Nancy Roman

I Love Him. I Love Him Not.

Recently on a friend’s blog, I commented about romance. To those people still hoping to find everlasting love I gave this advice:

“Don’t expect perfection. After many years of marriage, I still love my husband very much – but NOT EVERY MINUTE.”

Friday was our twenty-first wedding anniversary.

And even on that special, happy day, I don’t love him every minute.

I take the day off from work so we can spend time together. We have a leisurely breakfast (we have a leisurely breakfast every morning…we’re not exactly quick to get going).

He presents me with an anniversary card. This does not make me love him more, since I had forgotten to get him one. I’m sure you understand if I admit that I rather resent the person who makes me feel guilty. But then again the card is exceptionally pretty, and I know from many, many minutes of exasperation that he spends an inordinate amount of time picking out a card – (hint:  bring a book to the drugstore) – and the verse describes how lucky he is and what a saint I am to put up with him – so okay. I get over the guilt-resentment and I love him again.

After breakfast, time to shower. And he waits for me to get completely ready – hair, makeup, the works – before he gets in the shower. Now he knows I hate to share the bathroom, so maybe this is anniversary love, and not ordinary procrastination. Sweet.

Of course, he’s not one of the guys who takes five minutes in the bathroom. So added to my forty-five minutes is HIS forty-five minutes.  And then he finally comes into the den with his coat on, “Are you ready yet?” he asks – like he’s been waiting for ME.   Grrr.

I’m not the only one in this house who’s lost weight this year. My husband has dropped a ton, and he really needs new clothes, so I’ve planned a trip to the LL Bean store in Danbury, so I can buy him something decent to wear. Shopping is not his favorite past-time, but he likes it a bit more now that he looks better.

But first there are errands. “Right on the way,” he says.  I’ve heard that before. But I agree – unfortunately it is HIS anniversary too, and I didn’t even buy him a card.

After the second errand, we’re a little far from the direction we were heading, so I ask, “How do we get back to the highway from here?” He tells me we’ll pick up the highway by Costco. But then about a half-mile down the road, it seems like we are getting further from where I believe Costco is.  “This is the way to Costco?” I ask.

And he answers “Yes, Dear” – emphasis on the ‘dear’.  I can’t stand being condescended to, and I can’t stand him.

But about two blocks later, he says “Oh shit” – and he turns around.

I love being right. So I love him again- sort of.

We finally get to the Mall. The parking lot is jammed with crazy Christmas shoppers. (I was crazy myself to get married over Thanksgiving weekend, but I had to plan my wedding around the budget schedule at the office. And I was NOT going to be a forty-one-year-old bride.)  If I was alone, I would park way out in the boonies, since I can’t park for shit, but seeing as he is driving, he squeezes into a very tiny space close to the door. He’s my talented hero.

And it’s already noon. He wants to eat. I look longingly at the Mall, and agree to lunch first.

At least we pick the nicest restaurant. As I comment on the menu, he comments that the battery in his hearing aid has just quit. Then the other one goes. So for the rest of the meal, we have a conversation where I say something clever and he says, “What?”

An hour later we are finally ready to shop. He hates everything. I hand him stuff to try on and he says, “Yuck.” But I coax him into the dressing room, where I linger outside the door. And linger. He’s not quick at removing his shoes in order to try on pants.

But finally he appears in a nice looking shirt and navy chinos.  He looks okay. I show him another shirt, which he does not want to try on. “That plaid offends me,” he says. An offensive plaid?  I should have shopped on-line. (which I plan to do for Christmas presents, but I am no longer sure what size to order, so I NEED him to try shit on.)

I find an inoffensive plaid – which looks just like the other one – but he agrees to try it.

When he finally reappears (I’m telling myself that perhaps it had a million pins) he looks pretty good. He checks out his backside in the mirror and says, “Do you think these pants are too girly in the ass?”

This is LL Bean. Not even the women’s pants are girly.

I try to get him to try on parkas.  He does, reluctantly. He hates them all.

So we buy the two shirts and one pair of pants.  Okay.

We leave LL Bean and he says, “Let’s go home.”

I say, as nicely as I can, “As long as we are here, let’s check out a few of the other stores.”

So we enter the Mall itself. (LL Bean is a separate building – we haven’t even gone in mall yet. It’s 2:00 PM.) We look around to get our bearings. One anchor store is Macy’s; one is Lord & Taylor; one is Sears.

“Let’s go to Sears,” he says.  “I could use a torque wrench.”

So we look at torque wrenches for a while. It’s romantic. We stop and buy him some new underwear. He complains that it is too expensive.  I sympathize. Heaven knows the underwear at Sears is pricey.

And he says, “Let’s go home.”

And even though I planned this as a shopping excursion for HIM, I thought that he just MIGHT want to buy me a little something too.

So as we walk back to the exit, I linger in front of a few windows. And he FINALLY says, “Do you want to shop for something too?”

We go into Lucky Jeans. He picks out a pair of black skinny jeans. YES!  I find what I think might be my size  (what the hell is a 30?) and I try them on. They are way too big. YES again!  He goes back to the rack for me (Is that unbelievable? How sweet!), and brings me a much smaller pair.

They fit. I model them for him, and he says: “Nice. Do you think they are tight enough?”  Now this isn’t my mother being sarcastic back when I was 18. This is my husband wanting me to wear ass-hugging skinny black jeans at 61.

I love him again.

Back at home, we have a couple of hours before our dinner reservation. He starts trying on his coats. He doesn’t need a parka after all. He has saved all his coats from the last twenty years, and he fits into one of the old ones.

