gratitude-a-thon day 1081: 30 years of marriage

I wrote this a few days ago, on my anniversary.

September 5, 1987, Cobb’s Mill Inn, Weston, CT.

I have been married for 30 years today. That is 360 months, 1,260 weeks, 10,950 days, 262,800 hours, 15,768,000 and 946,080,000 (but who’s counting).

I’m going to tell you two things. One: My marriage is not perfect. Two: No marriage is perfect.

Having been married all those years is kind of an accomplishment, I think. Because to do so meant not giving up or in. It meant steadying the ship when there were tsunami-like waves, digging deep when things felt worse than sand in your bathing suit bottom, and staying in it because of one thing: your commitment.

Love is dreamy, love is better than swimming in chocolate. Even a good plate of pasta pales in comparison. But it’s commitment that wins the day. It’s commitment that makes a marriage unbreakable.

I am no picnic. I can be moody, bossy, demanding and emotional. I have had back problems since I met my husband. I have migraines. I had infertility and do not ask about menopause (DO NOT).

My husband is an easier person than I am. But he has his faults too (plenty of them, by the way). But honestly, it amazes me that ANYBODY could possibly stand me for this amount of time! And that, in a nutshell, speaks to Peter’s good nature. And to how lucky I am to have found him. And a good hunk of why our marriage has endured.

We are dramatically different people. I am all out there and open– ask-me-and-I’ll-tell-you. Peter is much more private, extremely smart, intensely thoughtful and very steady. I am talkative and exuberant. He is an academic, a science nerd, a student. Ask me anything about popular culture and you’d think I got my PhD in it. He is happy anywhere. I am finicky and fussy and always like things to be pretty. He is insanely optimistic and easily overlooks the bad. I am a recovered pessimist and am able to see reality with clear vision.

BUT what we share is a commitment to one another and to our love, our life together and our kids and our dog. We are MAD for our kids. We have the same values. We have influenced one another in ways that have benefitted both of us. He’s more social because of me. I’m more grounded because of him. We both love to laugh, we adore movies, theater and good food. We cannot get enough of our children. We value good politics, good friends and good beaches. We adore travel, and just hanging out on our couch under furry blankets binge-watching a great series.

And I’ll tell you something honest, during a rough patch, I will think, “I’m done, I CANNOT,” and I want to take the potato peeler to his nose and call a divorce lawyer. But then he will do something so loving, so tender, that I fall in love with him again. We find our way back to one another, day by day. Little by little. Out of the ashes, we rise. And again we are in unison, we are in love. And this happens over and over. Because this is marriage.

I don’t know, I guess there might be people for whom marriage is easy. But for me, marriage has been a job where you must work hard to stay employed. When we are out of synch, we have to scuba through the murky waters to find one another. And each time it’s a decision to swim or flee. We have both decided we are worth it. Because we love each other deeply and our commitment to one another is total. If there is anything that can keep two people together, it’s love and commitment. And we are lucky enough to have those two things in spades.

Here’s to the next 30 years. I love you, Peter Lansbury, and damn, am I grateful for you.

September 4, 2017 on The Surrey rooftop, in NYC, where it all began.

 

 

gratitude-a-thon day 402: who could put up with ME for 27 years?

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Yesterday was the 27th year of my marriage. Here’s a few things I’ve learned.

1. Marriage is hard work. No, it’s not like being on the chain gang, but there’s a lot of labor involved You can’t sit back and hope that it will survive. That’s just what a long term relationship takes. Fact.

2. You will fall in and out of love a million times. Yeah, even while you’re married, you can have rough patches where you think the thing won’t survive and you’re sure you’re no longer in love, but then  the wind shifts, and you’re right back in it.

3. You gotta compromise. That’s the deal. You can’t always have your way. This is as true in a friendship as it is in a marriage.

4. You need date nights. Don’t scrimp on these. I’m telling you, you’ll pay for it.

5. Do stuff with friends. Friends are nourishing to a marriage.

6. The honeymoon does indeed end, but the sum of what you’ve seen, experienced, built and made together replaces it.

7. Compassion is essential. Your partner will hit the skids, and so will you. Stand by.

8. Note to men: Jewelry and flowers always help. Especially for absolutely no reason.

9. Fight. Some people say it’s bad to fight, but I say it’s just what happens in a long term relationship. Say your thing, get it out. Start again.

