Monday, February 19, 2018

Month of love... Redux

This post was first published on 2/19/2014. I felt it was worthy of a re-post.

I always seem to struggle through the month of February. In my mind it’s a small month that is packed with stuff – National Freedom Day, Groundhog Day, Rosa Parks Day, National Wear Red Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Susan B Anthony Birthday, President’s Day, and let’s add Arkansas’ Daisy Gatson Bates Day. In spite of all the listed holidays, February is still known to be the month of love. Valentine’s Day seems to over-shadow all the others.

My struggle with this month of love is that I am a romantic disguised as a cynic. I make jokes about the best thing about Valentine’s Day is the day after when the candy can be bought at 75% off. I send funny cards and reserve all my goosheyness for my great-grandbabies who loved getting my little gifts declaring my love for them. If you pull back the mask and look underneath you will find that I’m not just a romantic, I am utterly and completely hopeless. I am also a realist. I suppose that means I’m a realistic hopeless romantic.

I was watching a television program about a wedding. It was beautiful. The gown was incredible with bits of shiny beads, pearls and lace. It fit her like a glove and her beautiful figure was easily recognized. Flowers were everywhere and all the guests were both smiling and crying. It would surely be a day the couple would remember for the rest of their lives.

As I watched and listened I noticed that somewhere inside me I experienced a bit of stinging when the vows were said and done and the minister pronounced them “husband and wife.” It was like the words were said in slow motion – h u s b a n d   and    w i f e. That part is always saved to the end of the ceremony, like they don’t tell you the punch line of the joke until the end. Husband and Wife. As if their names were no longer John and Mary, but rather “husband and wife.” I turned off the television and decided to put it out of my mind by baking some bread. I like to bake as a distraction from things that are disturbing.

The baking didn’t help because I kept thinking that I didn’t really know what all that meant – or maybe I did know what it meant and was uncomfortable with it. I’m sure it’s the later of the two. I am a wife and I have a husband. It’s a path I chose many years ago – more than 40 in fact. It was decision made with open eyes. As is the case with most newlyweds, I was young and inexperienced. When I think about it now I don’t understand how young couples can be expected to make such life-altering decisions at such a delicate, tender, age. It’s like saying at age 15, I’m gonna love roses my entire life and then realizing when you’re 40, that you like hydrangeas better. I suppose that’s why divorce was invented.

Strangely, I've never been a wife to a man that I felt I could have spent my entire life with. I've been married to an abuser (Peter) and to a drunk (Riley). If I have to measure, I have far more affection for Riley than I ever had for Peter which is understandable with all things considered. I am now, and have been almost forever, Riley’s wife. That means I do wifely things. I cook, clean, organize, manage, and take care of him because he cannot do these things for himself. Sometimes I do a better job than others, but I always do something for him on a daily basis. He is my husband and that means he is my responsibility.

I could have chosen to get a divorce when I realized that taking the vows meant I would be forever tied to this other person. But, I didn't. I’m a hopeless romantic. No matter how bad things got, I stayed the hopeless romantic. I believed he would leave his mistress, Ms Vodie Aristocrat, and return to me with a renewed vigor towards saving our marriage. That did not happen. When the mistress left him behind, she left a broken man who was not recognizable as the man with whom I took my vows.

People ask me how we have been able to stay together so long. They say we must have a secret to making our marriage work. I want to scream out that the only person the marriage works for is Riley. The secret for couples to have a long marriage is to marry someone who will feel a sense of responsibility and will not leave when things are unbearable. And if you split up, make sure you maintain some semblance of a bond, so the healthy one will come to the aid of the unhealthy one during bad times. My advice is to forget love and marry for loyalty. Did I mention that I’m a cynic?

I have a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. I’m jealous of the people who I believe have found that true and everlasting love that will sustain them for their entire life, yet I'm happy for them. I long to have had that with the man that I believed would be a true and loving husband. I realize that will never happen. I fantasize that there is still hope for me. I believe that I have little time or energy left to really search for him. I refute the idea that a Prince Charming will ride up and save me from the beast. I would probably tell me to ride on and go save his own self anyway. I know that I want true love. I doubt that it will come to me in this lifetime.

Maybe there should be two types of marriages. First there should be the young love marriage that allows for the procreation of our species. If it lasts forever, that’s great. The second type of marriage is one based on practicalities like common interests, friendships, sexual compatibility and has nothing to do with producing offspring. This second type of marriage would happen at a later age when each individual has already been through the first type of marriage. Each individual would know themselves as their own person and would be better able to communicate wants, needs, desires, dreams, etc. In fact, the second type of marriage doesn't even have to be a licensed marriage. It could be just two people who join together with a common goal.

In my opinion, the chances of have a “first type” marriage that lasts till death do part is rare. No one is the same at age 60 as they are at age 20. If what you’re looking for is a “death do part” marriage, don’t get married until you’re already in your 50’s. It’s easier to keep the romance alive over a period of 20 or 30 years than it is 50 or 60 years.

This year on Valentine’s Day I did my usual cynical stuff. I laughed and carried on. Inside I was conflicted. Maybe just staying in bed under the covers for the entire month would have been a better way to handle things. Oh no… wait… I just realized that June will be upon is in no time. June is the wedding month… here I go again.


Anonymous said...

Great post!! I agree with all of it! I may be a hopelessly romantic cynical realist too! ❤️

adri said...

I am always endlessly confused about posts like this. marriage - husband and wife - it is about a financial transaction in which a woman invests her womb and a man invests his wallet into breeding a new generation of -hopefully- viable offspring. zo ok, a woman invests a bit more (women are known to end up dead during the breeding process, while the men are usually quite safe - unless they chose to obtain the required funds by dealing with mobsters and the like) and.. Seriously, I cannot fathom how you people find so much to SAY about it. and even have all these shocking emotions. I'm always astounded by all the weirdos marrying for "love" and pther stuff, I mean love is fun and games, marriage is serious businesses of breeding and real estate management.

dunno, just had to put this out there..

adri said...

I have to admit, I am always shocked when I read such amazing claptrap.

marriage is a financial transaction where people invest genitals, real estate and funds into breeding a new generation. it always amazes me how people "wait for a prince/ss charming" to make them happy. if you can't make yourself happy, no one can. on the positive, if you CAN make yourself happy, whatever you ride on can't make you unhappy.

this is my logic after being a daughter of an alcoholic. male alcos are useless pieces of shit, and the benefit to female children is that you quickly get used to not wait for help whether it's about fixing your car engine or beating the shit out of that boy who stole your schoolbag. you quickly learn to do both - yourself.

I think this is a very liberating state. at the later age, you quickly learn to have men because you want them, not because you need them. it's nice to have an evening orgasm in company but hey, a solo evening orgasm is also a good thing in life - and also excludes listening to someone's random bullshit :-) marriage is basically a financial transaction in which 2 people invest genitals, real estate and liquid funds into raising a new viable generation; and a wedding dress is a tool to make a man's fertilisation tool active. marital vows are basically the woman's promise sheto won't fuck around and trick the guy into investing his money into feeding other man's genepool. why make it something it's not, nor was it ever meant to be?

what I'm trying to say is, screw such thoughts and enjoy your life. if you leave your happiness in hands of other people, you're bound to fail. make your own joy.

The Last House said...

thanks for this post

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you've never been in love or had a companion you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. You sound miserable and depressed. That's not everyone's experience of marriage. Some of us marry our best friends.

Jon Winter said...

Very nice, indeed.