I’m feelin’ kinda uncertain ’bout this blog. I started, then stopped. Don’t know I want to keep goin with it, but here it is again. We just celebrated our 40th anniversary, the missus and me. Quite a milestone, especially when you look round and see how hard it seems for folks to stick together over the long haul. I often get asked how did we do it? In times when people seem as shallow as a koi pond in Death Valley, how did plain folks like us manage to make it stick for so long? And not just in terms of time, but to stick it out while keeping such a high regard fer each other?
The last bit’s important, ‘cause I knowed folks who lasted a whole lifetime together, but most of that was a cobra and mongoose act that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, all spite and nastiness. It ain’t just time, but the quality of time that counts.
And it’s about here that I disappoint folks: we made our marriage more-or-less work mostly ‘cause we got lucky. And we met each other when we was still kids and when you grow up together, it makes a bond like family, like the original family, but way better. I never spanked my woman.
Of course that ain’t no miracle cure for a marriage, ‘cause hooking up when you’re still kids increases the likelihood that you grow away from each other, ‘cause most folks change with the years and that funny boy that made you laugh at 18 can bring up murderous fantasies when he’s a dumb and lazy out o’ work 46-year-old. It can cut both ways.
So we got lucky that we met young before we was wise enough to get a good look at each other. We got lucky that we didn’t lose our regard an’ feelin’s fer each other over all them long years. We did take a hiatus from each other for a few years in the middle, but that’s another story.
A marriage that lasts, dependin’ on luck ain’t fair, but that’s the way it goes. You gotta find the right person, and you gotta stay in love. Nobody wants to fall out of love, but it happens. Someone changes and it’s game over. Like a flu virus that mutates and suddenly the flu shot don’t fit no more.
Fer a love to work long term you gotta be the same, but different. You gotta be the same deep down, but different how you are. Deep down the missus and me are big ol’ softies and cry a lot and hold hands too much at the movies. But how we is in the world is opposite. She is a true Admiral: thoughtful, organised, on top o’ things, quietly in charge. And a bit o’ control freak. I’m kinda like a pirate – dumb an’ loud, but a load o’ fun.
She mellows me, and I help her get the flagpole outta her ass. Together it works.
Lots of things have changed about ourselves over the years, but deep down, where we hold each other, it hasn’t. When I was a young punk, I was trouble and troubled, but I did a lot to pull me head outta my ass. It took a long time but she stood by me, and saw how hard I worked at being less of a fool. That was important.
It don’t matter if yer a loser or a arsehole if she sees you tryin’ yer best and tryin to make something of yerself. It’s the battle that counts. If she sees you not even tryin’ she’ll eventually give up on you.
Of course if she’s also a loser and an arsehole, then you’ll either motivate her to keep up or you’ll outgrow her. Or you both can spend yer time being losers and arseholes with each other. Like Trump and Melania.
When you think about it, there’s a lot working against anything lasting long term between a man and a woman. Like that gawddamn monogamy. It’s unnatural it is, and that dumb rule is probably the biggest killer of long-term relationships. Who’s the asshole who thought o’ that anyway? Should be strung up with his own intestines.
Where was I? Oh yes. Making it work. Lissen, the first thing ya gotta do is forget that there’s someone better. It don’t exist. Everyone is as crazy as a shithouse mouse, and if you dump someone for this crazy, the next fool will just be a different kind o’ crazy. You can’t get away from crazy, mostly ‘cause you is crazy too.
In my mind there is very few deal breakers: loss of love, violence, overindulgence in booze an’ drugs come to mind. But becoming irritatin’ or growing a big ass ain’t among them.
We live in a world where folks shop for mates with a gawddamn laundry list of features, like they was buyin’ a car. It’s so dumb. You gotta be compatible o’ course, like I talked before, but the biggest thing is that she can love you, despite knowing what a dick you is, and you can love her despite her third nipple on her forhead. You both gotta love real deeply. If that can happen, you’re halfway there. If you’re together ‘cause you is scared of being alone, or you need someone to fill that Sauron’s pit in yer heart, sorry, but yer is screwed from the start.
