Keris Stainton‘s fortnightly column on married life…
I realised yesterday that there is one crucial aspect of married life that I haven’t yet addressed. No, not *whisper*bedroom activities (although, if you are interested in that area then I’m happy to share an amusing anecdote, but you’ll have to read until the end). No, it’s the in-laws.
And why did I realise this yesterday? Because I had the following conversation with my mother-in-law:
MIL: I just wanted to ask you something…
Me (internally): Oh no. (externally) Oh yes?
MIL: Now I know you’re going to laugh…
Me: Oh no.
MIL: Are you and David all right?
Me (laughing – she was right!): Yes, we’re fine!
MIL: Oh, I just wondered because last night you seemed a big niggly with one another.
Now let me explain why me and D were niggly with each other because MIL wasn’t wrong, indeed we were. Our 12th wedding anniversary is next week and we had arranged to go out for a meal this Friday night (i.e. tomorrow night).
Then David had told me there was a gig he wanted to go to and asked if I minded going to dinner another night. I said no, that was fine. Then, at his mother’s on Tuesday night, she mentioned Friday, I said we weren’t going out to dinner anymore, David said, “Yes we are!” I asked about the gig, he said it was off.
MIL asked what was off and David said, “Now look what you’ve done!” to me. At which point I beaned his head with a pan. No, I didn’t, but I don’t think it would have been unreasonable if I had.
I mean, what did I do? Ask a simple question?
No. I asked a simple question in front of his mother.
I don’t know about you, but I have found that, as the daughter-in-law, I am the natural point of contact for the mother-in-law. She rings to speak to me. We make the arrangements. We have a laugh. We’ve even been out socially together. Yes, she drives me mad, but she’s also wonderful and I don’t really know what I’d do without her.
But, David. David communicates with her mainly in grunts. He gets irritated at anything beyond the most cursory questioning. He gets annoyed with me if I reveal anything personal to her. And, again, by personal I don’t mean “intimate”. If he so much as buys a new pair of shoes, he’d rather I didn’t mention it to his mother. His stock response is, “You know what she’s like. She’ll just go on.”
See, mothers-in-law get a bad rap, when I don’t think they’re entirely at fault (although they are a little at fault and I’ll have to address that in another column because I’m going on a bit now). But often it’s the husbands who, once they’re married, seem to see their mothers as yet another responsibility their wives can take off their hands. (Along with remembering when their favourite TV show is on and whether or not they like broad beans.)
Oh and the, ahem, intimate anecdote I promised (threatened?). Me and David have been watching David Duchovny’s show Californication. Have you seen it? It’s sexxxy. After we’d watched it one night, my husband suggested we repair upstairs. “You can call me David,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows. Yeah. That’s his name.