Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Personal Guarantee

This post is the second in a series that continues all week, leading up to our 13th anniversary on Sunday. Click here to start at the beginning of the series.

Early Discoveries in My Marriage

1. Did you know that the louder you state a fact, the more likely it is to be true?

2. Or that if you want to buy something for yourself but aren't sure you should spend the money, the fair solution is to also spend an equal amount of money on the other person sharing your bank account?

3. Or that some people are wired in such a way that, if you want them to do something and think it's their own idea, all you have to do is tell them, "I know you can't do this"?

These are three of the most startling discoveries I made during the first year of marriage to my beloved. I also learned a lot about myself.

On Navigation
I learned that my unpredictable tendency to mix up my right and left makes me a terrible navigator.

In addition, when we are approaching our turn but might have trouble getting to the proper lane in time to execute properly, I learned the Captain responds much more positively to a low soothing rendition of, "Okay, now whenever you get a chance you're going to want to turn around so we can make the turn we just missed back there," than he does to, "Oh crap--turn right turn right turn right!!!"

One Saturday morning after we had been married about a year, we hopped in the car to go to Pagano's, the local hardware store. At the time, we lived on Alameda Island, which is about three blocks wide and maybe 10 blocks long. Since he had been to the hardware store before, I did not attempt to give directions. Soon, however, I began to wonder what side errand he was taking us on, as we were almost to the other end of the island already. Eventually we both came to the realization that he was taking us on the single most indirect route possible between our house and the store. Since that day, "The Road to Pagano's" has become our personal expression for taking the scenic route.

Let's just leave further discussions of our growth in the team driving category with the statement, we learned a lot that first year.

On Food
It took a little longer than a year, but pretty soon I learned that my new husband didn't like leftovers, casserole, chicken, meat on salad, or chocolate cake. He was sensitive in the beginning to my beginner status as a household chef. Then gradually I would get bits of more constructive responses.

But it was okay, because he bragged on me to others, which totally increased my confidence in the kitchen. Also, he knew what he did like, and soon he had me calling his mom to learn how to make spaghetti sauce, artichokes, asparagus, and more. And before I knew it, I discovered I really enjoyed cooking. I even learned to appreciate white cake, who knew.

The Personal Guarantee
By far the best thing I learned about during my first year of marriage was the personal guarantee. My confident, cocksure beloved had been fond of putting his personal guarantee on lots of things over the years. He has such a force of personality that quite often he can make something happen when others wouldn't even think to try. See item three at the top of this post.

So imagine, if you will, my beloved, his best friend, and me, standing in line for a movie, on its opening night in LA. We were watching the marquee for the show times, noting that the next four showings had just started blinking, SOLD OUT. The time we were trying to get tickets for was the fifth time. And the best friend and I did some mental calculations involving the number of people yet in line, the speed with which the next four showings had closed, and the fact that we were there at the peak hour on Friday night, and concluded that we were not going to get into our desired showing.

My beloved was optimistic. In the face of our negative opinions, he continued to declare that we would get into the movie. See item one at the top of this post.

Finally, he pulled out his figurative credentials, burnished them, and raised his voice yet another notch. Silhouetted against the lights of the marquee, he turned around to face us as we leaned against the velvet rope:

I give you my personal guarantee that we will get in to see our movie when we want!

No joke, the words had not even died on his lips when, directly behind him, the marquee began to blink on our time slot: SOLD OUT.

Chris and I laughed so hard we almost couldn't even continue standing. To this day, all one has to say is the phrase, "personal guarantee" and the other will begin to laugh hysterically.

Sadly, the spoken personal guarantee died that day. My beloved enjoyed the joke at his own expense, but he doesn't leave himself open for it any more, unless the joke is his idea. Don't be fooled, however. He may not say as much, but by his actions he continues to give his personal guarantee all the time. And almost all the time, he actually makes good on it.

I love the confidence that he carries as he still exerts the force of his personality to make the world a better place. I love that he raises his voice more, the more convinced he is of his right-ness. I love the passionate spirit that influences those traits.

After thirteen years, I am still learning new things about my beloved. But some of those first revelations continue to be my favorites.

Click here to go directly to the next post in the series.


  1. i can't stop laughing. i love the humor you put in your discoveries.

    thanks for the giggles. i also loved your discovery about how to re-direct the missed turn. i'm gonna get dave to practice saying that for me. (: i think it will stave off many stressed-rhys moments.

  2. These are such cute, sweet stories. My favorite: the personal guarantee!

    Thanks for commenting on my guest post over at Chatting at the Sky -- it's nice to meet you here!


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