I’m thinking of trading my husband in for a pot-bellied pig. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jeff. We’ve been married for 35 years. A long time, when you consider that it’s a second marriage for both of us. Another wrinkle…besides being married, we’ve been business partners for 32 of those 35 years. That’s right 24/7 – day in and day out!

 Let’s face it – marriage is tough. In the first few years, it’s considered a celebration of love, commitment, puppy tongues, and chocolate valentine hearts. As the years pass, however, the love turns into a ball, the commitment into a chain, the puppy tongue into an old hound dog, and the valentine hearts start to melt. Admittedly, this is extreme but things do change – bodies, expectations, romance, and communication, to mention a few. All the things that attracted you to each other are now driving you crazy!

I love many things about my husband. He’s kind, caring, smart, comes from a great family and he thinks. That’s right, I married a thinker. He analyzes most everything, thinks before he speaks and when he speaks, he chooses his words carefully and speaks clearly and distinctly. I, on the other hand, speak first and then think. I’m more of the “ready, fire, aim” type whereas Jeff is more “ready, ready, ready….” This deep thinking was all well and good when we were first married, however now, all I want is an answer. I accept that a lot of thinking needs to be done when making major decisions like buying a house, a car, an expensive piece of jewelry for his lovely wife but deciding whether you want tuna or chicken for lunch doesn’t warrant deep contemplation. It’s lunch!

So why am I thinking of trading him in for a pot-bellied pig? Well, pot-bellied pigs are affectionate, communicative, curious and intelligent. They’ve also been described as sociable and funny. Admit it, if someone was cruising a dating site and read this description, they might be tempted to answer! Oh yes, one major drawback, pot-bellies are known to be stubborn. Owners advise those interested in adopting these adorable animals that it is vital to let the pig know what the rules are from the beginning otherwise, they’ll run circles around you. Same might apply to husbands!

 Pot-bellies have very advanced communication skills. Most times communication is the first thing to fade away in a marriage. Pot-belly’s vocal communication includes ‘grunting’, ‘barking’, squealing’ and, the all favorite, an ‘aroo’ sound that means ‘you aren’t getting me what I want fast enough.’ Though not grunting, barking and squealing, marital communication does consist of mmm, yea, okay, and the ever favorite, silence. For this point, husbands may be better than pot-bellies.

  But what about affection? On the marriage scale, affection starts high and drops like the crystal ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Affection is a healthy part of most marriages.  It differs for every couple, and is not to be confused with intimacy. Affection is a touch, a hug, a kiss, a loving look, a hand-written note, flowers, cuddling on the couch, holding hands and thousands of other small, unexpected gestures that say “I love you to the moon and back”. Is affection important? According to research, it’s a real human need – more so for her than for him.  So how does a pot-belly compare? Pet pigs are affectionate animals. They love companionship and body closeness. Many pig owners actually allow their pig to share their bed maintaining that the pig is warm, cuddly and doesn’t hog the covers.  Sounds wonderful except that pigs can grow to an excess of 400 lbs. They might not hog the covers but if they roll over – yikes!

Remember your wedding day? Remember your vows? “Till dead do us part” is a traditional phrase sometimes used. It signifies that the couple intends to grow old together, spending the remainder of their lives with each other.  But what does growing old together really mean? It means each is committing to be with the other for the rest of their lives or 35 years, whichever comes first. 35 years? Did I mention that Jeff had ‘min 35’ inscribed in his wedding band? Being a second time around for both of us we decided to give it a trial run of 35 years.  Why 35? We figured, if it didn’t work, we’d still have enough life in us to find another. I kept the number in my head…he inscribed it in his ring. Every anniversary we laughed about how many years we had left on the impending ‘35’. When we celebrated our 35th anniversary we decided to extend the agreement. Jeff even suggested having a plus sign inscribed next to the ‘35’ in his ring. Smart man.

Like every couple, Jeff and I have had our ups and downs, our better and worse, our richer and poorer…God willing and the creek don’t rise, we’ll wait a long time for the’ death do us part’. Do I trade him in for a pot-belly? No, I’ll stick with him for another 35…but I’m keeping my options open.

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