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on marriage: after 13 years

May 19, 2015

“The longest sentence you can form with two words is ‘I do.”  – H. L. Mencken

Funny, right? People love to joke about how miserable marriage is. For some, that’s true. There are plenty of couples living in unhappy marriages. It’s fun to joke about. Women are total pains, constantly nagging and complaining. Men are the cause of it all, what with their laziness and constant passing of gases. Kids further complicate things. They’re dirty and time consuming, to say the least. Let’s not forget imposing mothers in law. Marriage is like jail.

If it’s so bad, why do we even bother?

Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s companionship. Having someone around at the end of every day, saying goodnight and “I love you.” When you have a bad day, they’re there, with a hug and a cold beer. If there’s something to celebrate, “Cheers” is just inside your own front door.

Parenting would be hard without help. I’m not saying it can’t be done alone. I have many single friends, and I’m in constant amazement of their strength and patience. It’s easier with help, though. If the kids are driving me crazy, he gets them. He needs a break? They’re all mine. He takes them camping, and I’m teaching them to cook. Divide and conquer. When we’re all together at the theater, out to dinner, or watching a movie at home, there’s nothing better.

Sure, he drives me nuts, and Lord knows how annoying I can be. He can’t load the dishwasher. I know, I know. Be glad he does it at all. I am glad. I also sneak behind him and rearrange everything, because I can fit twice as much stuff in there. I’m not a great keeper of house. I get by, but I don’t particularly like it. Fortunately, I do most of the cooking, and she who cooks does not clean. The list of things we dislike about one another is probably longer than we’d care to admit.

When he leaves town for a weekend, I don’t mind. Sometimes I look forward to having the house to myself. I’m always excited when he comes home. I’m fairly certain he doesn’t mind when I get out of town for a few days, especially now that our kids don’t require diaper changes and constant supervision. I hear people complain about their marriages, and I wonder if they think it’s funny, or if it’s really that bad.

Some marriages don’t work. I think most can, with some effort. It doesn’t simply fall into place. There are highs and lows. Sometimes we connect and see eye to eye, and others we can’t get it together. If there’s a “divorce isn’t an option” attitude, I promise it’s easier. We don’t walk out the door when we’re mad. Keeping in mind our common goal makes the little things more tolerable. I hope he feels the same about my moods.

Our 13th anniversary was a few days ago. We celebrated at home, with our kids. We’ll find a time for a nice dinner out, but this year, that’s how it went. They cooked for us, waited on us, bought us flowers, and made us take anniversary pictures. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not perfect, but it’s us. You’d be hard pressed to find perfect.

Fine. Maybe this is a sentence. I’m willing to serve it to the fullest extent. I stay because I like it here. Oh yeah, and I love him. We aren’t prisoners. The stereotypes are sometimes true, and it’s not for everyone, but marriage is actually (gasp!) enjoyable. We’re good. Happy anniversary to us. Cheers to many, many more!

“People stay married because they want to. Not because the doors are locked.” – Paul Newman


*Originally published in The Metro Spirit, Augusta GA on 5/14/15

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2015 10:03 pm

    Mazel Tov. I think some of the keys are keeping a sense of humor, picking your battles and knowing the importance of “Yes, Dear”. One of my favorite (and my wife’s least favorite) sayings is that if two people always agree, one of them is not necessary/

    • Jenny permalink*
      May 19, 2015 10:25 pm

      I can’t wait to share that with my husband! We are def both necessary, because we certainly don’t agree on everything!

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