love and romance within marriage


Affectionate old couple with the wife holding ...

Elderly love(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know for a certainty that you are indeed old when young women begin to refer to you and your husband as “so cute”. As in “Today I saw this old couple walking through the park holding hands. They were so cute. Someday, I hope I am an old woman who still holds hands with her husband.” The assumption being that the elderly couple in question are actually with their spouse and aren’t widowed folk who’ve randomly hooked up at the retirement complex for entertainment and recreation purposes.

But whatever. Far be it from me to disillusion a young person who still believes in marriage. It’s not as if they exist in droves anymore.

Rob accompanied me to the doctor’s office yesterday morning. I have a pesky polyp and removal involves a certain amount of slicing and frying. My doctor, a lively old fella who resembles a garden gnome – minus the hat and fluffy whiskers – assured me that I would not feel a thing. Not exactly true and Rob was concerned that I might be too distracted to drive myself home safely.

He also hates to allow me to go to the doctor’s on my own where skin things are concerned. This particular problem has been recurrent and benign, but being a fair-haired natural ginger (the latter part only when I feel like it), one can never be complacent where skin is concerned. I’ve had skin enough slashed and burned off to know that the derma can turn on you without warning. He doesn’t want me to be on my own should that happen because he lived the aftermath once before and it isn’t something you do again when you can easily prevent it.

So, we are sitting in the waiting area, chatting and holding hands, when the assistant came out to collect me. Before I followed her, I gave him a quick kiss and then proceeded down the hall to one of the many treatment rooms in the hive that hides behind the waiting room door.

As I seated myself, she smiled at me and said, “You two are just like newlyweds. That’s so cute.”

She left the “I hope I can have that one day” part unspoken, but it hung in the air nevertheless.

Cute.

I am now so old that young women find my perfectly normal interactions with my husband “cute”. “Sweet” and “endearing” cannot be far behind, and gods help me when “you guys remind me of my nana and papa” tumbles off someone’s lips.

There are worse things. Mocking. Remember the YouTube video of the couple trying to figure out how to send a message with their Mac? Cute and hilarious.

Endearing and snuggly in a puppy/kitten sort of way and chuckle-worthy at the same time. The ultimate elderly hell.

Oh, I could view it as Rob and I being inspirational. That’s how the young woman will likely present the scenario to her friends as they gather around at some pub on Whyte Ave. They will breathe sighs of relief knowing that old people still held hands and kissed, which probably means they still have sex. The fear of romance-less unions once the honeymoon is over and a few offspring  pop up being a big nightmare scenario for the young. That and the shackles of matrimony. That archaic hold over from feudal days of yore. Good to know that some of us bet the odds and don’t arrive at the half-way mark grim-faced for our slog towards decrepitude and certain death.

Of course, I didn’t tear the dear thing’s fantasy to shreds by enlightening her about the fact that, from a certain point of view, Rob and I still are newlyweds. Barely married five years and blessed with the luxury of not having to raise a single child from scratch as they were all in various stages of walking, talking and able to attend to their own bodily functions. Kinder to let her believe that Rob and I represent some undiscovered by statistician’s norm. That unicorn of couples – cute, aging and still still glowing.


Marriage Day

Marriage Day (Photo credit: Fikra)

Krya Sedgwick, actor and wife of fellow actor Kevin Bacon, mentioned in a recent interview that she still gets the romantic butterfly effect when she sees her husband.

“When he walks into a room…my heart gets a little fluttery and I think, ‘Oh! He’s so cute. He’s so hot.’ ”

Married now for 23 years, her revelation that her husband still does it for her and that,

“He’s still a mystery to me,”

because she learns new things about him even after so much time together actually made the news outside of the ladies magazine circles.

With marriage and monogamy in the “not cool” or “so grandma retro” menu columns these days, it’s not hard to see why Sedgwick’s enduring fascination with her husband astounds the public as much as the discovery of a long-lost pre-historic fish off the coast of New Zealand. It’s a Ripley’s Believe or Not item in a culture where the majority of adults define themselves as single and those who do couple default to common co-habitation with the occasional side order of child or two. Marriage is viewed as archaic, useless and the death knell of sexual/romantic love.

Which makes one wonder why gay people clamor to marry, doesn’t it?

Except I don’t wonder.  Marriage comes with all sorts of nifty legal attachments which protect couples in case of emergency and it bestows a sort of maturity and realism that many adults today prefer to pretend isn’t necessary because it interferes with the American notion of freedom to pursue our largely solo happiness and stay eternally youthful – if only in our own minds.

But that’s a topic for another day. Today’s topic is flutter and mystery.

While I am not at all surprised by people who are surprised to find that sex settles into the comfortably known after the honeymoon period of a relationship logically and predictable moves on to the build stage, I am not at all sure what is meant when some talk about cooling passions or loss of romance. I suppose that some people don’t understand that love has stages and that “wooing” is a different phase than “falling in love” and then “love” itself. It’s not as if we are well-schooled in relationship. In fact, beyond the plumbing aspects (if that), young people must most often rely on their parents (iffy), peers (iffier still) and the media (downright disastrous) for their relationship education.

So while the legion stares in wonder at the Sedgewick-Bacons, I just nod sagely. I get this.

Even after five years – which is still pretty young even if you morph by the dog year standard – I find my husband a near endless source of fascination. How could I not? He is me and yet not me at all. Just when I think I know everything, it turns out I knew nothing at all really.

Rob fascinates me. Our relationship still tickles and amazes me. Our life, though perhaps on the surface routine enough, is like a present within a gift within yet another festooned party box.

I feel flutter. I am drawn to the enduring mystery that is like a game of Clue that changes, and yet doesn’t, with every dice roll.

What I don’t understand is how so many people don’t understand.