Unapologetically Married

A-Z through April — U

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On Friday night, when I was catchin up with my friend, we spoke of the marriage. He and his wife have been married about seven years now, and he said to me, it’s like so many of their friends have slowly disappeared, dissolved into the background.

I have spent much time, much longer than between Friday and now, thinking about this. It happens. It’s a casualty of coupling.

There were women at my wedding I seldom speak to now, whom I still adore, but we don’t get together two or three nights a week like we did before I got married.
Some of the dissolution was almost instantaneous.
I felt, initially, like I was being shunned for taking on the role of wife, or maybe mother. It’s hard to say. I never actually asked, “Why don’t you wanna hang out with me anymore?” or “Why don’t you call?”

Truly, I was too busy being wife and mother to give much thought to it, or to call, but I was aware.

The Mister was the first to mention the absence of his friends. I won’t forget the night he said, “You are my best friend.”
Well, he wasn’t mine. For years and years, my relationships with girlfriends were much closer. I mean, men don’t even prattle on like women. It takes a long time to develop such a deep understanding of a person. We’d been friends a dozen years before we got married, but he never did prattle on about how his mother set impossible standards, or what he prefers in a handbag, or what aesthetic he was drawn to.

Besides, life experience taught me MEN LEAVE. And who would be there when he left? Women. My girls. I would need them for ice cream and martini therapy, casting aspersions, and whatever else fuckery came after.

About four years in, The Mister and I had the ‘downs’ as opposed to the ‘ups’ and that’s when I realized he’s my best friend. Because, when you are in the down together, then it’s just the two of you mannin the tiny rowboat of your life. Headin toward a waterfall, you wrap your arms around each other, squeeze your eyes tight as you can, and with every bit of your faith, you pray that at the bottom of the falls, your boat is still fully intact. You just gotta hang on. No one else knows what that means to you. No one else feels same fear or shares same relief.

Oh sure, there are plenty of people who love, care, support, pray, and cheer from the sidelines — But they’re not in your boat.

They have their own boats, and their courses are set on different currents at a different speed. They love you, but maybe they’re into booze cruises, or always heading west, or heavily invested in solo exploration, whatever.

Eventually, in your own river, you find other people who also share their boats. In attempt of a social life that comes close to resembling your single one, you try to keep pace. This is complicated.

As it turns out, couples dating is about three times worse than actual dating. So, like, if you had twelve lovers and three of them were phenomenal company, then your couples dating ratio is more like one in a dozen couples make for good company. Cause you know, she never shuts up, he’s too handsy, their kids are wild animals, she’s a lush, he never wants to end the evening, plus they suck at euchre, and we don’t think they’re gonna stay married.

We are all like this to someone, the odds are not in our favor. When it’s good, it’s very, very good and when it’s not, we remember how much we like our own fuckin boat, thank you very much. No, thank you for asking, but we would rather stay in our own boat and stare at the stars in silence.

What I said to my friend was:

Remember when you were single and your space and time belonged completely unto you? There was no compromise, no sharing, no one asking for or expecting anything from you? Remember how happy you were?
And then she came along and she was worth the compromise and the sharing and you chose her. She had to be so incredibly fabulous for you to WANT to give up your independence. You had to feel like you were gaining more than you were losing. Remember?

It’s the same thing now. 

We’re happily married. We LIKE being with one another. We’d rather be with our person than anyone else. That time is precious. So when people want us to take time away from that… it comes down to what it’s worth.

And everyone else feels the same way.

 

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He said that was insightful, so I’m sharing it with you.

Everyone has priorities.
Work eats a pile of time, you pursue your hobbies, you squeeze in self-care, you steal away time as a couple, and you make time for those you care most about. If there are kids, depending on ages and stages, well, that’s… you know, or maybe you just suspect. No matter how much you love and care for someone, it all comes down to priority.

