My Marriage: It’s Always Been Poo


It’s Valentine’s Day, and people all over are at their romantic best, scrambling for flowers, chocolate, and dinner reservations.  I’ve always been a bit too sardonic to pull off a decent Valentine’s Day spirit, and Alex and I kind of lack in the romance department.

We have this amazing, sometimes fun, and always committed partnership, and to me, simply showing up and doing the work of loving someone is so much more rewarding than a heart-shaped box of chocolates.  We just aren’t that romantic.  In love, yes.  Romantic, no.

This is totally my fault; I’m pretty sure.  In college on our first Valentine’s Day together, he made me a mix tape, decorated it with orange marker, our favorite color, and presented it to me.  I received it graciously, saying, “What?!?!  We’re supposed to do gifts?!?  We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day?!??!”  I think I concluded with that noise you make in the back of your throat that sounds like a human hairball.

I love my Alex.  And thankfully, he loves me back, despite my total lack in the romance department.  The deeper we got into the relationship, the more it became clear what he was getting into.

If I look at the overarching themes of our life together, I’d say Jesus, family, service, creativity, and poo.  It’s always been poo.

Meet the Parents

The first time Alex came home with me on a college break, he clogged our toilet.  He desperately tried to get it unplugged, and finally resorted to searching underneath the sink for a solution.  He found some disposable gloves, remedied the problem, and trod sheepishly downstairs to the kitchen table.

He told my mother, “Hey, you were probably wondering what was going on up there.  I, er, clogged the toilet, but I fixed it.”  Without missing a beat, Mom said, “Did you use the gloves under the sink?”  He looked surprised and answered, “Why yes, yes I did.”  Mom reassured him, saying, “That’s what they’re there for.  Melanie does that all the time.”

And we were off.  Super.

How He Proposed

We should probably talk proposal stories.  If you’re married or were married, do you have a good one?  Rose petals, down on one knee, something involving a gazebo and a dove?  I love hearing proposal stories, because mine is poo.


In the fall of 1998, I decided to run my first and last half marathon.  I ended up in the hospital later that night with an impacted colon, missed a week of college, and was introduced to my little friend, Mr. Enema.  Really more of an enemy.

Running is bad, people.  Let this be a lesson.

Lying in the hospital with my mom at my side, I groaned in the middle of the night, “All this would be okay if Alex would come here and propose.”  Even in the deep agony of intestinal drama, I had one thing on the brain, and it was a ring.

Later that week, back at school, he did just that.  I was already ready for bed with my multicolored retainer suctioned into my mouth, glasses on, and jammied up.  He was letting himself out to go sleep at a friend’s house, and I climbed into my incredibly high loft, when all of a sudden I panicked that I’d left all my anti-constipation meds back home.  I started jabbering about bran flakes and Metamucil and the drugs I was supposed to be taking and how I just couldn’t go back to the geriatric ward at the hospital with the nurse with the scary butt instruments of torture.

He calmly offered to go check my car and came back a few minutes later with a large sack full of poo softening helpers.  I flopped back on my bed, relieved and still a little sore, determined to probably never run a race again and thankful for my boyfriend, even though he was never, ever gonna propose.

Just then, his head popped up above my loft and I realized that he was standing on my desk.  He said, “Close your eyes.”  I did, and when I opened them, there was a sparkly diamond ring glittering in my face.  I had to squint, because I’d taken off my glasses, but it was there in front of me.  “Will you marry me?”


Apparently, my complete hotness in that moment of retainer and glasses, and his sprint to get all my fibrous remedies, had caused him to become so overwhelmed with ardor that he could wait no longer.  He had to make this raging poop monster his forever.

I climbed down the loft ladder and pulled out my retainer, gooey with saliva, setting it on my desk.  And thus began our poopy life together.  He presented me with a picnic basket filled with little gifts, including a present from his mother with a note inviting me to join the family at the lake that summer.

First Vacation Together

When the summer arrived, I packed for two weeks in New England, a week with my family in Maine and a week with his in New Hampshire.  My family rented a little house on a tiny island with one little general store.  I found myself so stressed out at the thought of meeting Alex’s entire family, including cousins that he himself couldn’t name, that I ended up in a similar predicament to the week before the proposal.

My father returned to that one general store again and again, buying them out of their entire supply of enemas.  “Hi.  I’m back.  I need another one.”  He wanted to say, “They’re not mine!  They’re not all for me!  It’s my wound-too-tight daughter who needs to learn to eat a vegetable!”

By the end of that vacation, I’d used them all but one, and that one became a running joke between my brother and I, as we hid it in each other’s houses every time we visited.  Really, what family doesn’t have a good “find the enema” joke?

I should’ve named my firstborn “Fleet.”

Most brides seem to have a proposal story involving a beautiful meadow or waterfall or fancy dinner.  Some guys hide the ring somewhere special.  Often there’s champagne.  Something romantic.  Back in the nineties when we got engaged, it seems like all the good Christian couples were washing each others’ feet.  Very symbolic.

But we have poo.  We’ll always have poo.  That’s our story.  Forever.