Then he tries on his better coats. They are big and baggy now. He goes up to the attic and finds an old topcoat from years ago. Dark gray cashmere; double-breasted.

He stands before me with a big smile. “I look great in this coat.” And he does.

And he brings back a sweet memory. On our honeymoon, he bought himself a black  T-shirt emblazoned with a gold Mayan calendar.  I remember him putting it on back at the hotel and saying to me – in all seriousness – “I look stunning.”  I love him again.

We go to our favorite fancy, elegant (ridiculously expensive) restaurant.

We order wine.

I say, “Happy Anniversary, Honey.”

He says, “What?”




  1. This is such a relevant note in our household. My son just got married over Thanksgiving weekend, and though we enjoyed the wedding and wish the newlyweds eternal happiness, my husband and I spent the entire weekend getting on each other’s nerves. Then we weren’t. Then we were.

    I love him, but like you said, I don’t love every minute with him. 🙂


    • Oh, sometimes whether I can stand him or not changes by the minute.


  2. I read this allowed to my six week old and giggled and smirked thru-out .
    Thanks for a pleasant morning release of endorphins 🙂


  3. Really. This should be required pre-marriage reading. It was fabulous and spot-on.


  4. You can get your husband to go clothes shopping with you? Wow – what a concept! My husband refuses to so much as venture into a clothing store or mall (to him, the concept of ‘shopping’ means a hardware store or auto supply depot – PERIOD). I have to guess at sizes and ‘fit’ and do the return-it-and-try-again two step if I’m wrong (or, as I recently discovered, if his favourite brands are no longer made ‘locally’ and don’t fit the way they used to). It’s during those lonely shopping trips to the men’s store (with his words ‘I don’t NEED new clothes’ ringing in my ears) that I definitely have to keep reminding myself how much I love him (he doesn’t buy cards, either, but I do get a dozen roses on my birthday and anniversary, so he’s almost forgiven for not doing any other kind of shopping!)


    • I hadn’t been clothes shopping with him for quite a long time. And it will be quite a long time before I do it again.


  5. Nancy, you are a riot. And really good with tools too — because you hit the nail right smack on the head.


    • I restrained myself from hitting him with the torque wrench.


      • You are a truly devoted wife, Nancy.


  6. Wait a minute….have you been following my husband and I? The offensive plaid comment really got me….my husband has very strong opinions about certain plaids as well.


    • I am still pondering the source of the offense.


  7. pharphelonus

    One of your best Nancy. Romance and humor. Awesome.


  8. Love this….. torque wrenches and pricey Sears underwear! Happy Anniversary!


  9. I loved this. Congratulations on another year. My husband isn’t a shopper but he is definitely a keeper. Sounds like yours is, too.


  10. Not a more apt description of marriage out there! We are good friends but there are times that his persnickety-ness drives me nuts .. and when my need to herd/organize makes him insane. The love button really does turn on and off 🙂



    • My love button turns on and off so quickly, it is more of a Love Strobe.


  11. Congrats on 21, that is a milestone sorta like being able to drink; finally. My husband will shop, he even likes to shop if he thinks I will buy him something like golf clubs.


    • My husband likes to shop for groceries. We need a full day to get through Costco.


  12. Oh this is good. This is very very good! Love by the minute. We may be married to the same guy.


    • We are all married to the same guy. They only come in one model.


  13. Let the Games Begin!

    My husband loves to shop. He gets his exercise walking up and down the aisle at Costco. However, there seems to be a disconnect between him and clothing. I bought him 2 or 3 nice shirts (nice = buttons and a collar). He refused to wear them because they made him look fat. The man weighs 350 pounds. He doesn’t need a shirt to make him look fat.


    • Ha! I’ll bet he would love some girly-ass pants.


  14. Oh my gosh, this is so spot-on! I giggled and nodded all the way through it. I just sigh when youngsters (anyone younger than 35…) get married with those stars in their eyes. They’ll learn. Relationships are work, but they’re worth it when we find the right partner. I agree that this should be required reading at bridal showers!


    • I know some romantic young ladies who think that they will love their spouses’ faults. Ha, ha. Little faults now just continue to grate on you….


  15. “Too girly in the ass” – I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it made me laugh! Congratulations on your anniversary.


    • I don’t know what “girly in the ass” means either. Or why the plaid was offensive.


  16. I love him, too. And you. Thanks for another great smile-inducing post! And Happy Anniversary!


    • Thank you. I love him very much…. on and off.


  17. This is such a sweet one. Happy Anniversary and congratulations on your tight skinny black jeans. Rad.


    • Wore them today. My husband approved. I was very girly in the ass.


  18. Michelle Gillies

    No truer words were ever written. We love them but not 24/7. It is good to know that I am not the only one that can flip from minute to minute with the love/hate mode.


  19. and a good time was had by all — Happy Anniversary


  20. A great description of a long-term marriage that works! Retirement has been a challenge here. The switches between love/not -ove give me a headache some days. But it’s still more love than not-love. And Yay for you and the skinny jeans!


  21. “not-love”


    • Uh-Oh… a one-minute change. I’ve been there. (there now, as a matter of fact)


  22. Fabulous post! I hate helping Cap’n Firepants shop for clothes. He always wants me to come along, but never likes what I choose.


  23. What a lovely read.


  24. You got many a giggle from my grown daughter and my mom as I read this one to them. We love reading about real life. Not that fake stuff.


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