Yep taxes. I’ve been paying taxes for oh what now, 20 some years? I wouldn’t say it was fun, like I wouldn’t say stepping squarely onto the pointy end of a needle sticking straight up from your carpet is fun.
And then you have your husband look at it and he takes your foot in his lap and he uses some stuff to clean it and he puts a band-aid on it and kisses your foot and while that isn’t exactly “fun” either, it makes you happy. And that’s how it feels – it’s life, real life, the gritty stupid stuff that happens, but somehow it feels better than it did before when it was just you cleaning your own darn foot and trying to put on a band aid in an awkward position where you cant quite reach so it goes on a little crooked and will most likely come off after 4.5 steps down the hall.
So I filed as a “spouse” for the first time ever this year. It was this process of, here honey are all my W2s and pertinent information, with which you could create a whole new fictional person and flee the country with but you are just going to H&R Block. Right?! And later that day he comes back with a form for me to sign – just under where he signed – and I kinda smile even though I know that I owe money on last year’s taxes but this time, it’s two of us who owe money. And somehow that doesn’t feel the same as it did last year around this time when it was just me and I owed money.
Because that’s what marriage did. It made us both owe money. It made us both file jointly. It made us take on each other’s debts. It made us pay each other’s bills. It made us decide what to buy, what to eat for dinner, when to tell our families we were pregnant, how to discuss baby names (I’m pulling for Clive Staples Wootton) and when to go camping (not in the rain).
And it becomes a question of perspective. How do you want to view these things? When you let yourself become bitter and put out, everything becomes an inconvenience, or an assault on your pride. I could start complaining about losing my independence or that my husband doesn’t own me and I don’t NEED him. More often than not, this turns into some kind of power struggle. This is how much I earn and this is how much I do around the house, and I do laundry 3.8% more than you, but you take the kids to school 40% more… and it all breaks down from there. I’ve seen it happen over and over with couples. Even now, seeing how happy we are, couples quip at us, oh just wait til you’ve been married as long as we have. It breaks my heart.
Look, I’ve been single a long time. I wasn’t going to just up and marry some shmoe. I did my research. I asked tough questions. We compared notes on virtually everything we could think of to make sure we were starting out in a good place. And there was no hesitation in a million years for me to sign the spouse line. And I’ll sign it every year from now on without so much as a sigh. Take that, Uncle Sam! And every April 15th, I’ll think of it as a reaffirmation of what it means to be with the love of your life. We’ll always be in this together, come what may. We made the vow and there is never a loophole.