The truth about being happily, unapologetically married is that any time you share with anyone else is a time to reflect on how amazing that friendship is. How wonderful it is to enjoy such a delightful creature. To raise your glass and break bread with someone who’s still there after all that time. To laugh too loud or even to cry. What a blessing it is to have friends who will carve out time, to line up the calendars simply to enjoy the pleasure of your company. That’s a beautiful thing.

Those are the people who will pull you out if you end up nearly drowned at the bottom of the falls. The rest? Smile and wave — and always, always pray and cheer from the sidelines.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
This entry was posted in Personally, Random Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

91 Responses to Unapologetically Married

  1. loisajay says:

    This is great, Joey. My most favorite part of the day is 5 o’clock. Not because it is Leave Work time, but because it is Going Home to my Mister (and the cats) Time. And that is a wonderful thing.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. ghostmmnc says:

    What a wonderful way to look at marriage. To sail off on a boat together, destination unknown, but enjoying the ride. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. puppy1952 says:

    Fantastic Blog – It should be compulsory reading for every couple.
    “Because, when you are in the down together, then it’s just the two of you mannin the tiny rowboat of your life.”
    This is sooo true. Couples who go through the downs together, supporting each other, looking after each other are the couples who stay together, happily forever.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. There are wonderful benefits to still being married (it will be 42 years in May) to the same person when you start to get to the post-children part of life. The spouse has been incredibly helpful and supportive through my battle to understand this new world of cardiac care – and is sending me research articles constantly to help me decide how to deal with the unbelievable parade of side effects from the meds.

    He can’t make the final choice for me – whether to get off the last drug the cardiologist insists on – and will have to bear the consequences if I choose wrong (or right, but am unlucky). It is a huge gift. I don’t know that I deserve it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • joey says:

      I’m sure he feels you do deserve it ❤
      I pray you choose wisely.

      Like

      • I’m trying here – but pain gets in the way, and, to reduce the pain, I have to get to the state where the decision has already been made (ie, off the med), though it’s always possible to go back on it.

        Like

        • joey says:

          Sounds like quite the catch-22 situation :/

          Like

          • The difficult ones all are Catch-22 situations; otherwise, they wouldn’t be difficult!

            I tried to leave it up to the professionals, but they seem to be recoiling in horror from the possibilities, thereby leaving it up to the amateurs.

            This is always going to be a problem when the giver-of-advice is held responsible for said advice: if the advice given is the standard of practice, no liability ensues.

            It’s a huge conflict of interest, right at the place where you want the advisor to be solidly in your corner, not their insurance carrier’s corner.

            It can’t be changed: it is the essence of modern medicine.

            But it does place the risk back in the hands of the person suffering the consequences of the risk – the patient – with the hands-off attitude that is so irritating, almost as irritating as being told what to do.

            I would like to finish my books before having to make these choices, but I can’t write this way, so that option doesn’t exist. Too bad, because if all I had to do for the rest of my life was market the whole Pride’s Children trilogy, I might even be fine with that.

            Liked by 1 person

            • joey says:

              I do so wish you well, Alicia. Have you considered a second, or third opinion, or are all providers so hands-off? I understand insurance is the devil, but I feel like doctors should give medical advice…
              I feel I must be naive, or you’re being snowed :/

              Like

              • We got a second opinion for my daughter and her sleep problems. Took an enormous amount of work on our part to forward them everything, took four months, and the guy said nothing new – and didn’t even suggest seeing the specialist.

                I found the specialist, we took her, it was confirmed that she had what I suspected – and they have helped her get to a much more normal life (see ‘okapi’ posts on my blog).

                Can’t do that – can’t get a quick opinion – decision is now.

                Just pray – I did my homework, and what I found made me satisfied. It could still go wrong – anything could.

