On how Rachel Maddow is either ruining or saving my marriage

A glimpse into our lives… the dogs are finally lying down instead of humping each others’ heads and/or trying to bite each others’ faces. Our conversation turns to my blogging habits:

Turtle: You said you would write about our marriage… and then you wrote about the dogs. Again.
Me: Well, things have been hard lately, and I don’t want to write about that until we’re out of it.
Turtle: There’s lots of other things you could write about. [Lists things.]
Me: Yeah, you’re right. There are other things.

[We hug. It's romantic and sweet. Finally, a moment of peace in all of the chaos and rushing around. And then...]

Turtle: You don’t have to write about how we’re in a rut.
Me: We’re in a rut?! [For the record, I am shocked and appalled. A rut is the worst place you can be! Saying you're in a rut means it's all downhill from here...]
Turtle: Well, honey, there’s no one I’d rather be in a rut with.

[We gaze lovingly into each other's eyes. I am relieved. We are going to be okay.]

Turtle: Except Rachel Maddow.


Honestly, she's hard to resist. [click image for source

Later in the evening, I was debating whether to actually post this conversation on the internet. I was picturing relatives emailing – “I heard you’re getting divorced! Do you need somewhere to stay?” – and my sister calling and saying in her caring voice, “Are you okay?” You know, where “okay” means so much more than “okay.” So, let it be officially released that we are okay, and we’re just in a bit of a rough patch where we are passing each other in the night and never eating together and mostly just being snippy and complaining about whose turn it is to clean up the poop/vomit of one of the other four creatures that lives with us.

But you know what’s interesting? This has been going on for weeks. And last night was the first night where either of us actually said it. I said “hard lately” and panicked for a moment, wondering if I was the only one experiencing this bit of difficulty. And – this should not be a surprise – I wasn’t. I’m not. We’re both here and we’re both getting and just saying that out loud made both of us feel better. Yes, admitting that things suck a little bit made everything suck a whole lot less.

us on our honeymoon, when things did not suck AT ALL. awww.

The conversation a little later went something like this:

Me: So, I’m going to put that on the internet, but with a disclaimer that we’re in a “just being snippy and not very nice” rough patch, not a “you take those pets and I’ll take these and I’m staying with my mom” rough patch. And -
Turtle (interrupting): I’ll take Piper and no one else. THEY ARE ALL YOURS.

Some things never change.

trust me here: do not try to separate this woman from her cat.

Anyway, things are relatively alright, and we are implementing a marriage-saving project starting tomorrow! Okay, I’m sort of doing it for school, but also saving marriages! Hopefully it’ll be way successful and I’ll share it next week, graphs and all. Woo hoo! Behavior analysis changes lives, people.

What are your relationship savers? Does anyone else already have the pets divvied up, even if they’re in a happy marriage? I guess a better question before that last one is, did anyone else successfully talk their spouse into getting 3x the number of pets their spouse actually wanted?


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

28 Responses to On how Rachel Maddow is either ruining or saving my marriage

  1. Lauren

    “Turtle (interrupting): I’ll take Piper and no one else. THEY ARE ALL YOURS.” This is my favorite line, hahaha. Turtle and I share a deep and abiding love of one-woman cats with emotional PTSD.

  2. your wife

    i’d like to point out two things:

    1. i like this post and you should totally talk about me more often
    2. under rachel maddow’s pic, i thought it said “lick image for source” and i was like…okay, if you say so :)

    love you!

  3. I also find that just saying things are being sucky makes things so much less sucky. It opens up the conversation for what each person thinks is sucky and then what can be done to fix it can be established.

  4. Wiley


    I wanted to say hi b/c I am ALSO a person in a young, queer FAAB married couple, and that we love pit bulls, and dogs in general, and school and behavioral science and all that and ALSO that we have very clear plans for who gets what animal in the event of one of us deciding to go cohabit with Rachel Maddow.

    We have a cat and two rabbits and the cat DEFINITELY goes with my wife. The rabbits…well I guess that’s not as clear. The male would definitely stay with me, he’s my little mate. The female strongly prefers my wife but I am actually her primary caregiver and she probably wouldn’t want to leave her buddy the male. SO I GUESS MY WIFE AND I WILL JUST HAVE TO STAY TOGETHER.

    • Ohmygoodness, this comment is amazing. THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE LIKE ME and honestly that’s why I started this whole blog. Thanks for saying hi! And if you want to talk behavioral science, yes please! Turtle is tired of hearing about it :)

      I guess we will have to stay together. le sigh. Poor wife is stuck with me AND ALL MY DOGS. Eleanor just got a new tag with her name on it and Turtle looked at it and was all, “Why did you put MY phone number on there?” I do catch her secretly snuggling with the dogs sometimes though…

      • Wiley

        I’ve been wanting to say hi for a while because I firmly believe we should be internet friends, but I’m glad I waited because this post totally spoke to me. I am always trying to get Bridge to agree to have several German Shepherds and she’s like “No, ONE pit bull. Or a boxer. You can have two dogs if you have no rabbits.” and I’m like “Nooooooo seven rabbits and three dogs and a horse GAH.”

        Bridge also secretly loves the rabbits. She and our deranged female, Billiejean, have a special bond. I am convinced it is because they are both sassy femmes.

