I will be married soon. Thirty-four days to be exact, so I was informed recently.
Although the forthcoming change in marital status is highly anticipated, it seems to come with many attempts at erasing 30 years of bad habits. And being that I was the most selfish person I have ever known, change is not natural.
I am working diligently at this, but the unmanly method of agreeing to nearly everything my fiancé says in order to avoid conflict is not a trait I was born with. Countless men I have sought counsel from have all agreed upon one thing: “That sounds great,” and “Yes, dear,” need to be constant staples of my every day language. I have paid heed to their advice, and I seem to say the phrases most frequently when she and I discuss the wedding, especially when selecting cream or white votive candles, deciding which crock pot to register for, or choosing whether to cut the cake 15 minutes or 30 minutes into the reception. I am not trying to belittle the importance of such decisions, and I am sure they are meaningful in some way, but I really do not care whether we serve fajitas or pork tenderloin. Of course, I cannot say that, so I methodically say, “That sounds great.”
“Which one do you like?” she then asks.
“Whichever one you like,” I say, knowing that if I choose one, she might choose the other, or ask me why I selected that option.
Again, all this is very unmanly and humbling.
My house also needed to be de-bachelorized. For more than three years I have lived in it with my dog and a handful of roommates. A very distinct aroma that I could not discern was present, but if I had to guess, I would say it smelled most like a combination of stale potato chips and dog hair. My dog has used the carpet as a restroom on more than a few occasions, and one of the bedrooms had never been vacuumed until a few weeks ago, but none of that was ever a concern until now. The carpet cleaners came last week.
She doesn’t like the paint colors either, so I agreed to paint the bedrooms, re-paint the bathrooms and the living room. Only the kitchen will remain the color I painted a few years ago. I know this house is supposed to go from “my” house to “our” house, but I want it to ultimately be “her” house, so I agree to all the modifications despite wishing she would change her mind before I buy more paint.
For some reason, I never minded the dust above the doors, the aluminum foil I applied over my bedroom windows to drown out the pole light beyond the backyard, or even that the pictures in the living room did not match the furniture; but my fiancé did. She even called the flag of my alma mater’s basketball team “childish,” and asked me to take it down off my bedroom wall and put it in the garage.
We moved her furniture in last weekend and an old friend came by a few days later. I gave him the nickel tour, and he walked into the “love shack,” as I called the master bedroom. He immediately said, “Dang! You are getting married. This furniture is nice and it actually matches.”
I do get one room in the house I can claim as my own: the bedroom that was converted into my office. In that room I’ll watch basketball for entire weekends, search for new man-toys like miter saws and socket wrenches on the Internet, and put up pictures that do not match the desk. At least I plan on doing all that until she asks me to take out the garbage or clean windows on Saturday afternoons.
The new bookshelf in my office has been de-bachelorized as well. Three copies of Pride and Prejudice now collect dust on it. The Jane Austen masterpiece is my fiance’s favorite book, and I have heard it is the key to a woman’s heart, so I am reading it. And it’s really not that bad, other than that Mr. Darcy’s endless gawking would freak me out and I can’t stand Mr. Bingley’s sisters.
I know the inevitable is coming, too. The process is highly secretive and covert, but it always comes to every man who makes the transition from fiancé to husband. A revamped wardrobe awaits me like fire ants at a Texas barbecue. I do not know how I managed all the prior years of my existence, but apparently my belt needs to match my shoes. I caved in a little and recently agreed to wear my favorite pair of shoes less, but despite numerous pleas on her behalf, she has yet to get at my collection of t-shirts that I wear nearly every minute I’m not at work. I might fight to the bitter end for the baggy gray one with the hole in it.
I do desire to be less selfish, but change is difficult. And I imagine once we are married and she moves in, it will be even harder. But the Bible says that where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. I think the effort I have put forth is beginning to pay off, and I no longer am the most selfish person I know; I’m now just in the top-five. From what I hear, though, it is all worth it and I can’t wait to attempt to love her like Christ loved the church.