My church believes, and probably many others, in a lot of counseling before a couple gets married.
It’s a good idea.
It’s not really counseling. It’s more like getting to intimately know the person you want to live with forever. You get into all sorts of areas that never come up in normal dating. You know, things like money, where are you going to live, how about kids, and so on.
It’s a great idea.
But let’s face it. How do you know if your future partner is telling the truth in these sessions, or just what he or she thinks the other wants to hear? In cases like that someone might just “slip through the cracks” in order to get something they think they want. This is something my wife often accuses me of doing.
I have a foolproof method for testing a future couple’s compatibility toward married life. Make them paint a house together.
Hey, don’t laugh! You can learn a lot about someone during this ordeal. Especially if you use oil based paints.
My wife decided that we needed new carpet in the house after 13 years. I don’t know why. I came to enjoy the many crude life forms that seemed to evolve out of the carpets of indeterminable colors.
That was bad enough, but she decided the entire house needed to be repainted from top to bottom. I personally enjoyed the rustic forms of childish artwork of stick persons highlighted by smudges from dirty grubby hands all over the walls. The kids kind of ruined some of my artwork, but it was still presentable.
I hate painting.
I painted the house when we first moved in. It took me two weeks and I still have the aches and pains in odd places during cold weather to prove it.
A true first test of your compatibility is how much you agree.
We disagreed on everything. But mainly my wife wanted to paint every room a different color. I preferred the old simplistic “one color fits all” approach.
I attempted to explain my approach to Cindy by saying, “We may all want rainbows in our life, but sometimes the drab and the dreary must prevail.”
She replied, “What the heck does that gobbled goop mean?”
“It means I ain’t gonna do it.”
Obviously poetic language was lost on her, so a short answer was required.
The next phase is the equal sharing of the work.
I looked around the house and said, “Wow, you sure do have a lot of work to do if you’re going to paint all this.”
Cindy said: “I think we can get it done.”
To which I replied: “What’s this ‘we’ stuff?”
Before I knew it, I was slapped in chains with a paint roller in one hand. Cindy cracked a whip around my head yelling, “Faster, faster.”
Seriously, I’m not a good painter. I’m a great painter, if I do say so myself. By the way, I would have to say so myself, as Cindy certainly wouldn’t.
Cindy happened to be working on the weekend of this massive project. I got up at the crack of dawn that first Saturday (always wondered what that looked like) and started painting. I eagerly waited for her to see my work of art.
She came in and looked around in horror. “You got paint on the ceiling!”
I was deeply offended. After all, an artist of my standing shouldn’t have to take criticism from a mere mortal. I thought of strangling her, but was afraid the paint on my hands would leave too many fingerprints.
We finally proved our compatibility as my wife dropped down from her supervisory role and began to associate with the common riffraff and paint with me. Her high standards of excellence began to deteriorate the longer it took us to do it on weekends and during the week at nights.
Finally, I saw her painting over a thumbtack still stuck in a wood doorframe. I helpfully pointed this out and asked why she did it.
She looked at me in utter exhaustion and said, “I thought we might use it again one day, so why move it?”
Sounded good to me. My wife. I think I’ll keep her.