On May 16th, I celebrated 21 years of marriage. While many may think that 21 years is a long time, in my opinion–it is not–when compared to those who’ve been married for over 50 years. Those couples deserve a lifetime achievement award along with a never ending supply of chocolate cake and the most delectable bottles of wine.
The truth is: marriage is a bitch.
I don’t mean bitch in terms of this horrible perpetual ornery situation, but more so in the same terms as Meredith Brook’s song “Bitch.” The lyrics goes as follows:
I’m a child, I’m a mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way
This may mean
You’ll have to be a stronger man
Rest assured that
When I start to make you nervous
And I’m going to extremes
Tomorrow I will change
And today won’t mean a thing
Marriage is a complexity that I consider the haute couture of relationships. A fashion designer creates and tailors a specific gown or outfit for a client, and this haute couture design is meant to fit the way the client’s body moves to complement its beauty–while taking the emphasis away from the not so beautiful. Marriage is the same way–it is an entity that two people decide to embark on together and they build and design their marriage according to who they are, and who they are becoming.
I laugh at those who attempt to sugar coat and chocolatify marriage with such sweetness and scrumptiousness. It’s bullshit.
On a good day, marriage is pure bliss that taste like a beautifully made macaron: not too sickly sweet, and provides that pillow like feeling of comfort. On some days, it may be like kim-chee where its pungent, but yet does your gut good with the probiotics it provides. On a worse day, it’s like really badly cooked Mexican food–and it just gives you the shits for days.
The great American poet Lucille Clifton once wrote a poem titled, man and wife. I read the poem when I was 23 years old embarking on my first year as an undergraduate student of English. My marriage was only about a year and a half old, and the poem adhered itself to my soul. I thought the poem had spoken to me because of the state of my marriage at the time, but years later, I realized that it wasn’t about the state of marriage that was difficult–it was embarking on a journey of self-discovery while being married, and the fact was that I had a partner willing to stand beside me, while accepting the metamorphosis that was happening right before him.
I learned that part of what contributes to a marriage is the profound acceptance that my husband loves me for who I was yesterday, who I am today, and whoever I might become tomorrow. And, I, as his wife, would do the same for him.
That alone is enough.
Marriage is not easy, it’s just a haute couture bitch.
man and wife
she blames him, at the last, for
backing away from his bones
and his woman, from the life
he promised her was worth
cold sheets. she blames him
for being unable to see
the tears in her eyes, the birds
hovered by the window, for love being
not enough, for leaving.
he blames her, at the last, for
holding him back with her eyes
beyond when the pain was more
than he was prepared to bear, for the tears he could neither
end nor ignore, for believing
that love could be enough,
for the birds, for the life
so difficult to leave.