Sunday, January 24, 2010

For Better, For Worse, For Freaking Ever

I find myself regularly hoping that Brad will dump Angelina. Some of you will be aghast at this, I mean, they're so beautiful! And they have beautiful children! And they do so much good in the world! But in my mind, they will always be the people who got together when they shouldn't have, the ones who set the example that tells both their children and the world that it's okay to leave whoever you're with for someone you think is better for you, regardless of the vows you made or the people you hurt along the way. That goes against everything that I believe in and stand for. Situations in which this is not applicable include if you are being abused or your spouse is cheating on you. In those cases, yes, please leave. But in the case of Brangelina, I cry foul, and I even cry, "No good!" on both of them. The way they have treated someone else overshadows what good they have done in the world, whatever talent or beauty they have. I can't watch her in particular with cringing. It takes two to tango, so they say, but I still think she set out to get him and didn't stop until she did, regardless of the fact that he was married. If she had come out at some point and said, "Okay, yes, the way we went about things was wrong, and I am deeply sorry," then I think I could soften a little, but her comments have only been of how happy her family is and how it was meant to be and...excuse me while I become ill and vomit a little on my keyboard.

Incidentally, I feel the same way about Amy Grant and Vince Gill. All those years I spent singing El Shaddai and feeling it in my heart--WASTED!

I have been somewhat reluctant to tell the story here of my own love and loss and what led me to my marriage, but owing to a friend whose pain I am feeling acutely right now (I cried for you, my dear, and I want you to know that I am with you even though I am miles away), who often prompted me to tell it, I am telling it now. I am telling it for her and for me and for everyone who was duped by the Hollywood romantic ending, by the lies of perfect partnership and soul mates.

Before I met my husband, I had been deeply in love with a man who gave me a movie-style story of my own, complete with the modern day twist of meeting on the internet. He read my website, he liked my poetry, we began to correspond. I felt a connection to him the likes of which I've felt with no one else before or since. We were perfect yet horrible for one another. He couldn't decide if he wanted me as more than a friend or not, I called his bluff and said, "I'm in love with you, and I can't stand this, and I need to take care of myself. GAME OVER. You know, unless you love me, too." He wrote me another non-commital e-mail. I felt sick to my stomach. He wrote me a fully committed e-mail, declared his love, flew me to Europe, gave me a movie style first kiss (really, they should have been filming). It was just like in the movies. I came home, and in short order he wrote me a letter that broke my heart. It was the most horrible thing I have ever experienced, and yet, I wouldn't be with the man I'm with today, who is good and loyal and kind, and quite frankly the best thing that ever happened to me, if I hadn't been so utterly and completely broken-hearted.

That break-up and the plodding through life that followed forced me to be honest with myself about some things I hadn't been ready to face before. That time of my life changed everything. When I went on my first date with my husband, I at first followed my knee jerk reaction, which is that it didn't seem like a match, and I didn't really like him, and oh well, more fish in the sea. I even declared this to my friend Nicole, who confirmed that "If it isn't a match, it just isn't a match." But then I started thinking about how so many men had either been complete duds or broken my heart, and I realized that perhaps I'd been doing something wrong. I thought about how nice Jarod was and how comfortable I felt with him. And then I accepted a second date. The rest, as they say, is history, except that it's not. It's present reality because I married him, and not because he won me over and I fell madly in love with him. I married my husband because he is good and loyal and kind. I married him because of the way that he treats children and animals and old people and even total jackasses. I married him because I knew that he was a good man. It was nothing like a movie. We decided to get married over the phone, and when he proposed, it was after we'd already booked the reception site for our wedding (yep, true story!). The sight of him didn't make my heart go pitter pat; I just thought, "What a good man." And, oh, he is. Sometimes, when I watch movies, I kind of wish we'd had a movie kind of story. But then I look at the good man by my side, and I watch him hold a baby or rearrange the cats that try to sleep on his face (the cats that I brought to the marriage, that he could have done without), and I think that everything is as it should be. We do not agree about everything. I think he has horrible taste in movies, and I'm sure he wishes that I would stop talking so loudly on my cell phone when I'm really getting into a good conversation. And we've weathered more serious storms as well. We talk it out because we believe in the partnership and union we have, in building something good together. I am lucky to have him, and on the days that I seem to forget that, I wish that someone would give me a good smack in the face.

Marriage is not for the faint of heart. Even in our two years together, the negotiations we've made over how to proceed with life have not been insignificant. I'm certain that in the future there will be more minor and major adjustments to make, and we will make them, or we will end up failing at the thing we vowed to do. We made vows that said for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, 'til parted by death. We meant those then and we intend to mean them for the rest of our lives. We recognize that we will both change over time, that days and weeks and months and years have a way of shifting priorities and hopes and dreams, and we cannot foresee in which ways each of us will change. We cannot foresee illness or financial calamity or any other ruinous thing. But likewise we cannot foresee the good things. We cannot foresee the face of our coming daughter, we cannot foresee where we will go that we will find to be an utter delight, we cannot foresee how we will love each other better having weathered life's storms. In vowing our lives to one another in marriage, we have vowed to see each other through the good and the terrible, the ugly and the staggeringly beautiful. It is meant to be this way.

I send these words out there now as a gift to my husband to thank him for being who he is, and as a wish and a hope and a prayer for my dear friend who has been so wounded. Good is all around us, and we hope it will come home to her heart. She deserves to be rewarded for her goodness and faithfulness and enduring love, and I am believing for her that this is her destiny. May every hurt be healed, may every sickness be made well, may every asshole pull his head out of his posterior and be the good man we know he can be.

So say I, and I mean it.

1 comment:

k_stin said...

GOOD stuff! Thanks for sharing your story. I am not married yet and haven't really "fallen" in love, but I often wonder which is right. Pitter patter love, or is it okay to not have that, but know he's a good man?

I also like that you have both acknowledged that you will both change. I think that is something that people don't foresee when entering into marriage--and maybe that is what tears them apart. If they don't anticipate and won't be able to deal with the changes.