All in the Family

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I read an article in USA Today which stated the face of the American family is changing. It has grown to include more than the traditional mother, father and child. More people are accepting unmarried couples living together and a gay couple raising a child as a family. Americans seem less concerned with the legalities of marriage as they are to the purpose of family.

After reading the article I walked to the bathroom which was occupied by my husband, knocked on the door and asked, “What do you think your purpose is?”

“I’m in the bathroom. What do you think my purpose is?”

“No. I mean what purpose do you serve in our marriage? Why do you exist?”

“I exist for the sole purpose so that you can tell me everything I do wrong on a daily basis.”

“I’m serious.”

“So am I. Although at the moment it seems your purpose is to annoy me.”

(When you’re in a long term relationship you learn how to annoy your partner in a variety of ways. Why at times it’s no challenge at all since little effort is required, like breathing it comes naturally. You learn which buttons to press, especially if you’re itching for a fight. I have to admit I have more fun annoying my husband than anybody else I know.)

“Well, then, since we’re going down that road I could say as your wife I exist for the sole purpose for you to blame me for everything that goes wrong.”

“Can’t say I blame you for feeling that way.”

(Eventually blame becomes a third party in any long term relationship and is passed around like a game of ‘Hot Potato,’ who accepts it and who passes it. There are days when my husband serves me up a big ol’ helping of blame. Whenever he plays the blame game I simply press a button (sometimes multiple) in my all time favorite game – ‘101 Ways to Annoy Hubby.’ We both thrive at such childish games because even though we have grown older together we have yet to mature.)

Silence. I jiggle the doorknob. “It’s awfully quiet in there. What’cha doing? Think about your purpose?

“Yes. I’m thinking about my immediate purpose. Now leave me alone.”

“Not until we think of a positive purpose. Surely, we each must contribute something positive to our relationship.”

A pause. “There was that time I opened a jar for you.”

“You did.”

“Then there was the time I terminated a mouse for you.”

“Yeah, now we’re cooking. Keep going.”

“Remember the time I retrieved a coffee cup off the top shelf for you?”

“Yes. Yes, I do. It was 1984. We were newlyweds. Gosh you were sweet.”

(In every relationship one partner becomes the go-to-guy for certain jobs. Besides being Mr.-Fix-It, my husband’s the go-to-guy for opening jars, retrieving cups from the top shelf and terminating rodents. This arrangement wasn’t stipulated in our vows, but became cemented in stone over the years.)

“Now it’s my turn. Do you want to know what I think my purpose is?”

“If I say ‘Yes,’ do you still have to tell me?”

“I think my purpose is….”

A loud flush followed by running water. The door opens and he stands in the doorway, grinning at me.

“I was talking. It’s annoying when you flush the bowl while I’m talking. You can’t hear me if you do that.’

His parting words as he brushed by me were, “I know. I just found my life’s purpose.”

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