Thursday, December 3, 2009

Marriage is Easy! Part II

What is it all the cool kids used to say?  PsychSike?  Anyway.

You knew I'd be back tonight, didn't you?

I just had to finish up with this whole Happy Marriage concept that Oprah is putting out there.  It's been  bouncing around in my brain, buzzing like an unfulfilled honey bee.

Here's the thing.  I'm no scientist - but really?   SEVENTEEN individuals who claim they're in a happy relationship?  In my view, seventeen does not a study make.  An interesting observation, but really? A study?  Next, did they look at all at the brain activity of people claiming to be in unhappy relationships?  Maybe they were also in a state of super-calm, they just happened to be in toxic relationships too.  Hmmm.

So it got me thinking about a conversation Torbjorn and I had regarding the month-end post.  Torbjorn's observation was that we had spent much less 'face time' - normal chatting, tv watching, sock folding face time - but yet he felt that he'd gotten to know me in new ways, which he sort of liked.

Really?  After fifteen years together, a little month-long blogging exercise gave him access to parts my head that he didn't know about before?  That may be a little bit discouraging (ahem - must do more date nights), but also positive:  there is still so much for us to know - and like! - about each other. [Editors Note:  He would like to clarify that the depth was in the drafts that none of you got to see.  Sorry suckaz.]

I have to say, disappointing though it may be, that the key to long-term romantic happiness just can't be 'sustaining positive illusions.'  Because really, what they're saying, is that by just pretending that there isn't anything wrong with your partner - although the evidence of twenty one long years may point to the contrary - you will "make romantic love last."

I think the idea itself is huge.  I do.  I have seen it work in my husband - he is able to gaze at me looking like the Gates of Hell spewed me out on Recycling Day, and tell me that I'm beautiful.  And mean it.  But given the work - the sheer volume of days where you tell yourself I. Will. Get. Through. This. - of a good marriage, it is almost a discount to say that your success is down to focusing on your partner's good bits.

Yes? No?  There was a whole lot of positive response to the first post, and a lot of folks willing to say 'yeah!  I'll buy that!'  So I don't want to be the Scrooge who says nope, no such thing.

 I think that the headiness of those first months of Deeply In Love is almost scary.  I remember those early days of romance, and remember vividly thinking to myself "What am I going to feel after this is over?  Because I know I can't stay this high for fifty years!"   Here's the thing:  the days of thinking everything he said was deep, every gesture he made was romantic, every letter he wrote was profound?  Yep. Done. (Sorry sweetie.) But I do know that the love found after the years of hard work has so much more quality to it.  There is a great deal more meaning in 'loving you for who you are' after 15 years together than when you're both young and charming. 

So, no.  Sorry Oprah.  You gotta give me more than this to go on:  surely you & Steadman are past that.

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