This morning, I woke up before my husband, looked in the fridge and found only three eggs. I eat eggs for breakfast nearly every morning. So does my husband. This was a problem.
I did something that surprised even myself. I made myself a frozen waffle and a smoothie. Later, my husband, who was having a very difficult time getting out of bed, asked, “Are there any eggs?” I said, “There were only three eggs left, so I didn’t eat any. I saved them for you. You know I love you now.”
He smiled and said, “I do.”
Now, let me be honest here. Not long ago, I would have eaten all three eggs, and I would have done it while I thought, “If he got his lazy sorry ass out of bed on time, then he would have beat me to the eggs. You snooze. You lose.”
It made me realize that there are 9 distinct stages of marital disharmony. In these stages, I’m using eggs as an example, but it might be chocolate or English muffins or something else that you and your spouse both love and also tend to run out of before it’s time for the next grocery store run. Note: I’ve written these stages from the female point of view, because, after all, I’m a female. For the most part, you could insert “he” for “she” and “she” for “he,” except in a few somewhat obvious places where you just can’t.
Stage 1: Dating
You wake up. You realize you only have three eggs. You drive to the store to get more, so you can make you and your special love interest omelets. You want to prove to him that you have special kitchen skills because you are hoping that, one day, he might want to marry you because of your special kitchen skills.
Stage 2: Serious dating
You wake up. You realize you only have three eggs. You stare at them for a while. You think about eating them. You don’t. You leave them all for that special guy who is sleeping upstairs, because any day now he might get a notion to pop the question. You don’t want to do anything to dissuade him from that notion. See? Aren’t you marriage material? You leave the last three eggs for him! Who wouldn’t marry a woman who does that?
Stage 3: You just got home from the honeymoon
You wake up. You realize you only have three eggs. You sigh. You wake up your husband and explain the egg situation. He says, “Oh, honey, why don’t you eat them? I’ll just have a slice of toast.” He’s under the misguided impression that he’ll get morning sex for this gesture. He may or may not be disappointed, depending on how many weeks have passed since the honeymoon.
Stage 4: The honeymoon is definitely over
You wake up. You realize you only have three eggs. You split them with your spouse, but you are not happy about it. You stare longingly at his eggs the entire time he’s eating, thinking that any moment now he’ll turn back into that man who once gave you his eggs. You pledge to never have sex with him again, no matter how excessively horny you might become.
Stage 5: The honeymoon is so over that you can’t even remember why you ever wanted to travel with him in the first place
You wake up. You realize you only have three eggs. You eat all of them nearly raw. You weren’t even planning on having eggs this day, mind you. You eat them so he can’t have them, because he doesn’t deserve them.
Stage 6: Marital therapy
You wake up. You realize you only have three eggs. You throw them at your husband.
Stage 7: Martial therapy just might be working
You wake up. You realize you only have three eggs. You eat them, but you feel guilty about it.
Stage 8: Wow, marital therapy actually worked!
You wake up. You realize you only have three eggs. You make something else for breakfast.
Stage 9: You have achieved the much talked about but rarely experienced state known as “Marital Enlightenment”
You wake up. You realize you only have three eggs. You make something else for breakfast. You make the eggs for your spouse.
Note: I have not reached stage 9. I’ve only heard about it. When I again walked into the bedroom this morning (yes, he was still in bed), my husband asked, “Are you almost done making my ham and eggs?”
I said, “I don’t love you that much. Get over it.”
What stage are you in? Leave a comment.
To help you go from a bad marriage to a good one, I wrote Project: Happily Ever After’s Relationship Rules, which details some of the techniques I used to save my marriage. It’s yours for free when when you subscribe to this blog by email. Just type your email address into the “subscribe by email” box in the upper right column. I will never sell your email, and I will never spam you. Note: if you are already a subscriber, you can still download it. Just look for the download prompt at the bottom of your email digest.
A professional journalist, Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir of how she saved her marriage and coauthor of Pitch Perfect, a must-read if you've ever had a sense of dread tie up your insides before a speech, presentation, or conversation. If you enjoyed this post, you will no doubt love her updates on Facebook and Twitter.