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Monday, February 17, 2014

This is Romance???

A couple of weeks ago, my Lovely Bride and I attended a “Marriage for Life” conference in the heart of Ohio's Amish country.
Before you jump to any erroneous assumptions, we are not having any issues. At least none other than the fact we are both of Irish descent, which can be interesting at times. I have been know to tell people when they inquire about our family dynamics: “I am Irish. My wife is Irish. Our children are in therapy.”
Our children are not in therapy. That I know of.
But I digress
We attended last year and enjoyed ourselves, learned some new things, and decided to attend again.
Regular readers may recall the February 2013 column “The Amish Effect”
This year, we learned men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti.
Males brains are a series of little spaces; much like the surface of a waffle. The spaces are clearly divided and categorized into “Work”, “Home”, “Hobby”, “Marriage”, “Sex” and most wonderful (well, second most wonderful) of all “Nothing”. None of the spaces overlap, there is no co-habitation of the same space, and we cannot work in two spaces at the same time. Except the “Sex” space. We can jump into that happy place just about any time.
Women, on the other hand, have thought processes like a platter of spaghetti.
Visualize a plate of spaghetti. Select just one strand, and follow that strand's course upon the plate. Do this without touching or moving any of the other strands. See how it winds, curls, even doubles back upon itself; all while making contact with nearly every other strand of spaghetti on the plate?

Yet, it never loses itself!

This, dear reader, is why women are such great multi-taskers. Men, on the other hand, are more focused on the task at hand.
Which I suppose was a pretty good survival mechanism in our far distant past. While out hunting mastodons, Urg and Kah had to keep their wits about them. They couldn't be thinking about what new type of cave-paint their wives wanted to use. They couldn't be wandering off to look at little purple flowers in a field, if they did any of those things they stood a very good chance of being the entree on a saber-tooth tiger's buffet.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this difference in thought processes is the following scenario.

I come home from a long day at the office. I have made the transition from “Work” space to “Home” space. I even spent a fair amount of time in “Nothing” space while tooling along the highway.
My Lovely Bride will say something like this:
Hi. How is your guitar? I drove by the place where we bought it years ago. You remember, they tore the old buildings down to make room for a new neighborhood and an Urgent Care center. Speaking of doctors, did you know that elderly gentleman at church has pneumonia? We should take him a dinner. Would you check to see if we have any butter in the fridge? I saw this wonderful recipe for raspberry scones on-line today. So what do you think? Should we go ahead an paint the upstairs hallway raspberry?”

The foregoing makes perfect sense to her.
She took a trip down Memory Lane, updated me about a member of our church, announced her intention to help with a meal, stated she is going to try a new recipe, and we are going to repaint the hallway.
Me? I am left wondering “What about my guitar?”.

For an evening and a morning, we feverishly attempted to learn how to better relate to and understand our spouses.

At one point, the presenters showed a very touching, romantic video. Upon its conclusion, the announcement was made to look at your spouse, and tell them what it was that caused you to fall in love with them.
Let me tell you, I was sitting there with tears streaming down my cheeks when LB turned toward me. I looked deeply into those beautiful blue eyes, still seeing the beautiful teenaged girl I fell in love with.
I awaited her proclamation; certain it would be something worthy of a Hallmark Channel moment. Her lovely face flushed, she shut her eyes, struggling to express herself.

Gently, I took her hand; “What? You can tell me.” Taking a deep breath, she lowered her eyebrows, stared directly at me and stated:

“Your long hair.”

Whereupon, she burst forth in unrestrained peals of laughter. Her entire frame shook, tears were streaming down her reddened cheeks. People stopped their conversations to gaze upon the poor woman overcome by tears. She was overcome alright; overcome with hilarity.
What could I say? There is simply no way follow that up.
At the end of the seminar, one of the presenters asked me “What did you say to her? I have never seen anyone so touched before!”
When I left the meeting room, he was leaning against a wall barely able to breath as he chortled, guffawed, and giggled away.
I can only hope he wet his pants.

Not to be discouraged, however, I began putting some of the little nuggets I had found into practice. I even read the Song of Solomon. I was doing good!

This past Friday was Valentine's Day. Rather than purchase a card filled with an anonymous writer's sentiments, I chose to express my own feelings.

I was hoping to demonstrate just how blasé we as a whole have become about expressions of love. I opened with several refrains excerpted from well know verse. This was then followed by a very heart-felt expression of how my feelings for LB are far greater than mere sentimentality.
Friday was also the evening we hosted a small dinner party for some friends. It was very enjoyable, gathered about the table; reflecting upon the years of our friendships.
We had a wonderful dinner, followed by superb entertainment from a visiting Barbershop Quartet crooning old romantic songs.
Then, my Lovely Bride took up the carefully rolled pages of my note.
Opening the seal, she began to read
“Roses are red”...
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”...
And so on.

Our guests sat in rapt attention, smiles upon their faces LB got to the last excerpt of verse, and sincerely reads;

“Love is patient, love is kind”

And added
"Love is prettier than a dog's be...”

Well, that pretty much derailed the rest of what I had written.

The whole atmosphere in the room changed as one couple leaned against one another to keep from sliding out of their chairs in laughter. One guest could barely catch their breath.
I merely shook my head.

Gee, I can hardly wait to see what next year's conference brings.

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