Saturday, June 12, 2010

Marriage is Hard

It is.

In fact, there's a whole industry, and we writers are part of it, that capitalizes on this.

Take "Sex & the City 2," for example, in which Carrie tries to define and adjust to the concept of marriage. She can't do it. So she gets her own apartment changes her clothes twenty times and hooks up with another guy. And her husband rewards her with a big diamond while they snuggle up on their new sofa.

Okay, bad example.

Take the play I saw the other day, Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Now that was an interesting perspective on marriage: 1955 Mississippi, where the women were oppressed, and expected to have broods of children, but where they were beginning to voice their dissatisfaction and longing for better relationships. Maggie (the Cat) craves attention and love from the washed-up athlete. She scrambles for security--emotional, economic--and clings desperately to her uninterested husband.

In both stories, there is sacrifice. There is conflict between maintaining autonomy and preserving tradition.

But we girls don't need to go to the movie or the theater to know this.

We live it every day.

Dave and I have been married almost 18 years. (Yes, we were young. Incredibly.) Believe me, when you fall in love at 8, there's some stuff that has to get worked out, though, and it seems to take years, no, decades.

It's been good, most of it, but it's been hard, too. Last summer we hit a rough spot that took some serious work and commitment (and a big setting aside of egos).

Like Carrie and Maggie Cat, (I think) I sacrifice quite a bit. But Dave definitely gives up a lot, too. I have to remember this. It's my job. (It's literally my job. I teach Critical Thinking, which is considering plural perspectives.)

It's easy to take marriage--husbands--for granted. What's hard, what's better, is to see them for what they are: men, strong but fragile, putting forth effort but falling short, hoping to achieve perfection but falling short.


Just like us.