My husband and I came into this marriage with some serious baggage. In fact, it was 17 years of baggage for him, and 27 for me. Oddly enough, when added together, that equals his current age. Literally, then, a lifetime of experience in marriage between the two of us. For him, two amazing and beloved children and a contentious marriage (further deponent sayeth not). For me, an inability to have children of my own, and a marriage that died with barely a whimper. My irreverent observation stands…”He cried the day Bret Favre retired from the Packers, but when I told him I was leaving… well, not so much.”
As you can probably tell, my ex was a sports fanatic–and the term “fanatic.” is genuinely underestimating what a nutball he was and probably still is on that subject. Please note–don’t think I just silently submitted to the insanity. I realized early that in order to have any common ground, I was going to have to not just understand sports, but play them. In the early years of my first marriage, I learned to golf, to play racquetball, I played intramural basketball up into my 30s, softball until I fractured my elbow throwing the ball from outfield, learned to bowl (never very well), tried to play tennis, you name it, I tried it, with varying levels of enthusiasm. I also loved watching football when we met. However, by the time Corey and I started dating, I told him my TV didn’t get the sports channels. He said “good,” and it was the beginning of, well, this. 🙂
Back to the point, the supreme irony in the whole “sports as metaphor” concept for me is that, within a few short weeks after my divorce was final from the ex, Corey asked me to marry him. And, for the first time in my decades of adulthood, I had to figure out how to truly be a team player. When Corey asked, I said “yes” with all my heart–and zero understanding of what was next for me. Much of my initial learning curve was in how to be what a 17-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy, both of whom called me “Mom,” needed me to be. And, for a while, as I learned to love them (easy) and so much too quickly, how to let them go (SO much harder than I could have imagined), I just let the rest of the marriage work. Because it did, and it worked amazingly well, and there was nothing I needed to fix.
In looking back over the last five amazing years, though, Corey and I began redefining what marriage meant to both of us with every step we took toward it, and every decision we’ve made since. Marriage, for us, is a mutual and equal partnership. Oh, don’t get me wrong…we don’t share every single task 50-50. He’s a great cook, and enjoys doing it. I’d just as soon warm up a corn dog in the microwave, and get on to something interesting. I love dealing with the day-in, day-out organization of our lives in the virtual sense. He’d rather keep a paper checkbook and, well, get on to something interesting. It’s all pretty much like that. There are some things that we both hate doing… and somehow they get done anyway. Marriage is almost never 50-50. Some days it’s 90-10 one way, sometimes the other, but the key is that the balance shifts, and shifts often.
Watching us make a decision, though, that has to be painful for the uninitiated. The discussions are often fast, funny, snarky (our son sent us “The Snark Vocabulary,” for Christmas.) I have no idea how they sound from the outside, but from the inside–this man makes me WORK at communicating. I’ve never met anyone faster, funnier, or less likely to let me get away with a BS answer. And of COURSE I let loose with BS answers, it wouldn’t be any fun if I just said “Yes, dear,” all the time.
So, irony abounds, as always… and there is nothing in my past that prepared me to be loved like this. Please note – I do have the ultimate weapon if the snark goes overboard, but have only used it once in these whole five years. It’s the same weapon I used to bring one of our very infrequent fights to a close as well. And no, it is not sex, ya pervert.
Okay… off to one of those lovely chores that I do because he’s made me believe I do it better than he does… laundry. My favorite. Later, my peeples… 🙂