the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Lover, business partner, best friend

About a month or two ago I signed up for Facebook to reconnect with a group of friends I had in college at BYU and since then have noticed several memes making the rounds among my contacts. I’m not usually a fan of memes and couldn’t tell you exactly why, I think it goes back to being forced to participate in group activities when I was growing up in the Mormon Church and how the trauma of having to act like I was having a good time is such that when someone even mentions Pictionary my brain starts to liquify and drizzle out my nose. The quickest way to get me to sneak out of your party is to suggest we play charades, unless the rules are that you have to take a shot of tequila every time someone yells out, “SOUNDS LIKE?” Then I’ll be sleeping on your couch and stealing your Ibuprofen.

I recently saw one going around where you’re supposed to answer several trivial questions about your marriage, and I realized that as much as this website reveals about me, it says a lot less about the man who runs the business end of things. So I thought I’d bring this meme here to give you a peek at the person I spend my entire day with. Every day. All day every day. DAY IN AND DAY OUT. ECHO… ECHO… ECHO…

What are your middle names?
My middle name is Brooke. Jon’s middle name is Hepworth. Can you guess which one of us is a great-great-grandchild of polygamists?

How long have you been together?
We’ve been married six and a half years, together seven and a half.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
I met him in June of 1997 at an outdoor music festival in Salt Lake City, but we didn’t start dating until June of 2001 in Los Angeles. So, four years.

Who asked whom out?
Hmmm… I guess that would have been me, except I didn’t ask him out, I asked him to move in with me. I do not like to dilly dally.

How old are each of you?
I’m 33, he’s OLD 43. This ten-year age difference is an endless source of amusement for me, and I like to remind him that when he was a senior in high school, I was in third grade learning long division.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
Jon is the fifth of six kids, I’m the youngest of three. All but one of the siblings live in Utah, so we see both sets quite often.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
I think the thing that causes the most stress in our lives, and consequently the most stress in our marriage, is the same as it is for a lot of couples: work. This job is the same as any other in that there are weeks, sometimes months when the toll of it far outweighs the joy of it, and dealing with that toll can upset the balance of the rest of our lives. I’m not as good a communicator as he is, and he’s probably had to spend way too much time than is fair trying to pull things out of me. I’m working on that. I’m always working on that.

Did you go to the same school?
We both graduated from BYU. He got a degree in Humanities in 1992, I got a degree in English in 1997.

Are you from the same home town?
No. Jon grew up in a small northern Utah town called Brigham City, whereas I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. Sadly, our daughter just looks at me blankly when I talk about chicken wangs.

Who is smarter?
Jon is far smarter than I am and can retain information like a computer hard drive. He remembers everything he reads. I have to work a lot harder to process information, but I’m far more driven and persistent than he is. I have to work twice as hard to be half as quick.

Who is the most sensitive?
Ahem. Next question.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
There’s a great sushi restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City called Takashi run by a chef who is half-Japanese, half-Peruvian. Whenever we plan a date this place is always at the top of our list.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Amsterdam.

Who has the craziest exes?
I wouldn’t call my exes crazy as much as I would describe them as diverse. It’s just, there are so many of them. And I can’t really talk about Jon’s exes as some of them are probably reading this right now. I will say this: none of Jon’s exes ever asked him to stick a kitchen utensil up her butt. He wins.

Who has the worst temper?
Have I ever told you about the time we went as a family to Chipotle after swimming lessons? How Leta was holding her overtired shit together right up until she spilled her entire bowl of black beans down the front of her dress? And she was so inconsolable that we had to pack everything up immediately, and as I was shoving everything into a take-out bag she threw her body face-first on the floor in front of about thirty people. So Jon has to pick her body up off the floor, and she is screaming, SCRAAHEEEEMING, all the way to the car, the entire time we buckle her in, and ten minutes later when she FINALLY calms down, when the chaos has FINALLY silenced and we can all breathe again, Jon whips his head around from the front seat, looks her tear-stained face in the eyes and yells, “WE ARE NEVER GOING TO CHIPOTLE EVER AGAIN.”

BECAUSE SHE HAD NOT CRIED ENOUGH.

Who does the cooking?
Definitely Jon. I have four recipes that I can make, and I don’t ever vary from that menu. Jon loves trying new things and rarely ever goes wrong when introducing something new he found in a cookbook. However, I often have to remind him to add more salt.

Who is the neat-freak?
Let’s just put it this way: I am a much nicer person when he puts away his socks.

Who is more stubborn?
I am Southern stubborn, he is Mormon Pioneer stubborn. And together we gave birth to a monster.

Who hogs the bed?
Okay, fine. Me, but it’s not something I have any control over. My limbs take on a life of their own when I’m asleep, and at least once a night I will wake up to find him picking up my entire body and moving it back to my side of the bed.

Who wakes up earlier?
Jon. He’s always up at about 6 AM reading feeds on his iPhone, steeling himself for the list of demands Leta will rifle off when she darts out of her bedroom.

Where was your first date?
The LACMA on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Who is more jealous?
This information is protected by the therapist-client privilege.

How long did it take to get serious?
We were always serious. There was never a time in our romantic relationship when we did not think we would spend the rest of our lives together.

Who eats more?
Me, no question. I’m usually finishing off the meal on his plate. However, he is the type of person who will stop by the gas station after an hour-long workout to pick up a bag of cherry Twizzlers and a Snickers bar and will have finished both before pulling into the driveway.

Who does the laundry?
Someone cannot ever remember that he is not supposed to put my sports bras in the dryer, so someone is no longer allowed to do the laundry.

Who’s better with the computer?
You should see the veins in Jon’s head bulge against his skin when he looks over and sees that it’s been three months since I ran a software update.

Who drives when you are together?
Jon, but not because he’s a better driver. I lived in Los Angeles for over four years and did enough driving for a lifetime, so I’d be happy if I never had to drive again. However, he’s recently started to drive more slowly, a development we may have to work through in therapy. That session would go like this: I wouldn’t have to nag so much if he didn’t drive like such a dumbass.

Feel free to answer some or all of the same questions about your significant other in the comments, or leave a link to your website if you prefer answering there. Look how I answered all these questions about my husband without once mentioning his ex-wife!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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