I did a bad thing yesterday. I slapped my husband of six weeks - in the testicles.
In my defence, it was an attempt to get his attention rather than anything more sinister, but I suspect from his response, he didn’t enjoy it very much.
We were in a ‘gastro-pub’ in Ripon waiting for our dinner to be served along with a group of friends, all of whom were cycling the ‘Way of the Roses’ Coast to Coast cycle ride (170 miles from Morcambe to Bridlington). Tris had spent the day in lycra on a bike peddling up steep mountain tracks, while I’d spend the day in a Wonder Woman t-shirt driving the support minibus from Bury Van Hire, swearing at the other drivers on the road.
It’s safe to say that even with padded shorts he was probably already a bit tender ‘down there’ so my antics can’t have been very helpful. I was in the middle of a conversation with someone else when suddenly, and I don’t know why, I was desperate for Tris to confirm that he was wearing his new favourite t-shirt. But he was talking to someone else about something much more serious (probably mud guards). It seemed as though I had become invisible.
‘So this is what married life is going to be like, I quipped (slightly miffed at being ignored) to the people around me. ‘I know what will get his attention’ I thought, determined to be heard. So fuelled by a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc I went to give him a playful tap. A large glass of wine in most instances is a good thing. On this occasion all it meant was that I lost the ability to aim and no longer knew my own strength. What was supposed to be a playful tweak resulted in a not so playful punch in the gonads.
It certainly got his attention, but suddenly my favourite t-shirt question didn’t seem quite so important after all, as he glared at me and demanded ‘What did you do that for?’ ‘I had a question and you weren’t listening to me’ I whined sheepishly. ‘What was it?’ he asked, clearly still not seeing the funny side. ‘Ooooooohhhhhh – eeeerrrrrrr – nothing?’ I offered.
I got ‘the look’ - and I don't mean the one by Roxette!
Punching your husband in his crown jewels is obviously a bad thing. Even I know that boys are built differently down there. But to do it after six weeks of marriage – that’s a very poor effort!
Although clearly I didn’t have, ‘I promise not to punch you in the testicles’ as one of my wedding vows. It got me thinking about how well I was doing in general in the wife department and six weeks in whether I was delivering on my wedding vows.
At work I’m used to developing a strategy, an annual action plan with SMART objectives and KPI’s (key performance indicators), reviewing it regularly and reporting back on progress. I’m wondering if marriage is so different. I don’t want my wedding vows, my life-long promises to Tris, to end up like many an action plan, filed away on the shelf only to be revisited when it’s too late.
Hmmmm – I might be able to make something good out of the testicle slapping incident after all!
A few years ago I did a similar kind of thing. Instead of writing a list of new years’ resolutions – I set myself some personal SMART objectives for the year, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Instead of writing a list of resolutions like learn Spanish, lose three stone, meet a man etc, things which are guaranteed to have fallen by the wayside in a fog of failure before February had even thought about joining the party. I decided just to write a list of things that I really enjoyed doing, and then make sure that I did more of them. The hope being that weight loss and the ability to find a man would increase too as a fortuitous by product.
That year I went on holiday more, went to the cinema more, read more books and made sure that I made more of an effort to meet up with friends and family. Then I monitored my progress on a spreadsheet on my fridge. Everyone thought I was barmy, and although I didn’t meet Mr Right, 2004 did turn out to be an extremely fun and action packed year.
So let’s look at my wedding vows in more detail and break them down a bit to see how I am doing. Just what exactly have I promised?
Tristan, in our marriage I promise to always be patient, honest, and kind.
- Patient – Very poor start. 5/10. I shouted at him for not putting his trainers away. They’d only been off his feet for five minutes. I think I need to introduce a period of grace.
- Honest – Better. 7/10. I told him his butt looked nice in his cycling shorts yesterday. And when he asked last week if my dress was new, instead of lying and saying ‘What this old thing?’ I was honest and said ‘Yes’. Though I should probably knock a point off for saying that it was in the sale.
- Kind – Very good effort. 9/10. I was a very caring nurse when he got diarrhoea in Paris on our 'minimoon'. Last week I stood on the sidelines in torrential rain, cheering him on in the Llandudno triathlon (running along the home straight with him in a kagool, shouting him on at the end of the race) and this weekend I’m driving a 17 seater minibus, the support vehicle for him and his friends doing the Coast to Coast bike ride. And as I said, I’m in a Wonder Woman t-shirt!
You are my best friend, my one love, my partner throughout life, always putting my needs first above your own.
Yes – all of the above without question. And in terms of putting my needs first above his own, I can report that my cup of tea in bed in the morning has continued just as before since we got married, and just now as I am writing this, he’s just offered me a bite of his biscuit!
I promise to live a life that will honour the vows we have spoken, and make you glad and proud to have me as your wife.
We have this thing – our thing. If you’ve ever seen the film Borat, you’ll know that when he talks about his wife he refers to her as ‘Maa Waaaafe’.
‘Go on, say it’ I’ll beg. ‘No’ he’ll tease. ‘Please say it’ I’ll beg again. He’ll look at me with that ‘I’m a lucky boy’ look in his eyes, and say ‘Maa Waaaafe’ and I’ll be in hysterics! The novelty of being married has yet to wear off. I hope it never does.
I also know that he’s really proud of me and of my blogs. In return I am enormously grateful to him for allowing me to tell a global audience about things like slapping his testicles.
We have so much to look forward to. In the good times and the bad, I shall love and cherish you - always.
Well we’ve not been tested too much on this front since we got married, but I think that all the shenanigans of the last few years show that we are in it for the long haul. Hopefully we’ve banked a lot of the bad stuff already and only have good times to look forward to for a very, very long time.
I’m not quite sure how to go about measuring my success as a wife and the more I think about it, maybe on this occasion to try would be a spreadsheet too far. Maybe I should trust in our relationship and the fact that when we chose each other, we got it right, and just let our marriage happen.
But at the same time I do think every so often I might dust off my wedding vows and just check that I am fulfilling the promises that I made to Tris in front of our family and friends. To make sure that I’ve not got complacent and just check that I’m not cocking things up by doing stupid things like drunkenly punching my husband in the testicles.