How to Test a Relationship

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It starts simple. An argument – the eponymous lover’s quarrel – begins somewhere. For you it might be the way the trash can is clearly full but he/she keeps pushing it down to avoid taking it out. Or it might be the way you nag about his or her driving habits. Or the way the toilet roll is always in the wrong direction on the holder. It’s usually the little stuff, or a combination thereof. Sometimes, it’s something big, though.

In this instance, it is one little word: Renovations.

Don’t worry. There’s always a honeymoon period. When you and your significant other realize it needs to be done and start talking at length about how to do it and how great it will be when it’s done. The arguments might not even start at this point. You may agree on everything. You may be formulating the way it needs to be done in your head, though; you may even be planning without including him or her into your thoughts. Keep doing that. That’s Step 1.

Step 2: Initiate dispute at the hardware store. It needs to be in a public place to heighten the annoyances of both parties involved. Perhaps it will start with hushed voices in the corner in front of the spanners or whatever tools you need to complete the job. You may notice a couple of people glancing over their shoulders at the pair of you. This is the moment you need to make a decision, but you won’t have any control over it. It will be your nature that will drive you to become either embarrassed or emboldened. Whichever it is, the result is usually the same – a raised voice. “Let’s talk about this at home.” “All these people can see how I’m right and you’re wrong.”

Step 3: After agreeing that you have too many eyes on you, move to the important part of the hardware store. The place where you will pick the integral product that needs replacing. For this, let’s say a kitchen faucet. This is where that earlier planning comes into play. Be sure to stand your ground on the type you want. This will increase your partner’s anger, who is still in a heightened level of rage from the aforementioned whisper battle. Involve the shop clerk. Maybe your partner will ignore the fact the clerk is there while you are deftly aware of how you are wasting the clerk’s time. You may even start thinking about how it must look as they watch your marriage devolve into a pissing contest. More embarrassment is great fuel for the burning remains of your once strong relationship.

Once you’ve finally agreed on what you are doing (note: this may take more than one tripto the hardware store), Step 4 begins: the actual renovation. The key to this step is to ignore everything your significant other is saying, “Hold that here.” “Shine the light there.” Because you are now not invested, you will do the opposite inadvertently. Encourage the raising of voices so the neighbors can hear every word. “I AM HOLDING IT THERE!” (trust me, caps, bold, and italics doesn’t do the yelling justice. It. will. be. loud.) There may be moments where you will want to storm off and can’t. Grinding your teeth may help you get through this time.

Once you’re done installing, consider your next move for Step 5. Maybe you were a little wrong. Maybe this was the worst fight you have ever had. Maybe you don’t ever want this to happen again. Maybe you should kiss and make up. Or. Maybe you can’t consider kissing and making up. Maybe you should see a marriage counselor.

Step 6. Congratulations! You survive the test. Have a drink. And for the love of God, if this is what happens when you change a faucet, don’t suggest painting the inside of your house.


(I might be painting my house right now. I’m shocked to say it is going very well.)

24 thoughts on “How to Test a Relationship

  1. I enjoyed the humor of a tutorial on something we all want to avoid. I’m not sure how you were doing on word count, but I would like to see you cut the introductory paragraph and dive right into the conflict over renovations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very funny, Melony! I can say this: renovations are one of the few times Justin and I seem to agree on just about everything, but I understand this. I can turn it into, say, vacation planning and it works perfectly. Too funny. Hugs to you for painting. I never want to paint a thing again ever since I refinished my cabinets.

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    1. hehe Thanks! We painted a third of the house on Wednesday and don’t go at it again until Sunday. 12 hours of it, and I can admit we didn’t fight once. I can only hope the other four days of painting will be the same. hehe

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  3. When we decided to renovate the bathrooms, I just took a back seat and let hubby take over. He has a fabulous taste, so, lucky me! 😛 But, yes, at times, when the ‘honeymoon period’ comes to an end, it can be a real battlefield!

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    1. hehehe Good call, Shilpa! We both have good ideas, but we’re both very stubborn people. We high-fived after one day of painting, though. No fights, and it looks so much better in those rooms now. So yay! hehe

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  4. Step 7 (and my dream) HIRE someone to do it in the future. Of course, we can never afford this so my husband I have performed steps one through six so many times it’s like a tragic middle-aged ballet, especially step four–the yelling, omygod, the yelling. I found myself nodding along at the relatability of all of his and feeling a WHOLE lot better that we are not the only ones in this boat.

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    1. I thought it was just us too! Until I was mentioning to a friend last week when we finished changing the faucet. She told me that all couples fought like that during renos, and I just couldn’t resist writing about it after that. yay! We’re not alone. hehe

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  5. Very relatable and funny (even though it’s certainly not in the moment)! Second person worked really well here. Re concrit, the way your opening words are next to the photo and then the rest are below confused me. I didn’t see they were there at first and had to wonder for a minute why you were starting with “eponymous lover’s quarrel.” I also think using the he/she and him/her is jarring. I’d suggest using “they/their,” which are perfectly acceptable singular pronouns now.

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    1. Thanks, Stacie! I edited the piece on my phone, so didn’t even realize the image had done that. I’ll know for next time to just keep it centered. hehe Next time I’ll definitely change the pronouns too.

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    1. Ohhh! Thanks for that. 😀 I haven’t ever renovated before, so I had no idea what I was in for. Now I know, I think we may have the same idea in future. hehe Thanks for the follow. I appreciate it! 🙂

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  6. I really enjoyed the humor of the piece, and the way the husband is clearly in the wrong the whole time, even when you admit that he isn’t. It reminds me of getting called to my aunt and uncle’s house to referee during projects like this (with my parents that request ends in a hard “no”).

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  7. That was hilarious. It also came across as very authentic and true to life. I liked some of your nifty little touches like, ” (trust me, caps, bold, and italics doesn’t do the yelling justice. It. will. be. loud.)” 🙂 Very nicely written, overall.

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    1. Thanks, Ram! I’m glad everyone got a good laugh out of it. I’m still laughing about it, even after it was over, I was thinking, “Why did we get so riled up about something so small?” haha

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  8. I adore the format of this story! Plus I think anyone who 1) has been married for more than 10 minutes or 2) survived a home renovation will immediately relate to this cautionary tale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Carrie! I had no idea what I was in for when I decided we needed to do these little projects around the house. It makes me equally glad to hear we’re not alone in this. hehe

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