Save Your Husband’s Life: Read I Just Want to Be Alone

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“Nobody said it was easy / No one ever said it would be this hard” croons Chris Martin in the Coldplay ballad “The Scientist.” In it, who effing knows what Chris Martin was really singing about . . . he could’ve been talking about changing baby daughter “Apple’s” crappy diaper for all we know. But I like to think he was talking about the blessed institution of marriage. The tabloids right now are buzzing about his separation from Gwyneth Paltrow, which Paltrow has decided to define as a “conscious uncoupling,” so we can guess that their celebrity marriage was every bit as challenging as marriage is for the rest of us. Comforting.

I myself never had any delusions that marriage would be easy. My parents were divorced before I could talk, and they both got remarried to complete assholes when I was in elementary school. Luckily, by the time I’d finished high school, they’d divorced said assholes. (Before someone gets their feelings hurt and comes to hunt me down with an ice pick, I will note here that my step-parents were assholes THEN. I am told by my half-siblings that they are very charming people now). Anywho. Not even the older generation in my family provided much of a prototype for wedded bliss. One set of grandparents were divorced, and the other set had a marriage that I would label “cantankerous.” I didn’t see how a healthy, loving marriage functioned when I was growing up, and so I wasn’t convinced that it was even achievable. I knew from watching all the adults in my life that marriage was tough, but there was no one to give me sage advice about how to make a marriage last.

Having been married almost ten years now, I know for a fact that marriage is hard, and I don’t fault my parents and grandparents for not knowing how to make it work. Most days, I barely know myself. One thing I do know, though, is that if you’re able to laugh, to make fun of yourselves (but not of each other–I will pile-drive my husband if he makes fun of me), or cling to any scrap of comic-relief that you can scrounge up, married life will be a whole helluva lot easier. That being said, there are some days when my husband is being an OCD pain-in-the-ass and I am being a bitchy Ice Queen, and the kids are being little jerks, and there is just not a DAMN THING to laugh about.

It’s for days like those that I’m happy I’ve found my own Bible for flawed (and hopelessly funny) relationships. It’s called I Just Want to Be Alone, written by Jen Mann of the hilarious blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, as well as a slew of other female bloggers/Moms/wives/comic geniuses. You know the annoyingly overused acronym, LOL? Well, I don’t laugh out loud very often. I am a smiler, a grunter, a chortler, but not a laugh-out-louder. However, when I stayed up late every night reading these stories on my iPad while my husband snored away, I was shaking the bed, and not in the way that my husband wants me to. I honestly, seriously, gut-giggled my way through it because these women were strumming my pain with their fingers, singing my life with their words. Without giving too much away, I’m gonna do just like they do at the Oscars when they give you enticing, frustrating little snippets of all the movies you haven’t seen yet. These are some of my favorite hysterical (or poignant) excerpts from the book, of which there are many:

The story begins with my husband and his “selective” taste in foods. He’s a picky eater whose favorite foods are on par with that of a toddler . . . / When I met my husband, he advised me he didn’t like beans, so he couldn’t eat [my favorite] taco soup. . . . / I decided to make it for him anyway. Because my husband is not only picky but also observant, I knew I couldn’t just dump the beans into the soup undetected. For that, I implored the use of the food processor, who was happy to accommodate after sitting in the cabinet untouched for years…. ‘Whatever this is, it’s amazing,’ [my husband] responded, quickly devouring each bite. At that moment I wanted nothing more than to slap the spoon out of his hand and yell “That’s beans, bitch!” (Lisa Newlin, “That’s Beans, Bitch!”) 

When done correctly, I admit gentle snuggling can be nice…for a maximum of 2.3 seconds. Because after that amount of time my own arms and legs often go numb, the circulation cut off from the weight of those hairy man limbs haphazardly placed on my own. It then becomes much less about cuddling and more about basic survival. If your bedmate simply can’t take a hint—and by “hint,” I mean shouting, “GET OFF ME YOU HEATHEN!” or “accidentally” placing a pillow gently over his face —that “embrace” can feel like a bear trap that captures your comfort, your hopes and (literally) your dreams. (Abby Heugel, “I Just Want to Sleep Alone”)

 All day long, every day, you will have to forgive the little things so that when the need to forgive the big things comes along, the forgiveness flows faster. Major Acts of Stupid require patience like no other and you cannot find that level of forgiveness if you are still harboring anger over dirty underwear and dishes. (Christine Burke, “Open Letter to My Son Or Your Mother’s Top Ten List of Ways Not to Be a Douchebag Husband”)

