We’ve been married a long time and I hope we’re married a lot longer, but contrary to the belief of everyone who hasn’t been married a long time, it never gets easy. On either participant. Although it’s harder on the one who’s right. In our case, that would be me—but there, as in virtually everything else, we don’t agree.
Take, for instance, spending winters in Florida. He—Duane, the roommate, the boyfriend, my husband, the person I do in all actuality love more than life itself, but for now we’ll call him “he”—loves Florida. Loves heat and says he never has to shovel it or blow it out of the driveway. Loves the beach. Loves palm trees and all the other tropical things that grow there—except roaches; I don’t think he loves them.
I like most of those things, too—other than unrelenting heat, but I like them, it must be said, for a week. Maybe two.
However, we spent a few winters down there and enjoyed them, although I was always eager to get home. However, he doesn’t want to go again, because he worries about the house we have here. About power going off and pipes freezing, about vandalism and burglary. (I worry about those things, too, which is why we have alarms and people checking on the house all the time, but what do I know?)
Speaking of the house, we’ve lived in it for over 40 years. It has an upstairs and three acres of lawn and it’s in the country. It would be a good idea, I have mused, to sell it and move closer to town or maybe even to town, where things are more convenient, lawns are smaller, and we could find a one-story house. He was okay with that, except that he doesn’t want to buy another house. Owning a house is okay, he agrees, but he doesn’t want to own another one. I, on the other hand, think renting a house is okay, but I don’t want to rent one.
So we’ll stay here, which is fine with me. If anything changes I’ll let you know.
Then there’s music. I like music—he loves music. However, he hates crowds, so we never go to big
venues to see anyone. I’m good
with that because—voila! I don’t like crowds, either. We agree. What we don’t
agree on is how much to spend on concert tickets. No matter what the price is,
he turns pale, wipes his forehead, and says it’s too much. The artists are
great, but it’s just…too much.
|Janie Fricke at Shipshewana|
It took me a while—years, in fact—but I finally learned to buy the tickets and when he asks how much they cost to just ask if he’d like a cup of coffee, because I’m not telling. It’s kind of like how many guitars he has or how much fabric I have—not worth discussing.
Neither of us much likes how the other one drives, although that’s something we’ve pretty much worked out. If we’re both in the car, he’s driving. Even if I start out under the wheel, I give it up about six or seven comments down the road. I have mastered the wilting look, given just before I say, “Would you like to drive?” and pull over so that he can. Which was what he wanted all along. No, I’m still not crazy about his driving, but if I talk enough, I can ignore it.
I like to talk. Frankly, he likes to talk more. I think I’m a better listener. He thinks he is. I like to talk about personal, sensitive, intense things. He likes to talk about anything that’s not personal, sensitive, or intense.
As the years have gone on, we’ve discovered newer, sillier things to disagree on. Skipping over religion and politics, we are never hungry at the same time. I yearn for anything salty and he’s never met a pastry he didn’t like. I love red meat, he prefers chicken. I want to eat at regular times almost every day. He wants to eat whenever. He almost always orders the same thing at a restaurant and I practically never do. He always drives the same route to virtually any destination and I look for a new one every time. He is so relieved that I have GPS because I no longer get lost every time I go anywhere.
We don’t worry a lot about those differences, because for the most part, they don’t matter all that much. What matters is ending the day laughing at each other’s jokes and having each other’s back. Just don’t expect it to be easy, because it never will. Especially if you’re the one that’s usually right—just ask me.