                Like

  5. Erika says:

    “any time you share with anyone else is a time to reflect on how amazing that friendship is”

    Well said and so true.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. marianallen says:

    This is so, so true. The “downs” will make you or break you. If they strengthen the tie that binds, you enjoy other people’s company, but you only deeply NEED each other. So true about the girl friends, too, though. A good girl friend or two will see you through downs in ways the bestest best spouse just can’t. So happy to have a best friend I’m married to AND best girl friends! AND A JOEY!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ally Bean says:

    I like being married. I get it that some people don’t, always looking for something better/different/new. But it’s the same old-same old that I like about being married. Now as for girlfriends, they disappear when the going gets tough, but my husband has always been there for me. For which I am eternally grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the whole analogy of the boat on the falls.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Preach it, Sister! I’m also unapologetically married in a world that often doesn’t value marriage. Wouldn’t have it any other way!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love the post. I delight in your delight with your marriage and the dedication and discipline you bring to the table.

    I’m a big fan of marriage, in spite of my track record. The first two times should have never gotten beyond the first date or so. Instead, and for this I do apologize to those left in the wake, I got married. The Fitzgerald quote resonates with me in particular because, for me, there are dark overtones. Too intimate, too briskly, and for my set of values in those days meant wedding bells.

    Live and learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thanks. Live and learn, absolutely. Deep gratitude in having fulfilling, meaningful connections.
      I can see the dark overtones in the quote as well, even within my own union. Sometimes it’s like a drug.
      What a difference time makes.We would never be our present day selves without our pasts 🙂

      Like

  11. Norm 2.0 says:

    Wonderful post Joey.
    It’s 23 years since the last time I was single. Of course I have fond memories of my bachelor days, but I honestly don’t miss it.
    I assume that like me, the friends I lost touch with have moved on to more adult pursuits themselves. And I hope they still smile when they think of me from back then, the way I do of them.
    I’d like to think that when we’re lucky enough to find the right person, the compromises are minor, the sacrifices are few, and the benefits far outweigh anything we give up.
    Now do tell: what DOES The Mister prefer in his handbag? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thank you.
      Right? Love the way you phrased that about old friends. I don’t miss my single days, either, but I sure do like remembering fondly 🙂
      The Mister prefers to carry a sturdy leather satchel with a long strap. Not too many pockets, and the pockets must be outer compartments, so no interior space is lost. Very Indiana Jones.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Benson says:

    What a lovely post. I think you boat analogy is an apt one. In my case I don’t know if I jumped or was tossed overboard. No matter. You guys are pretty cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Josh Wrenn says:

    I’m lucky, I have great couple friends so when I am coupled up with someone hanging out with them should be a seamless transition.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That was a lovely description of a happy, nourishing and fruitful marriage, and I’m very pleased you have that experience 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love this. Husband and I have spent a third of our lives together. We had so much row-boating-over-the-falls in our first 4 years, and you know what? It made us stick. We realised what we were made of. I still have my girls, but with geography, we only ever see each other once a year or so, so Husband is my de facto bestie now.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is such a lovely post–so much truth. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. So much to love about this post, especially the boat analogy…just beautiful, even to those of us who were so reluctant to board that particular boat. What a surprise to find out, 4 decades later, that it was the most comfortable position to take, after all. Thanks, Joey.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. bikerchick57 says:

    Joey, celebrate the happiness of having your awesome man in the boat! I have to stick with my close friends, because those are the ones that will keep me from drowning. And because I threw my man out of the boat 8 years ago. :-p

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      That man wasn’t fit for your boat! Overboard was the best place for him.
      I’m sure your friends are salt of the earth, cause “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Susanne says:

    My husband and I were talking the other day about hanging out with other couples and how we don’t do that and maybe we should but upon reading your thoughts on the whole business I remembered why we don’t. I miss my old girlfriends of yore, miss the closeness and talking about sundry fuckery, too. But whenever I’m out with them or away on a jaunt I’m always thinking about my hubby and how much he’d enjoy whatever it is I’m doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dan Antion says:

