I saw a man wearing a black and white t-shirt today with a stylized wedded couple on the front . She with a veil, he with a tux. The caption beneath read 'Game Over'.
I am recently married so maybe that's why the hackles went up. I thought it was a juvenile way of thinking and that he just didn't understand, or was pretending to misunderstand - the benefits of an a committed, loving, (functioning) relationship.
And then I went on to think about it, perhaps too much. It's funny how a single incident has managed to stay with me all day.
In my experience living with another human in a partnership is about ebb and flow. Lately there has been a lot of the ebbing and not so much of the flow. That said, when it works it's magic. Some days though, the house feels like a vacuum not a sanctuary.
I know, I know, these things take time and it's a new house, a new neighbourhood, a state away from all we know and love. There is a lot of pressure on this thing we call 'our love'; our 'married life'.
Still on the ebbing - some days we just don't feel like friends. We are wrestling with each other, as we know we must, to keep a defined sense of the individual - the stubborn, changeable, forthright, independent individual which I could have sworn was the reason I fell in love with you in the first place.
Some days we argue a lot. Or rather, you sit in the kitchen, typing and gaining knowledge via the world wide web whilst I talk at you, occupying the same actual space but moving about in a different time and place. I think you want me to be there, you just don't engage or make me feel special. That's what I'm in need of, you know. I want you to make me feel indispensable, it feels a bit like necessary foreplay - for life.
Why do I love you? For all the reasons that frustrate and perplex me at times. I love your silence and your understanding. I love your willingness to do whatever it takes to learn new things and make them happen, I love that you have your own projects and hobbies and you don't need me and my approval. I love that you participate in a whole world of your creation just beyond my reach.
It would be awful were we joined at the hip and enjoyed all the same things. I am too selfish and childish for you, much of the time. I want, I want, and mostly I just want your undivided attention, which is ridiculous because your creative independence is one of the main reasons I fell in love with you in the first place.
I just need to relax, essentially and to learn how to become a student of the universe. Learn, find, interact and discover all on my own. I suppose it's for this reason I've created this blog, it's not about you, or at least it never has been, until today.
We had a fight recently and I said that one day you will look up from what you have been working on with that damn computer, look about the kitchen and I won't be there. You will notice for the first time that I have social engagements that don't involve you, a calendar with meetings and friends you haven't met and that we will have run out of time for each other. Only belatedly will you discover I have left and kept swimming off into the world without you. Some days this seems likely.
It seems more probable that this horrible future might eventuate if neither of us chose to make the effort to stay connected. I have a growing desire to learn and be lead by those older and wiser than myself, to seek out new things and find ways to engage with those around me. I'll never be a skirt twirling, sandalwood burning, washed out middle-aged lady going to silence retreats. (I hope) but I do feel the pull of more knowledge.
So what does that say about us? I know I love you. I am reminded of your greatness and your kindness as a human on a daily basis. I know too that anyone that reckons relationships are easy has never been a fly on the wall at our place.
I wouldn't give up the great chat and the awesome sex and the strange feeling of creating the building blocks on which we will perch the rest of our adult lives. It's simply that I am part of something that baffles me. Continually, in this new set of circumstances, I am confronted by and I marvel at; love.
I have found something with my man. Something that many humans will spend most of their lives searching to attain. Which leads me back to the guy and his shirt. How dare you try to belittle my fragile new world in bold font on a white t-shirt.
What is marriage? Is it a dirt track down which you fling yourself willingly, to be buffeted by extraneous circumstance and the will of another?
Is it a road down which few of my peers wish to tread, as an outdated, ill-conceived notion of forced monogamy that threatens to be a hindrance not a help?
When I realised I wanted to marry you I also realised that I was more Grown Up than Little Girl. I knew what I wanted. I also knew that marriage was a decision about life in an adult world.
I have not lost my sense of wonder. I'm not completely all grown up and hope to never be. I still love puddles and dress ups and screaming into the wind. By the same token, gratis of the passing years and my growing wisdom, I am not mistaken in my understanding of adult decisions. They are not final, people change and I know there is no happily-ever-after. There is, however a powerful need for an individual to feel loved.
I have no doubt that I am.
For that simple fact, I will always be amazed and grateful.