I never played house when I was little.
My mother’s friends’ lives seemed to have too many limitations. Once they said “I do” they didn’t. I played archaeologist, journalist, cowgirl, Greek and or Roman goddess, etc. Much more interesting. I was going to have adventures not be a wife.
Nevertheless I married at 20 my high school sweetheart despite my mother having me arrested to try and stop it. I adored him. It was not his fault that the man I loved existed only in my mind. He gave me a wonderful daughter.
My late friend Barbara laughed when I told her that in ending my second marriage, I divorced a dead man I had never been married to. How was I to know there was already a wife? And although my mother had heard of his demise, she still let me go thru the divorce procedure as a lesson.
My lesson was my skills in husband-choosing was limited so I wasn’t going to do it anymore. I would never marry again, but that didn't mean there would be no men in my life.
When I was still in Boston there was a decent man. Power games pulled us apart. I refused to even call us a couple. For many years after I moved to Europe there was a lovely Swiss business man that I shared weekends with. Our relationship more or less dribbled away painlessly.
Then for a decade I didn’t even want to date. I was totally emerged in happy singledom until I received an email “I’m in Geneva, want to have a cup of coffee? Rick”
I’d met him in the late 70s at a conference and it was a coupe de foudre. Because of our personal circumstances we stomped on every spark left by the lightning bolt. We stayed in touch professionally until I moved to Europe in 1990.
This time, it was a lightening hurricane. And four years later it is still is. Instead of marriage closing doors he opened even more of them for me and vice versa.
Maybe the difference is that we are both writers with PR and journalistic leanings. Maybe it is open-mindedness. Maturity anyone? Probably not.
Why we are willing to ignore or laugh at each other quirk’s, I’ll never understand. Maybe because we don’t embarrass each other over stupidities. The words “your husband/wife is an idiot,” fall from our lips often usually followed by laughter. How was I to know that the 40 decorative snail shells I brought home still had their occupants hidden inside? It all becomes part of family lore.
I encourage him to play golf. He makes sure he doesn’t become between me and my friends’ quality time together. We read to each other, share our writings, rush to the lake to catch the latest sunset or sometimes sunrise. We learned things we didn’t know, broadening our already wide range of subjects. Sometimes we just share space. It just feels good being together. We can also be alone together.
Until last June all problems were external usually involving a stupid bureaucratic. Then they became internal, at least physically as I had two surgeries and chemo. Even with the most optimistic of prognosis. It was more fun spending a week on a houseboat in Amsterdam than logging hospital waiting room hours.
In neither our commitment ceremony (photo) nor our civil service did the words in sickness and in health play a part. It didn’t matter. He has provided wonderful care. I have been able to accept TEMPORARILY loss of independence.
He offered to shave his head when I shaved mine. Sometimes I cringe at how unromantic all this is. But marriage isn’t just about romance. And it isn’t just about having your partner’s back.
I am still not sure what it is. All I know it became something I couldn’t imagine as a kid and thru most of my adulthood I found.
Or it found me.