Who ever said that marriage gets easier as time goes on must be divorced.

Jojay By Jojay, 14th Oct 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Relationships

What is the secret of a happy marriage? Might have something to do with trusting your spouse and not expecting him/her to complete you.

It wasn't so easy to have a 'room of your own' when it had a bed in it

This year my husband and I will celebrate 48 years of wedded bliss. If you can read that sentence without hooting, go on to the next one where I explain the secrets of our success in holy wedlock. Or as my divorced, and now single sister, would phrase it, "Our four decades plus in Jurassic Park."

Yep, she's referring to us as dinosaurs; complete with being cold-blooded and egg layers. Each anniversary she's truly amazed we're still together, and swears by all things holy that the only reason we're still roaming the earth is that there has been no significant change in climate or sea level.

I guess you could say our move to the Jurassic Park suburbs began in 1963. The year we were married. A time when there were more girl brides, than women who roared. In record numbers young females said "I do" and some of us promised to love, honor and (Gloria Steinem forgive me) obey. To have someone suggest that I write my own vows would be tantamount to telling Moses that God's divine law could use a little work. It just wasn't an option.

Back then "the room of my own" was a corner of our bedroom sequestered by a Chinese screen. There I wrote stories about women holding on to their virginity until their wedding night. The "Donna Reed Show" was my example of a happy marriage, and the beautiful "Glea-Girls" on "The Jackie Gleason Show" was how I viewed single women. (Glamorous but unfulfilled.)

The first year of our marriage was featured in the prime TV lineup. It was called "Fight of the Week." You name it, we fought about it. At nineteen I didn't have a clue who I was let alone understand the man I promised to love, honor and...the other thing.

"It'll never last," his mother said while my mother quietly celebrated. My two sisters were already married and she was beginning to worry that I'd be an old maid.
Hubby had a temper. Wifey had a worse one. He yelled and I yelled back. I cried and he stormed out the door.

At different times I accused him of being my father (authoritarian), my mother (passive) my older sister (bossy), my grandfather (Swedish) and even my dog, Prince. Prince, I pointed out, was so pig headed he thought he could bring down a porcupine and ended up with a snout full of quills.

One good accusation deserves another. I was stubborn like my mother, opinionated like my father, gossipy like my grandmother. What's more I had a mouth like a sailor on leave, couldn't make gravy without scorching it, and didn't "act" like a married woman!

Oh my. The coup de grace. Didn't act like a married woman. How was a married woman supposed to act? Are we talking method acting here, or what? Blood lodged firmly in eye, he stated that a married woman does not have separate interests from her husband. That is, if she wanted to remain married to him.

Separate interests? I beg your pardon! What about my short story writing? How were we to do that together? Did he want to stand beside me while I typed? Or perhaps sharpen my pencils? And what about the women's support group that I'd just joined? These were women who burned copies of “The Joy Of Cooking” and regarded most men on the evolution scale somewhere between the Tree shrew and Orangutan.

Not to mention the fact that they didn't give an owl's hoot, whether they were color coordinated when they left for work in the morning. Did he want to join us at our meetings? Or maybe he'd rather drop by in an official capacity (he worked for the police department) and write us up for unlawful assembly or something.

I was missing the point. "Your writing hobby takes up a lot of time. I don't want you to get some radical ideas from a group of divorced women." When I could trust myself to speak, I said that these women were some of the most interesting women I'd ever had the good fortune to meet, and their marital status had nothing to do with what kind of people they were. Moreover, the most radical idea I got from them was advice that went back to Louisa May Alcott when she admonished young women to be self- sufficient and paddle their own canoes.

As I look back, I realize that it took us years to understand a few simple truths. One being, it wasn't what we said to one another in the heat of battle that was important, but what we did when the smoke cleared that mattered.

I proved that I was a serious writer by writing. I didn't have to publish to prove that I was in earnest, I had only to produce. He proved that he took my goals seriously by supporting me so I could pursue them. When I needed more college classes, we tightened our belts and I went back to school. When I learned I was going to have a baby, I quit school so I could be home with our child and be there for them both.

He needed a Master's degree for advancement in the department, and I went to work. When he was promoted, I was free to finish my college courses. And so it went. Tradeoffs and compromises, mixed with a lot of flexibility. It wasn't easy and sometimes we talked divorce. But it was just that. Talk. Actions spoke louder. And then there came a day when I realized I was no longer acting married. Lo and behold, I was acting on a good marriage.

Tags

Anniversaries, Anniversary, Gloria Steinem, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Womens Issues, Womens Rights, Womens Subservience

Meet the author

author avatar Jojay
I am a published and produced playwright. I enjoy writing about anything that strikes my fancy as well as engages my passion for a lifetime of learning.
Also find my
writings at

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