decide to speak up when something is too important to let go.
Every day is fraught with decisions. Do I tell him I’m feeling hormonally nuts or do I let him figure it out on his own? Do I fold his laundry to be nice or just let that shit go because I have other stuff to do? Do I remind the boys that Daddy deserves the last piece of cake because he works so hard for us or do I let them split it? Or do I eat it myself?
Every day. Decisions.
That is why I cannot wrap my brain around Chuck’s continued decision to walk in on me taking a shower. This decision, my friends, is the disagreement we’ve been having for 16 years, and it came to a head yesterday when he heard the water running and thought he’d pop into the bathroom.
Unfortunately I wasn’t in the shower just yet. I was close – fully naked, but not under water because I was doing a charcoal mask on my face while listening to a podcast.
One glance of that dark paste on my face was all it took. Chuck tore into laughter as I slammed the door and told him to bug off.
His argument: You’re my wife. You’re beautiful. I love you. It’s okay if I see you in the shower. I like to see you in the shower.
My argument: I don’t like to be seen in the shower. Nor do I like to be seen plucking, tweezing, shaving, facial-ing, coloring, or any other type of grooming. If I have to hang on to the very essence of my youth well into adulthood, THEN I’D LIKE SOME PRIVACY WHILST DOING IT.
His argument: But nudity.
My argument: But no.
And yet we continue.
For what it’s worth, there are a dozen other things we could be arguing about that carry far more weight than whether or not Chuck walks in on me shaving (or plucking or facial-ing or coloring or tweezing or battling my adult-onset acne with charcoal). Despite my frustration, I am pleased as punch that he still finds me attractive and weaves complicated plots to sneak a peek of me in the shower. Glory be.
But I’m terrifically shy. I do not change clothes in front of my husband or anyone else. I have never given birth or breastfed (hey hey adoption!), so I never went through that time when you “lose all modesty” or whatever happens when women give birth. Precious few people have seen my bits. Part of it is body dysmorphia, but part of it is just shyness.
Once I was out of the shower and dressed (a finished product), I confronted my dearest love in his recliner. The closer I got, the more he tried to choke down his laughter. I sat down across from him and he was full-on snickering.
You have to stop.
But you’re my wife.
And so on, and so on. Yes, it was funny. Yes, I looked a fright with a charcoal face. Yes, I’m flattered that he loves me so.
If we are still fighting about this in another 16 years, then our marriage will be a success. It will mean that we still act like teenagers and still chase each other around the house. It will mean we still care about what the other person thinks. Our marriage will still be made up of all the little decisions we make each day, and Chuck will still choose to surprise me in the shower.
Hey, it could be worse. It could be that he doesn’t want to see me naked.