Sunday, 24 May 2009

A ring, a ring...a ding-a-ding-ding

In my background, marriage is for life. My parents - had they not believed this, or perhaps had they not had two children - would undoubtedly have gone separate ways. They are still one of the most incompatible couples around (I think). They still struggle to share a home, a life. Yet some sort of acknowledgment of eternity forged, keeps them together. (I wouldn't have.)

And my husband is from a culture where you just DON'T divorce. Only losers divorce: and then, this simply serves to prove to the community around them that the naysayers had been right all along! Only those without the sublime merit of duty, a sense of commitment, and the strength to work it out through thick and thin, fail in marriage. Those with moral fortitude, good breeding, and well-chosen wives, have happy lifelong marriages.

We all know that's hogwash. Or, at least, half of it is: and half is actually quite true, if you contemplate it.

After all, to take one side of the argument, there are husbands who beat their wives: who'd ever argue for sticking it out? And the serial philanderers, male and female both: I'd be signing the papers before you could think of better adjectives than "Darstadly Cad" (or worse, if it's a woman doing the dirty!). An acquaintance's ex-wife used to go out and (pardon me) 'screw other blokes' and come back at 3 in the morning: oh, back, that is, to her MOTHER-IN-LAW'S house where she was living with poor cuckolded husband whilst refurbishing!! (look the word up if you don't know it, btw...). Now surely he had valid grounds for divorcing her, in most rational people's books - if nothing else you really can't let that kind of thing go on under your dear old mum's nose, can you? And whilst we're on this side of the fence, who else merits a quick split?: well, the terminally bankrupt, the permanently stoned or sozzled or the manic depressive. The Billionaire who spends every waking hour working (and then some, whilst perhaps having it off with the P.A.,too, for good measure)and who views the kids as simply a means of passing on the inheritance - a lonely union I would reckon and one worth hacking out that pre-Nup for.

But, no, seriously. We all go through thick and thin in marriage. Our mental attitudes undoubtedly help. I know two couples who aren't married officially but to all intents and purposes, might as well be. Kids, mortgage, every trapping of the real deal, except the deal and the being trapped (sorry couldn't resist that!) No, but seriously, they both tell me that it's the not being married at all that helps to keep it all fresh - the underlying risk factor, as it were (although, to be honest, with a mortgage and a couple of kids I don't know that there IS more or less risk of splitting up, certificate or no certificate.) And, to be truly really honest, it's the (previously-married) husbands who seem to have established the status quo as the girls in the equation have confided that they would love/or rather, have loved the whole wedding thing one day/if... etc. Nevertheless, the civil partnerships they do have seem to be going very strong, a fact the ladies don't deny (and they do seem to have a lot of sex happening - within these non-marriage-marriages!- to boot).

Let's compare now those who are attached by the hip (or rather that register entry). Forced by the book to be together 'till death do us part, does this make for a stronger union? Or could the whole inevitability of the thing, the whole eternality, be a bit of a downer? Discuss...

What all of us, signature or not, do know, is that there are times when marriage is challenging (remember your Mum or Dad, when you first tentatively discussed shacking up with a first love or indeed the whole engagement thing? "You have to think long and hard...Marriage is hard enough without... bla bla bla"?) Times when a spouse might as well be a stranger. Times when you think: "Christ!...Bloody Hell! Do I actually LIKE this person at this particular moment...(oops!... my spouse!)!"

And then times when the happy family thang is just wondrous. And THAT, (the whole happy family scenario, and feeling, and vibe, and bond) once broke, you can't fix it. Ever. Not worth ever letting go of, for ding-dongs or bust-ups or petty arguments, or selfish reasons. Those without kids, well, I reckon, the whole structure's much more precarious, isn't it? and for good reason. Kids cement the deal.

So we slog on through thick and thin, most of us. Sometimes, when things aren't tip top, wishing we were married to someone else, or not married at all (a bizarre thought when there are children involved, to be sure!). Sometimes, when things are as smooth as a Mojito on a summer day, thinking of those poor sods who are single and pitying their lonely, frustrated fate. (No offense, please, you know it's not a rational or real evaluation).

Ahhh, marriage....And here's little me, communicating with my laptop - and perhaps some random readers out there in the ether? And hubby reading the newspaper in bed, alone...Oh Wicked Wench! Remember thy marriage vows and weep! (but you see, never good to judge from afar...poor chap's a streaming cold. Left him to it.)

But, then again....would I, as a doting girlfriend, so many years ago, and not enmeshed in this whole marriage malarky, have behaved the same? Of course not. There would have been back-rubs, hot tea with lemon, you name it. Not a wife, on a computer, busy tapping out her thoughts, separate from him to whom she vowed to be eternally linked. Is that food for thought? Or just a fact of life?... A fact of marriage??


  1. Having been married for 25 years, I can advise you that sick husbands are best left alone. Fussing aggravates. The occasional sympathetic tone in a very short question, viz, "How are you feeling?" suffices.

  2. Which word are we meant to look up? Cuckolded or refurbished? MH

  3. Ahhh, MH, you make me smile when things are blue! Do look up refurbished if you wish - I had I'm spending my free moments stripping wallpaper! (Arrgghh sounds like a curse, better not look up 'cuckolded', then!!)

  4. I also wondered if you meant "refurbished". heh heh heh

    Ah marriage. Took me 36 years to get married, and I still think it is the bees knees. If one thinks it's just a piece of paper... well, it's a damn important piece of paper! It changed everything for me. I feel... more secure? More loved and appreciated for sure.