January 30, 2013 Edition

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Small print needed
on marriage licenses?

Vivian Heyl
Staff Writer

After 40 years of marriage I sometimes feel that there should be a set of instructions including small print with each marriage license issued. After all these years there are still surprises and periodic whammies that both of us are unprepared for.

Not too long ago my husband brought the dog's dishes in from outside and plunked them down on the kitchen counter and began filling them with food. He looked perplexed when I yelled, "What are you doing?" He looked even more baffled when I immediately removed them and proceeded to wipe the counters off and disinfect them. When I pointed out that they were probably covered with who knew what kind of germs he said, "I always do it this way, what's the big deal."

At this point I think I must have looked like I was about to blow a gasket because he grabbed the bowls and went outside.

The only further comment he made was, "How was I to know you would have such a fit over dog dishes?"

Now had there been a pre-issued warning, wife has extreme aversion to dog dishes on the counter, he would have had an idea that I might become somewhat unglued.

It's not until you live with someone that the quirks and idiosyncrasies begin to intrude into everyday life. He often mentions my inability to let insignificant details slide when I am telling a story. He also does not hesitate to mention that I might eventually get to the point.

I find that many couples have a failure to communicate. I sometimes think men and women have such a totally different concept of language that we might as well be speaking Portuguese to someone who only understands Mandarin.

Unfortunately there is no fine print on the license that warns that a dictionary offering translations between male and female phrases may be needed.

Then there are those totally insignificant details such as, which way should the paper unroll in the bathroom or do the dishes go in the sink, on the counter or in the dishwasher that soon bring friction to a relationship. The dos and don'ts list is also not listed.

My husband uses the bedroom floor for his dirty clothes even though there is a convenient hamper beside the bathroom door. I didn't receive an advance warning that this was his modus operandi before I found the floor had a new carpet. Think how convenient it would have been if I could have said, "Did you read the fine print, it says wife feels strongly that dirty clothing should be placed in the proper receptacle." How much trouble that might have saved over the years.

He in turn would have been able to respond, did you read the warning that husband feels that once clothing is dirty it no longer matters where it lodges?

I have no real anticipation of any addendums being added to the marriage license but who knows, in some future generation the small print might find its way into the whole process.

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