This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
On Wednesday, my wife came home early and caught me doing something bad in the kitchen. We argued. I lost.
In her defense, what she caught me doing was something we had argued about before and agreed I would never do again firing .45-caliber reloads into a bucket of sand.
Annoyed as I am to be married right now, I still agree with LDS President Thomas S. Monson telling Mormon men to stop wasting time and get married.
When I heard this at General Conference, the Spirit immediately confirmed it was true. Then again, maybe it was me. Maybe I was just happy because for the first time in my life, I was completely ahead of a church leader on a matter of genuine importance.
I'm male, Mormon and the biggest time-waster I know. But I'm already married and nobody needed to command me to do it. At the time it happened, I was simply too clueless to know better.
Mine was the usual Mormon love story guy goes on mission, comes home, and marries the first girl who maintains eye contact with him for longer than 10 seconds.
My wife may read this, so I should probably stick closer to the truth. Contrary to the Mormon norm, we had a prolonged courtship four months before I turned the key to my heart over to a woman I actually only barely knew.
Thirty-six years later, we're still married. I still count it as the best thing I ever did. I can't say it was the smartest because, frankly, smarts had nothing to do with it.
I was 23 years old, had zero prospects and no idea what I wanted to do with my life other than marry her. Being Mormon, that was enough. So we got hitched.
Statistically speaking, we should have gotten divorced within a few years and a couple of kids. Marriages that begin as shallow as ours don't fare well. There were plenty of times when ours didn't.
And it didn't take long, either. Say, oh, about a year before my wife discovered that what she previously thought was interesting about me was actually a major case of irresponsibility.
And I discovered something alarming of my own that the monkey had married the zoo keeper. The rules I once found insufferable in school, the army and on my mission were nothing compared with those posted in a marriage.
Like getting married in the first place, staying married was entirely instinctual. Problems that arose were handled on primal levels. For example, I took my wife for granted until she told me to stop.
I never physically abused her. Not because I wasn't supposed to, but rather because in those rare moments when the idea actually occurred to me, I understood that she'd take a baseball bat to me in the middle of the night if I did.
Staying married certainly isn't because I've been good or, as counseled by church leaders, I magnified my priesthood. Frankly, any personal effort in that area is on a par with looking through the wrong end of the telescope.
We're still working at it, still too clueless to know better. Maybe that's it that we never saw our marriage as a finished product. Despite everything, including the disagreements, we keep at it.
But some things you can't change. Thirty-six years later, I'm still that idiot kid who looked at a girl and realized that his life had changed permanently for the better. I can't imagine a woman I'd rather apologize to.
And I'm not saying that just because I want the key to my gun safe back.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/notpatbagley.