Monday, April 15, 2013

A-Z blogging challenge:
M is for Marriage

M is one of the letters with all kinds of possibilities... I considered Mistakes (cooking and otherwise), I also toyed with Marshmallows and/or Moderation (two words that don't often go in the same sentence around here!).

But then this weekend brought about puttering in the yard and house, tidying up and organizing life. I traditionally do said puttering with my iPod in my pocket, listening to music or comedy or a book. There's an essay on my iPod by Ann Patchett that is only available by audio, and which I happen to adore. I had not listened to it in about a year, I'd say, and was reminded again as I listened and worked of all that I admire in Ann Patchett's writing, and all that I  enjoy about Marriage.

The essay is called This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, an essay about Patchett's family and personal history with marriage (and divorce), and is a short listen, at an hour and half.

I really like Patchett's storytelling (though I have to confess I've stalled out about two-thirds of the way through Bel Canto, not sure exactly why). In this essay, however, she weaves the past into her present, and tells of her own shortcomings and failures in her first marriage and subsequent affair, and her adamant refusal to consider marriage again, convinced there could be nothing worse than a failed second marriage. She does of course eventually get married again, and this essay is her telling to a young friend who asks, "Tell me the story of your happy marriage..."

There is so much of Patchett's story I don't relate to, but yet, so much that I do, that it seems every married (and certainly any divorced) person surely would. Though, in reading through some of the reviews on Goodreads, apparently not...

While I didn't immediately assume post-divorce that I would remarry, when I did begin a new relationship that had some substance (husband), I knew that I wouldn't be content to just date/be companions forever. I'm the marrying kind. While not the marrying kind, Ann reflected back after finally marrying her husband, and had the inevitable "Why didn't we do this sooner?" moment, forgetting all her angst toward the institution over the years.

Yet for all its failures (statistics don't lie, 2012 saw a 46% divorce rate in the U.S.), marriage has so much to recommend it. For me, that list includes, but is not limited to:
* Someone to bust a gut laughing with.
* A debate partner for important topics. We may have different important topics, but getting husband's input on my ideas only improves them. (And I like to believe the same about his, of course!)
* A shoulder to cry on. Literally at times.
* The mirror to myself--when I see my bitchiness/pettiness reflected back at me in his face, it can be rather enlightening.
* A prayer partner who knows my heart.
* Someone to taste test my cooking triumphs, as well as my not-so-hots.
* A champion for my causes, and someone who always has my back. Always.
* A willing recipient and giver of foot rubs.
* Someone to plot "somedays" with.
* Never having to do some of those awful around-the-house tasks that I hate, because he doesn't mind. And doing the same for him.
* Someone to be quiet with. How many people can you really enjoy companionable silence with? It's dreamy.
* A back up in discussion (argument?) with Seth. That additional voice in the parenting mix is super helpful, and husband gets a better response than I sometimes! (And, as I haven't said it here in a while--he's the BEST step-dad my kid could have.)
* My road-trippin' companion... (he would call himself my chauffeur.)
* Indulger of my quirks and idiosyncrasies.
* Never having to date again.
And more, so much more...

Are all these things available to those without the piece of paper? Yes. But there's just something about that particular piece of paper. (For me. Don't go all rushing out and getting married on my account. I'm not into your business!)

What is your favorite thing about marriage? (If it's the fact that you're not in one, that's OK too.)

What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!


  1. It's funny... I've realized that it's not particularly marriage I like, but marriage *with* Tom. I like being married to Tom.

    I remember one day a few years ago, he and I were on different schedules and he was coming to meet Gracie and I at the grocery store. It was crowded that day, and i was standing in the bread aisle and all the sudden I felt my body take a big deep breath of relief and relax. *Then* I realized he was making his way down the aisle towards us. It was a little eye opening to me, that whole experience- my whole *being* resonates with him, not just my heart or mind or whatever. And I'm not talking about this in a Twilight kinda way, but in a "I found my people" kinda way. He's my tribe (as is Gracie). And being at home in that tribe is so lovely.

    1. Such a great point, Chel, and one that I'm chagrined I didn't put in BOLD UPPERCASE in the original post, but being married to someone who "gets" you, that's the most critical thing of all. Having been married twice, and feeling mostly like I was "gotten" in the first marriage, when I arrive home in the second marriage, the difference was obvious. Thanks for pointing that out--and yeah for you and Tom.

      I love love love the feeling of your dear one approaching, and just the breath that accompanies knowing all is well. Peaceful.

  2. I'm not the marrying kind, but I have found love, and plan to keep it, for all of the joys you share and more.

    1. Lovely, Ida. Married or not, love is grand.

  3. Yes, we do like marriage. As much as it has been so different than I thought it would be at 18, I think my husband and I are finally working it out. Both of us are pretty strong minded so that has added some sparks to the mix.

    What I like best about marriage? Well, it is probably the same as my 'like' when we first married. I like waking up with my love beside me. I like the comfort found in marriage.

    I used to think that I would never remarry if I found myself all of a sudden unmarried, but I do think that there is great reassurance in the human condition to share it with a man you love. Of course, therein lies the rub!!

    Love the photo of the man and woman holding hands as they drive down the road!!!

    1. Who could that man and woman be??? Yes, I figured you might weigh in on the virtues of marriage, Ma! And who better... xo

  4. This is lovely. I'm the marrying kind, but my husband would not have said the same about himself. I changed his mind without even trying. ;-) I love having someone to balance out my constant optimism, as odd as that sounds. JP grounds me.

    Ramblings of a Silly Girl

    1. That's the nicest part, the "without even trying." My husband was very much a bachelor when we started dating, but I'd known him a long time and always knew he'd make a great husband. Now's he's *mine,* and I love that!

  5. M: I love being married, and except for a brief few days about a month after our wedding (the *permanence* hit me, I think) have never NOT loved it. I can imagine that people who don't "get" their spouse would not feel that, but I am so fortunate that I do. We were BFFs for years before we started dating, and Victor has said many times that he wishes we would have figured out our future sooner and wouldn't have waited so long to get married. I think we needed that time, though, to realize how important we were to each other. It worked out exactly the way it should have for us. He's my lobster. :) ♥♥♥

  6. I had a moment like that, myself--the "what? how did this happen?" and then I just moved through it. Change is always a process... Love the lobster idea--just don't dip him in butter! Or... Nevermind.


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