|Married in Paris|
A comedian compared marriage to buying a car:
"Owning this car is going to be really hard. It'll either run perfectly forever or leave you stranded without bus fare. It will need more time and attention than you have and maintenance will be expensive! The transmission will go out, bumpers will rust, paint will chip and it will run rough, even as it promises not to. Sometimes it will refuse to start. The only guarantee is…owning this car is going to be really hard."
“What’s it like to stay married for a long time?” my friend said.
Professionally he was a successful globe-trotting, storytelling author. Personally, he was a twice divorced dad, single in his 50’s. Was it too late to experience a long marriage? What’s it like to kiss the same face every day for 20-30-60 years, the rest of your life?
Was it worth the effort?
I hesitated. There’s comfort in companionship over the long-haul. There’s familiarity in shared history. But every relationship is different.
In ours, there is kissing. Hugging, holding, smiling. Talking. Listening. Hearing. There’s “Good night,” “Good morning,” “Please,” “Thank you,” “I’m sorry” and “I love you.”
“We still hug the first thing in the a.m. and the last thing before turning the lights off at night.”
-my mom, married 63 years to my dad
Love ebbs, flows, withers and grows. Love is hungry, demanding and changes over time. Nurturing looks different within each union, but there is nurturing. Or there is relationship death.
For us, marital nourishment means words. Patience. Kindness. Togetherness. And space.
“…we’ll go, together, to the gym, where we each go our separate way for thirty minutes of exercise…”
-my mom, who likes my dad around, but not too close
Hubby and I also feed our relationship by embracing one another’s annoying idiosyncrasies. For example:
I fart. A lot.
He eats loud.
I require time alone in a quiet house.
He likes the tv on, people around, noise.
I like things done my way.
He’s (always) right. (Very annoying!)
We don’t tell one another everything, especially when a truth is (pre-marriage or) unnecessarily hurtful.
When I gained 67 pounds (first pregnancy), he never once called me “fat.” He bought half gallons of Blue Bunny Chunky Chocolate Chip ice cream and (lied) that I was beautiful.
When Hubby’s employment ended without warning in the middle of an economic downturn, we (fearlessly) celebrated a future of (unknown) opportunities with joy and chocolate.
We share a private language.
“I’ll just do it wrong”: A nod to the childrearing years when I’d complain Hubby never helped out - even as I sabotaged his efforts. Reminder to give others space and time.
“I need $500.” Throwback to the days when, it seemed, we were always ($500) over budget. Today it’s a reminder to be grateful for hard-won rewards and enduring the toughest times…together.
My friend waited.
“Is it worth the effort to stay married?” I smiled. “Yes.”
Happy 33rd Wedding Anniversary, Hubby. I love you.