Tag Archives: relationships

Would You Wear Pajamas at the Bus Stop?

pjsbusstop

Marriage ain’t easy, and we’ve been through more than our fair share of rough spots.

Pregnancy, not being able to get pregnant, multiple miscarriages, dealing with abortion protesters, financial hardships, mental health issues, and the Great Hershey Bar War of 2009 are just some of the bullcrap MJ and I have endured in our eight years of marriage.

But now we face a much bigger — and completely unexpected — problem which is currently threatening to tear us apart.

Pajamas at the bus stop.

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Our Love Story: We Met in Middle School

aaron_mj

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, let me break down our love story “How I Met Your Mother” style…

Will, Sam, I’m gonna be honest with you. The very first memory I have of your mother involves her sticking her tongue down Jason Pierce’s throat. She was 12, it was a middle school dance, and it was hard to miss her because she was so damn tall. And skinny — all elbows and knees. But she and I weren’t friends and we didn’t talk because we were in different social circles.

And then she left and moved to Pennsylvania (and then eventually Cape Cod) for high school. I’m pretty sure neither one of us gave the other a second thought.

Fast forward to my first day of college orientation. I picked a tiny little mountain school in the Berkshires, in part because I wanted a fresh start with a whole group of people I didn’t know. So imagine my surprise when one of the first faces I saw was your mother’s. Except I barely recognized her. The girl who was all elbows and knees had grown up and into herself, and she was stunning. I tried chatting her up but she was quick to remind me that I had ignored her in middle school, and therefore I was banished to the friend zone.

And so it was for the next six years.

Not only didn’t your mother and I date, this time we did hang out in the same circles. That means she saw every bad dating decision and questionable hook-up I had in college. I gave up any and all hope of dating her, although I always wanted to.

In May 2004, your mom and I ended up at the same house party. Again, because I thought I had no shot with your mom, I had my eye on another girl. But a friend torpedoed me, which turned out to be the best thing that ever happened. Your mom (over the course of a few adult beverages) told me she always had a little crush on me. And I (over the course of even more adult beverages), responded with the romantic and immortal words that went on to forge the foundation of our relationship: “You’re a f*#@ing liar!”

Then we made out in back of a woodshed, and were engaged 8 months later. Well, 13 years and 8 months later.

I had no idea that at 11 years old I had just met my future wife. But just remember, sometimes the long and windy roads are the most rewarding.

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A bunch of other dad bloggers are sharing similar stories. Check them out:

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5 Things My Sons Need to Know to Avoid Bad Marriages

badmarriage“Dad, when should you get married?”

The question stopped me in tracks — mainly because Will is only 5 years old. As it turns out, Will has an adorable and sweet classmate who has informed him (not asked him mind you, but TOLD him) they’ll be getting married one day. So naturally he wants to know at what point that day will come. But more than that, he is curious about how you know when you’re supposed to marry someone.

My marriage to MJ isn’t perfect, mainly because I’m not perfect and neither is she. And we’re not even 100% perfect for each other because no one is. But while you don’t have to love EVERYTHING about the person you marry, I’m going to tell my son there are some basic requirements — some building blocks that create a foundation for a successful marriage.

I’m no marriage expert, but it is critically important to me that my sons not only look for what makes them happy, but to be able to identify some common red flags of what NOT to look for so they can avoid a bad marriage.

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Don’t Let Anyone Tell You “Marriage Isn’t For You”

our-weddingA writer named Seth Adam Smith recently penned an article called “Marriage Isn’t for You.” It has since gone viral and you can’t swing a divorce lawyer without stumbling upon it somewhere.

Seth, who has been married for a whopping 18 months to his high school sweetheart, basically says marriage is all about making the other person happy. He talks about selflessness as the key to a successful marriage, writing things like “No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love,” and “Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.”

He even had a talk with his dad — which served as a turning point for Seth — in which his father dished out these gems.

“Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

Judging from the sheer number of you who gushed about this article on Facebook, I can see it struck a chord with many of you. Me? I thought it was an absolute crock. And a dangerous one at that.

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The Husband, the Wife and the Wardrobe

suits_closetI didn’t know much when I was younger, but I did have a few fundamental rules on which I based my life:

  1. I will never “sell out”
  2. I will never “go corporate”
  3. I’ll never have a job that requires me to dress in anything other than jeans and a t-shirt

I held true to #1 for a long time. Working as a print journalist is about as far from glamorous as you can get, with long and unpredictable hours, a crazy amount of stress, all for absolute peanuts when it comes to pay. But despite the lack of zeros in my paycheck, I held fast to the knowledge that I was educating the public everyday, tracking down leads and serving as a conduit between public officials and the citizenry.

