December 29, 2019. And it is the last day of our marriage.
But December 30, we start again. For the 49th time, annually-speaking. That’s right, we’ve been together 49 years and it seems to be holding together. Continuity in bliss (for me). Tenacity, patience and acceptance (for her).
Shock, awe and confusion for anyone watching.
We feel relatively safe and stable in the relationship now. But it took awhile. We kinda know each other pretty well by now….and, as you know, that takes a bit of time. Mind you, Sal and I have known each other for well over 50 years (almost 52) but, well, one of us kept changing and growing and so ‘getting to know you‘ takes a bit longer when the parties are moving targets.
Getting-to-like-you, was a pretty quick hurdle overcome in the first few minutes for both of us (she’s gorgeous and I had a sports car) followed pretty quickly with learning-to-love-you but, of course, some of us are harder to love than others. Sal worked pretty hard.
I loved her back, of course, but it didn’t always show up quite as she expected and so I had to learn the proper ways. Some of them, anyway. Sal, however, is a naturally good husband-whisperer. I learned. But, it seems, I am a bit of a slow learner.
Still, I do the dishes a lot now……
However, I am also fairly fluent now in fem-speak. THAT helps immensely. I don’t speak it (it’s very nuanced, almost tonal, like Cantonese) but I am understanding it more and more. And, to her credit, Sal has come to learn that dogs and men respond best to simple one-at-a-time commands (best spoken slowly) followed immediately with some kind of biscuit or treat as positive reinforcement. Cuddling works, too……or back scratching……arf!
I mention all that because we have a young guest. One of our past students (now 30-something) arrived yesterday without her husband. It seems their marriage is not thriving. She needed to ‘get out’. And so she flew across the continent and came to stay with us for a few days. I am not sure that she came for ‘marriage tips’ as their 6 year experiment, it seems, is pretty much over but, naturally, I had to share our wisdom. Last night was ‘marriage tips night’.
I had a lot to say. As a mediator, I oversaw the separation/divorce of close to 200 couples. I spoke a lot about biscuits, cuddling and, since I am older and wiser now, added in patience, tolerance and acceptance. “But cuddling and biscuits are the secret.”
After a bit of pontificating, I got a fem-look (translation: a version of fem-speak achieved using only eyes and eye brows). I stopped talking. And I went to bed early sans biscuits….
…..but the two of them talked on a bit longer. I can’t imagine what Sal had to say.
And therein lies the point of this blog: you would think that, after 50-some-odd years being together and me having worked with over 200 couples whose marriages were revealed in all their bloody gore, I would have a clue as to what what they talked about.
I do not.