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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

For better or for worse

Jan 24, 2022 02:10PM ● By Laverne H. Bardy

When you’re standing at the altar, with the love of your life beside you, and your heart is overflowing with joy, the phrase “for better or for worse” flies over your head at the same speed as it did when, in first grade, you were instructed to place your right hand over your heart and pledge your allegiance to the flag. They were nice words, but elusive.

If you’re a healthy young man or woman who has never had more than a headache, a pimple, or a fall from your bicycle, the fact that life may not always be rosy is not in your scope of thinking. If questioned, logic might kick in and you would accept that there will be negative incidents along the marital highway, but emotionally, it doesn’t yet compute. You’re busy looking forward to your honeymoon, your first home, and having a family. The “for better or for worse” part of your vows are not an immediate part of your fairy-tale plan.

Her “for worse” situation that commonly occurs early in the relationship can happen one romantic evening as you’re snuggling together on the couch, watching either the Hallmark channel—which brings him to the brink of nausea—or football which, although explained to her countless times, continues to baffle and bore her to the point of digging her nails into the palms of her hands, just short of drawing blood.

His “for worse” action presents itself in the form of an insidious act that he appears to have been saving for just the right moment—the moment in which he feels so secure in his relationship that he has no qualms about intentionally, and shamelessly...expelling gas. To magnify the horror of this startling act, he exhibits no embarrassment, remorse or attempts to deny it. Rather than apologize for his assault on her senses, he takes pride in it, as he exhibits a devilish grin and two thumbs up.

“For better” is their shared love of old movies, dancing on weekends and her pride in pleasing him by never missing one of his weekend softball games.

“For worse” is his ability to turn off, tune out and sleep through an infant’s 2 a.m. feedings, toddlers’ nightmares and Sunday morning trampoline sessions on your king-size bed.

“For better” is he remembered her birthday, even though his well-meaning gift was a toaster that caused her to cry in a closet.

“For worse” is their shocking realization that she needs time to herself and he wants a night out with the guys.

“For better” is when he pretends not to notice or care that her after-childbirth weight is still hanging on and the baby is 3 years old.

“For worse” happens when she’s struck with the fact that she’s totally unprepared for motherhood, toilet training and provocative decisions such as lamb chops or liver, and she needs more in her life.

“For better” is the comfort they feel knowing they have each other to lean on.

“For worse” is when his family is invited to dinner and immediately after dessert he heads for the couch and TV, leaving her with a pasted smile on her face, forced to listen to tales of his adorable youth. Again.

“For worse” happens when she continues to gain weight and he continues to lose hair; conditions they both swore they would never allow to occur.

“For better” is the comfort of having someone to shovel snow, prepare meals, attend celebratory affairs with, and kill bugs.

“For worse” is knowing that after a day of carpooling, food shopping, washing, drying and folding three mind-numbing loads of laundry, she needs adult communication and mental stimulation. And, after a day of intellectual exhaustion, heated debates, harried deadlines and hostile demands, he doesn’t.

“For better” is when he surprises her by cooking a beautiful dinner and cleaning up afterwards.

“For worse” is when he says he thinks it would be nice if his underwear and bed sheets were ironed, the way his mother always did, and she hands him the phone and tells him to call his mother to do it.

And, the best part of “for better” comes at the end of the day, as they drift off to sleep in each other’s embrace—she with lower back pain and he with a tension headache. It’s then that goodnight kisses not only gratify but satisfy.