Herb and I have had an emotional weekend. The stress has broken through in a number of ways, and we have sniped at each other more than usual. I suppose it was bound to happen. What is clear is that we come back together with the clear knowledge that we are making a conscious choice about where we want to be.
It is true that I envy other couples, younger couples, those with less complicated lives.They don't have to make a decision on where they will be on any given night. They go to work and return home, take their assigned place at the dinner table, take turns brushing their teeth and climbing into bed on the familiar side. With H and I living between Boston and Vermont, and my addition of New York into the mix, there is little that we take for granted. But just as that is true about the places we sleep, it is true about our marriage. Herb doesn't much like that characterization of a "marriage" external to the two of us, and when I talk about making sure the marriage is strong, he steams from the ears. "There is no marriage separate from us," he has said (approximately). He has said that people talk about saving "the marriage", just before one of them walks out. And I know what he means. But there is something in the manner in which we make decisions every day, to have dinner out, or sit at the kitchen table and talk rather than working on the computer, or choosing to shop for dinner together when one of us could easily do the task alone...For me, it is about keeping our marriage healthy and strong. It is about taking pleasure in sharing the things that others take for granted. I used to imagine reading the paper on Sunday mornings in bed with a h.h.h.h.h.husband. I used to dream of taking long drives together.
H may be fuming as he reads this, but I am too aware of the threats that lurk outside the door... health threats and too much work, and the lack of laughter.I am a lucky woman in that we rarely go to sleep without laughter. H has a gift at imitating the "boys," channeling Ed's voice. I have been known to laugh so hard that I wheeze. Attractive, yes?
Maybe it is better to be older. Better to be conscious of the decisions we make. I wouldn't perpetuate the distances between us in this tri-state existence for one moment longer than necessary, but we seem to know how to keep the wind in the sails and travel forward.
There will be other weekends when we snipe at each other. There will be nights spent apart. But we are coming closer now to that future we imagined...closer to being in the place our home is. And I wonder what will fill the spaces taken up by those dreams, when we no longer need to wonder what comes next.