I’ve heard lots of pregnant people talk about Pregnancy Brain. And maybe one day I’ll get to experience it for myself. That way, I’ll finally have a real excuse for those days when I forget my husband’s middle name, leave the back door unlocked and spell tacos like tacoes. Yes, I’m being extra impressive today.
But until I can claim I’ve been affected by pregnancy brain, there’s another mind-warping brain phenomenon I’d like to officially recognize. Marriage Brain.
Oh it’s real, people.
And it can only be described as the complete disappearance of skills and abilities one once had when one was single
I first realized I was afflicted with a very severe case of this disease one morning two weeks ago. I was running late for work, and upon finally getting myself showered, dressed, blow-dried and headed toward my car, only one thing stood between me and my day: the garage door. Because it had chosen that moment to open 13 inches off the ground and then stop.
I didn’t officially panic until I had pushed the garage door button 33 more times to confirm that the garage door would in fact go down, but it would not – even if it’s little electric life depended on it – go up more than 13 inches. Which meant that me, my car and my blow dried hair were not getting out of the garage that morning.
Frantically, I called my husband who had somehow escaped the evil clutches of the garage door much earlier and was safely at work. Calmly, he walked me through how to pull down on a lever to disconnect the garage door from the electric track, allowing me to open it manually.
As I did exactly what he was telling me to do, I started having these eerie flashbacks. They were flashbacks to a distant time and a place in which I had experienced all this. It was so strange. I couldn’t help but think that I’d done this very thing before.
And then all at once it hit me, I had done this very thing before. At the house I owned all by myself. Inside the garage I maintained all by myself. Whenever the power had gone out, or the opener just wasn’t working, I had known how to do this, all by myself. Nobody had walked me through it. Nobody had ever even shown me. I just knew what to do. All by myself. And now suddenly, one year later, when left all by myself in a house that wasn’t just mine, I was lost. Marriage Brain.
Marriage brain is also the reason I am completely helpless around a lawn mower. Um, how hard do you have to pull that little string thingy before it starts? Never mind that I owned and operated my own lawn mower every week in my own yard year after year, season after season before marriage.
And Marriage Brain is also the reason I can no longer be home alone overnight. I lived alone until I was 32. In strange cities, no less. And during that time I bought my own house. For just myself to live in. And in all those years, I never once felt vulnerably alone. But now, the minute my husband leaves for a weekend trip, I am convinced there are bad guys hiding in the closets, waiting for this very moment to attack. Or worse, that the ghosts that could possibly live in the attic are going to choose this very weekend to move into the rest of the house. MARRIAGE BRAIN.
And I know it’s not just me. Marriage Brain must be the same reason that some men suddenly forget how to do laundry, how to put their dishes in the dishwasher or how to flush the toilet (but not my wonderful husband who is reading this very sentence right now. You never forget those, baby). It’s either marriage brain that’s to blame, or extremely doting mothers. But that’s another subject for another day.
And here’s the crazy thing. Marriage Brain is a disease for which there is no cure. At least, not for me. Because to get rid of Marriage Brain would mean ceasing to view my day-to-day life as a partnership. And I realize now that even though I once knew how to mow the lawn and fix broken doors all by myself. What I didn’t know back then was just how lonely I actually was. Or how wonderful it is to truly be able to count on someone else. It took finding the right partner to understand that.
So yes, while marriage causes some parts of the brain to dim, I’ve learned it shines a big, bright illuminating light on the things in life that really matter. Just don’t ask me to change the light bulb.