    This is a beautiful post. I love coming home. Whether from a day at work or a week of travel. It’s the best part of everything. What “freedom” I gave up doesn’t compare to what I gained. Thanks for explaining it so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Carrie Rubin says:

    This is lovely. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about my kids getting older is the time it’s opened up for my husband and I to easily do stuff together again. Now that they’re 17 and 20 and have their own activities, we have a lot of freedom. It’s nice to connect again as the couple we were before we had kids, though, of course, we all change over the years. So while it’s sad to see our kids reach their last stages in our home, new phases begin, and those can be just as nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. May my boat always row the same channels as yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. JoAnna says:

    This is a great analogy threading through your tell it like it is post. The won’t shut up people are a challenge, because I might kinda like them, but they won’t shut up! When I manage to line schedules up with long time girlfriends, which does not happen often, the ease of connection is still there, and that’s huge comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. So much truth here.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Joanne Sisco says:

    I LOVE this post. Great analogy about the boat and the falls … who in a marriage has never felt at some point that they were heading into a major waterfall, and just hope that they don’t drown in the process?!
    My favourite part though was about couples dating. omg – you nailed it. I’ve never thought of it like that before, but it is SO HARD to find and keep couples-friends. But when you do, it’s wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. larva225 says:

    Couples dating makes me want to cry. We lost our only couple friend (with delightful kid that got along with mine) to a move. We haven’t found a replacement. It makes me sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. John Holton says:

    You’re the first person I know who plays Euchre. I know it’s like Pinochle, but different. I used to see the decks advertised on a card on a deck of playing cards (usually Bicycle or Bee– I prefer the latter because the back of the cards makes you dizzy), but have never actually seen the deck or played the game.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Jaded Jeni says:

    This… was a serious masterpiece, Joey. I am all choked up and teary eyed. I wish this was Freshly Pressed so everyone on WP could see it and acknowledge how amazing of a writer and person you are.

    I especially loved this part, “she’s a lush, he never wants to end the evening, plus they suck at euchre”. Did you quote us, exactly? Lmao! I do love wine. He never wants to end the evening and we so suck at euchre.

    We can’t wait to come see you both in October. ♥♥♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Matt Roberts says:

    You are wise beyond your years, Joey-Wan Kenobi.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. What a wonderful post, Joey. I am unapologetically married too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Very, very insightful post, Joey. Marriage counselors could hand it out at sessions, and everyone would be better off. I do a lot of waving and cheering. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  32. reocochran says:

    The little boat and sticking together is an amazing analogy. If you make it over the waterfalls together, you will be glued for life.
    Ooh! I would like to think this is possible for me to find. . .
    Now, if I could stop putting my foot in my mouth. Can a guy put up with this or must I take time to think and be quiet forming my thoughts into words? I’m a work in progress, Joey. 🙂 Congratulations and keep on going into the future! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Hah! The Mister and I both put our feet in our mouths — maybe that’s a factor! Personally, I’ve found that my husband likes it when I’m QUIET, lol — that sounds worse than it is, but it’s still true 😉 If you wanna share a boat, I sure hope you find someone who will appreciate you, Robin. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        Thank you so much, Joey. I am still hoping this past twelve months have started a basis for a long relationship. I’m very open since my family goes by the theory: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” I really like my Calisto. We shall see. . .
        Most men prefer me while I am quiet. I guess I need one who will take me either way. I am really quiet in nature. So far, no picnics nor park walks. He likes crafts and games, along with movies. His boys are like my grandsons. He had his late in life and I had mine early. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  33. darsword says:

    Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I loved this post! What a great way to sum up the ride! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  35. pluviolover says:

    19 may legally be an adult age, but for no other logical reason is it “all-growed-up” for most of us. That is the last time I was “unwed” (50+ years ago). Went from a few single friends to many married friends, then to married with children. No regrets, at least not about that. Great essay!

    Liked by 1 person

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