Tuesday, August 28, 2007


With my vast experience of seven weeks of marriage, I have concluded that the key to a successful union is all about pulling your spouse back into the boat. When Josh The Pilot and I took our forty-eight hour honeymoon, we decided that the most romantic and intimate way to celebrate our lives together was to chance drowning and major head trauma in the close company of total strangers while undergoing intense manual labor. Everybody should transfer directly from the altar to a four-person whitewater raft.

I am a clenched fist these days, coiled in anger and disappointment, and less than two months into our marriage I must remind myself that my husband always pulled me back into the boat. When the rest of my fellow passengers learned that I had been rafting twice and suicidally elected me captain based solely upon this information, he did not tell them that I once fell out of a shower.

The river wasn't always the loud splash of rapids; there were drifting moments, and we would rest, float. The rafting staff darted between the boats on kayaks. At one point near the end of the trip I rested my blue and white paddle across my knees and cast newlywed eyes around at the gentle mountain slopes, when a sudden bump at the back of the raft flipped me backwards into the water. I surfaced in time to see our troupe leader paddling away, cackling, "I love my kayak." And my husband, who had silently watched him approach, hauled me back in.

There was a person named Scary Jerry on the rafting staff, who lit up mid-river and pronounced marriage an expensive mistake. He knew we were forty-eight hours married; everyone knew we were forty-eight hours married. I'd announced it at lunch, when I raised my voice and told the troupe over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that that was the first meal I'd ever made as a married woman.

"And," Scary Jerry said, "the last." I do not understand how anyone could possibly divorce Scary Jerry.

We rafted without our rings; my father-in-law's original wedding ring is playing eternal submarine somewhere in Canada, the product of water skiing on a very cold lake. We learned from his mistake.

Now we have to learn from our own. We can't keep one another in the boat at all times, forcing arms and legs to the rubbery deck. We can't paddle trussed like that, and the mountains would glide past unseen. But we can plunge our own hands into the roaring, freezing river when the other falls overboard. Even if we're the ones who did the pushing in the first place.

don't even ask about the bus ride back to base camp; it's like this whole other analogy at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com


SaharaChick said...

Awesome, awesome analogy, MB!

I hope that someday soon I can find someone to pull me into the boat.

I love you guys and I'm so proud that you are freezing-hands-committed to each other during this age of "easy marriage outs for only $500".

red pill junkie said...

Of course, going rafting is ALSO the perfect alibi for... you know... conspicuous BRUISES? ;-)

Anonymous said...

There are those little interviews with old married people who have this twinkle in their eye...and the interviewer always asks "So what's the secret to a long happy marriage?" and the old people smile all cute and reminiscentish...look away into the distance with this gaze...and then back at each other....and I have finally discovered what they are thinking.
They are thinking...should we tell them there is no freakin secret or make them suffer like we did!?!?
And so they say "don't go to bed angry".
Which personally, is BS. Sometimes you have to go to bed angry or you don't go to bed at all but end up fighting at 4am over whether it was your mood, or his mood, or he was just reacting to your mood or you were just having pms and couldn't help the mood....just go to bed and start over in the morning!!
And the boat thing too...yeah pull each other into the boat. Right.
That too.

~12+ years on the river of marital bliss

Katmarie said...

I can so relate to your FIL, as *my* original wedding ring is playing eternal submarine somewhere in a coral reef off the Florida Keys, the product of snorkeling in a semi-cold ocean. Why did no one warn us of these things? So glad you knew ahead of time -


tamar said...

My husband lost his 1st ring at the reception. He was unaccustomed to wearing it (and it was a 1/2 size too big) We figure it fell off and rolled into a vent somewhere. We replaced it (We were going low key A.K.A. Cheap, so the ring had only cost $30 anyway) and he lost the 2nd one on our honeymoon.

3rd, 4th, and 5th who knows? I think he's on his 7th or 8th ring at this point, but he's gotten used to wearing it, and feels naked when it's gone so this should just become a great story to tell the grandkids. :)

The important thing that I realized early on...
The ring itself does not matter. What the ring symbolizes...THAT'S the important thing.

Approaching 4 years adrift in this river, both of us have gotten in over our heads several times and it's nice to have someone to haul you back in the boat.


MIL HunterHouseMom said...

Yes we honeymooned in Georgia but FIL's wedding ring is playing submarine in a lake in Canada where water never warms up. We were there six weeks after the honeymoon at a big family reunion.

Hang in there you two. It is worth it. Twenty-eight years and counting.

MB said...

Oh, your son told me it was GA! He even had the wrong *country*. Sorry! I've fixed the detail :) Thanks.

red pill junkie said...

So tamar, you actually married THE LORD OF THE RINGS? :-)

Lara E. said...

MB - been stalking your blog for ... well, far too long now. I got married just 2 months before you two; the first 2 weeks were bliss - the next 3 months terrifyingly (& depressingly) disappointing. Like you, we did not live together before, and I don't regret it but realize it means that we are both ... learning. These last 3 weeks have been great as we've seen that we can be irritated and disappointed, but still end up counting on, and trusting in, each other.
We can do it!

Lara E. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MB said...

Lara, thank you so much for finally saying hi. I hope that your first comment isn't also your last :) I also appreciate that what took you out of your stalkerdom was the desire to reach out to me and let me know that I'm not alone. More people need to tell newlyweds to expect... this, and I feel so blessed that you're out there to let me know it's going to be OK. We are ALL in this together!

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