Wednesday, January 10, 2007

what i know now that i didn't know then

I know of a woman who just got married for the first time at age 36. Although i believe that she knows a lot about herself, i can’t help but think about all the things that she doesn’t, can’t, know about marriage. Or to be fair, about my marriage. (I cannot assume they are all the same.)

I did not realize how there would be some times when i hated you. Not was angry at you or tired or crabby, but moments when i hated you. You, who you are. The attention that you need that i cannot provide enough of.

I did not know that when you are out of town, all is not really right with the world until you come home.

I did not know that after all the years together we would provide half of each other’s memory function. A lifetime of shared history of memories and movie quotes and jokes. Who else is going to be able to understand the shorthand we have developed over the years?

I did not know that i was capable of behaving SO abjectly badly in front of another human being. And that you would forgive me and still love me.

I did not know what i would be able to forgive you for either. Things i didn’t think i would ever be able to forgive anyone for.

I did not understand that we would be growing up together. I thought i was all grown up when we married. (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! *snort*)

29 comments:

Egan said...

Hmmm... doing a little reflecting are we? I like that you do this. It's a big part of me. I feel I can't look forward without looking back. You've blossomed.

MommyHAM said...

I can say all of that and more to my husband, and we're just shy of 9 yrs married. Particularly, the bit about growing UP together and feeling like I already was (at the ripe age of 19 - yes, my ha-ha's are QUITE loud!)

caro said...

I thought i knew a lot about my husband after 15 years together so the fact that he can still surprise me with a quirk or a facet of his personality i knew nothing about, amazes me. And the surprise doesn't provide that Oh! my god my knees are turning to dough feeling like at the beginning of the relationship. At this point, it just makes me believe in life as an ever-changing adventure. And i really feel blessed to have this great guy at my side whom I can share it with...

patches said...

Compared to the other commenters, my marriage is going seem infantile (4 years), but inexperience aside, I can completely relate to ALL of your observations...whether I really want to or not ; )

Mother of Invention said...

I love the metaphor "shorthand"...so true. It is so much easier to just know everything about each other because you were actually there for it. After 30 years with the same person (26 married years)I would be very wary meeting someone new and have to start at Ground Zero again. We are both very fortunate to have this in a husband and I thank my lucky stars daily. (Will Mister read this? He might like it!!)

Sober Briquette said...

As my friends who are marrying later do marry, I have found myself thinking, "Oooh, they're rushing into this," because they don't know their future spouse as well as I know mine. But how could they? Why should they? Are they supposed to wait until they're 50 or 60 to marry so they can know what I know about living with another person? But right, as you say, not all marriages are the same. Maybe some people (older people) arrive at their truths a little faster.

Mama P said...

You forgot "I did not know that there would be things I would not know about you until AFTER we were married." Some of them good, some of them bad. That was the HUGE shocker. Great post.

Lisa said...

You have such a wonderful way of putting these thoughts and feeling into words. Although I've only been married for 6+ years, I can understand these sweet sentiments, and that feeling of not being able to sleep unless he's in bed next to me, or at least in the house.

Even if I can't stand to listen to him slurp his soup.

meno said...

egan, "grow or die" i always say, maybe i'll start saying "blossom or die." As long as it's not my butt that blossoms i am good with it.

mommyham, hi there. sound like you hve a good understanding of what it's all about. Keep on laughing 'cause you are not done growing up either.

caro, that is a really nice thing to hear about your husband. Lucky woman, lucky man.

patches, it's not the time that matters, it's the lens of reality through which you are willing to see your life together. (Was that suitably pretentious?)

MOI, it's similar to the post you once did on made up words that your family uses. Mister will not read this, i think.

de, how could they indeed. And who are we to disabuse them of the "love" story that they have created in their heads. They will figure it out just like we did. Damn, that was cynical.

mamap, so many things. because we are neither of us the same as we were almost 25 years ago. (thank goodness!)

lisa, thank you. and ain't that the truth. If he leaves the toilet seat up one more time.....

Thailand Gal said...

Sounds like you picked the right guy. Some of us aren't so wise and pick the wrong guy the first time. (ahem :)


Peace,

~Chani

jen said...

YES! YES! YES!

exactly. there is so much I too did not know, and am learning, and cannot believe.

and then some other things are exactly as I thought they might be. it's somewhat of a human miracle..partnership over the long haul. I want more of this wisdom, Meno..please.

Egan said...

Hey, did you know it's snowing? "Grow or die" is a great way to phrase it.

DDM said...

My favorite line is the last. OH so true. I knew everything when I got married. At age 22. I also knew everything about parenting. Before I had a child. What a RUDE awakening!

mrschili said...

Yeah. That's it, exactly.

Ortizzle said...

I never thought snoring would sound so good.

(I also never thought I snored.)

Very well said, Meno.

