3,288 Days of a Shared Life

Over at All the Blues That’s Fit to Print, Lalaland13 is contemplating what it takes to make a relationship last.  As usual, I was happy to provide my own rambling, stream of consciousness take on the subject at hand, and in the past few days I’ve given it even more thought.  Today seemed like a particularly good day to lay those thoughts down, because today J and I mark our 9th year of wedded bliss.

Well, maybe not bliss, because bliss isn’t what marriage is about.  Marriage, in my experience, is something so much better than bliss, so much better than rose bouquets or romantic dinners, and so much more interesting than any diamond anniversary band commercial could ever make it out to be.  It’s better than all of those things because it’s real.  Marriage is the ultimate reality show.  There are terrifying, thrilling, devastating, joyful, and downright mundane moments.  Sometimes you are given a new life to care for, with little to no idea of what you are doing.  Sometimes you are holding hands and jumping into a money pit together, gazing at each other from across a closing table and scared  shitless about the mortgage documents you’re signing.  Sometimes one of you has a career that’s taking off while the other is still fumbling in the dark.   Sometimes you are just going about your life with another person who happens to be by your side.  And every day, you’re incorporating that person into almost every decision you have to make, from how you spend your money, to where you live, to whether you have children, to what you’re going to eat for dinner.

Doing all these things as well as you can is a challenge a thousand times greater than anything else I can contemplate.  Life is certainly difficult, but when you throw in another person whose hopes, dreams, and desires are your shared responsibility, when that person will not always want the same things you do, you increase the difficulty factor significantly.  When I was in my early twenties, an older gentleman who was coaching my then-boyfriend and I in pairs rowing sat us down at the end of our session to tell us how difficult marriage is.  His wife of many years was very ill, and he had been forced to retire from his elected position as District Attorney General to care for her.  He was obviously very bitter about it, and he told us he wanted us to understand that marriage is the first step on a journey that will take you places you can’t contemplate or foresee – a place that may take your own dreams away from you.  We weren’t interested in getting married at the time (and thank God we didn’t marry each other), so it struck us both as a little strange.  Looking back on it, though, I understand exactly what he meant.  However, I take the opposite view.  While I agree that marriage is a lifetime of compromise and ultimately a journey into the unknown, I find that thrilling rather than limiting.  There just isn’t any experience that compares.

So, J, if you’re reading, I’d like to thank you for sharing the past nine years with me.  I look forward to everything that is yet to come, despite the fact that neither you nor I can have any idea what that might be.

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8 Responses to “3,288 Days of a Shared Life”

  1. lalaland13 Says:

    Happy anniversary! You are very wise, Myrtle. This is one of the better takes I’ve ever read on marriage. It’s a job all by itself, and I’m in no hurry to become employed.

    Lots of people get married in August. My parents did, on Aug. 13. It was not a Friday, although perhaps it should have been. Every year around this time, I give a silent thanks to whatever that they aren’t “celebrating” another year together.

  2. AGreenEyeDevil Says:

    Although I have never taken “the plunge” into marriage, I agree with your perspective. I would never enter into the union viewing it as something that would limit my possibilites, change them yes, limit no.

    As for the AGA guy, I feel sorry for his wife because you know she paid hell for the “loss” of “his” dreams, which makes me think he viewed marriage as “a social obligation”, not a life’s journey between equals. So sad.

    Happy Anniversary to a really neat couple and their brood of real babies and fur-baby tri-pods!! 🙂

  3. angiesyounglover Says:

    happy anniversary!!

    that was beautiful 🙂

  4. Skinny Bone Jones Says:

    You bitch, you made me cry at work! I AM CRYING AT WORK!

    I love you, and so that I means I love your J, too, because he makes you happy and has the hot hotel sex with you and is a good, good, good daddy. To 900 million more years of non-bliss bliss! Cheers!

  5. MsScarlet Says:

    So I thought I’d get through today without crying (since I managed to cry pretty much all day yesterday)! Happy Anniversary! I still remember the wedding – “love is patient. . . “, but you said it much better. I love you and J!

  6. dorothyzbornak Says:

    Aw, that was one of the best descriptions of marriage I’ve ever heard. I think a lot of marriages fail today because people don’t realize the reality of it all, and they don’t accept and appreciate that. Congrats on your anniversary and here’s to many more!

  7. All men cheat. Except the ones that don’t. « All the Blues That’s Fit to Print Says:

    […] accompanied by rose petals falling from the sky. It’s more than sex. It’s, as my buddy Myrtlebeachbumpointed out, a hell of a lot more than that. And if you’re both trying, I’d like to […]

  8. The Mayor of Bethville Says:

    Is that pic of Hume and Jessica? Because I love them.

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