I have been married 22 years of my adult life. Hold on. Hold the applause. Quiet the cheers. That’s 22 years between two marriages.
Yep. That’s me.
I’m a statistic.
I married way, way, way too young, just a few months shy of my 21st birthday. I thought I was ALL grown up. I thought I knew what I wanted in life. And to weaken the odds of marriage survival, the man I married was 10 years older than me. Set in his ways. He knew what he wanted. He was all grown up.
“I don’t want to wonder
If this is a blunder
I don’t want to worry whether
We’re gonna stay together
‘Till we die” – I never worried that we might divorce someday. We both had similar upbringings. We never fought. We had the same goals in life – or so I thought. And I was a very practical, down-to-earth, hippie chick. I didn’t need an engagement ring. We drank health shakes and camped under the stars. We eschewed material things. We were academics. We were athletes. But there was no passion in our marriage. We lived very separate lives day-to-day. I look back now and I wonder what in the world he saw in me? Especially seeing who he married right after me. She is rail thin, stiletto heels, always lots of make-up and jewelry. I can’t imagine she’s been camping a day in her life. What was he thinking? (with her or with me?)
“I don’t want to jump in
Unless this music’s thumping
All the dishes rattle in the cupboards
When the elephants arrive” – I was always a very pragmatic soul. I didn’t believe in soul mates and happily-ever-afters. But I’ve changed. I believe in fairy tales. I believe in magic. My new favorite movie is Enchanted. I want the Disney kiss, wrapped up in a guaranteed happy ending.
“I don’t want to fake it
I just want to make it
The ornaments look pretty
But they’re pulling down the branches
Of the Tree” – But marriage is hard. Hard, hard work. I remember our first real fight as a married couple (with my now husband) and I called my sister in tears. I thought we were over. I said, “We’ve hit a snag. A huge snag!” and she asked me to explain. I did and she laughed at me. She said, “Jane, that’s not a snag. That’s a marriage.” Because there was basically no conflict in my first marriage (and as a consequence, no passion or real love either) I had no idea how to work through this. I wanted the painted, pretty picture of marriage – walking into the sunset of life holding hands. Work at a marriage? What work?
“I don’t want to think about it
I don’t want to talk about it” – But of course, we do. It’s how we’ve lasted these past 11 years. I’m still not the communicator my husband wants me to be in our marriage – I’m more passive. Not passive/aggressive. More passive-what’s-the-point? But I’m getting better.
“I don’t want to hold back
I don’t want to slip down
I don’t want to think back to the one thing that I know I
Should have done” – I’m not a woulda-coulda-shoulda kind of person. I don’t hold onto to things. In fact, I’m so good at letting go I will infuriate my husband sometimes. I have argument amnesia. I forget what we’re arguing about if we move onto something else. He’ll still be annoyed with something and I’ll be oblivious. If you tell me nothing is wrong, I believe you. “Say what you mean, mean what you say” It’s my credo. And I like it that way.
“I don’t want to doubt you
Know everything about you
I don’t want to sit across the table from you
Wishing I could run” – I’m at a stage in my life when I don’t want drama. I want to push the easy button when it comes to marriage. I know it isn’t supposed to be that way every day. But most days sure would be nice. I’ve learned that marriage is a system of ebb and flow. You ride out the ebb and enjoy the joy of the flow. I love riding the tides and I relish those days. Those are the days when loving you madly is so easy, so fun. It’s during the ebb that it’s tough. But with you – I’m hanging on. You make it so worth it.
“I want to love you madly
I want to love you now
I want to love you madly, way
I want to love you, love you
Love you madly”