Wednesday, June 7th, 2006 • 3 Comments on I Do… Still
There’s been a lot of marriage-talk swirling around me lately. Some divorce-talk, too. Must have something to do with it being June. It’s the month of weddings, after all. Is there a month for divorces? I think it should be August. Nothing good happens in August.
Yesterday, Suzanne posted her “hetero-wedding” pictures, circa 1982. Looking at her pictures (she makes a lovely bride—check out that last photo and tell me she’s not adorable!) reminded me that we never know what will happen six months, a year, ten years after we say, “I do.” Maybe we stay married, maybe we don’t. Maybe we love each other until death us do part, maybe one of us kills the other one and spends the rest of our life behind bars earnestly insisting the prison sentence is nothing compared to the hell we were in before.
Two people may be head-over-heels, hopelessly, goofy in love one day and five years later they’re fighting over custody of the dog and the ugly furniture from Value City. It happens. Or two people get married even though they’re not wildly in love like the romance novels say they should be because, hey, everyone else is doing it and she’s tired of shaving her legs before dates and he’s tired of lying about the books he likes to read. Funny thing is, they might look at each other one day and realize… gee, I love that person a lot more than I thought I could.
The thing is, there are no guarantees—in life, or in marriage. Maybe you stay married. Maybe you’re even happy. Maybe you’re not happy and decide to get divorced. Maybe you stay together for the kids. Maybe you get divorced because you don’t want the kids thinking this is what marriage should be. Maybe you lose your identity so completely in marriage you forget who you are and don’t know if you’re happy or not. Maybe you wake up one morning and realize you’re gay and get divorced and are never able to marry the person you really belong with.
Marriage is a lot like writing. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but if it’s something you’re good at, go for it and know it won’t be easy, but it just might be worth it. There are as many different ways to be married as there are different ways to be a writer. Just like you have to find your voice in writing, you have to find your identity in marriage. It isn’t easy to do either, but once you do… once you know who you are and what you want, whether it’s a two book deal and a rave review in NYT or two-point-five kids and a white picket fence… it makes being happy a whole lot easier.
Sixteen years ago today, at Norfolk International Airport, I received a proposal. I said yes. I had no idea what I was getting into.
I’ve figured it out. Maybe.