The measure of a man and a marriage

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Pity the people who flocked to be married this past weekend, convinced that all it took was a magic number, in this case the date of 7-7-07, to insure their wedded bliss.

July 7, 2007, was a literal seventh heaven for lovers of numerological symbolism. It is said to represent the seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic faith; God rested on the seventh day; and there are seven petitions in the Lord’s Prayer.

For the less spiritually inclined, the motivation may have been this: gamblers consider the number seven to be the epitome of luck. What is pledging your love and devotion to another “until death do us part” if not a bit of a gamble after all?

In truth, I think you can get married on 7-7-07 or Friday the 13th and if you expect the date alone to do all the work, you are going to suffer just the same.

Key. So what is the key factor in a happy marriage? I don’t know, and I don’t like to get overconfident.

Yet, with 11 years of love, honor and cherishing under my belt, I feel pretty secure in offering this smidge of advice: sometimes it’s not what you remember, but what you forget that counts.

In the ongoing effort to get a swimming pool installed this summer, we found ourselves in need of a brand-new swimming pool liner. Liners are large, vinyl things costing bundles of money that, once ordered, are most certainly NOT returnable.

More important, size matters. Now, it should be noted that Mr. Wonderful is a man who can easily build you an entire house. Probably out of balsa wood and bubble gum if need be. He is THAT resourceful.

He also owns something like eight tape measurers. So when I sent him out to measure the pool to fit the new liner, I figured the job was as good as done.

Oops. Yet, inexplicably, four weeks and $400 worth of new pool liner later, our pool nearly collapsed under the weight of thousands of gallons of water hitting the obviously too-small liner.

It would take another week to get to the bottom of the pool — and the problem.

Our 48-inch liner would not, it turns out, stretch to fit our 52-inch walls. The only possible culprit: Mr. Wonderful — he of the eight tape measurers — had simply measured wrong.

First, I was disappointed. Then I was angry. I flirted briefly with outraged and settled, finally, on livid.

If I was going to be out $400, I fully intended to be a martyr about it. Fortunately, the Good Lord looks out for fools and grudge-holding wives.

I soon remembered “till death and imperfect measuring do we part” was not in the vows. So we plunked down more cash for the correct-sized liner and tried to put the unfortunate episode behind us.

Still, I am only human and could be heard to mutter over that lost $400 from time to time.

Retribution. Then, exactly one week to the day later, I backed our van into a retaining wall at a dental office that I’ve visited for well over two years. Same wall, same parking lot, same van, no darned reason why I chose to back into it that day.

Yet I did, and I tore the exhaust system clean off our van in the process.

Oops.

Shaken, I telephoned Mr. Wonderful to inquire as to what, exactly, I should do with the goodly portion of our tailpipe that had parted ways from the vehicle and was now littering the parking lot?

To his everlasting credit, he responded not with “How the heck did that happen, you moron?” or a very understandable “Are you KIDDING ME?” but rather “Be careful honey, it’ll be hot when you pick it up.”

Then came my nervous query about how much, approximately, he thought reuniting the tailpipe with the car might cost? To his everlasting credit, he was able to say without a hint of a laugh or even a smug giggle “Oh, about $400.”

Sometimes love is best expressed not in what someone DOES say, but in what they do NOT. Some things really are best left unsaid such as “I told you so” or “How do you like it now?”

Some measure the happiness in a marriage by a date on the calendar. I prefer to think it’s all about the art of amnesia. Of letting the less-than-stellar moments go. I’d go as far as to say that forgiving and forgetting is the true measure of a man, a mate, and ultimately — a marriage.

And you really can’t put a price on that. Although around here, we’ve found that it goes for about $400 bucks.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt contends that the wall was at fault. She welcomes comments c/o lifeoutloud@comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://kymberlyfosterseabolt.com)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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