You are two different worlds. You are two separate realities. Then one day you meet, and then another day you decide to marry each other. Already you can hear the insanity in this, no? So now you’re going along for quite a ride, for a sticking together through millions of days in a row. At one point you might even look at your partner and gulp, but asking questions is good because that’s how you find answers.
When I was a little girl, I’d watch my mother and father and think, “There. That is what I want.” I wanted a love that would move up and down, but no matter what it’d remain a Venn Diagram. (I know, so romantic.) Sure, they phone each other way too many times a day. Yes, she annoyingly makes him eat vegetables first because otherwise he wouldn’t have any at all. And it’s unbelievable that he still uses a sharp tone instead of practicing deep breaths. Certainly, she has stared him down with Superman-laser-beam eyes, and he has definitely contemplated driving to Mexico and never returning. But it is also true that she regularly paints her nails because he loves her delicate hands, and that he shows up with an arm around her waist even when he’d rather be watching a Dolphins game. And although they still have the same fight as if played on repeat, they call each other on their shit and they laugh over nachos and beers and they’re shockingly content just the two of them on a lazy Sunday. They’ve seen their best and worst sides, and still they say, “Go team!” This is the stuff that lastima is made of, the toils and the thrills of a marriage that works. Of a marriage two people have really made work.
At a certain point, if you’re lucky, you will glance back and go “Holy shit, we’ve done a lot to keep this thing going!” It’s been a bomb in my chest, my heart is in pieces splattered on interior walls, to have witnessed, and now to experience, the vulnerable, challenging, beautiful mess that is marriage. To strip beyond the layers, beyond the layers of the inside core, and further, wow, there are even more layers! And there you are, pure and exposed, trying and loving and choosing this person again.
Ask questions. Take stock. My answers come not when I measure us against perfection or infallibility, but in candles burned down to the wick. In empty bottles of Pinot Noir in the recycling bin. In admitting things not even my dog knows. In embarrassing or shameful or disappointing moments only overcome because he was by my side. In drawers filled with random notes written on Post-Its or napkins or the backs of coupons, but penned for one another because we just had to say “I was wrong” or “I need you” or “You are my world.”
If you keep the adhesive gluey and gummy and strong, your circles will never move too far apart. Maybe there is actually a mathematical equation for love.
p.s. I am absolutely nobody to give marital advice!
p.p.s. Everybody should be entitled to experience this.