My husband is upset by the way he is portrayed in my writing. Apparently he hasn’t been with me long enough (18 years) to understand that when I referred to our marriage as “fine,” I meant…fabulous, amazing, wonderful, and superb. I feel it was implied.
Before you go and feel sorry for him, please understand that the same lack of sentimentality gets him off the hook for both birthdays and Valentine’s Day. I will get myself what I want for my birthday, I don’t expect him to be guessing and surprising me. Valentine’s Day is perhaps the biggest waste of time I have ever seen. And, to be clear, Valentine’s Day isn’t one of those things where I say I don’t care or want anything, but I secretly expect something great…I really could care less about the day.
The thing about my husband is this…he is most definitely the right person for me. I don’t usually tell him that, because quite honestly, to tell him would be contradictory to all the work that I put into making him believe that he can’t live without me (which he can’t). But, in reality, he is the only person I should have ended up with.
I’ll just say it, I’m crazy. No, really, I am crazy in many ways. We have four kids, we are ridiculously overcommitted, I think the house should be really clean, I work full time, and then I sign up for an insane amount of extra things at work, church, and with the kids. I know that I am a little (and by this I mean a lot) hard to handle. And this is where I know that he is the right person for me…because he just accepts it and handles it. To be honest, he not only handles it, he will generally take the bullet/dive on his sword when things aren’t going well. He will admit it is ALL his fault when we have a problem, and I will let him admit it is ALL his fault when we have a problem, but in reality many times… it is my fault.
When we got married I was that rare woman that didn’t really care about the wedding. My father offered up cash if we eloped, and I wanted to take that deal. But, my husband wanted the wedding and we had one. He was right. It was a great day full of truly fabulous memories. The hard part was in the planning. Not for me, but for anyone who had to make or produce things for the wedding. Florists, cake lady, and the list goes on were all met by the same phrase when they asked me what I would like, “Oh, I don’t know, you’ve done this many times, what do you think?” You would think they would love this freedom, but in actuality everyone seemed a little unnerved by my carefree approach to wedding planning.
The dress cost $150.00 (I am proud of this, not ashamed, so it you were someone who had a really fabulous, expensive wedding dress don’t feel sorry for me), it was the first one I tried on at a discount bridal shop, and the alterations and my rehearsal dinner dress both cost more than my actual wedding dress. It was my opinion, then and now, that the dress was a two minute gig. People were going to decide when I hit the church door if they liked it or not, and at that moment it doesn’t matter how much money you spent on the dress. At some point the bridesmaids even revolted when I announced I didn’t care what kind of shoes they purchased. They banned together to decide on matching shoes as they thought that would be more appropriate. And for the record I know of at least two bridesmaids that wore their dresses again.
I wanted to put my money where it would really count…the bar and food. We have a great picture of my dad at the end of the night that proves I invested wisely.
It wasn’t that I didn’t care about our wedding, it was that I was more focused on the marriage. Good advice from my pastor, “Most people are worried about the wedding, I encourage you to think about the marriage.” I was ready to be married, felt certain I was way behind schedule (I was 24, so obviously I had no real sense of what “way behind” was), and seriously in love for the first time in my life. I feel certain we have no business lasting as long as we have based on the ridiculous lack of questioning and planning we did before the marriage, but here we are.
I’m not sure what constitutes a good marriage. Certainly, as time goes by fewer and fewer people commit to the institution for a great length of time, and even some who give it years, beg off in the end. I do know there are ebbs and flows to the whole thing. There are moments I am caught up in the idea that I have married this perfect person, and that I have made the very best decision any girl could ever make and then again, moments where I am contemplating my exit strategy.
Maybe it lasts because I have the sense to know that there are going to be those highs and lows. Maybe it lasts because we both work at it. Maybe it lasts because when we think of starting over with someone else (and telling said person we have four kids) it seems like way to much work. When Tipper and Al Gore separated after 40 years of marriage a friend of mine said, “What’s the point? Why would you want to start over with someone else after all that work.” Agreed.
I am a firm believer in this, “You can’t change other people, you can only change yourself and the way you react to other people.” And in the end, I think that is what we have done. We haven’t changed each other, but we changed some things for each other. I’m not as sarcastic (yes, I know hard to believe if you know me, this is me way toned down) because it was a little too much for him. He’s more involved in our house and things that need to get done for our lives to run efficiently. There are not as many screaming matches when we try to agree on household projects.
I know this…he still thinks I’m funny and cute, and I still think he is ambitious and handsome, and we still laugh. So there it is…my marriage is going fine, just fine thank you!