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Married for the First Time at Fifty (Week 8)

WEEK 8 (Apr 7, 2018):

Dean and Sally Friscea on their wedding day in the beachfront pavilion

A new home, husband, and a 45-minute work commute pulled me into a swirl of unfamiliarity. I’m a creature of habit and do better in a schedule and familiar surroundings—a “trail horse” to the nth degree! I made it to writer’s critique group for the second month in a row, as I grasped to find some sort of normalcy.

The process of getting my name changed continued with various appointments at government agencies. The list is overwhelming and I now understand how some women would choose to keep their maiden name. People looking at my old signature have commented, “Are you a doctor?”

“No,” I’d reply, “I just thought I’d be married by now, so I never worked on my signature.”

I’ve waited five decades to get married and I’ve already practiced the new signature a hundred times; I’m not letting this huge chore dissuade me.

“These are the times that try men’s souls.” –Thomas Paine

*           *           *

It was a good thing we did four different personality tests/profile studies during our time of dating. It was all at my urging and I had to push a little at times, and a lot at others, but it was well worth it.

the book cover of Please Understand Me by David Keirsey & Marilyn Bates

1) We did the Myers-Briggs test and then went over the book Please Understand Me by David Keirsey. We discovered that even though we are so very different, of the 16 personality types, ours seek each other out, not to change each other, but to compliment and pull each other more to the middle. It was like pulling teeth to get him to do the 200 question survey. And it turns out his personality actually does feel like it’s killing his soul to do a test like that.

The book cover of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

2) We went over The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and took that quiz.  Dean’s love language is Touch and I’m Affirmation with Touch being a close second. You’ll find us sitting as close as possible in any setting. If he’s not touching me, I know somethings wrong. For a while he set his phone alarm to remind him to affirm me. It works just as well on me as a spontaneous affirmation, because I know that his Myers-Briggs personality type often forgets to affirm. I am reassured all the hand and foot massages are putting money in his love bank.

The book cover of How Can I Get Though to You? by D. Glenn Foster & Mary Marshall

3) Then Mark Mynheir from FDLE’s Palm Bay office gave a class at a Word Weavers International Tampa Chapter meeting on the book How Can I Get Through to You? He delved into the differences between Drivers, Feelers, Analyzers, and Elitists. I’m the Driver and he’s the Feeler. Being a military brat and having served in the Army myself, when I finally figured out that he wasn’t a Driver or an Analyzer, but a Feeler, I almost panicked. I didn’t know what to do with a Feeler, but Mark’s class helped me to understand that the other personalities weren’t “less than,” only different.I was told by a counselor that Feelers make the best husbands, so I stuck it out and learned how to relate. It was like learning a foreign language, but it was worth it. So worth it!

4) Finally, at church we went through a Leadership Style weekend workshop. He’s the Let’s Be Careful and I turned out to be the Let’s Go! style. That came in handy to know when I asked him to go with me to a farewell party in Orlando. As we pulled up to an empty house, he asked me if I had the paper with the date and time for the party. I pulled it out to discover it was supposed to be the next day. We’d come a day early. He had grace for me knowing that I was the Let’s Go! style and took a mental note for always making me check dates for events.

At that moment I confessed that it wasn’t the first time I’d pulled that stunt, but more like the fifth time in the past handful of years. He replied, “Good to know.” He explained that he wasn’t mad and that he was glad that he’d arranged dinner afterward with his brother so it wasn’t a wasted trip. I still felt bad, but at least he knew that about me now.

The secret’s out!

All of the tests came in handy when we had to put down Dean’s cat Sampson this Thursday-exactly one week after my dog died. Hard!

Sampson the tuxedo cat sitting on tissue paper in a box

(Sampson sitting in a wedding gift box.)

My friends said that they were glad we lost our pets so close together, so that we could better help each other through it. I don’t disagree.

He waited for me to him at the vet’s office after I got off work. I felt useless. He’s like my mother, where they feel so deeply for their animals (almost more than people). He was nearly inconsolable. I’d not seen anything as gut wrenching as him saying goodbye to Sampson.

And I was afraid to say the wrong thing.

(Sampson sitting in for Dean, waiting for a shrimp dinner)

Sampson the tuxedo cat sitting on a dining room chair staring at the shrimp cocktail in front of him

My fear was to say something callous; something that couldn’t be taken back; something that would damage our new relationship.

I didn’t want to speak platitudes:

Time heals all wounds.

It is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.

He’s in a better place now. No more suffering.

You can get another one! –Had I said he could get 10 more, then I might have had something useful to say.

Dean deserved better, so I resolved to keep my trap shut. Instead, I used his love language, touch. After all, there are no words in times like this that suffice.

We went home and together we sat quietly in a much too quiet house, knowing that the calls would come in the next weeks to go pick up our pets’ ashes. We would’ve lavished our love on the one reaming pet, Tucker the cat, but he’s much too skittish for that.

But we had each other.

Gen 2:24—And they shall be one flesh (KJV)

FOOTNOTE: New Roof Day 37: (Crickets) No movement this week on the roof. Dean is stressed from it all. He was fortunate enough to have a neighbor help him dry it in after the tornado hit September 2017, but it’s time to be done with it all. Seven months is long enough!


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