Over the past months, something has happened to our marriage. Abby and I have stepped into a new phase: we are more affectionate, more understanding, and more appreciative. I don’t know why this has happened exactly, except to say that she and I hold the same fundamental belief about marriage: you build it and work at it, and reinvent it every day. We grow apart and back together, we face stress and difficulty and work it out, we get sick and recover, we get mad at each other and forgive.
At the core of all this is our commitment to our marriage.
Narratives I don’t understand…
- Men who divorce women who I find insanely attractive.
- Nagging. Do you know who likes being nagged? No one.
- Women who are freaked out when I talk to them about real stuff, like their lives; I get a “how dare you try to get close to me when you’re married” vibe. It may be because they have bad experiences with other men, and it is likely that they equate intimacy with the opposite gender with sex.
- Women who are freaked out by the fact that I am physically affectionate with them. Women like Karen Hudson, Lisa Bratcher, Margaret White, and Jamie Pitman are totally comfortable with this and we throw our arms around each other and enjoy it, because they understand how secure and faithful I am in my marriage. Everyone else gives me the one-arm genital-hold-away hug.
- Years before Abby, a married woman in another state told me she was “thinking about having an affair.” What did she expect that would accomplish?
- Later that year, alone with her and verging on having that affair, I turned it down, because she was still married and had two small children, and because I’m not a total bastard.
It is also possible for me to appreciate the femininity and sexiness of another women without betraying my wife. I think prohibiting this is a slippery slope of distrust that can damage a marriage.
Thus, the “deal.” We all make a deal with our partners by asking for their commitment to marriage, and the “deal” is that we not only relish everything good about each other, we accept each other’s flaws. For Abby and me, the “deal” paid off, and we are happy.