Trash and Marriage

When I think of love, I think of my garbage can and my dish drainer.  Seriously.  Eighteen years ago this summer, DH and I married in a beautiful garden ceremony. 

Immediately afterward, we set up house and put our gifts to good use.  Over the years, we’ve had to replace rugs as fashions changed, toasters as they wore out and furniture to accomodate our growning family.

Yet two things (besides our seven crystal bowls) remain the same.  Our blue garbage can and our blue dish drainer.  DH claims that when these things need replaced it will be the end of our marriage.

I hope he’s wrong, but there’s a small part of me that believes in some way, these two items are the cement that holds our family together.

Consider this.  Crystal bowls are nice for…okay, when you know, let me know.  I’ve resorted to filling them with potato chips at birthday parties.  But my point is, they are not used often, nor are they necessary.  Any old bowl can hold a bag of Doritos.

But a garbage can?  Now that gets a workout every day.  We sweep the debris from our tables, our floors and our lives and cram it into the garbage can.  It’s a place to dump everything we don’t want.  It’s the perfect metaphor for getting rid of the baggage so we have room to hold onto the things we care about.

Then there’s the dish drainer.  Ugly and blue, yet utilitarian.  It, too, gets a daily workout.  Every day, we eat.  And every day, there are dishes to wash.  It’s a reminder of our family meals and the value of sharing our days’ experiences with the ones we love.

You can take my fickle rugs and tired toasters.  I’ll even lend you my crystal bowls.  But never will I part with my garbage can or my dish drainer.  They are far more than they seem and the two most important things in my life.

Without them, my marriage would be nothing but show–fancied up side dishes in a pretty bowl.  With them, I can withstand the hard work and the frustration that go along with sharing my life with another.  I can see past the difficulties and appreciate the nourishment at the end of each day.

Do you have similar items in your life that symbolize the commitments you’ve made?  If so, we’d love to hear about them.  Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the highest value is often placed on the least expected.

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17 responses to “Trash and Marriage

  1. You gave me a smile today with your fresh take on marriage. It was well written and well spoken.

    A word of advice, if you really want to maximize your chance of getting published, write romance novels. This is the only genre that actually increased last year.

    If you have any interest, I can hook you up with Harlequin who gives much higher royalties and treats you like a queen on book tours

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

    • Thanks for the offer, but I’m not quite ready to veer off my juvenile lit path just yet!

      Not that being a queen for a tour isn’t a good thing…

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It’s always nice to hear a fresh perspective.

  2. Being electronics freaks, I think we’re most attached to our old beloved (and huge and heavy) HP LaserJet printer (just plain black print). I almost freaked out when I realized my new computer didn’t have any parallel ports, but hubby was able to order a parallel to USB cable to save the day. We bought that printer very early in our marriage, and except for photo albums, it might be the one single item we’ve had the longest. I use it to print class handouts, manuscripts, or anything else with a lot of pages, because it’s fast and the ink doesn’t run all over the page if it gets wet.

    • Oooh, sounds like a much beloved relic. I don’t care what people say, they just don’t make things the way they used to! I’m glad your DH was ingenious with the USB cable. It would have been a shame to give it up over a little technicality.

  3. Awesome analogy!

    Or is it a metaphor? Allegory? Geez.

    For me it’s probably my Tahoe. Yep. My car. Truck. Mobile. Auto. Whatever you call it. Allegory?

    I bought it just before my marriage busted up. I lived in that thing for four years while I moved around North Dallas not living at home. I even wrote a book about a guy who lived in his Tahoe, an engineer like me, who dreamt at night of a blue-faced God, again, like me.

    My Tahoe.

    Love her. Hate her. She’s broken down a few times, but AMAZINGLY always done so in the driveway.

    How convenient. She loves me, my Tahoe, all 170k miles of her.

    I have a love-hate relationship with my trash can, though. She’s too small, though she fits neatly beneath the counter.

    Marriage, it’s probably my bed. I bought a new one and said I’d only sleep with my wife in it. That was three years ago when I stopped my womanizing (had to burn the other bed, good Lord in Heaven forgive me!), and so far so good.

    – Eric

    • Eric, LOL!

      I’m glad you have your Tahoe to warm your heart and presumably new blankets to warm your new bed! Best luck finding someone to share it with.

      And how did that novel turn out?

      • Cat, the novel turned out all right. The guy died in the end.

        So it goes.