MJ was the one who lived in the corporate world.

As a bank manager she was sharply dressed day in and day out with a seemingly never-ending supply of professional power suits that I termed “Business Sexy.” Working for several large banks means she definitely sold out and was unequivocally corporate. I would listen to her at home taking these foreign things called “conference calls” and speaking in some sort of corporate language rife with unintelligible acronyms and buzzwords that made me want to light myself on fire.

At the paper we didn’t have conference calls and we didn’t mask all our speech. We yelled at each other across the newsroom and usually argued with each other right out in the open about our stories as deadline approached. No scheduling meetings to talk about scheduling meetings to “noodle on some cross-platform synergy.” She had her world and I had mine — and I liked it that way.

Two years ago, with my family in financial ruin and our situation on Cape Cod untenable, I took a deep breath and realized at least a couple of my cardinal rules had to change.

I sold out and got a new job outside of journalism. I was still writing, but I couldn’t pretend I was making the world a better place and uncovering corruption like I was before. And I knew on my first day I had gone corporate. I received an email from the guy sitting next to me who invited me to a meeting later in the day. That just didn’t happen at the paper and I never once used Outlook to schedule anything. So I stood up, leaned over my cubicle wall and said “Did you just send me this email? Why didn’t you just ask me? I’m sitting right here.” He looked at me like I was an escaped mental patient, and I knew right then and there I was a corporate sellout.

But I still had #3 — not dressing up. The office dress code is fairly relaxed so I was still getting away with jeans, which kept me sane.

You have to understand something — I never dressed up. I mean EVER. I had one suit jacket, one pair of dress pants, one tie and one pair of black socks. The suit and dress pants didn’t even match each other, and the tie was one I stole from a wedding after someone left it at the reception. “Dressing up” meant wearing my jeans with no rips or fraying, and my shirt with a collar. I couldn’t stand all the pretentious fashion-conscious ninnies who made sure their socks matched their shirts which matched their expensive watches.

MJ tried to tell me about the importance of looking professional and how it truly does benefit your career, but I wasn’t having it. Whenever she talked about that stuff all I heard was “you’re trying to change me,” and the minute I know someone is trying to change me is the minute I become more obstinate than ever and vow to NEVER change. Because while I sold out and went corporate, I would never cave in on the dress stuff. Never!!

I had to go to a wake for a family friend’s mom earlier this week, so I needed a suit and tie. I went into my closet, grabbed the suit — and stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Four suit jackets.

It’s not like they were all new. MJ didn’t go out and buy me a bunch of suits that day or anything. They had just slowly made their way into my wardrobe over the course of several years without me even realizing it. Taken aback, I then grabbed a pair of dress pants. But in doing so, I was suddenly hit with a terrifying truth — there were about eight pairs of them. Glancing up towards the top shelf where my jeans are kept, a quick count revealed I have more dress pants than jeans.

Panic started setting in and a grim realization settled around me like a thick fog. There was one more test — the ties. With great trepidation, I moved to the left side of my closet and then — fingers trembling — grabbed the hanger holding my ties. In my head I had 2-3 ties, tops. Surely that’s all I’d find there…right? Wrong.

Fourteen. I have 14 different ties.

I won’t lie, I was mad at first. Mad at MJ. Because it’s obvious I didn’t go out and purchase these fancy clothes myself. I’m not allowed to buy my own clothes without a competent person accompanying me, so I knew it was her. I had a brief bout of “HOW COULD SHE?!” but I couldn’t maintain that level of outrage. Mainly because I was too impressed with MJ’s efforts.

For two years MJ has slowly and painstakingly been infusing my wardrobe with dress clothes. A suit jacket here, a dress shirt there, black socks for Christmas, etc. She’s been smuggling in ties and dress slacks like inmates trafficking contraband into prison. And in a fit of genius, she had the presence of mind not to throw out my old stuff because I would’ve noticed and her entire operation would’ve been blown. All the old jeans, ripped sweatshirts, comfortable boxers with “natural cooling” (or in other words, holes) — instead of throwing them out like many wives would’ve, she put them on the top shelf where I could see them and take comfort in the fact they were still there. But in the meantime, she was funneling in dress clothes on the sly, subjecting me to tiny increments of maturity.

I love MJ. She not only knows what I need, she knows me well enough to realize I’m my own worst enemy. So instead of throwing down the hammer like a lot of wives, she allows me to think I’m still in charge while silently and thanklessly helping me improve.

Good wives change you for the better. Great wives make you better yourself without you even realizing it.

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