Mount Baker (if you don’t already know) is a prominent outline in the landscape of greater Vancouver. It is, quite simply, a spectacular geological jewel that reminds us that we are mere humans in a world that is undeniably supernatural.
Having said that, it’s also just a mountain, isn’t it?
And (if you don’t already know), there are plenty of mountains in beautiful British Columbia, so it’s not necessary to get too excited about one particular active, glaciated andesitic stratovolcano, located in the Cascade Volcanic Arc.
Although very occasionally, I do get quite excited about Mount Baker, because it has a been a source of banter and merriment in my marriage for the last 10 years.
And now, for some context…
Approximately 10 years ago, the Lloydster and I made a plan to get married. In order to have a fighting chance of staying married*, we decided to partake in a marriage preparation course, which we thought would fully prepare us for a lifetime together as husband and wife.
We chose the wrong course.
I should clarify, after 10 years of wedded bliss, we still get along like nobody’s business. In fact, we like each other so much that it is probably very nauseating for people to be around us. We are constantly holding hands, making eye contact, rubbing noses, and engaging in intercourse** in public places.
We chose the wrong course because it was a terrible class led by two ill-prepared, inept, self-righteous buffoons that called themselves “marriage counsellors.”
We had hoped the course would teach us about communication, commitment, values, and resolving conflict… But no.
At the start of the day, our “leaders” directed all participants (about a dozen couples) to create a large circle with our chairs. They then went around to each member of the group, asking about the challenges of their relationship, and then began analyzing each couple’s issues… in front of a live studio audience.
It was awkward.
We heard about infidelity, drug use, abuse, and outstanding warrants. There was yelling, name-calling, crying, and the occasional absconder. In some situations, it was very obvious that the couple should definitely not get married. When it came time for the Lloydster and I to share, we didn’t. The Lloydster was messy sometimes, and I bought expensive peanut butter sometimes. We had nothing to say.
As we neared the end of the day, the Lloydster whispered in my ear that the course had been “a giant waste of time.” I nodded my agreement, but then… The leaders told us a story about a “challenge” in their own marriage…
The wife said that when they were driving, her husband would often point out Mount Baker. He’d say something like, “Look at Mount Baker!” The wife said this really annoyed her, because he would insist that she look at Mount Baker, and he’d just go on and on about how beautiful it was, until she eventually looked at it, and agreed with him. She said one day she turned to her husband angrily and said (I’m paraphrasing), “Stop telling me to look at Mount Baker! I don’t have to look at Mount Baker. I can look at whatever I want!” She said he stopped telling her to look at Mount Baker.
Of course, the next time that the Lloydster and I set eyes on Mount Baker, it was game on… Both of us requesting, then insisting, then demanding that the other look at Mount Baker, and going on and on and on about how beautiful, majestic, impressive, and massive it is.
And after 10 years, we still do it***.
* According to a 2010 study, 40% of first marriages end in divorce!
** I meant “verbal” intercourse. Get your mind out of the gutter, you gutter-minded fiend.