Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Turns out

In high school, my dear friend Kristin used to say, "Life would be so much better if people just did what I wanted."

I would always agree; it totally would. Wouldn't it?

Which brings me to Marriage. Specifically, ours, now. Because high school was back when I believed that you got married and then you lived in a state of happiness. The end.

We currently have plans to do something I want to do. Something we agreed on last summer after a stint in the marital Fire Swamp.

Marriage, or anyway ours, is never even. You don't have the same amount of anything--love, happiness, chore doing, child rearing--ever. Sometimes it is 80-20, sometimes 52-48, sometimes 17-83. It sloshes back and forth and I believe that things generally come out even, even if they never are on a daily or weekly or monthly basis.

(And here let me tell you that I had to do math for that. Because I am the person who once asked for a 60-30 beverage mix.)

Sometimes we do what Nick wants, sometimes what I want, sometimes what neither of us wants, but we know that the kids will be delighted. And we agree that delighting our kids is a worthwhile goal. Occasionally but rarely we all want the same thing.

I mean, we want harmony and happiness. (We being Nick and me. The kids want candy all the time.) We want a strong family. Those are common goals. But what we actually want to do when we have time to choose? Those are rarely the same.

So back to the issue at hand.

We are at a decision-making point in the doing of what Lisa wants. And yesterday Nick felt blindsided because I was, seemingly out of the blue, trying to force him to make a quick decision.

But the fact is that none of it was out of the blue for me. I just hadn't involved him up to that point  because I know he's not interested.

He was mad and I was mad. Ragingly so.

And finally he said, "Stop. Yes, I'm doing this for you. And I don't understand why I'm being yelled at. You said this was important to you and I said yes, and now we're doing it. So why are you punishing me for doing what you wanted?"

Fair point.

So I had to look inside and realize that actually, I'm annoyed that it's not what he wants to do. If we get there and he doesn't like it, it's on me. And it is a reminder that one of us will always be doing what we wouldn't choose, no matter how nice it might be.

It is true that I can't make him want what I want. People just don't work that way. He'd love it if I loved sailing, for example. Or wanted to go to Maine every summer.

These are luxuries. They are nice things. A trip to Maine is lovely, truly. But it is not my desire; it is his.

Preferences are all pieces of who we are. And when we reach a point where we can do or have things that most of the time are out of reach, they feel a lot more urgent.

To me, anyway.

And so, yes. He's doing what I want. And he's not complaining. I've done a lot of what he wants. Sometimes it's been terrific. Sometimes not. Sometimes I've complained and sometimes I've not complained. And still I think he knew I was going along with what he wanted.

So maybe he felt the same way I feel now. I don't know.

Marriage is complicated, is I guess what I'm saying once again. You choose your person for a reason, or 54 great reasons, but that doesn't mean they're going to want to do what you want. And when they do, it doesn't necessarily make your life better.

Basically, you don't just live in a state of happiness because you're married.

Who knew in high school?


  1. It always amazes me (And I don't know why all these years later) that what you go though in life so parallels what I go though despite our age and demographic differences. I think what I have always loved about your writing is that you put my life in to words. I just spent ten days on vacay with my husband. I felt all of this and more. I am grateful though that technologies lets me escape a bit in the midst of doing what he likes. Namely rodeo after rodeo, western store after western store and live hard rock bands and whiskies night after night. I tried not to wish I was with my girlfriends or better yet, alone. But by the last night I was well, mean. Loved this post, Lisa.

    1. Oh, Lynn. I would get mean by that point as well. In fact, I think you were very gracious to not do so until the very end. I so get it. What a lovely, supportive thing for you to do. But it is hard. Big hugs to you.

  2. Love this. We can all relate.

    1. Thank you, Andrea! It is always nice to feel like others can relate and in fact deal with the same things.

  3. While I can certainly relate to this, I am even more bothered when my husband does what I want only after I have completely given up on it ever getting done at all (he doesn't understand why this makes me stabby).


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