…or a Seinfeld Bond. Either Way.
Today is the day that 20 years ago was my wedding. In other words, it’s my 20th wedding anniversary. Or, in Facebook Speak, “20 years ago I married my best friend.” Blah, blah, blah. Forgive me for not being flowery about 20 years of marriage. I do this strange thing of living in the real world. I’m also hopelessly unsentimental and desperately romantic, a conflict of ideas that could possibly cause me to self combust at any moment.
But marking anniversaries with flowers and poems is for the weak. Instead, I’m going to try to blog out my best summary of the actual reality of being married 20 years. Warning: Pregnant women should not read this post. It contains twists and turns and sudden drops.
It starts out with a pretty dress. Then a party, presents and a vacation. Not bad, right? But as you slog through the subsequent days you can’t help but wonder if that was a ruse to get you to say the most ridiculous things like, “I promise to love you for all of bloody eternity.” I’d like to say that the party, gifts and vacations are perfect, but, really…think back. Remember the engagement? The in-law battles? The seating fucking chart? I have divorced parents, I mean, really divorced. None of this consciously uncoupled stuff, but the real deal, I’ll see you in court, divorced. Let’s just say the seating chart, photos and the reception dances were like navigating a live mine field, only with more uncertainty. All in all, though, not a bad way to start forever. Especially the dress.
THE ROMANTIC YEARS
After you survive the wedding, and vacation in some exotic location like, say, Disney World (have I mentioned I was 24?), you enter into the romantic years. This is only true if you marry young. If you married at 30, skip ahead to THE PREGNANCY YEARS. You spent your romantic married years dating, screwing around and having fun. Now, the clock is ticking. ~ Back to the young and the starry eyed. ~ Together, you cobble together an apartment with furniture you rescue and refinish from dusty basements of distant relatives. You live on budgets doing things like taking walks, attending street festivals, going ice skating because they are either free or under $20. You dream about one day being able to afford extended cable. You like the same people. You hate the same people. You are certain you are right in these assessments. You spend long car rides swapping stories about your childhood. There is listening, communication….there is hope. Then come the pregnancy years…
THE PREGNANCY YEARS
If you are lucky enough to get pregnant right away, skip ahead to THE KID YEARS. If you are like me and penning angry letters to your 8th grade health teacher for false information and demanding rebates on all the birth control you used over the years, these years are not fun. Everyone you know is getting pregnant…”by accident.” If you got pregnant by accident, you are a moron. A moron. “We had intercourse without protection and and I got pregnant. Crazy, right?” No…what would be crazy is if you slipped in a puddle of sperm and tested positive on a pee stick. Things get tense in a marriage when you can’t get pregnant. One person inevitably takes on the “this is never going to happen” attitude. While the other one stays super positive. I’m not going to point to gender on this one, but if one of you is having endless invasive tests, including a good-time uterus scrape, and the other one is orgasming into a cup, there will most likely be a difference in reaction to this stage of life. I’ll have what he’s having.
The pregnancy years are a direct result of too much time spent at Home Depot and DIY project around the house. One day you look at each other say, “Fuck this shit…let’s have kids so we don’t have to tile on the weekends.” Or, in our case, it was one day riding the train home from NYC together on a 95 degree day in a poorly air conditioned train car and talking about how wronged we were by the world. Seriously. We couldn’t get over how the universe was so cruel and targeting us with its diabolical wrath. We knew it was time to add some perspective. What better way to add perspective to your life than have a kid, right? I will not say if 3 kids later we dream of going to Home Depot and long for overheated train cars. You will draw your own conclusions.
THE KID YEARS
As I write this I realize this is the last section because, the kid years never end. They don’t. Ask your parents. So, now you have perspective. A blinding, stinging perspective that at times brings you to your knees, and not in the good way you are thinking. The marriage is now basically an umbrella policy for all the perspective. It’s a contract to 1.) Financially stay afloat, 2.) Never have to retell anyone how screwed up your family is, 3.) Allow your cellulite to continue its maniacal take over of your thighs in peace, and 4.) Have an ally against the children. The last one is key. You think, hey, I barely know this joker I’m married to anymore, but hell, I think they will have my back when the children finally execute their evil revolt. You also have a vague recollection of the horrors and heartbreaks of dating, so you think, this’ll do.
THE GOOD TIMES
Of course marriage has many benefits too. You know most of them….companionship, love, laughter, acceptance. To list the rest of them would take far too long, so I’ve narrowed it down to the four that I love the most. 1.) The wearing of fake mustaches, 2.) Another person to manage the night time ritual of locking of the doors, turning down of the heat and arming the alarm, 3.) Someone who has known you so long they can no longer see you clearly, including your wrinkles. And finally, and most important for keeping this marriage together, 4.) A deep and studied understanding of every quote from Seinfeld. And with that, I’m going to Sky Burger.