On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of meeting my friend Jeff at Good Dog for a couple of hours while Mark and Noah hung out at the homestead. The big news of the evening is that Jeff just ended a thirteen year relationship. And while it was long overdue, he hadn’t been happy in quite a long time, it’s always so disheartening to hear about someone’s breakup. Recently my friend Patty and her beau split up, as did my brother Jim and Ofelia, the mother of his sons. That seems like a lot of breakups hitting close to home in one clump - is there something about this time of year or are the planets in alignment for relationship strife? Either way, that stinks. And it has me thinking about relationships. Hearing that a couple didn’t make it through is defeating to me. Though I know that over 40 percent of marriages end in divorce, I want to believe that good people that love each other can weather the ravages of daily life and cling together for support rather than fall apart. I want that desperately for myself – a marriage that lasts forever. And being a child of divorce whose parents split up when I was five, I don’t think I had a good role model for how a good marriage works. So here I am just winging it as always.
Missuz J refers to marriage as “juggling porcupines” and while Mark and I might toss one into the air on occasion, I think of our relationship in terms of 90/10. Ninety percent of the time I adore him, thank the heavens for him, and know we’ll grow old together. And during that dreaded ten percent he’s treading on my last nerve and I wish he’d just leave me alone.
Since we’ve had Noah marriage undoubtedly seems harder. We’re occasionally stressed, often tired and in need of a never coming break – and that can take a toll on anyone. And you can’t lash out at the baby – so who else gets it but the spouse? On many days I don’t even see another person to lash out at. Plus the fact that we don’t really have time to do so many of things that brought us together as a couple. A large part of what I loved about Mark from the beginning was that he shared my interests in music, movies, books, dining, travel and politics. And now – well FORGET those. We’re lucky to have the opportunity to chat about Lost and Project Runway. So what brought us together, attracts us to each other, and keeps us together has changed. That is a challenge within itself. Luckily one of the other key components of what brought us together as a couple was that we wanted the same things out of life long term and that hasn’t changed. We both wanted a happy marriage, a city life and a family to share it with. And every day I marvel in wonder at Noah, the prime fruit of those dreams.
Marriage (or any equivlanet long term commitment two people make to one another) is work, undoubtedly. We knew it going in – it was a large part of our discussion with the woman who married us and it was the focus of our ceremony. We’d seen marriages gone wrong up close and personal and we wanted to acknowledge from the start that often it’s an uphill battle and that we were ready. So I guess I shouldn’t feel so crushed when I hear that another couple has lost the fight. But I do. Because certainly each of them thought it was all worth the work. So what brought about that change, and can it happen to us?
I can’t be certain but I believe my 90/10 rule to be fairly normal. No matter how much you love each other, no matter how perfectly matched you are, occasionally your mate is going to drive you nuts. Right? The question is that given the sheer amount of time you spend together and responsibilities you tend to, are you sharing your life with a person who drives you the least amount of nuts. And luckily I’m pretty certain that I am, though when I’m stressed and Mark is stomping on the last tender nerve I have to remind myself. So Mark please remember that I love you even when I’m being a downright snappy bitch who doesn’t seem content with all that we have and all that you do for us. I am. I’m just being crabby becauses sometimes I just am. As we all are. Right?
So here is to our getting through it and doing it together. And to you too.