Yesterday I followed a link to an Atlantic Monthly article written by NPR contributor and writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh who I recently heard speak at a library event in Orange County, CA. I loved her energy and humor and bought her book, MOTHER ON FIRE, which talks about her anxieties and challenges as a mother of school-age kids. It also talks about her marriage, which, from what she says in the Atlantic article, is now over. I’m sorry about that, and sorry to learn from what she writes in the piece titled, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” that she’s doesn’t have much faith in the possibility of long-lived, happy marriages.
As someone who just celebrated a two-digit anniversary, I can tell you I’m a believer…
Loh complains that everyone says a good, long marriage takes “work.” Maybe she’s more of a romantic than I am, because she doesn’t seem to think that there should be an element of labor involved. I don’t think it should be arduous either, but to imagine that there aren’t going to be crumbs left on the bread board or socks on the floor, well, that is just being blind to the usual foibles of our fellow man (and of ourselves. Every time I find myself irked by some habit of my spouse’s, I remind myself there must be an equal number of my own–that I’m blissfully unaware of–that irk him). Or maybe Loh just hasn’t spent enough time at an office type of job where you have to deal with the habits and idiosyncrasies of co-workers. No grumbling at the boss for leaving the milk on the counter!
And to give credit where credit is due, I’m know the credit for my continued marital happiness goes in large part to the wonderful man I married, Surfer Guy. He’s a bit of a pack rat. He’ll be late for something because he stopped to push a stalled car off the road or help change a tire. And then there’s that tendency to think that he can repair any kind of household problem (with many more successes than failures, though). So he’s not perfect, of course, any more than I am.
But when our anniversary was coming up and I could only dither about what we should do and also worry about fitting in a research trip for the current trilogy, Surfer Guy went all man on me and made a decision while I was at the RWA conference…he booked our trip to the wine country. We left behind kids, new puppy, the results of The Flood (blog for another day) and flew to Napa & Sonoma where he played chauffeur and fellow winetaster as I soaked up the atmosphere. No winery was too obscure, no backtracking to revisit a place did he find an annoyance. He took photos, he asked good questions, he made me hand out my books (he’s much better at promo than I).
So, people, I’m here to tell you…a good marriage starts with a good man. And I believe and believe and believe that they are out there. Romance lives beyond the pages of our books and beyond the “I do”…I know it and live with it every day. Happy Anniversary to us, Surfer Guy. Thank you and I love you.
Do you have a marriage/romance success story? Yourself, parents, family? What do you think is The Secret?