I read an article weeks ago about a book coming out dealing with the longevity of marriage – what it takes and how much. It blew my mind, but probably not for the reasons the book’s author intended. It was full of titillating facts; it said people married in the long-term think about divorce 14 times a day. I find this mind-blowing. I’m dying to know what couples have this kind of time. Seriously. And this was about typical couples, couples with no abuse going on, couples you see at the grocery store and Target.
So what gives? I don’t have time to think about anything 14 times a day, no matter how disgruntled I may be. I think the problem is that there’s no secret to marriage, no revelations really, and all of these diet! marriage! success! books need some phony formula or discovery to get attention and followers. Marriage is awesome, but marriage is work, just like work is work- there’s no weird shortcut through your neighbor’s lawn that will lead to happiness.
One point in the book/article did resonate with me, however. It said the happiest couples are those that have their own individual pursuits, as well as a copasetic partnership; that those who relied on their spouses for fulfillment ended up lonely and bitter.
This is true. I get along better with my spouse, my kids, myself, since I returned to work. If I were smarter, I would have realized this earlier, and made time for my personal passions while I was still a SAHM. And its interesting, because I don’t enjoy work all the time- I find it stressful most of the time, but it is truly what I want to do.
I used to crew on a badly designed, beamy ass schooner off of Long Island (I say badly designed not because I have anything against beaminess but because the friggin thing couldn’t tack on sail alone) and there was this Relief Captain one week who was telling me about her life in some crazy Caribbean island I can’t even remember the name of, and how much it pissed her off when tourists squealed, “You get to sail for a living! You’re so lucky! You must love it!” and she’d say, “Sailing SUCKS, but it’s all I know how to do.” Sailing was her true marriage, so much so that she wrecked her actual marriage for it- thus completing the dyslexic version of Looking Glass’s classic 1972 ballad “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl). Hey- you drink enough rum with strangers on creaky old schooners, you learn things…
Anyway, it’s work., it’s all work, what we love. And I think of that Relief Captain chick often nowadays, particularly when people say they envy me for having such an ”easy, stress free job.”One woman actually said that to me, and several, including my own mother, have expressed similar, albeit more tactful sentiments. And I keep thinking- are you fucking kidding me? You think I have an easy, stree-free job? Are you working all weekend, every weekend? Are you organizing a fundraiser to support a cause that breaks your heart, with a work load that breaks your back, and shitting yourself because you haven’t sold any tickets and you’re terrified you’ll run the business into the ground and let the cause, the artists, your employer, everyone- down? Because let me tell you, it sucks. But it’s what I want to do.