When you love a girl as much as I do, you want only one thing: lots and lots of cake. Not those parched sheets encrusted in frosting from the grocer, mind you, but moist sugar bombs that melt your teeth. And boy, does she deliver.
You see, my wife Mandi decorates cakes. She's somewhat of a professional. I say “somewhat” because she agrees to dedicate days upon days crafting exquisite masterpieces using only the finest ingredients and artistic designs, while her customers agree not to pay her much.
Yet, she loves her craft, and I love her for it. Honestly, I do. To see her humming about the kitchen engrossed in her creations sets my heart a-strum.
Mandi's sweet talent has brought experiences I had not once contemplated. Before I married her, my birthday cakes never resembled a cherry flavored Starship Enterprise. She served a double chocolate tennis racket to my dad. I've seen sugared violins and tractors, Spongebobs and ladybugs, dragons and ducks and daisies all spring to life under her hand. Who knew some people like their cakes to resemble yellow handbags? Mandi does.
Of course, the observant reader is thinking: You're married?? Since when???
Indeed. I recently took the plunge, and by recently, I mean about a year and a half ago. “A year and a half? That's nothin!” some crazy old couple might exclaim as their dentures shoot out, or my former college roommates who found their brides nearly a decade ago might note, or my younger sisters who hitched up with their old men pert near fifty-seven years past may observe. But for me, whose string of dating escapades chewed up most of my twenties and early thirties, nineteen nuptial months stands as a rather pleasing accomplishment.
Sometimes, even now, I look at Mandi across the table and think, ”Huh. I'm married. How about that.” Sometimes I'll even verbalize it with touches of love and wonder lacing my voice. When I do, her face takes on that gushy-mushy look I now know so well and say, “You haven't eaten your carrots.”
How can one not love her?
One cannot live with a grown woman for nineteen months without learning a few things. So with apologies to the crazy old couple searching the living room floor for their dentures, I wish to share with you a few morsels of matrimonial wisdom.
What I, Mr. Cory Bickmore, have learned from one year, seven months, and three weeks of marriage:
I'm even more right all the time now than I was before.
Women love their mothers to the tune of at least one lengthy phone call a day, usually two.
Mandi has a knack for making our home feel homey. She also has a knack for helping me realize I enjoy interior decorating and watching endless reruns of What Not To Wear.
I particularly enjoy her crushing bear hugs when I walk in the door after work. Sorry feminists, but I like 'em, and so does she.
Women love new carpet.
Marriage changes the insensitive question everyone asks from, “So when are you going to get married?” to, “So when are you going to have a baby?” Answer: when they go on clearance at Wal-Mart.
Not that I am opposed to babies. I rather like them, especially when they spit up beets.
Parents marry off their children for the sole purpose of producing a grandchild. Until you cough one up, they won't even remember your names. And forget them ever, ever visiting your house. I haven't seen my mother since the wedding. But once that baby arrives, they suddenly get the notion. “We haven't seen Mindy nor Colby fer a powerful long time,” one will say. “Hitch up the wagon, we're goin fer a visit!”
My wife's smile can smooth over a thousand terrible days.
The temptation to ruin warm moments with a perfectly timed joke is more than I can bear about thirty-five percent of the time.
I look at the world through the lens of justice, she, through the lens of mercy. Who do you think God smiles upon more?
When I serve myself, I am grumpy. When I serve her, I am happy.
My wife waits for me to become the man she sees inside. Maybe I will eventually, perhaps, be able to reward her patience.
I like cake. But not as much as ice cream.
Matrimony does change a person, especially when that matrimony involves love, bear hugs, and probing self-assessment. But above all that, it just makes me want to treat her well. Mandi, I hope I'm doing okay.
And to the crazy old couple crawling around on the carpet, they're under the coffee table.