Updated: Sep 24, 2019
Who cares about the toothpaste tube or the toilet seat? The biggest disagreements in my marriage have been over things that actually matter like grammar, punctuation, and literary analysis.
It wasn’t always that way. When my husband and I were dating, I used to love the way he looked at me after I had successfully spelled an impossible word he’d read out from the dictionary. I could spell it, he could define it. We even met in a bookstore!
He likes to say it was love at first sight of the Neoclassical literature books I held in my arms. Never mind that I was trying to sell them back to the university!
You see, my husband and I both graduated in English Education, scored an A+ in compatibility, birds sang as we walked, the whole storybook romance.
I thought, in fact, that I had practically married myself, and myself was a phenomenal choice.
Then things started getting . . . weird.
He’d say things he didn’t mean like, “British literature is better than American literature,” or “Fire is one syllable, not two.”
He even called Life of Pi boring. Um, I’m sorry. Did you not realize the boy’s stuck on a boat with a hungry tiger?
We kept it civil for a while, but then the arguments started. I used commas where he would use an em dash. I preferred italics, he preferred quotation marks. He even employed rhetorical strategies at the expense of brevity, like a madman!
And don’t get me started on our endless back and forth over how words were functioning grammatically in a sentence.
It got to the point where he was formatting his papers in APA style while I was left formatting in MLA style. I couldn’t even get him to change some of his sentences from passive voice to active voice anymore. Something had to be done. Er, I mean . . . somebody had to do something.
So, we compromised. I read some Dickens and he read Fitzgerald. I gave zeugma a try, he poetry.
In the end, we celebrated our differing perspectives, he remembered I scored one point higher on our English teacher certification test than he, and we never talked about the word fire again. And when things got tense, we could always laugh it off with the public’s constant disregard for the subjunctive tense. (I wish I were kidding!)
Happy National Punctuation Day, Sweetie!
We’ll always have the Oxford comma.
Anna Anderson is a wife and mother of three living in a small town in Wyoming. No, like, really small. With no Target within 100 miles, she spends her time writing, reading, and ordering things like shampoo off of Amazon. She and her husband met in college while pursuing degrees in English Education, and have been in competition and love ever since. While Anna misses teaching English and Spanish and blowing kisses to her husband teaching in the classroom next door, she finds staying home with her growing army of literary geniuses equally delightful, even if they come home from school going on about how boring reading is and how math and science are the best and how whatever she is cooking at the moment smells weird and has every ingredient in the world they hate in it even though they did not hate those ingredients the day before. Currently, she enjoys pursuing various creative projects including her new YouTube channel, Poetry Out Loud.