Yesterday was my parents’s 35th wedding anniversary… I just don’t know how they’ve done it. Even as I remain In Pursuit of Happiness (at least for one more year, as I’m seriously about to give up) I can’t imagine myself making it 35 years with ANYONE. We all know what the beginning is like -it exactly resembles (and may even top) the ending of the typical romantic movie. Invisible bells are ringing, and violins playing. Every word out of his mouth feels like religious Truth told in Perfect Love. Every touch is electric and meaningful, and even in the middle of the mildest task, there’s that jolt and slight tightening of the stomach as a dirty thought zips through your mind, followed by an increase in heart-rate, as you remember that you’re going to see him later. You can’t wait… You catch yourself spending idle minutes trying to place what it is exactly about his mouth /eyebrows /dimple /temple/little toe… that is so unbearably touching. You may even (and I’m sorry, I’ve never done it, and I’m so embarrassed for you if you have -DON’T) scribble your name with his, imagining your married life together… Mrs Ciggie Cramond-Cruise –ooooh… dreammmy!!!
Isn’t it too much? Being together almost every day? Gasping with relief when he’s got a business trip and battling with claustrophobia when you’re both in all weekend, you because you’re tired, and he, because he’s lazy? Fighting over money, whom the kids get their bad habits from and how they should be punished? Yelling about chores and pointing the finger of blame at each other when decisions turn out to be have been bad… It’s a NIGHTMARE!!! Or is it?
Married people live longer; with someone to care for and to be cared by they are healthier physically, mentally and emotionally. While the married couples of my generation are almost 100% likely to end up in divorce (once or more times) my parents’ generation never let dischord drive them apart. Somehow they knew how to separate even a serious difference of opinion from an attack on their person or on their marriage. They practice what I call the “I hate you but I’m here” exercise, and this can go on for months. The exercise says that one partner may be unable to agree or even to withstand the behaviour of the other, but that this dischord has nothing to do with the marriage, which is a solid rock; an agreement, a contract and an “us against the World”-type pact. So they won’t leave the home, or call a divorce lawyer. They’ll go about Life As Usual, and resolve the problem slowly but surely.
My parents were two little hotheads when they were younger, so you can imagine the impromptu screaming matches that sometimes went on. They have affected me in that I can’t STAND loud people, and if I hear yelling, or someone tries to yell at me, I firmly and quickly distance myself from the situation… But their make-ups were just as impromptu, and 100% thorough. I’d go to bed trying to think of the silver lining of Divorce, and wake up in the middle of the night to belly laughter. I learned early on that the screaming meant nothing because they were (and remain) each other’s best friends. Years later, these two STILL have things to talk about. And I don’t mean idle ” George dear, do you know what happened to Marjorie?” or ” Pass me the remote, would you Marjie?” but ACTUAL political issues, international finance -in fact, Name It. It’s ridiculous. And last night? He took her out to dinner… ’til late! Now that’s what I call romance -even though I’m not at all romantic. They are AMAZING, and they make an AMAZING Couple.
I love you inexpressibly.