Published on December 8th, 2017 | by Richard Black


Games Couples Play

It’s no secret that couples play games. Unfortunately the longer a marriage goes on the fewer of those games are the fun ones that involve a riding crop, a blind fold and a tray of ice cubes.

Over the past fifteen years my wife and I have been playing a number of games. “Pronoun Trouble” is a big favorite in the house. “LET’S GET HEALTHY!!!” is another. “Is That What You’re Wearing?” has always been popular. The only similarity between these little bouts of ours is that, more often than not, no one wins.

Take the game “Pronoun Trouble”. It doesn’t matter if I point out that when Laura says “we” need to do something she really means that “I” need to do something. Even when I’m right there’s no upside.  Whether or I win or lose I’ll still end up performing some unpleasant task that involves a plunger or a ladder or some combination of the two.

“LET’S GET HEALTHY!!!” also has no winners. After starving ourselves for a few weeks and eating nothing but kale and drinking kombucha we might lose a few pounds but it’s a huge price to pay for the toll the process takes on our marriage. Sure we might live a marginally longer life with each other but it’s guaranteed to be a more unpleasant and bitter union. Some things can’t be unheard and, no matter how often I’ve told her that I’m over it, I’ll be taking “you’re a lot more fun to be around when you’re fat and drinking” to my oversized and inebriated grave.

“Is That What You’re Wearing?” always ends poorly as well. I won’t comment much on the game aside from noting that it goes even worse when I’m the one who’s asking the question.

Most recently we’ve become a fan of “Did You Hear That?” which isn’t exactly true. I’ve never liked playing but Laura has always enjoyed the game and she’s recently become an avid enthusiast. For those who’ve never had the pleasure “Did You Hear That?” usually involves being startled awake in the middle of the night to the aforementioned question.

It started a few years ago in our old house when a huge Ash tree began dropping thirty foot branches on our roof. The event began with a loud crack and then something that sounded like an artillery shell hitting our home. Laura would wake up with all of the grace of a gibbon on fire and I’d do my best to pretend that I didn’t hear the equivalent of small trees crashing down upon our roof or, come to think of it, my wife as well.

Since then neither Laura nor I have had more than a few hours of uninterrupted sleep for the better part of a decade. Once you’ve played “Did You Hear That?” you’re playing for the rest of your miserable life. Since moving into our new home my wife has heard the rod in our closet crack sending a few hundred pounds of clothing to the floor, mice scuttling in our attic, squirrels in our eaves, and a bat in our bedroom.

Laura’s hearing is so remarkable that she can even hear things the human ear wasn’t designed to hear like a dog that needs to pee or an unlocked door. I never thought it was possible for lice or cabinet moths to be detected by sound it turns out that I was wrong.

Recently I’ve discovered that “Did You Hear That?” can also be played on the road. Isn’t that something? A few weeks ago we were in a hotel room and, just as we were drifting off to sleep, my wife asked the inevitable question.

“Did you hear that?” Laura asked.

“No,” I responded.

“It sounds like a TV,” she whispered.

“DEAR GOD A TV IN A HOTEL!!!” I replied.

“Richard stop.”

“Does the front desk know?” I asked.

“Shut up.”

“We should have them call 911,” I said as I bolted upright.

“Shut up Richard.”

“…and some Navy Seals.”

“Richard please,” Laura begged.

“Maybe the President too,” I continued.

“RICHARD!!!” Laura yelled.

“…and the Washington Post.”

“I’m leaving you,” Laura harrumphed as she turned over.

“The people have a right to know,” I whispered.

The question didn’t rear its ugly head for the rest of the trip but I’m under no illusions. We’ll continue to play “Did you Hear That?” for some time and, while I’ll always come out on the losing side, I know how to make the game just as miserable for my wife.

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