We are not the most intelligent creatures. By we, I mean the male species. To be more specific, we have a tendency to lose our intelligence when dealing with females. This starts when we are young and continues for most of our life. We get better at this with age, but we never figure it out. I could spend days on the lunacy of men and their flaws when communicating with women. I will stick to my own flaws for now, and cover one of my best moments. By best, I mean worst.
Many moons ago, around eleven years back, I met my future wife on Eharmony. Online dating is an amusing and scary topic within itself. I may revisit that topic in the future and tell you that story. After a bit of online communication, followed by phone calls, we deciding to meet in person. The meeting place needed to be public, after all, you can’t be too careful with strangers. I didn’t know this lady and had no desire to get mugged in a dark alley. The meeting went well and we started dating. Oh, young love, I remember the days.
At the time, I was an IT Engineer for a medium sized company. Long hours and weekend work were normal occurrences. If you have never been in a relationship with an Engineer, or someone that spends the majority of their life in a logical state, it is a special treat. We have a hard time detaching from work and spend most of our life wandering around like an emotionless robot. My wife later coined this behavior as “Tech Mode.” It is still one of her favorite phrases. If you are keeping score, I was working long hours and deep in tech mode. I use this as a disclaimer for my behavior in hopes of gaining some sympathy from the readers.
We were around three months into the relationship. My wife had already figured out she was to be my future wife. I was a bit slow on the uptake, as is the case with the male species. She ask me to text her when I was about an hour from leaving the office. Her plan was to order Mexican food and have everything ready by the time I arrived at her house. The beer was cold, the food was ready, and the candles were lit.
As I pulled out of the parking lot, headed her way, I decided to call to let her know I was in route. Her voice was full of excitement. I was still deep in tech mode, so I went with the standard conversation starter, “What are you doing?” I could tell she was doing something and had the phone trapped between her head and shoulder. “I am mixing the salsa with the cheese dip.” All I could manage was silence. She picked up on this silence and with hesitation ask me what was wrong. “You contaminated the cheese dip.”
The next few minutes were me explaining that the one food I could not stand was tomato. The very thought of tomato juice touching any other food substance made me ill. The cheese dip, my favorite food group, is now ruined.
After I hung up the phone, and her quick cry was over, this wonderful woman picked all the tomatoes out of the cheese dip. I wish that was the end of this debacle, but I wasn’t done yet. After a quick hug and kiss, we took our seats at the table. My plate was ready, with a cold beer and a small bowl of cheese dip within reach. She was all smiles as I took a big bite out of my taco. While in mid bite, I placed two fingers on the cheese dip bowl and pushed it away from plate.
You ever have that feeling you are being watched? The next thing I heard was “What’s wrong now?” As you can imagine, the tone and pitch that accompanied that phrase did not qualify as pleasant. “There is still tomato juice in the cheese dip.” You ever do something, and then immediately feel like that was not a good decision? I don’t remember what happened next, it was a long time ago. What’s important, is I realized that I had hurt her feelings. She went out of her way to do something nice and I stepped in it and ruined it. All my wife’s friends say the same thing, when she tells that story. “And you still married him?” Lucky for me, her options at the time must have been limited.
We married a year later. Both of us were in our early thirties and this was our first marriage. Other than the cheese dip contamination incident, I have done well at minimizing my marital mistakes. Waiting until my early thirties, to get married, allowed me to watch all my friends make those mistakes. I took copious notes and planned accordingly.
After all those years of spectating, and being married for ten short years, I have a grasp for some of the keys to a happy relationship. People most often get together for love, and you do need love for longevity, but love doesn’t keep you together. I have seen many couples, which still loved each other, not make it.
To me, it is about respect and minimizing your mistakes. Respect the other person’s ideals, privacy, and dreams. You may be a tight couple, but you are still two individuals with different thoughts and views. To minimize your mistakes, you need to know what is important to that person. We are all going to make mistakes, but those mistakes don’t have to be big or hurtful. It’s not hard see what is hurtful and what ends up being a minor irritation, if you pay attention. You need to find your significant other’s cheese dip and do your best not to contaminate it. In this case, the real cheese dip is my wife’s feelings.
Don’t contaminate the cheese dip!