Shower speech, or what the heck do I know?

Recently when I was asked by a mother to speak about marriage, I doubt very much that the she saw the cartoon on my refrigerator that has an elderly couple sitting on a couch. The woman says to the man “when I die, you can remarry, when you die, I’m getting a dog”. Or the card that says “behind every successful man is a woman rolling her eyes”.

I tend to see everything in a funny light. I look for the humor, ironies, and just plain yucks, and always have. Not only does that make for good storytelling, but it is also a coping and release mechanism, a way to deal with situations that may make no sense to my “way of thinking”. As an aside, when my hairdresser and my sister heard I was making a speech on marriage, they doubled over in laugher.

Living with another human being is all about compromise, hard work, holding your ground to maintain your individuality, and laughter, lots of laughter.
That said, I wanted to talk today about a serious subject, and that is anger, the antithesis of laughter. I’m not talking about the “in the moment anger” in an argument, I am talking about the “safe deposit of slights” type of anger. Believe it or not, there will come a day that for maybe a second, or nanosecond you
To paraphrase the song Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads:
You may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?
You may ask yourself, where does that highway lead?
You may ask yourself, am I right or am I wrong?
You may ask yourself, my god what have I done?

To answer these questions I have two rules:
1) Live by the Golden Rule and
2) Live your life like no one else is in it.

What does that mean?

Be the good person you are. Love the person you are living with be it your husband or your child. You would do that anyway, single or married. Think single for the moment. If you saw dirty socks on the floor, the kitchen a mess, and the dog needed walking, you would do those tasks, pick up the socks, do the dishes, and walk the dog. Don’t blame, guilt, cajole, or yell. If you were single, who would you be blaming? You wouldn’t think twice, you would just do it, or NOT, depending on how you felt at the moment. Too many times the anger that is underlying and not expressed in a marriage has to do with the fact that one person is not thinking “Live your life like no one else is in it”, but “why didn’t he, or why should I have to?”

Love means buying the whole ball of wax. I love my husband unconditionally. Was it always thus? No, he will tell you that I wondered if I had misplaced my love. I wondered if he was hurting me on purpose when he criticized how I stirred the pudding on the stove, or when he didn’t chip in enough with the house work, or if he had a political opinion different than mine. As soon as I was able to see him in my “live your life as if no one else is in it “mode, I realized, “hey, that’s what he believes and that’s who he is” and conversely “He is not an extension of me, and I do not have to apologize for who he is” and more importantly “He is showing me how to stir the pudding on the stove because he loves me and wants to show me how to make better pudding”.

We are not the same in mind, body and soul, but that is ok. I know that while there is a push and pull between relying on each other and being self sufficient, we both are “living our lives like no one else is in it” and as such we are our own persons. I can accept that and love him for who he is, and who I was attracted to, a creative, smart, funny, generous guy.

You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was.


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