Havin’ said that, love is necessary but insufficient. There’s lots o’ ways you can disagree and be incompatible without it bein’ a deal breaker, but the way you is crazy has gotta be different. When I see folks crash and burn, so often it’s ‘cause they is too alike in the crazy department. Problem is, crazy is drawn to the same kind of crazy, but when you mix it up you end up with two times the crazy and everything goes to hell. The best o’ times and the worst o’ times, but eventually you burn each other out.
Say your crazy is you don’t trust folks. If hers is the same, you got two folks not trusting each other and you can see where that’s gonna go. In the beginning you’ll think you hit the jackpot ‘cause at last someone gets you, but sooner or later all that the mistrust will blow you apart.
But if your crazy is you don’t trust, yet she’s very empathetic and trustin’ but thinks she was probed by aliens in Tofino, she can work with your trust problem and you can buy her tin foil for hats. Nothing’ gets outta hand.
In my case, the missus needs structure and routine, while I need freedom and loose women (So I get one outta two, which ain’t bad). So she holds down a regular job while I spend my days plannin’ practical jokes on her, like that explodin’ frog in her bed.
She brings in a regular wage, an’ I bring in the occasional windfall from the ponies. I also keep the boat shipshape and take care o’ her, includin’ her womanly needs. We is basically best friends who live our lives exactly how we would if we were apart, but choose to spend it together. Not much sacrifice but lots o’ compromise.
That part is critical: you gotta be yer mate’s champion, fightin’ fer her right to live and do as she wants to. You gotta put the other first. And if you both do that, it’s amazin’ what you can accomplish together. But it’s gotta be honest – you can’t give to get. You gotta give without hope o’ gettin’ anythin’ back. Both o’ you.
You gotta give up on the gettin’. Absolutely. You gotta give to yer opposite, and then go about takin’ care of gettin’ for yerself what you need. It ain’t her job to provide anythin’; it ain’t yer job to provide anythin’ either, but you both choose to give, outta love. There’s a big difference between expectations and imposed responsibility vs open and freely giving because you is just crazy about each other.
So everyone takes care o’ their own shit and everyone gives everythin’ to each other, and it’s wunnerful!
It’s an old sayin’ but true: the more ya give, the more ya get.
So much I seed folks holding back, holdin’ out for the right person, most times based on dumb things like appearance, money, status, tits, worry about crazy, an so forth. ‘And o’ ‘course them folks end up alone.
Here’s the thing: if all you can draw is really crazy ugly folks, then you’s likely really crazy and ugly too, and if you want somethin’ different better get a good mirror and get to work.
So give up findin’ the perfect person. And give up havin’ one foot out the door. My biggest problem for too long in my marriage was looking at the horizon, imaginin’ what was out there. It was stupid. When I finally smarted up and decided to throw my whole heart into the ring, everythin’ changed. She didn’t stop bein’ the pain in the ass she can be, but I started lovin’ her for bein’ a pain in the ass. I forgave her all her faults and loved her for her human frailties and dumb little tics. She was perfect in her imperfection. I came to adore her. And there’s nothin’ like bein adored to help a woman to flower (and grow a bit of a swollen head, alas, which only proves she’s human).
Point bein’ is that she didn’t change, I did. O’ course I’m ridiculous in me devotion ‘cause she’s probably no better than any other woman, but real love requires you don’t look too close and you keep those rose coloured glasses close at hand.
But that’s the secret to being very happy in a marriage: don’t look too closely and don’t ask too many questions. Because we are all crazy and there’s not much we can do about it. Sure, you can sand off the rough edges in therapy, but we is who we is, more or less, and how we relate is crazy too.
People might look at you like, “Holy Christ, that’s one messed up pile of doo over there,” but it don’t matter if you love and yer happy. It don’t matter if he wears diapers and she pees on him. It don’t matter if they shoot teddy bears and set grass fires, if they love their time together. Ain’t no one’s business how you make it work.