It’s okay.  Our marriage has never been much about romance, but has always had a healthy dose of laughter.  Our poopy beginning has prepared us for all kinds of things, from colonoscopies to potty training.  There isn’t anything fecal-related that we can’t handle together.  It’s always been poo.

So, what’s your story?  If you’re married, how did he propose?  Does anyone on Earth have one as unromantic as mine?


image from PickMeCups at

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  • Christina

    My proposal is definitely unconventional. For starters, it wasn’t done by him. It was all me. It started when after five years of dating, my boyfriend graduated from college and decided to move all the way across the country for a job. Armed with the knowledge that I wanted to marry him and that I didn’t want to wait until he could afford just the right ring, I took my best friend to the mall and set out to buy him an engagement ring. I had plans to visit him that summer and I decided that I better seal the deal before he was gone for too long. Knowing he’s super practical, I got him a plain comfort fit gold band. It was a lot of money for me but not nearly as much as a diamond would’ve cost. I kept my secret from pretty much everyone except my bestie and went across country without a plan except that I was going to get married to this man. When I arrived in town, I found that it was a bit difficult to find just the right timing. After all, he was rooming in an apartment with his best friend and most of the day he was at work. However, he did occasionally come home for lunch so one day I decided to ask him if he would join me for lunch at his place. As soon as he got home, I excused myself to get something upstairs. When I got to the bedroom, I called for him to come up hastily hiding the ring behind me after getting it out of my coat pocket. We sat on the bed, me filled with nerves and him not having a clue of what was about to happen. After what seemed like an eternity, I managed to blurt out, “I was wondering if you would marry me,” as I brought the ring out from behind me. He stared at me for a few seconds before croaking, “Wow.” I had totally caught him off guard. He had expected that he would be the one nervously asking this question but at the same time, he must’ve found it incredibly impressive that I had the gumption to buck tradition and ask him. Because he said, “yes,” and really that’s all that mattered to me at that moment. We almost immediately started calling people to share the news. The parents were first and his parents were thrilled. My parents were as well, but my mother conveyed their feelings on the matter best with her initial reaction, “Well, duh.” I suppose to everyone else in the world, it was only a matter of time. We went out and celebrated with dinner and after insistence from my fiancé, by getting me a diamond ring. I guess the moral of the story here is, if you want something, don’t wait for someone else. Go out and get it yourself. :-) I can happily say this is great advice as we’ve now been married for almost 13 years and have two beautiful children.

    • Melanie Dale

      Wow wow wow! Okay, that was riveting. I was totally nervous for you! Whew, awesome ending. And I’m glad you got to have a ring, too! :)

  • Awesomemom

    My husband and I went ring shopping together (I wanted an emerald not a diamond) so I knew it was coming soon. We lived in Utah at the time and had built a snowman after a storm in a nearby park. He proposed on Thanksgiving, I worked nights at the time so I had to make a special effort to be awake when he was awake from working swing shifts so I was pretty sleepy and his nervousness was totally lost on me. He wanted to go on a walk to check on the snowman. We didn’t find it but then he turned to me and asked me to marry him. It was sweet and simple.

    • Melanie Dale

      Beautiful, snowy, lovely. Utah is one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been, and the simplicity of a winter walk sounds perfect.

  • Lafayette_Lit

    I started dating my husband just before my 16th birthday. We met via mutual friends. Went to prom, the morning after his friends “married” us on the beach (we’d been dating almost a year at that point and were very mature for our age plotting out our life plan together). He went off to college, further away then I would’ve liked. We survived his first year, but broke up the following year when I went off to college. I told him I didn’t want to hate him and in order for us to have a chance in the future, we had to break up and grow up.
    We remained friends, with him even coming to visit me at college and meet my then boyfriend and hang out with us over the weekend (not the best weekend we’ve ever had). We remained friends through everything. Just before my senior year of college my boyfriend and I broke up, my hubby was single, and there was always an attraction. Hubby was always the measuring stick that every guy I dated was held against. I sent him a dozen roses with the card “Second chance?”. The florist asked if I wanted to sign it. I told her if he didn’t know who it was from, he wasn’t the one. Sure enough, when he got home from work that night he called, and we were back together. It was a long distance thing, he was in Richmond, VA, and I was still in college in PA.
    A few months later we were at a park that I love and he kept trying to find the right moment (we had picked out a ring together and I could tell something was coming), but it seemed like every time he was on the cusp of asking, the school bus from hell let out a load of kids who would come running by screaming. We would start walking again trying to find a quiet spot, and time and again the moment was interrupted. Hubby being a man of few words, finally suggested we sit down on a bench overlooking a fenced area. He says, “You know, on a clear day you can see the buffalo.” As I turn to look at him like he’s crazy (were in a park in Richmond, VA for goodness sakes, but there really are buffalo at the park, I just didn’t know it), he gets down on one knee and asks, “will you marry me?”. I say of course, and then told him you’ll know I have big news when I tell him on a clear day you can see the buffalo. We were engaged for a year and a half before we were married, and 15 years of marriage, 3 kids, 2 guinea pigs, and lots of laughter and some tears, we are more in love now than when we started out.

    • Melanie Dale

      Great story! I can feel the awkwardness of his visit with you and your boyfriend, and I love the unsigned card!!!





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