Many years ago, when Iwanski and I were planning our wedding, we had to attend these lovely “Pre-Cana” sessions required by the Catholic church.
For those of you non-Catholics (or non-marrieds) who may not know what this means, what it means is essentially this: for about a month, Iwanski and I were forced to spend several hours with two complete strangers (a married couple from the church), discussing intimate details of our relationship. Yep, you gotta love the Catholic church.
Actually, I think that in theory, the Pre-Cana sessions are a good idea. Especially considering the high divorce rate in this country, it’s probably wise for all engaged couples to go through some sort of “marriage readiness” sessions. But for Iwanski and me, we had pretty much discussed everything we needed to discuss and had agreed on all of the important questions about our future life together. Or so we thought.
One night, during one of our pre-Cana sessions, our host couple gave us each a survey to fill out, and then separated us into different rooms. Our task was to mark whether we agreed or disagreed with each of the statements on the survey, and then when we’d get back together, we were to compare our answers and see where we agreed or disagreed with each other. No problem, that sounded simple enough.
A half-hour later, we were back in the same room together, and we started to go through the questions and comparing our answers. For question after question, we kept agreeing with each other. Over and over and over again. The other couple started looking at us suspiciously, wondering if we had somehow figured out a way to “cheat on the test” and share our answers in advance.
But then came the one question that we would disagree on. A question that I will never forget. We had to mark agree or disagree to the following statement:
“My future spouse sometimes annoys me.”
Gee, what would you put? Of course my future spouse sometimes annoyed me! We wouldn’t be human beings if we didn’t get on each other’s nerves once in a while.
But Iwanski, perhaps trying to be too nice, had checked off “Disagree.”
I said, “I checked off ‘agree’.”
Iwanski looked at me with a look of extreme embarrassment. “You put agree?”
Our host couple looked back and forth at each of us, trying not to smile. Actually, it seemed like they were barely able to contain their delight. We had finally managed to disagree on something!
I don’t remember how we reconciled our disagreement on this one in front of the other couple—but what I do remember is later, when we went out to our car, Iwanski saying to me, “I can’t believe you said I sometimes annoy you!”
“Well, don’t I annoy you sometimes, too?” I said.
“Not that much,” he replied.
“Well, even if I annoy you a little, then you should have put yes.”
Nowadays, of course, Iwanski jokes that he’d like to take that survey again and mark “Strongly Agree” to that question.
And of course, I wouldn’t change my answer one bit. Now my CURRENT spouse sometimes annoys me.
For example, Iwanski has this wonderful habit of walking into a room where I’m performing some task that requires the light to be on, and then turning off the light as he’s leaving the room. I love that.
And then there’s this other delightful behavior he has where he waits until my hands are soaking wet (and usually covered in face soap or dish soap), and then sticks some random object (like my hairbrush) into the top of the back of my pants. OK, that one is kind-of funny. But it’s also annoying.
And let’s not even get into the all-too-frequent reminders to “be careful,” to “not slam the laptop closed,” and to “not burn the house down.” (Yes, honey, I am trying to burn the house down…and while the house is burning down, I’m going to sit there slamming the laptop closed over and over again.)
And then there are the numerous Iwanski rules…well, some of you have heard them all, and you know that using gift bags and telling stories on stairs are absolutely out of the question.
But despite these annoying behaviors, he still only “sometimes” annoys me.
And after all, “sometimes” is sure better than “often”!