Monday, January 18, 2010

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Shabbat #3: Boulder, Colorado. Not too shabby.

Guests: Us. And the wedding party and out of town guests to Elissa and Jason. Elissa is the daughter of one of my closest friends, Nancy. Nancy is the type of friend that I could call at 3am and know that she would come. No matter what. So of course we attended the wedding. And as luck would have it, it was a Jewish wedding complete with shabbat blessings.

Menu: Salmon, salad, roasted vegetables. Oh. And the largest vat of artichoke dip I have ever seen on the appetizer buffet. I literally wanted to strip off my clothes and climb in. But I refrained.

What I Learned: After a few glasses of wine, I was finding it hard not to impart some advice on the soon to be bride. Dangerous territory. Here are the 3 simple rules that I gave.

1. No Secrets.
2. Get Physical.
3. Fix It Now.

The first one is simple. Secrets rot the soul. Avoid keeping them. The second one is downright primal. We all need human touch. A lot. It's the third one that needs a bit more explanation.

We're only 3 weeks into a year of shabbats, but I have already been motivated to start fixing things around the house in preparation for company. Last week I finally replaced the lighbulbs in the china cabinet. They'd been out for a good year. It wasn't an unduly difficult task. It required a trip to Home Depot followed by a total of ten minutes awkwardly maneuvering the tiny little bulbs into their sockets. I was so pleased with myself that I left them on all night and into the next day. When I pulled up to the house I could see my twinkling handy work from the front drive. That motivated me. I bought the Magic Eraser and erased the green crayon from the foyer wall. And then I rotated the two ton coffee table (with the help of the hubby) and vacuumed underneath. None of these tasks where overly taxing (ok ... that table was pretty damn heavy), but I avoided them. Like a lot of those "boy I should really fix that" projects in my house, they initially seemed glaring but then gradually faded from view. And when they did catch my eye, I told myself that I was the only one that noticed so who cares? Turns out I did.

I've learned that the same goes for my marriage. Over the course of 13+ years, my marriage has had its fair share of burned out bulbs, crayon smears and plenty of junk shoved, dropped or otherwise lost under the two ton coffee table. Sure it bothered me. But I figured it was my marriage and if no one else noticed then who cares? Turns out I did. And so did my husband.

Fortunately, we learned to fix things. And fixing begets fixing.

Maybe a new marriage is not so different from a new home. It looks great when you move into it. But if you want to keep it that way you've got to take care of it. You've got to change the lightbulbs and wipe away the crayon smears. And every once in a while you're going to need to ask your spouse for help so you can move that two ton coffee table and vacuum underneath.

Sure, fixing these things requires time, awkward moments and some sweat and tears, but it's worth it. After all, home is where the heart is.

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