10. Laugh. Together, apart, at yourselves. This is maybe the most important thing I’ve learned.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 317: knowing enough not to tell all

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Yes, I watched it for a few seasons. I admit it. Oh c’mon, like you’ve never seen one?

Confession. I used to watch The Real Housewives of New York. I did. The first season (or two). Yup. Go ahead, get on your Supreme Court robes and get all judge-y. I’m ok with it. I’m not particularly proud of this once upon a time weekly habit, but you know how it is when you pass a car accident on the highway, you want to look, you don’t want to look, but you do, and you keep looking until you practically cause an accident on your side of the road. That’s how it was. I just couldn’t drag myself away from such pathetically compelling characters with so much money and venom. Plus there was loads of good jewelry and clothes. I once saw the countess walking on Fifth Avenue near FAO Schwarz. She had on a killer leather coat. I considered fighting her for it (she probably would have won, she is monstrously tall).

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Pretty, insanely fit, smart, sassy, hilarious, and as open as the good book on Sunday in the Bible belt.

Anyway, the housewife, who was curiously not a housewife, but desperately wanted to be one, Bethenny Frankel was my favorite. She was a fast talking, tell all, New York chef with a seriously killer bod, and a business about to go boom, called Skinny Girl. She was funny and self-deprecating and looking for a man (so she too could one day get divorced like some of the other pathetic women on the show). She was the breakout star who met her prince, became pregnant, got married, received a spin-off show about her marriage (and pregnancy and burgeoning biz) and then another show about her first year of marriage and baby. And just when I was convinced she had actually managed to get it all, despite her difficult childhood, she announced her divorce, about the same time she announced that Ellen Degeneres was giving her a talk show (I would consider a divorce if Ellen gave me a talk show. Hey Ellen, what about me?)

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She finally finds the right guy. Good looking, with midwestern values, it seemed Bethanny had killed it in the game of life.
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And baby makes three.

Anyway, I thought this was sad. See, I still really liked Bethenny. I mean, she has the kind of candor that gets me. She will tell you anything. She had a really challenging upbringing and she talked about it freely and openly, often with lots of tears and a discourse on all the ways it had crazified her life. That’s a girl after my own heart. But let me just talk about her husband Jason for a minute. What a seemingly great, grounded, hunky guy. A regular guy, if you will. He was made for the camera, but he had a Mid-west down-homeness that seemed perfect for the deeply damaged Bethenny. Our girl was getting a do-over and I was rooting for her. A good choice, it seemed. Her business got purchased for a bajillion bucks, her baby was cute.

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She argued to have a closet instead of using the space for Jason’s man cave. The first sign of trouble, perhaps? Hey Peter, they converted a whole room into a closet, didn’t Jake just go to college?

They bought a killer loft downtown, with a closet for Bethenny as big as my house (not really, but it sure looked that way). Jason’s parents were kind and sweet and really supportive of the marriage and their only son’s happiness. But you could see that they were sort of leery of Bethenny. These two kids were different alright, but I thought that was a positive. I thought this was what would make it work.

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Ah, but the break-up. Was it always inevitable?

Well, the whole reason for this post is that Bethenny, on her Ellen Degeneres talk show, just announced that she had “settled” for Jason, that the love of her life was someone else that she couldn’t be married to. They’re battling for custody and not even divorced yet, and she is airing this piece of particualry dirty and tainted laundry? Actually, battling or not, this is a no-no. How do you make a public statement like this when you have a child? TMI, Bethanny. You should change the name of your drink line from Skinny Girl to Naughty Girl. You don’t publicly humiliate the baby daddy. EVER. Not ok. I want to dislike her for this. What a shit thing to do. But I suppose I will continue to watch with one eye closed, because like a train wreck, it’s hard to turn away. But yech, teach me to watch reality tv and believe it. It’s just as scripted as a bad sitcom, but with real people getting hurt. For me, it’s   a good lesson in knowing that you can share too much. And that’s more valuable than any amount of money Bethenny is making from her latest bout of oral diarrhea.

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Alone, on her talk show set. And with the kind of bad tell all behavior she is exhibiting, she might just stay that way.