Saturday, March 26, 2011


Although my husband and I dated for seven years, and have been married now for 29 more, I still find it helpful, from time to time, to test the strength of our relationship by enduring some unexpected challenges. These can be used as a barometer, of sorts, in determining if one's marriage is actually going to last.  I thought it might be helpful to others if I shared some of the useful information that we have developed in this area, to provide them with a framework with which they can test the durability of their own relationships, for future reference.
First, it is necessary for you both to develop some type of health issue that will force the two to be off work together for a period of, at least, four to six weeks. Try to accomplish this during the winter months, perhaps in the state of Michigan, so that you will find yourselves together constantly; indoors. Additionally, it will be necessary that both your conditions cause you some type of pain, so that you can be assured that the elements of irritability and crankiness are present for the entire test period.
Next it is important that the house you live in should be in need of some general repairs which, of course, you will not be able to implement due to the above mentioned pain factor you are experiencing.  This will enable you to increase your levels of frustration as you both sit side by side DISCUSSING the many repairs you could be doing, while still not actually being able to DO any of them. This is very important to your test, so be sure to include this aspect when creating your own challenging scenario.
Now, you must have one of your home appliances malfunction.  I would recommend the dryer, like we used in our own test, because a myriad of other annoying circumstances will occur stemming from the loss of this appliance. These are things that you cannot always count on with, say, the loss of your dishwasher.  Being unable to use your dryer will force you to hang all your freshly washed laundry indoors, (since, hopefully, it is winter in Michigan), thus making your house extraordinarily messy and unsightly, which is very helpful for purposes of this test. Also, the clothes that you have not been able to hang outdoors, to sway in the gentle breezes that both soften and dry them, will become very stiff and uncomfortable making them quite unpleasant to wear. Even after showering or bathing you will be able to keep your frustration level high by drying yourself off with towels guaranteed to scratch  and chafe, due to their sandpaper-like texture. 
Finally, the most important element of this test is that neither one of you be particularly adept at home appliance repairs, so that the duration of this situation will be sure to be a long one.  To help further your efforts it is a good idea to go to the library where you can borrow an outdated book on easy and cheap home appliance repairs. This will make the actual repair itself take much longer and difficult to complete, as the information provided will not address the problems of your newer model of dryer, but only of much older ones, which will add to your confusion. 
In our case, it took somewhere between 10 days to 2 weeks to fix our dryer, (I am unsure because I had clothes hanging up that were blocking my view of our calendar), and I am happy to say that we both survived the challenge intact.  I believe this is due in large part to my husband's surprisingly pleasant demeanor during this period, rather than my own, which was somewhat less than charming.  I guess the true test of a relationship's longevity does not always lie in the ability to deal with life's most heartbreaking challenges; under those circumstances most of us will find that we can rise to the occasion and behave with great tenderness and compassion.  I believe, rather, it is in the couple's ability to handle life's minor mishaps with grace and humor, which will determine if your marriage will be a lasting one.  As for my husband and myself, the results of our experiment have reassured me that the prospects look good that we will be making it to our 30th anniversary.  I think my job here is done now.  I am off to wash some clothes that I plan, with great joy and excitement, on putting in our clothes dryer, along with one of those AMAZING, fabric-softening dryer sheets!!!!


  1. Another great story! You have the gift of
    taking daily inconveniences and turning them
    into humorous tales!
    Love the photo----it would be the perfect Laundry Room poster! Love, Barbara

  2. thanks, barb. that is me, when i was a little girl, and lived on minden.

  3. love it! Been 30 yrs. for me!

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  5. Amy, I'm still laughing! I especially enjoy that you wrote about the malfunctioning dryer as it's been almost a month since mine worked. I can finally get the piles of laundry out of every room of the house. The most 'interesting' part, and I use that term loosely, was waiting 2 weeks for the part, having it installed and finding out that the new part was defective...then another 2 weeks, blah, blah, blah. Thanks for sharing this...I love it! Gotta laugh :D

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