I Maintain My Marriage On Donuts And Hallmark Cards

I’m not what one might describe as HAPPY-GO-LUCKY.



While, more often than not, this trait gets me what I want, it comes at a cost. People are afraid to tell me their truth. Or I argue. With people. Mostly my husband.

And why am I the meanest to the person I love the most? The person who is MY PERSON. The only man that I would ever marry*

*seriously. the other day:

Scott: Could you imagine dating anyone else?
Me: Well, yes. I mean I just have to think back to ten years ago when I WAS dating someone else. I could never imagine MARRYING someone else. I mean if you die, I don’t think that I’ll ever remarry. You are the only person who could get me to commit to this.
Scott: Okay, this is NOT the direction I was going in.
Me: What?
Scott: Um, thanks?
Me: Okay, I should probably stop talking now.

Anyway, I love this man. Yet, I spent last night arguing with him over a toothbrush. He bought it for our son. It’s fancy. But our son has eight cavities and two dental surgeries. It’s cheaper than more teeth issues. And it’s a way to help. It’s his way to help.

I KNOW this. But January is a stressful financial month. Property tax, tuition for the kids, car insurance all come due.

Did the toothbrush mean we will be foreclosed on? Our kids kicked out of school? We will illegally drive our cars hoping to not get into an accident and with Scott’s driving record know that is impossible?


It meant one less pair of shoes. Or dinner out.

I am the idiot who put a toothbrush before getting along with my husband.

At our first house, a fax machine called every few days. We eventually named him The Beep. As in:

Scott: Oh, who was that?
Me: It was the Beep.
Scott: Did The Beep asked about your day?
Me: Nope, The Beep just wanted to know what’s for dinner. What a jerk!

We grew close. The Beep and us. Also, to each other.

One day, Scott and I are MAD at each other. I mean ANGRY. And we are about to yell at each other when the phone rings. Scott picks up. Which annoyed the CRAP out of me.

After he hangs up the phone, he looks at me and says: The Beep thinks I’m right.

I began to laugh. Hysterically.

To this day, I cannot remember what the fight was about, but I can still picture where Scott was standing when The Beep took his side.

So my husband and I argue. With guidelines. No yelling. Not cursing. No name-calling. No threats of divorce. Interpretive dance and show-tunes encouraged.

Do we always follow these guidelines? Well, for most of our marriage. But we are not perfect. Much to both of our disappointment.

From perfect to donuts.
I mean, isn’t that in the wedding vows: Do you take this man to be your perfect spouse? Me: YES! And he better stay that way!

But whether I’m a jerk or he’s a jerk, I always do something nice for him (as suggested by a friend who has a lovely marriage). He does the same for me.

So there are weeks when our refrigerator is full of Boston Creme donuts (his favorite), and my desk is full of cards (my favorite).

I finally understood WHY this worked when a friend asked me, while I was LIVID at my hubby:

    1. Is he a good husband?
    2. Is he a good father?
    3. Is he a good provider?

And the fact is, YES. YES. YES.

Even when he’s BEING A BUTT-HEAD (hi honey!), he is an amazing man.

Scott is always good at the things that are important. His faults are never bigger than who he is. In fact, the only thing that he’s gotten worse at through the years is giving into what I want the second that I want it. Instead, he’s forcing me to grow. Forcing me to make our relationship less about me. CAN YOU BELIEVE I PUT UP WITH THIS CRAP?

I’ve realized that those three questions are supposed to give me perspective on my husband and my marriage. But really they just gives me the ounce of willingness to buy him a donut. Which is usually enough to enjoy giving him the donut. Which usually makes me feel good enough to let go of what was SO IMPORTANT.

Off to Krispy Kreme. Yum! Oh wait, it’s for Scott.  Dammit, this marriage stuff is hard.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

35 thoughts to “I Maintain My Marriage On Donuts And Hallmark Cards”

  1. I didn’t want to leave a sappy comment. I wanted to say something snarky and witty. but I got nothin’.

    because you guys are awesome. and cute. and even though this post was not necessarily about how cute you are, I still want what you guys have.

  2. Yes to this.

    Knee deep in a particularly inane fight, I often find myself in my head thinking, “Oh my lands, Husband, you are being such a butt-wipe right now.” But the thing is…I’m also a butt-wipe a lot of the time. And while I couldn’t imagine marrying anyone else, who the heck would want to marry me and deal with my nonsense with a greater patience? Uh, that would be no one.

    Thumbs up on doughnuts (donuts?) for spouses. They deserve them.

  3. This is one of my favorite posts of yours (and that’s a huge compliment because I love so many). You hit the nail on the head. I think if each person remembers it’s not about them or being prideful or having to be right (all the time? 😮 ) then it works and works well. Now I feel like I need to get a fancy candybar – Robby’s donut equivalent.

  4. Thanks – as always – for being honest and giving perspective. I think about the sock issue a lot in my marriage. When my husband does something that drives me nuts or makes me mad I think back to the story about Scott’s socks and ask myself if it’s worth getting upset over. It’s not usually. This will be another one of those posts that I think about when hubby and I are fighting – or aren’t. 🙂

    You guys rock. Really rock!

  5. Marriage is unbelievably…long. There’s so much of it, and so much wonderful stuff, and then, well, so many going-to-kill-you moments. Making each other happy is a LOT harder than it looks. But I imagine giving up on making each other happier is much, much harder.

    Thanks for a great post.

  6. I had a couple in the office today who had been married for 50 years. They were funny–each knew each other very well, joshing all morning.

    My only hope is that I don’t kill mine before we get there.

  7. Marriage is REALLY hard! I got married envisioning romance and lots of dates and lots of….other stuff. Instead, I got a little romance (until the honeymoon was over), a few dates (when we can afford a babysitter) and very little…..other stuff. WHAT WAS I THINKING!?

  8. I LOVE donuts so being married to you sounds lovely. I’d argue with you just to get one, have you thought he might be doing this?
    The Beep….awesome!!!!!

  9. I love this. You and Scott sound very much like my hubby and I. He is amazing, but after being together since I was 15 and he 17, we can have some rough patches. Lately though, we have been learning to find the hilarity in the middle of the heated moment. I too forget why we were fighting, I just know I am mad about something. Usually it’s that I am mad at myself and he is he easiest target. Thank Goodness he puts up with me. I just told him he needs a new mouse because he is clicking it too much and too loudly – this as I type furiously on the keyboard. Poor him!

  10. You need to visit Country Style Donuts on Laburnam. AWESOME! Totally homemade, freshmade, yummy goodness.
    Maybe I’ll get my hubby to read this post, then get in a fight with him….

  11. This was the first blog of yours I have read =) I must say it was almost like deja-vu… It’s comforting to know that we all have our moments. Just the other day I was asking a friend “Why I am so mean to the one person I love more than anything?” – seeing your blog was too funny. I had to read it!

  12. I agree, one of my favorite posts. I have my days where I wonder why I got married, only to realize I married the most amazing man. I look at other people’s marriage and I am so thankful for mine. I also do nice things for him, just because I know he appreciates them, and vice versa. This post made me smile b/c I saw a little of us in it. 🙂

  13. What an awesome post.

    And I am deeply jealous. I can’t say yes yes and yes. My husband is a shitty father. He really doesn’t like kids. It’s incredibly painful and I can’t write about it on my blog because he and his family read my blog. But really, I am alone in the parenting, even though he lives with us and our marriage is “intact.”

    I envy you your “yes, yes, yes” husband. sigh.

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