Lucia said...

Ain't that the truth.

Sanjay said...

I like it when you reflect on some of these things. They help me do the same and I realize how many things I and *A* have in common to what you say in your post.
Esp the memories and growing together part.

sari said...

Great post!

One of the things I like most about my husband (even after knowing him for over ten years) is that I never know what he is going to say. He has a wonderful sense of humor and is a real stabilizer for me, which I need.

I look back now at when we were first married and think I didn't know him at all then. And he didn't know me. But we got lucky.

(PS and I don't like it when he's away either. I don't mind him being out, but away, don't like so much).

AC said...

I married my husband after knowing him barely 3 months, not something I would ever recommend to my own daughter! Not one of my friends nor my mother figured we had a chance. The funny thing is, he made me forget all the garbage that was before him, and 17 years later, just this morning, he told me a story I had not yet heard and made me roar with laughter.

Still, there are fleeting moments of not exactly *I hate you*, but more *Good God, go away* or *who ARE you? and where's my backpack*.

The forgiveness and the forgiving, you described exactly right. Isn't that pretty. Great post.

QT said...

Love this post. We are going on 4 years and the first year was very emotionally charged as we were both freshly divorced. I learned a lot about him in a hurry -it was like being buried in an avalanche of male emotions. I had never experienced that before, and I think his willingness to be so open with me about his feelings really gave us a good foundation.

That being said, yes, sometimes I just want to be alone, thank you, and not tending to his needs - Physical, emotional or otherwise!

platypus said...

That's a lovely post, Meno, and exactly how it should be. I hope I have that one day. :)

meno said...

chani, i think you will do much better next time. :)

jen, if this is wisdom, it is hard won. The ideas i had about marriage were idiotic, looking back.

egan, it is so pretty! We rarely get snow at our house. The cats are puzzled.

ddm, and of course there was no way that anyone coulod have told me anything as i already knew it all. HA!

mrs.chili, not what we signed up for in the beginning, but that the way it is.

ortizzle, the Mister is a snorer too. I'm so used to it that if it's too quiet i wonder if he's breathing.

lucia, yes ma'am, it is.

sanjay, There aren't too many people who are going to know all our Monty Python, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Saturday Night Live and Blade Runner lore. And many more of course.

sari, sometimes we make the right choices without really knowing it. But i think in many ways we learn to work with what we have. And i mean that in a really positive way.

ac, it's a wonderful thing to have someone who makes you laugh.

platypus, i hope that the process is easier for you than it has been for me. Probably it will be as you are older than i was when i first got married.

Cagey said...

I think Forgiving is one of the hardest, yet most crucial aspects to a marriage. I had a friend who couldn't forgive her husband for a transgression that occurred within the FIRST year - they were married nearly ten years. Ten Long, Unhappy years that ended in divorce anyway. Ironically, her marriage crumbled to bits during the year I was planning my wedding. You can bet a took a page from HER book. Still, it's hard to forgive and I still HATE picking up his f&*ng socks. ;-)

Nice post!

Bob said...

I don't know what I would do without Laura. She completes me.

I proposed after knowing her 3 months - after telling her in no uncertain terms why we couldn't get married - and we were married 3 months later. Our first child was born 10 months later.

I don't know how I thought I was ready for marriage or fatherhood at the tender age of 22 - but I did. I knew it all, could handle everything. It worked. Maybe (quite probably actually) in spite of myself.

And I would do everything in my power to stop my kids from doing the same thing!

Bob said...

not really. I'd keep my mouth shut and be there if they needed me. who am I to keep them from happiness?

Mother of Invention said...

It's a mixture of fate, circumstances and how you handle them, and The Casino factor..just getting lucky ...for marriage can be a bit of a crapshoot as many things are in life. You can decide if the odds are in your favour and if it's worth the risk. We have choices (luckily) within this frame.

meno said...

cagey, i am still not very good at forgiving and can still get worked up over stuff that happened 15 years ago. Sigh. Maybe by next week i'll be perfect.

bob, awww, that is so sweet. I think i wouldn't do everything in my power to keep my kid from doing the same, but if i had an opinion i would sure express it. THEN i would support her no matter what.

MOI, luck/fate can sure have a hand in it, but having some judgment about the person you marry counts for a lot.

Susanne said...

First I have to confess that I didn't have the time to read all of the comments before me, but I just wanted to pop in and say that what you're writing about marriage is so true.

Only we have problems with the shorthand speak. After 12 years of being married to each other we still have misunderstandings because of language about four times a day. At least we stopped fighting over them...

urban-urchin said...

I have been married for 8 years and this is so true. I love the bit about shorthand. There was a movie out a few years ago with Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfiefer (sp?) where they were considering divorce but they because of their history - at one point she tells him that their kids will never have anyone else's eyes." Does that make sense? It made a lot of sense to me at the time.