Saturday, February 26, 2011

Love & Marriage

....goes together like a horse and carriage.

Well that's what the song says anyways. I'm not so sure all of the time.

Putting on a white fancy dress and walking down an aisle surrounded by a couple hundred people doesn't make love any stronger or more real than it did before the dress and the aisle. That is, of course, in my opinion.

The dress and the aisle just 'seal the deal' in this culture.

When I think about it, I kinda wonder why the dress, the aisle and the party don't happen AFTER a couple has been monogamous for a life time.

It could be because no one knows how long that will be, seeing as time of death is so uncertain, it could be because no one would ever commit to being with one person forever without the enticing party and gifts paired with the young love they are feeling. Or it could be because maybe the whole idea is to commit now and grow as you go.

Geez, I don't know.

I do know that the dress and the aisle are, in my opinion, the easiest part of marriage.

Several months ago I remember hearing a couple that had been married for 40 plus years arguing over something. The 'something' seemed to have been a challenge over the years, a tedious argument really. The wife turned to me and said something like 'After 41 years of marriage he still doesn't pick up after himself'.

There were a few things that went through my mind at that point...

First: 'Wow, forty years of clutter! How are you still married?!'
Second: 'Wow, how frustrating that he didn't choose to change for you. Doesn't he know how much that would mean to you?'
Third: 'Wow, you'd think by now you would've realized to let go of the issue, he's not gonna change.'
Finally: 'Uh, oh. What does that mean for Wally and I?'

I leave a trail of clothes where ever I go. Coats, mitts, pjs, socks, underwear, anything that I wear can be found any where in our house. (No chance of hiding from anyone).

He piles his clothes. On my dresser. Until there's a mountain that a small child could climb as it's life's ambition.

I NEVER close tupperware lids properly.

He doesn't generally notice when the kitchen garbage lid is raised and ready to overflow, that it's time to change it.

We'll see if these little things continue to drive eachother crazy for the rest of our lives I guess.

Then there are the big things....

Like: communication, fidelity, understanding, care, life's ambitions.


These are the things that, in my experience, come up less often yet when they do they are BIG and the events surrounding are BIG. How we handle these things, (which incidentally may show through greatly through how we end up handling the small things) defines where are marriage takes us.

The other day we had a large 'discussion'. There was much lead up to this 'discussion', much unacknowledged anticipation (no doubt on both sides) that it would eventually have to come but I'm pretty sure both of us were hoping the other would miraculously see the other's point of view and wave a white flag.

No white flag was anywhere to be seen.

Sure enough I felt so frustrated and cornered that decided silence was that best option. That way I wouldn't say anything regrettable, I would give myself time to think about my next plan of action, and at the same time I would portray that I was completely under control and somewhat calm. (Though that was the furthest thing from the truth).

My intention for silence actually was never to torture Wally. It really was for he above reasons. Little did I know that after only a few minutes he would crack and plead for me to fight with him as he knew the issue was so incredibly important to me.

Have you ever sensed that point in the argument where you've realized no one's going to win? When what you thought was, wasn't and you knew that you had to accept it, cry about it, be mad about it, then cry about it some more?

Well, that's where I was at this point in our 'discussion'. I knew that we'd both lost. That I, for sure, would have to accept that the hopefulness for what I wanted would need to be let go of and it was time to concede to less than my ideal of situations.

Basically, I wasn't going to get what I wanted.

When I put it that way my actions of weeping, lying in the fetal position in bed, and the frustration that is still hold onto in my soul, all seem a little dramatic. However, those are actions I needed to take in order not to yell, throw things, and decide to book a one way ticket to Thailand.

Marriage is so hard sometimes.

As I look back on my post 'discussion' time I actually feel in my spirit, even now, how my rough edges were and are being worked off. How somehow this experience will shape me in my marriage and prepare me to (hopefully) do better in our next 'discussion'. (Which I really hope isn't in an airport because I may get taken to a padded room if I drop into the fetal position in front of a crowd).

One hopes and prays never to run into a 'discussion' that leads to a necessary parting of ways, or the throwing of a well aimed frying pan or knife.

Though this 'discussion' forced me to have to give up on my ideal for a certain situation, it didn't cause me to give up on my marriage. I'd rather grieve my ideal than my marriage. (Although while in the moment it's often very hard to see the grander picture being more important than the one your currently looking straight at).

For the record, just in case I unintentionally portrayed things to make me look better than Wally, we are equally being worked on and neither were any more at fault than the other.

I won't lie, things are still very fresh and the rubbings of the rough edges still sting, it's REALLY hard to let go of what I think is right compared to what is actually right for BOTH of us.

It's been nearly 10 years, and though the 'discussions' have evolved and changed in many ways, the fact that they are there has not. There will always be something to 'pick up'. Might as well accept that now...

The dress and the aisle .... *shakes head*