Nervous and Naive

Originally posted August 2, 2011

I referred to my wedding anniversary in my first blog. We will celebrate 33 years this Friday. I shared how fortunate we are to still be best friends after all these years. Many of you liked what I had to say and agreed that friendship in marriage is essential but rarely taught or modelled well by the people who matter in our lives. Now just in case you think I’ve always been so smart about matters of the heart I should tell you a story about the early days. I shared this with my Men’s Therapy Group this Spring. They had been boosting my ego with comments about how wise I was when it came to marrige and the opposite sex. I thought I’d normalize things by telling a story about a nervous and naive twenty two year old.

So we are on our way to a wedding where my fiancee, Diane, will be singing. Driving along in the truck she looks at me and asks me to stop at the drug store. As we pull in she tells me she has cramps and that it is her time of the month. I feel bad for her but didn’t anticipate what came next. She asks if I could go in and pick up some sanitary napkins, the ones with “wings.” Now you need to understand that I had never seen one of these flying objects, let alone purchased them! But being the devoted husband-to-be I made my way into the store with much fear and trepidation. Standing there in the check out line the box in my mind was enormous. The kind you buy at Costco for a family of six sisters. Needless to say, I was embarrassed.

As we arrive at the church I can’t stop thinking about what just happened and that I am soon to marry a real woman with real female needs. What have I gotten myself into? We are now sitting in the second row of the church waiting for the ceremony to begin. She now turns and says she forgot something and could I “go get them.” Did I actually hear her right? Leave the church and go to the truck now? She looks miffed and says under her breath to hurry before the wedding starts. As I approach the truck I am trying to figure out how to get one of those flying objects into the church without everyone seeing me. I then remember that I am wearing a suit and this is the reason God created that inside pocket for such occasions. So I rip open the box and pop one large sanitary napkin with “wings” in my inside pocket.

I return to my seat and descretely sit down next to my beautiful girlfriend. For the first time since the drug store I’m finally feeling pretty good about myself. Mission accomplished. Then she anxiously looks at me and says she needs them now! So I reach into my inside pocket and begin to pull out the flying object. She looks at me in horror and asks what in the world are you doing?! Where are my glasses? I have to sing any minute now. You actually thought I wanted that? And what am I supposed to do with it sitting here in front of God and everybody! The term “idiot” was never verbalized but I’m pretty sure that was her word bubble. Still to this day I don’t remember if she ever got her glasses before she sang.

Fortunately we still got married later that summer. You can’t say I didn’t give her fair warning. She doesn’t scare away easily. Now 33 years later I’m much less anxious and only occasionally naive as it relates to matters of the heart. I suppose that wedding experience has become a metaphor for our marriage. She still shocks me with her honesty and I still screw up. So what’s the point you ask? The point is that we all start married life both nervous and naive. You aren’t alone. The remedy is simple but harder to apply. Give it time, be quick to apologize and most importantly never lose the ability to laugh at yourself.