 He was wearing awkwardly-tapered tan pants, and there was an enormous, unpopped pimple nestled in the stubble on his chin…. / And I sat next to him through a very enjoyable showing of Iron Man, occasionally stealing frantic glances at the Mount St. Helens of facial acne because that is how I am—I am obsessive. You can be thirty feet away from me, but I promise you I am looking directly at your ingrown hairs and wishing I were pulling them out of your neck with a tweezer. (Raquel D’Apice, “Project Runaway”)


“But he wants me,” I whined. “I’m his mother.”

“And I’m his father. We’ll be fine. Go take a nap.”

But what the hell is happening out there? I know our baby isn’t hungry. He just drained my milk bags dry. He should be settling in for a nap, but instead he sounds like a bag of cats – angry, feral cats, sent to drive me over the edge. I’ll bet that son of a bitch is sitting down. He knows the baby settles more easily when we stand, but he stubbornly refuses to get up. Please, Lord, give my boy his father’s intelligence and tenacity, but not his willfulness…. / Those women who are married to the type of man who doesn’t engage with his kids are so lucky. I’d give my right nut for a douche asshole who spends more time golfing than at home, and when he is home, he isn’t helping or engaging his family. (Amy Flory, “The Problem With the Hands-On Father”)


 “I wanted potato chips, not tortilla chips, honey,” I said, trying to sound reasonable and keep the rising panic out of my voice.

“What’s the difference?” he responded. And with that—that simple, short phrase—I lost it.

“WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? . . . . / Two different genera of chips. Two different species. One is made out of potatoes, the other is made out of corn. One is salty and crunchy and exactly what I was craving in my exhausted I-spend-too-much-time-with-a-toddler state, the other is not. One is great just as is, the other needs to be smothered in salsa to be edible. And WE DON’T HAVE ANY SALSA!!” (Deva Dalporto, “The Incompetent Husband”)

 These days hot and heavy can mean him emptying the dishwasher or bringing home a bottle of wine after a long day. It can mean sleeping together, actually sleeping, without a toddler in the middle of the bed and a small foot in your clavicle for the majority of the night…. / Or it can mean making the most of those three minutes and twenty four seconds alone before the kids realize you are missing. You know … bow chicka bow … ”MOMMY, where are you?” (Katie Manley, “Keeping it Hot and Heavy”)

 Sure, he’s a cheap bastard who can be a tad anti-social and a bit of a know-it-all, but he treats me like gold, so he’s my lobster. We might not be the most traditionally romantic couple, but our relationship works for us. We’ve built the foundation of our marriage on relentless teasing of one another, constant griping, and the knowledge that no one else could possibly stand us, so we’d better make this work. (Jen Mann, “Romance is Overrated”)


And so, now you know why I’ve chosen “I Just Want to Be Alone” as my new Marriage Bible. Now, on my darkest days, when I have a primal urge to push my husband down the stairs, I’m going to take a deep breath, and calmly scan these hallowed pages. Similarly, when I am in the midst of some marital sweet spot, giving out know-it-all marriage advice, and sitting too high on my husband horse, I’ll pick up this book and bring my sweet ass right back down to reality. No man within these pages is the husband that your obnoxious Facebook friend brags about like he is the Second Coming of Christ (if Christ were allowed to marry, which I don’t think He is). Alternatively, no man within these pages is exactly the Angel of Death. These are just normal men, and these are just normal marriages, which sometimes suck, and sometimes score, but with a little room for laughter, ultimately last.

Save Your Husband’s Life: Read I Just Want to Be Alone

14 Comments on “Save Your Husband’s Life: Read I Just Want to Be Alone”

  1. Rachell S.

    What? Gwenyth and Chris spilt up?? Must admit I stopped reading here and went to Google. I was hoping to find out Gwenyth just couldn’t live anymore not understanding Chris’ lyrics to Viva la Vida…. Seriously, I am very sad to hear this news.

