I read this story today. I heard about it last night but fell asleep before the news came on. It’s not the first time I’ve heard a story about a couple who had been married for fifty or seventy-five years dying within hours of each other. It actually happens all the time. If you google it, you will find plenty of examples. It doesn’t make me any less emotional when I read it. Just like The Notebook, stories like this always leave me swelled with emotion and teary-eyed. Which, you know, if you know me, that doesn’t happen often. It’s stories like those that reaffirm my belief in true love. But they also instill fear in me.
Mostly because marriage is scary. And I’m usually always opposed to it. Because you don’t see marriages like the ones in the news very often. What you see is people who have been married for ten or fifteen years and you think they are happy, they seem happy most of the time. And then you find out they are getting divorced. Or you have a chat with them and they tell you that they are just comfortable. They aren’t happy, but they don’t see the point in going anywhere.
And it’s relationships like those that make me sad. I know not all marriages can be happy. Well, actually, I really believe all marriages could be happy. Because they were happy when they first started. After all, that’s what made them want to get married. I think people just get comfortable and complacent when they’ve been married for too long. I can’t speak from experience because I don’t have that kind of experience, but as an observer, it seems like people just stop trying.
Men date women and take them out to dinner and movies and shows and plays and dancing and amusement parks and concerts and make their woman feel special. Women put on makeup and shave their legs and wear sexy underwear and give blowjobs and laugh at stupid jokes and make their man feel special. They talk. They laugh. They enjoy each other’s company.
He decides he wants it to be like this for the rest of his life. So he proposes. She accepts because she wants the same thing. She wants to be this happy forever.
But guess what? That doesn’t happen because once she gets the ring she gets comfortable. She stops shaving her legs, she stops putting on makeup, she stops wearing the sexy undies and if she does still wear them, he doesn’t see them because she’s not putting out anymore and she’s definitely not giving any blowjobs because she’s too busy cleaning and cooking him dinner and doing laundry and taking care of the kids and waiting to have a conversation with him that never happens because he’s too busy on the video game or playing golf. She didn’t even know he liked games. And he’s not taking her out anymore because it’s easier and cheaper to just eat at home. He doesn’t take her to a movie anymore because they pay $160 a month for cable and $10 a month for Netflix. Surely, they can find something to watch on television. Or they can watch the news, because at least then they will have something to talk about.
The fun is gone. There is no spontaneity. They are farting in front of each other and leaving the door open when they take a shit. There is no privacy or secrecy. They know too much about each other, but they still don’t know each other.
He doesn’t know that all she wants is for him to ask her on a date like he used to before they were married. And all he wants is a blowjob that he doesn’t have to beg for and the happy go lucky woman he married. And when they do decide to have the conversation, both people are so worried about being right, the problem doesn’t get solved, it just turns into another one of those things they have to agree to disagree on.
That’s what I don’t want. When I say I’m OK with being single, I mean it. When I say, if I met the right guy, I would totally snatch him up. I mean that, too. But maybe it’s the hardcore romantic in me that says if I can’t be happy every day. If I can’t marry my best friend. If I can’t look forward to seeing his face. If he doesn’t want to continue to go out on dates and waste money on me just to show me a good time. If he doesn’t want to spend $6 on a dozen oopsie daisies from the grocery store, well then, I’m just not interested in any of it.
Maybe that’s why I’m not in such a rush to find someone. Because those aren’t the relationships that last. And maybe I don’t know enough about long marriages to know what it takes to make them successful and to make them work.
What I do know is that if I can’t find someone who I love so deep in my core that I would die hours after they did, then I’m OK with this life that I already have, because I don’t want mediocre love or mediocre marriage. Maybe I’m looking at everything through rose colored lenses and it’s not a realistic goal. So let me know what you think.
Drop a comment about what you think it takes to have a successful marriage. Or you can send it anonymously here. I will compile the list and post it this weekend or Monday depending on the response.