Warning: For a post about marriage, I'm about to talk about poop... a lot. I mean the title should have given you a head's up, but I figured I'd reiterate.
When I was in middle school I remember being mortified that my parents not only went to the bathroom in front of each other (gross) but would actually discuss their bathroom habbits with each other (super gross!) I mean, I was fully enwrapped in a rather rigid gender dichotomy (I was 12; I swear I outgrew this) so it didn't surprise me that my father engaged in such talk, but my mother who normally seemed super feminine and never even swore in front of me (a habit she's still managed to continue) would come out of the bathroom and inform my father that she had diarrhea.
What the hell? I would think. I will never tell someone I want to kiss (as previously mentioned, I was 12 so kissing was as graphic as my romantic imaginings got) that I have that particular issue. My brain would then throw some phrases I'd picked up from McCall's (my family was way too classy to buy Cosmo) about "preserving the mystery" and "keeping romance alive" and while I wasn't really sure what mystery was solved if it was revealed that not only did the female half of a couple poop – in fact she would occasionally poop a whole bunch; I was pretty sure it was something vital to sex appeal and my mother had probably doomed my sister and me to never having siblings and she could have just saved the money on the tubal ligation.
Fast forward many years, and I find myself married to a wonderful man. And one night, at like 2:00 in the morning, I'm in the bathroom, with cramps and all the other horrible symptoms that go with it. He knocked on the door and asked me if I was ok.
"No," I said, plaintively. "I have... um, stomach issues."
And, because my husband gets me, he knew I didn't mean I was throwing up or anything else. (I refuse to consider that I was behind a normal door, not a vault, and therefore there might have been some other clues to my specific condition. Shut up.) "Did you take any Imodium¹?" he asked.
"We're out." I said.
"I'll go get some. Hang in there, babe." Then he got dressed (presumably - I mean I didn't actually see him, but I doubt he went to the pharmacy in just boxers), and he went out. He returned shortly thereafter and brought with him not just the medicine, but also some Reese's Cups because there is never a time I don't want those. Properly medicated, I was soon able to return to bed.
The next day he treated me the same as always. He still wanted to have sex with me. Knowing I sometimes have issues hadn't really phased him. I, however, felt differently. Thinking about what would have happened if I'd been living alone... I mean it's not like I would have died, but I'd have had to wait for the symptoms to subside on their own and been miserable a lot longer. Plus I wouldn't have had anyone to snuggle with when I made it to bed.
Over the years, I've occasionally made trips at 2:00 AM to get medicine for him (why are all illnesses and toothaches triggered in the middle of the night?) and seeing him vulnerable just makes me feel glad I'm able to help. I love him. Of course, I'm going to help if he feels bad.
If I could go back to 12 year old me, I'd tell her, "You don't really want a lot of mystery with your spouse. One of the best things about marriage is that there's this other person that knows you, knows your flaws and vulnerabilities, sees you at your absolute worst, and they will still love you. That is way cooler than having a husband that thinks you never poop is. Way cooler."
Happy anniversary, husband. Wednesday night (when we celebrate) is going to be lovely, and I can't wait to dance with you at the wedding. Oh, and honey, help me remember to do something nice for my poop-discussing parents next month when they celebrate 40 years of wedded bliss.
- 1) Imodium AD seriously, is the best product for this issue. Don't settle for generic!²
2) They did not pay me to say this about them. I shit you not.³
3) Get it?