    But back to you…see I did come back to finish your blog post! Marriage is hard. Deciding NOT to be married is even harder. Often when we hear about someones marriage ending, it seems like it just happened overnight, but usually the couple has tried everything to stay together, usually for a long time. I know, as I’ve been divorced more than once, a fact I’m not proud of at all. I even read one of the accelerator included ( back when I was still married)….the one about the tortilla chips. It was an eye opener, and I realized my Incompetent Husband really wasn’t incompetent–he just didn’t care about making me happy any more. And when this is the truth, I had to start, at least thinking, about having a “conscious uncoupling.”

    Yay for you for writing about, and sharing other writers, moments of married frustration. I just saw a play recently called The Beaux Strategm, which takes place in 1707. It is about your same topic and it is hilarious! One line did stand out for me though: “Getting married is easy. Staying married is the tricky part.” Amen to that.

    Another great blog! You really touch your readers’ hearts.

      1. Ashley

        Hey Rachell – I got your meaning of accelerator, lol. i love that you’d already read that post and it resonated with you – I will have to let the author know personally, I am sure she would appreciate hearing that. You’re so funny with your Gwyneth and Chris commentary. I will have to look into that play, sounds really good. I was hoping to not offend any divorcees with this post. Not saying that laughter is the key – that just makes it more bearable sometimes. When you’re not happy and you’ve really tried, sometimes the key is releasing the marriage. Thank you, as always, for reading and commenting!

  2. Samantha

    OMG this book sounds dangerous! First, I’m deeply loyal and take my commitments down to the soul. Therefore, I have a history of being freakishly skittish of making said commitments. I stumbled into motherhood, but marriage is still in the air. I’m afraid having a resource like this could make it seem feasible. Secondly, sometimes if I laugh to hard, I have to pee. As I am also a chuckler, chortler and smirker, this isn’t normally an issue. I may have to buy this book and read it in a locked bathroom.

    1. Ashley

      Ha, Samantha, you’re so funny, girl. You are wise to take your sweet time on the marriage thing. A man would only upset the delicate balance and love story you have going at home. When the time comes and the right guy comes along, love will hit u upside the head (in a good way). Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

    1. Ashley

      Stephanie – thanks so much for commenting and for liking the review! I was nervously waiting to hear if I did the book and all of you talented ladies justice. I wanted to do an excerpt of every single story, and I started from the beginning realizing that I had to pretty big chunks and then found I was getting WAY long for a blog post, so I had to cut it off. I LOVED your story because it was hilarious but also because my husband is also a DOER. So much so that there is often a gender reversal going on where I just want to sit on my ass sometimes and he’s all folding laundry while giving my dirty looks! Thanks again for your comment, and congratulations on the book!

  3. Alyson

    Hilarious…keep the marriage blogs coming! Loved the excerpt about having three minutes before the kids noticed they were gone. Keeping that connection is soo important. Thanks for keeping it real. I am proud of you sister.

  4. Jamie Renee

    I was TRYING to quietly enjoy my piping hot coffee, while basking in the comfort of not one but two sleeping babies. Two babies, each under the age of one year.
    Now I have separated a couple of ribs from stifling laughter. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

    1. Ashley

      Haha, aren’t those excerpts hilarious? I seriously laughed out loud at each one of those stories. Thanks for reading – sorry about your rib separation, lmao.

      1. Ashley

        Headbands give me a headache too and I look idiotic in them anyway. We’ll both send ours to Kristen – I’m sure she’ll love them! 😉

  5. Kayla

    I know this is an older post but I am 25 and getting married in May and sometimes….sometimes [like when i say i want to take a week long vacation(alone) or take 2 days off during the week for my birthday (alone)] I want to murder my Fiance and let me tell you what: The man treats me like a queen- probably better to be honest.
    So i am currently facing this internal struggle of wanting to be alone sometimes and wanting to keep him happy to and of course i can’t call an adult who adults better than I do because they all have failed marriages and horrible communication skills themselves. So i turned to google [because being adult means googling crap you don’t know] and imagine my relief and surprise to know that I am 1. not crazy 2. not selfish, mean or ungrateful and 3. There is a whole book about the little things that come with marriage. I appreciated this post more than you could know. Thank you!

    1. Ashley

      Kayla – this is all normal, and proof of that – this book review is the most viewed post on my site because people Googled “what to do when I just want to be alone,” or “my husband says he wants to be alone,” etc. I’m glad you found the book! I hope you don’t mind, but I shared your comment with the book’s author, Jen Mann. It meant so much to her! Good luck with the wedding planning and the marriage – you’re going in with both eyes open, and that, my friend, is half the battle. xoxo

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