I was supposed to write a post on marriage for 50 Something, the grog where I am a contributer. It was a response to an article in The Atlantic Journal by a writer/performer/blogger named Sandra Tsing Loh. She’s getting divorced. Not because she is a lazy Gen-X with delusions of having it all, as long as the all doesn’t include any drudgery like working on her relationship, but because marriage is an outmoded and impractical institution whose very existence is why people cannot manage to commit and stay together. Or something like that.
But then, the governor of South Carolina went hiking the Applachian Trail in Brazil and proved to be a horrid author of bad love letters, Farrah died – which is somehow pivotal to my inner child and Michael Jackson super-nova’d all over the media providing me with a chance to show a cruel heartless side of myself I usually reserve for the widdas.
Of course a child-free weekend and a wedding anniversary may have played into this too, but somehow the whole marriage piece didn’t get written.
And then someone else did a much better job than I could have and I thought, Meh, why revisit it? It’s not as if I have vast experience to draw on.
It was then that it occurred to me that just being married didn’t make me any more of an expert on marriage than being widowed made me a role model for other grieving people. Ultimately our paths through life are hacked through life’s jungle with painstaking perseverance and intestinal fortitude.
But I did go back and reread Ms. Tsing Loh’s article. She was married for twenty years and I wondered what possessed a person to walk away from a mate who wasn’t engaged in any deal-breaking activity. Perhaps I had judged her too harshly?
And a quick second through convinced me I hadn’t.
Marriage was just too much work. Work that, on a rating scale, fell after the maintenance of children, home and career. Marriage, apparently, is supposed to sustain itself forever and ever on the initial burst of lust and Disney Princess fervor from which it began. If it can’t, it wasn’t meant to be.
And certainly some relationships have a shelf life. Tsing Loh’s probably falls in the category of those unions that haven’t anywhere to go, but is it grown up to recognize, own it and move on or have an affair, blame it on hunter/gatherer DNA and trash marriage in general?
I approach my marriage as a work in progress. A masterpiece revealing itself to be a mural to rival Monet’s lillies. It will take as much forever as I am allowed to see it all and whatever work is involved is, therefore, worth the time and effort.
Anyway, I’d have written something like that if I hadn’t been distracted by life.