“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” (Donald Rumsfeld)
When #5 and I were dating, shortly after he told me how he felt about me, he showed up one night with a book. It was titled something like, “1,000 Questions For Divorced People To Ask Before They Get Married Again.” He told me he thought we’d work our way through the questions in the book that night, and on future dates. That book and the whole idea of it caught me off guard, and while I thumbed through it a little bit as he drove, we didn’t really utilize it for our conversations. In fact, I probably made some jokes about it and assured #5 we didn’t need a book like that. (I mean, I interview people for a living!) And eventually, over the course of our unexpectedly long engagement, I forgot about it.
Then it came time to marry. One night I looked at him and exclaimed, “Wait! Where’s that book? We should read it!”
“What book?” he asked.
“The one about everything we need to know, and ask, before we get married,” I answered.
“I got rid of it,” he replied.
“WHAT?” I asked. “Why did you do that? We didn’t even read it.”
“You told me we didn’t need it,” he answered. “So I got rid of it.”
I took a leap of faith…and married him without the aid of that book. Everything went quite well until last week, when I went to a bridal shower to honor the fiancee of #5′s oldest son.
During the event, they played a game where the fiancee had to answer a long list of questions about her intended. If she didn’t know the answer to a question, she had to chew a piece of bubblegum–adding a new piece to the blob that was accumulating in her mouth for each wrong answer or any answer she didn’t know. And although she ended up with a mouth full of bubblegum, she knew a LOT about #5′s son! I sat there marveling at all she knew about the man she was marrying and I came to a realization: I didn’t know #5–AT ALL.
When I got home, #5 asked me how the evening went. I replied, “Fine, but it made me realize something.”
“What’s that?” he asked.
“That I don’t know you–at all!” I answered. “I feel like I don’t know you at all and I’m trying to remember what we talked about the whole time we dated and were engaged, since there is so much about you I don’t know!”
“Like what?” he challenged.
I began to rattle off questions from the bridal shower I didn’t know: favorite actor, favorite play, favorite song, favorite color, first girlfriend, first kiss and many other facts. I wanted #5′s answers; I’m married to him, I probably ought to know him!
That quest, however, brought me to additional realizations, like the realization that there is a reason I don’t know #5. To every answer except the favorite movie one (his favorite movie is the original “Parent Trap–” he had a mad crush on Haley Mills, I think!) he either didn’t have a favorite or he needed more clarification: did I mean his first girlfriend (from 1st grade), his first REAL girlfriend, or his first girlfriend after his divorce? If experts say intelligent people tend to over-analyze questions and situations, I guess you could say the biggest thing I learned that night was the extent of #5′s intelligence; he is even more intelligent than I had originally thought! He asked for so much clarification I gave up and asked him an easy question I knew he’d know the answer to.
“Never mind, just tell me, where was our first kiss?”
Without missing a beat and without absolutely any hesitation he quickly answered, “At my house, by the door leading to the garage…” and he went on to describe everything in great detail. There was just one problem. That wasn’t OUR first kiss. THAT I knew.
“Must have been someone else,” I joked.
“It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.” (Will Rogers)
Apparently, I’m not the only one who doesn’t KNOW things!
Second marriage moment #10. That instant where I realized, again, that I was so happily married to a man I love despite the fact I don’t even “know” him! (Or at least, trivial details about him.) And that’s ok, because as Katharine Hepburn said, “Someone asked someone who was about my age, ‘How are you?’ The answer was, ‘Fine. If you don’t ask for details.’”