In the course of writing, editing, and promoting Contentment, my husband has been forced to bite his tongue whilst I focus on some of the more…unappealing aspects of marriage and family life. It's been a little disturbing for him, to say the least.
I've explained over and over that it's nothing personal. When discussing a book about the unraveling of a marriage, it's only natural to focus on the little things that drive a person crazy, right?
I assured and reassured him that I have no desire to brain him with the cast iron skillet. Most days. I've detailed numerous reasons no woman in her right mind would want to be married to a romance novel hero, and I did it with a straight face. Go me! He doesn't need to know the one reason that really matters: those men don't exist. Hell, I may have even made statements alluding to the possibility that I may not be perfect either. He was smart enough to let those pass without comment. I think he knew that momentary lapse in ego wouldn't last.
Still, I have a rather startling confession to make…I love him.
I know, I know, it's not 'cool' to say that out loud—particularly if one has been married for more than five minutes. I'm supposed to complain about his inability to hit the hamper or the toilet. I am probably contractually obligated to kvetch about his incapacity to ask for directions or help. And I'm supposed to roll my eyes while I point out that the man has no difficulty asking me where he left his shoes, his keys, or his wallet, right?
Okay, I may have seen the wallet, and it may be a tad lighter than it was, but he needs to keep better track of his stuff. I'm just sayin'…
He rants about the economy until his voice morphs into that wah-wah noise they use for the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons, still hasn't figured out that the open book in my hand equals quiet time, and steadfastly refuses to be passed on the highway.
My man is handsome and charming. A genuinely friendly guy who has never met a stranger. He's an excellent father, a conscientious businessman, and pretty damn handy with the house/yard/car. He also cracks me up almost every day.
The guy says some seriously funny stuff. In the ten years we've been married, I don't think a week has gone by without me having to wipe tears of laughter from my eyes. Oh! Did I mention the drawl already? Yeah. He has a drawl. Slow and southern. So damn sexy.
Anyhoo…Does loving my husband and freely admitting it mean we have the perfect marriage? Not by a long shot.
We fight like any other couple. At times, it seems like we fight more than any other couple. There any number of topics from politics to parenting where we fail to see eye to eye. Some days he yells at everyone in the house about everything. Me? I tend to clam up when I'm angry. I've spent more than a few nights seething in silence.
Do I have days when I look at him and wonder what the hell I was thinking? Yeah. There have also been a couple of instances where I've given serious consideration to packing up and leaving. Luckily, those are usually chased by heart-stopping moments in which I try to imagine living my life without him and realize that it's not possible. I chose him. I chose to share my life with him. And every day I wake up, look at the man I married, and realize what a damn good choice I made.
We all know real life doesn't play out like a romance novel. Real people lose their way, and real marriages hit snags. Sometimes we make bad choices. We say awful things. We forget who we are and why we chose the one we love. Marriage is hard. Throw a couple of kids into the mix and hard becomes hectic. Add in a couple of careers, maybe a house, a stack of bills, and a shedding dog, and hectic turns into frantic pretty darn fast.
Suddenly, the hundreds of little things that made us fall in love with the guy or girl we chose get buried under thethousands of little things that make us crazy.
I love him, but I don't love every little thing about him. That's okay. I'm pretty sure he could give a fairly good run down of things he'd rewrite about me. Fair is fair. I think the key to making a marriage work is remembering to allow yourself to fall in love all over again.
Tonight, instead of dwelling on the socks stuffed into the couch cushions or the fact that he seems to be incapable of opening the mail without my supervision, I'm going to stare deep into my beloved's big brown eyes and listen to him ramble. I figure he's bound to say something that strikes my funny bone. If not, at least I know it'll sound funny in that sweet, sexy drawl, and that will be enough to keep me hanging on for another day.
I love that he makes me laugh. I love him. I do. Honestly. I just need to remember that the next time I get the urge to smother him with his pillow...
Check out Margaret's interview of CONTENTMENT (click here), and you may have a chance to win a copy of CONTENTMENT!