“”Marriage is a great institution- if you like being institutionalized” – that’s the statement I’ve always heard anyway………
The main question in every happy marriage at some point comes down to this… “Smother him in his sleep or put the earphones in and just play happy music until it passes?” STOP- before everyone gets their knickers in a wad- I’m a woman so I used the pronoun “him”, but trust me I am well aware the feeling is mutual and he’s felt the same way about me just as many times in all these years of marriage.
Tonight I am choosing listening to the music (your release may be something besides music, but just go with me here) I am dancing to the music not because it wouldn’t be simple to smother him in his sleep or that I couldn’t hide the body. (I’m a Southern woman with access to a chipper shredder, at least 10 bottles of bleach, and miles of woodlands) I choose the music tonight because even though I don’t really “like him” right this minute I am well aware I would quickly miss him if he were gone.
Some days as I look at his face I think to myself- really “You Again”? (oh hush- you’ve all thought it at least once if your married – it’s not my fault you won’t grow a set and say it out loud) On these days there is a standard monologue that shortly flows through my conscience. It sounds something like this “RELAX- this too shall pass- you know he’s a good man, he usually makes you laugh, he’s been a great dad and you still actually love him after all these years” The first question I always have as these thoughts flow through is “where did SHE come from?” Why does my conscience always have the sweet southern accent and sound EXACTLY like my mother?? That’s a whole different topic for a later date, but let’s just say it’s sooooo not fair……………..
I remember looking at this man sleeping next to me when we were newly married with all the fascination of a new born baby. I remember feeling how lucky and happy and nothing could ever change that feeling. Almost 20 years and three parasites (children for those sweeter parents) later – nope no more fascination at all – just a snoring asshole. Luckily an asshole I would quickly miss! (Insert annoying sweet southern accent monologue here)
As women, the entertainment industry feeds us princess movies and romantic movies designed to show us what relationships “should look like”, but have you ever noticed they all end after “they get together” and never show us the everyday monotony of waking up and going to bed with the same person for 20 or 50 years. Why do you think that is????
I’ll tell you- The first reason is that would be a horribly boring movie. Can you imagine watching a movie on the drudgery of everyday life? The only thing that movie would be good for is replacing counting sheep. The main reason we don’t see that type of movie is the reality of that kind of love isn’t pretty. That kind of love isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. That kind of love takes commitment (mainly a commitment not to kill them), but a commitment just the same.
I’ve been really lucky and watched my parents hit the 50 years of marriage milestone this year. I’ve watched them do the ebbs and flows of marriage with as much grace as anyone could ever expect.(50 years is a long ass time) It wasn’t always pretty. It wasn’t a perfect marriage (there’s no such thing), but it was as good of an example as anyone could ask. I watched them love each other, dislike each other,and always come back to love. They taught me a lot about true love- true love takes commitment, sacrifice, and a complete surrender of yourself on occasion (i.e. don’t smother them in their sleep) Some days you’ll wake up and may not want to see their face, but if it’s the right one give it a few days and it will probably be different.
As I sit here tonight after deciding that I couldn’t do away with him, not because I couldn’t, but because I didn’t really want too because I would miss him- I realized maybe that’s what real long term love is….. It’s the commitment to wait the few days to see, it’s the commitment to try, it’s the commitment to the everyday chaos and monotony, and definitely the commitment to listen to the happy music and not smother them.
I guess that means if I’ve got to be institutionalized – I’ve chosen this institutionalized chaos…………………