Smile Politely

Facing down the issues

Learning to cope.

I am an addicted sports fan. There is no debate on this one. When Purdue lost last Saturday at Kohl Center in Madison, I took it like a man. After all, Bo Ryan is 163-10 there, and losing there is always considered an acceptable loss in Big Ten play.

When my Boilers, however, dropped a heartbreaker to Ohio State at home on Tuesday, I kind of lost my heart.

The worst part of this is that I hadn’t seen my sister and her partner in over three weeks and they had come over to cook dinner together during halftime. As the game slipped away, they did their best to console me, but it didn’t do much good. And while we ate and ate well, I couldn’t hide my astonishment at the way the team had lost. I was detached and ineffectual. Laughter didn’t last as long as it should have and my mind drifted off to places like: “Why didn’t Matt Painter call a timeout when they were still up by 5?”

This is unhealthy. This is a problem. It’s an issue for me. As to whether it’s a “major” issue or a “minor” issue, I think it’s circumstantial. But I know that I had trouble sleeping on Tuesday night, so I am leaning towards major.

Turning minor into major.

I think that part of learning to be a dutiful partner — in my case, a good husband — is learning to recognize and act on the things one must change in their lives in order to accommodate a good relationship. Of course, it’s different for everyone, and it sounds fairly basic; certainly, it makes a ton of sense to work towards establishing healthy behaviors, but it’s not always that simple. And what’s more, it’s often times about things that aren’t considered to be “major” issues by most people’s standards. These “minor” issues can only be determined by each individual partnership  and they can stack up and become something much more than a “major” issue; it can get to be too much and take the whole thing down.

Singular major issues are pretty easy to recognize in relationships: gaining excessive weight is a problem — not just because it makes one less desirable, but because of the health concerns that come with it. Same with smoking: you smell bad and your lungs are getting ripped apart. Cheating on your partner — that’s not cool, and last time I checked, fell into the “major issues” category. And for some couples, a pornography addiction is right there with it. Spending too much money on material goods falls into that category as well, I think. They call it shopping addiction.

But what about the little things? The minor issues? What happens to a person’s brain when, after 35 years, their partner simply refuses to brush their teeth properly,and thoroughly? What about the idea of keeping the bedroom true to its namesake, and leaving the computer and phone out of it? And dirty clothes? Is there any other place for these things outside of a hamper? Doing the dishes after your partner has cooked for you should be standard, and certainly, the idea of just rubbing each other’s backs every now and again should be part of the program as well.

As singular examples, these are all just things that we may have to deal with having agreed to be someone’s partner; we all have quirks that are annoying and part of being in a relationship is simply being tolerant. But what about when too many of them pile up that it becomes too much? When when all of it comes crashing down on someone because there are just too many little things?

As I make my way through the married life, I am starting to recognize how these things can affect relationships more and more. For me, it seems as important as my “major” issues. It’s as important as how I deal with a Purdue loss.

Needless to say, it’s been over five days since the laptop has seen the upstairs in our home. It wasn’t something my wife asked of me, it was something I just did. You should’ve seen the look of approval on her face. That might have been worth it right there.

This is no longer me.

For real this time.

I’ve made vows to myself about dropping pounds before, and certainly, I think that I really believed that I could do it when I made them. But this time, it’s different. Now, I am 30.

A visit to the doctor confirmed what I knew to be true: LDL cholesterol, too high. HDLs, too low. Triglycerides, too high. BMI, unspeakable for a man with my coordination. Blood pressure, well, actually pretty good, considering everything else.

In the end, I’ve let myself get to be 200 lbs and that’s about 30 over where I should be.

It’s a major issue for me, especially with Prospect BBQ and Sweets opening up the road from me. I haven’t been in there yet, but from its name, something tells me I should stay away if I want to change my diet.

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