Sunday, January 8, 2012
Flawed to Perfection
What could we say? It was the truth. Too many of our friends’ marriages had fallen apart.
Religion doesn’t seem to be any guarantee that a couple will remain a couple. The residents of our fair town are by and large all Orthodox Jews who attempt to carry out the complicated minutiae of Jewish law in their everyday lives. But that hasn’t saved them from divorce.
It’s sad, but today it is remarkable when a couple stays together and unsurprising when they don’t. I had to wonder: is there some kind of secret to staying together that we, Dov and I, possess, that other couples do not? Because if there were some way for me to hit on the formula for marital success, I could share it and save lots of people heartache.
But I have no such formula. Our marriage is not the stuff of dreams. There are lots and lots of rocky patches, bouts of relationship insanity, and hair-pulling.
When things are at their most difficult, I think that we stay together by osmosis. We’ve been together so long it’s a habit. Maybe we’re too LAZY to get a divorce. Maybe we can’t AFFORD to get a divorce. But the bottom line is that I can’t see us apart.
A friend (who subsequently got divorced) once told me that I should try to see myself apart from my husband to see if I could envision how that would work; that this would give me the strength to actually go through with divorce. Looking back, that seems like dangerous, even BAD advice. But back then, for the sake of my friendship, I tried. I tried to see myself without Dov.
I could not.
I guess that some marriages are easier than others, but I really don’t know that for sure. All I know is that I am meant to be with Dov and Dov is meant to be with me. It’s not easier to be together, but in the long run, there is mutual satisfaction and working toward mutual goals. The rest is fluff.
If I had to pinpoint one reason Dov and I have stayed together so long, I’d have to say it’s that we grew up together. When you get to the point where you’ve been together most of your lives, you’ve got something solid and tangible. Like individual people, it’s not perfect, but it works.
The best tomatoes are never those pink, mealy hybrids piled high in supermarkets, but the cracked, irregular heirloom fruits you grow yourself in your own backyard. Our marriage is like that: imperfect, but full of flavor; still bearing fruit after more than 3 decades.
How long have you been married? Do you have "the perfect marriage?" What are your relationship secrets?