        • German shepherds EVERYWHERE! as it should be. I picked Daphne because she looks sort of like a brown GSD… though I am firmly convinced she has no GSD in her at all. Oh well.

  5. Haha, your pet split sounds like mine. My cousin’s ex kept both their dogs after they broke up, and when I told her we were getting a 2nd dog, my cousin was very emphatic that we should have a contingency plan for who gets which pet. (Not even sure I used “emphatic” correctly.) So I turned to ask Llamaentity, who immediately said, “I’m taking Badger.” It’s funny because Badger is the favorite dog at home, but whenever we go out, friends and strangers all fawn over Mushroom while keeping a wary eye on Badger.

  6. Amy

    I’m also a one-cat Cat Lady and am obsessed w Rachel Maddow, so I think that puts me on Team Turtle (kidding.)

    Looking forward to your project!


  7. CMC

    I fully intend to ruin my marriage by suffocating my partner through near-violent insistence that we ALWAYS eat together and ALWAYS go to sleep together. Trust me, there can be too much of a good thing. We’re working on it.

  8. Melissa

    Yeah Sweetie…just gonna say that I don’t care WHAT type of a marriage relationship you’re in, there are ALWAYS rough patches that come up. They are inevitable…I’d worry more if there weren’t any because that means boredom! Dates are good, as are weekends away from pets and family :) Be goofy, have fun, and if you’re not sure who the pets are going with then for God’s sake make sure you keep an even number so it’s an even split ;)
    P.S. Talk about Turtle more…she makes me laugh more than the puppies do :)

  9. I love this post for so many reasons: it’s honest, it’s hilarious, and it’s so relatable. I think that it’s totally normal for every couple to go through “rough patches.” Because as strong as any relationship may be, life can get in the way (i.e., concerns about how to pay the rent, who’s going to feed the animals, scoop the litter, etc etc etc). My experience is very similar; it definitely helps to “name” the fact that you’re going through a tough time. Somehow, this always diffuses the situation and brings us back to the present. Also, I’ve totally convinced my husband to adopt all our animals. They are all my doing! :)

  10. I entered my relationship as a me-and-the-dog unit. Boyfriend likes dogs, but after the pain of losing his own, never wanted another. He was kind to my pup at first, but clearly ambivalent. Almost a year after we moved in together, he announced that if we were to break up, he’s taking the dog. He’s completely enamored with her. When he thinks I’m not looking, I catch him snuggling her and cooing at her in Spanglish. So basically, we can never break up, because I’m pretty sure he’d steal my four-legged baby.

  11. When Jeanne and I got together, I brought a cat into the relationship. She swore she was not much into cats, but she and Beau bonded so much that she cried at least as hard (really, harder) as I did when he died. Since then, we have had 5 other cats all together.

    11 years ago, she talked me into keeping a stray dog, and although I wasn’t crazy about the idea at first, we both miss her like crazy. (She died last year). We ended up with a 2nd dog, and just 6 months ago got another. We are currently up to 4 cats & 2 dogs – I really have drawn the line about no more for now – and we also talk about who gets which ones in the (unlikely) event of us splitting up. We have even discussed “joint custody” and “visitation rights”! Haha! No, you are not alone!

  12. i just want to say that when things suck, the fact that they are sucking for both people is totally reassuring. and not just because it’s spitefully nice for everyone to be as miserable as oneself. i am pretty sure my last relationship ended primarily because we reached a point where we were only ever happy one at a time – if you have to make one person unhappy in order to fix the problem for the other person there are some real clear compatibility problems. if something sucks for both of you, that means you’re still on the same page – so, yay! that doesn’t entirely help with the fixing things part…but i hear that starts today, so good luck!

  13. “I’ll take Piper and NO ONE ELSE” made me fully LOL. I miss you guys!

  14. Ele

    For the record, it is the greatest tragedy in the universe that Rachel Maddow and I are alive on this planet at the same time and yet we are not in each other’s loving arms every second of every day. It makes me want to give up on life. In related news, it is actually one of my explicit career goals to be a guest on the Rachel Maddow Show (assuming she is still on-air in ~10 years) for many (morally-upstanding/not-entirely-related-to-her-attractiveness) reasons.

  15. My husband wanted zero pets and I wanted ALL THE PETS. We ended up with a dog. I think that might be infinity times more, but I’m not sure because if I tried to do the math and divide by zero by pitbull, I’d get a black hole, and I don’t think I could handle that kind of responsibility.

  16. I’ve been married since 1996 and I can honestly tell you that there will always be ruts but the first years are the ruttiest. You get through them by being honest and asking questions. The idea that should you never ask someone to change is wrong. We all change and grow all the time. So the key is to know what each of you needs to change for the other and find ways to make realistic changes or accept the unrealistic ones.

    BTW, Rachel Maddow is my doppelganger. So just picture her telling you this.


  17. I just found your blog and I loved this post. Everything about it I can relate to. Everyone goes through “ruts” throughout their relationship. I just like to call them ups and downs. Like a roller coaster. And who doesn’t like roller coasters? If there were never down times then you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the up times as much! I love that Turtle would only take one and for you to take all the rest. If it were to come down to it my husband and I would probably stay together for “the kids” (our pit bull and 2 cats) simply because neither of us could bear being separated from these animals! Things will get better…as my dad always says “This too shall pass” :)

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