by Christie Mellor
Marriages are crumbling around me. Two friends of mine, within a year of one another, left their husbands for other men. Another married friend of mine admitted--with not a lot of compunction--that he’s had a girlfriend for years, and sorta can’t wait until his youngest child (age 12) leaves for college so he can divorce his wife. Not necessarily so he can be with his girlfriend, but just because, well, it’s not happening so much with his wife. There’s Tiger Woods with his naughty texts and surgically enhanced playthings. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins! It’s really over? Kate Winslet? Oh, no, not you too. And excuse me, but are ya kidding me Mr. Sandra Bullock?
“Mawwage,” said Peter Cooke so famously in “The Princess Bride.” “Mawwage. That bwessed event, that dweam wivvin a dweam…” Ah, that dweam wivvin a dweam. I’ve been married for almost 24 years, and know that the dweam wivvin a dweam can be fraught with drama, resentment, and occasional ennui. When a good friend decides to leave her marriage, and does—within a matter of weeks after breaking the news to her blindsided spouse—it really puts into stark relief the frailty of our own relationships. But am I just an all-day sucker? I like mawwage. I like being married to this guy I married.
Sure, it’s not always easy. Relationships need attention. Marriages need tending. And at some point some people just don’t want to put that much effort into “rekindling” their possibly stagnant relationship. The excitement has evolved from the frisson you used to feel when your knees grazed under the table to discussing what type of tile to use in the bathroom. The thought of planning “date nights” just feels like another chore. It’s no wonder the idea of having to “work on” your relationship makes you want to run for the hills. Or straight into the warm embrace of a fresh pair of arms. A pair of arms belonging to a person who possibly has never heard you fart.
But, you know, once those new arms start feeling cozy and lived in, they start leaving their dirty socks on the floor too. At some point, you’ll hear the faint sound of a fart from under the covers. Eventually, bathroom tile will be discussed. So why not take the old wagon out for another test drive? There’s still a lot of fun to be mined in your marriage. It’s not like any other friendship you have, right? And it’s kind of nice, having someone around who can help you figure out who the Kardashians are. Someone who will spend a half-hour showing you how to do a Sodoku puzzle, and then when you ask BUT WHAT IS THE POINT?? he doesn’t punch you in the nose. It’s nice, isn’t it? You can do that sort of shorthand thing, when someone whom you both find annoying does something annoying, you can look at him and only he completely understands what just happened. It was funny! No one else saw it! No one else understands, because no one else knows what you both know!