        (extra points if you know what novel I got that quote from)

        – Eric

      • Eric,

        I shall earn no points for that one, as my mind is horrible at memorizing. It think it gets filled up with too many other things along the way and I lose track…

        Anyway, I hope your parallel life does not end as your MC’s did! At least not yet. I have a feeling you have far too many good things to contribute before you’re ready to go ten up.

  4. I just had a major fight over our four dogs. I was told (since I let them go out our yard) it was my responsibility to make them stop barking. I said fine. It seems to be my responsibility to make sure I take them to the vet. I do all the shopping and frankly I do not mind. What I do mind is being manipulated. I told my other I am not letting them out again and if she does it will not be my responsibility to stop them from barking. We have had major fights over the lack of discipline over our four dogs. I have decided I will do my part (and I was guilty of not being consistent with their training) but she has to help too. She will not point her finger at me so easily again. Of course she is used to the status quo and is kicking back with every ounce of her strength. My manipulation has gone on for seven years so I expect a fight here. She even threatened to have me committed . I simply laughed at that. I am made out of steel and can not be threatened with that. Fights are always interesting and the power struggles that go on between partners.

    • Siggy, I hope things work out with you and your partner and the dogs. You are right, relationships are not easy and the best we can do is work through them.

      Take care~

  5. Got to side with the wife here. Owning dogs is a responsibilty and much more so with 4 dogs. I would suggest for the sake of the marriage to stop fighting and instead peacefully resolve the conflict. There should not be power struggles between partners. It is harmful to the relationship, I should know, I help couples for a living.

    You might want to check out my blog archive and check about peacefully resolving conflict.

    Dude you are being way irresponsible by not training your dogs. Shocker collars are very effective at eliminating bad behavior in a very short period of time. Your neighbors will appreciate it.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

    • Dear John Wilder,
      Thank you for taking the time to respond to my reply. You certainly are right: It is my responsibility to train the dogs. There was an added complication: I am in the middle of a manic episode. I am struggling to find the right combination of meds to control it. I see my doctor tomorrow. My wife knows this but that does now make me any easier to get along with. I have been under the care of a doctor since 1965 and it took me seven years before I was properly diagnosed, I am presently short tempered. My wife realizes this and I am doing every thing in my power to lesson the effect my episode has on her. Fortunately I had brought extra Xyprexa with me on my trip. I am on the right meds bot I am struggling to find the right combination. My episodes last sometimes four or five months. I am on the right track. I have to ride them out and increase the dosage the dosage of the anti-psychotic during that time.’ I am back home now. I slept nine hours solid last night. Klonopin also has been a miracle drug for me. I was away two weeks with my wife which was very difficult for me. I was extremely paranoid and had to wait until I got home to get my hands on Klonopin. It was a very difficult time for me. I am relieved to be home and live in the country for there were too many people around me who were strangers(I visited San Francisco for the first time for ten days.) I loved the City but it was very hard on me. I traveled by train going, which was very difficult being in an enclosed area. I am very fortunate that in the preceding decades I have been under some superb care. I knew what to do. I am very fortunate I have been under superb care and knew what to do. I have had dozens of episodes in my life but since 1984 have had only two hospitalizations, I know every thing is by grace and my life and others I know particularly my wife I did nothing to deserve. Everything is by grace and life is not always fair. God bless and thank you for your reply.

  6. This is such a sweet post! My hubby and I will be celebrating just two years of marriage this summer, but we’ve been friends since we were 7 years old. We both still have every card, letter, and note we’ve given each other. I have a box with his and he has a box with mine. The boxes sit side-by-side on a shelf between our desks. It makes us smile whenever we look at them. Those boxes hold years of innocent friendship that turned into love. Something so plain and simple sure is a powerful symbol!

    • Laura,

      That is the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. Seven years old. I bet you have a fabulous relationship after weathering all the growing pains as friends first. I wish you many more blessed years!

      DH and I met when I was 12, and we started dating when he was a senior, me a junior. I can’t imagine my life having played out any differently. Although I did laugh in his face on our second date when he told me he was going to marry me. Not nice on my behalf, but very attuned to the future on his!

  7. We’re on like the fifth garbage can and third dish drainer. What does that mean?

    • It means you work hard and play hard in your relationship–to the point you wear things out and get to purchase new treasures together. Yours is a very strong marriage that doesn’t slack off on any aspect.

      See, I can come up with anything : )

  8. Hey Siggy:

    Dealing with your disease is indeed tough and thankfully you stay on your meds. Way too many people get bored and get off the meds looking for that manic high.

    Kudos for staying with the program.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John Wilder

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