This year, David and I experienced a subtle shift in our marital dynamic, which had we not handled it carefully, could have exposed a rift in the state of our union.
David switched toothpastes.
For longer than we have been married, we have been loyal to Tom's. Our favorite is the cinnamint, but if that is out of stock, we're happy with peppermint, or spearmint. Once, in the spirit of adventure, I tried the fennel, but although I love to eat fennel, it wasn't what I was looking for in a toothpaste.
So you can imagine my surprise when David came home from a trip to Costco with a 3-pack of Crest Pro-Health.
Is something wrong, I asked him? Why have you forsaken Tom's?
"I just wanted to try something new," was the reply.
Still, I worried. Perhaps this switch was symbolic of a larger problem of which I was unaware? For the first few months, I eyed the Crest suspiciously nestling with the Tom's in a cup on our sink basin, feeling a bit betrayed. I felt a little wistful as watched David brush his teeth every evening, thinking "I thought we were a team."
Many questions plagued me once this new side of my husband had been revealed: Have you no brand loyalty? How could you have made such a decision without consulting me? Have we upset the delicate balance that keeps a marriage working? And most worrisome: Will I be the next thing you casually toss aside?
Otherwise, things continued as smoothly as they normally do. I told myself that I was reading too much into this. Eventually, I grew accustomed to the sight of two toothpastes, and no longer felt threatened by it.
One day, I decided to try the Crest. I don't like the taste of artificial sweeteners, which is the reason we used Tom's, and so I expected to dislike it. It turned out, Crest wasn't so bad. I still prefer the taste of Tom's, but the Crest has these crunchy bits in it—which I now know is because of stannous flouride, one of it's active ingredients—that I rather like.
In the spirit of compromise, I decided to divide my time between Tom's and Crest.
At my most recent teeth cleaning, my dental hygienist asked me if I'd given up coffee or red wine? (No, and no.) "But I am using Crest, occasionally," I told her. This is something she'd been suggesting to me for some time. She nodded her head in satisfaction, affirming that there had been a dramatic shift in my mouth.
I came home emboldened and proud that I'd been so open to trying something new; the state of my union, as well as my teeth, were as strong as ever!
But still, I was a little nostalgic for simpler days, when we were a one toothpaste couple. Last night as we were washing up, I asked David if he ever used Tom's anymore.
"And you don't miss it?"
I was about to open my mouth to say something when he cut me off: "If you were to consult a therapist about this, she would laugh at you as she thanked you for your $125."
True enough. I married a wise man.
This morning, for Father's Day, I my chronically sleep-deprived husband sleep in. When he came downstairs, he gave me a good morning kiss, something we don't normally do. I thought it was just in thanks for letting him sleep, but something about they way he looked at me indicated that I was not reading the situation correctly.
I looked at him, puzzled, and he explained: "Tom's."