Sunday, February 15, 2009


One of the greatest things in this world is a marriage that 'takes', one that lasts for life. I will never have that. Tim and I married when we were 41. We will have our 11th anniversary in a couple months. We had already missed a significant portion of each other's lives by the time that we met. When we married, I told Tim that I'd always wanted a 50th wedding anniversary, and that I meant to have one. He needed to take care of himself, because if something happened to him before he turned 91, I'd kill him. My little joke seems ironic these days. Cancer is a question mark.
Divorce is a fairly common thing. I'm not going to judge anyone else's marriage. It's not my business. Believe me, I know that sometimes two people simply cannot make a life together. Still, though, it seems sad though that so many of them don't last. They run into a rough patch, and suddenly it's over, everything being divided up, two very angry people finger pointing and blaming. They begin another relationship secure in the knowledge that everything wrong in the first marriage was the fault of their ex. Their complete and utter blamelessness dooms the new relationship from the very start.
I like to watch people who have been married for years. If someone has been married for a lifetime, the one thing you can know is that not all of those years have been good ones. The hard times come, and together two people endure. Romance turns to parenting and work and bills and other struggles. No one is the same at 20 as they are at 40, so the marriage must acknowledge and accomodate those changes as well. All of the emotion there is in the world finds its vent within a marriage. Just as marriage does not fail because of hard times, it does not succeed because of the lack of them. People just learn to cope with these things, and as each crisis comes, as each crisis is met, a marriage becomes stronger.
This is not one of the easiest times of our marriage. I've always been self conscious. Now I am bald, and my skin is fine lined, and I'm lopsided, and I have no eyebrows or eyelashes. I try to be good natured about it, calling myself 'Uncle Fester', but it bothers me. A lot. But when my husband reaches for me, he does not see what I see. He sees what I was before all of this. He sees what I will be again when this time is done. It is not the candles in the bedroom that create that illusion. Tim deals with unemployment. He cannot get a callback. He feels stupid, and he feels inadequate. I imagine that he is a little afraid. Together we have worked a plan to get through these times. He is not happy about my job and a half, but I tell him it is what it is. We can only tough this time out. He'll work on the apartments, and we will wait for this horrible time to pass. He is the hardest working person I know. It is not his paycheck that creates that illusion. We struggle with these things, and we move from one day to the next. Our marriage is a good one. It is not a life of ease that creates this illusion.
'The two shall become as one...' This does not happen in a wedding ceremony. If you let it, though, it will happen in a marriage. When it does, it is beautiful. Illusions fall away, and what is left is real. What is left endures.


Anonymous said...

you seem to be very good at not judging people! NOT! if it isn't what your views are you're very quick to condemn people. you may lead your sheep to believe that you are a peaceful and wise person, but you're not what you say you are or lead people to think you are. sorry you're sick and I hope you get to celebrate your 50th anniversary. from someone who knows

Mary Paddock said...


This is a lovely, poignant entry--largely because it is so honest. When it would have been easier to paint yourself as a saint, you haven't.

A marriage that takes is sight to behold. I too love seeing couples who've been married "forever", the ones who are still each other's favorite people.


PS. Blogger's delete comment feature is a beautiful thing. You can also block anonymous comments. It gives you the power to choose who you allow in.

A Novel Woman said...

Debby, I am divorced, and I was not offended whatsoever by your comments. You are absolutely right when you say most people give up far too easily. That wasn't the case in my first marriage (I was just far too young) but I've seen it all too often with friends over the years. I've been with my current husband 25 years now, married for 23 years, and it is a give and take process. We have ups and downs, but there are always more ups than downs.

Actually, before I read Anon's remarks (and really, if you're going to post such things, use your real name) I cut and pasted your post to check on its word count. I was going to suggest you take it in its entirety and send it to the New York Times Magazine's LIVES column. It's THAT good. At 621 words, you only need to plump it up by another 179 words. You are an amazing writer, and I'm not sure you know that. Now you do.

Pam said...

This is beautiful, Debby! How wonderful that you have that enduring kind of marriage at this point!

It's not something I'll ever know. My only marriage lasted 17 years. A good portion of them not good years for many reasons. Sometimes we marry for the wrong reasons, or marry with rose-colored glasses or blinders. We grow up or away or we become wiser and realize we are dying bit by bit each day that passes.

My ex-husband and I are friends now. We have been divorced for 28 years. He's been married all that time since to the person he was meant to be with.

I was never meant to be married, I think. I would never trade my 2 children, but my marriage was doomed from the start.

I am so glad for couples whose marriages endure, and grow and change and endure.

Perhaps in another lifetime...

Pencil Writer said...

Pensive post. I'm always grateful for all those who appreciate the fact that marriage is a continual process, a work in progress. I agree with the challenges aspect. Funny how some people facing the same challenges respond differently, some are made stronger some falter. I pray that you and Tim will continue to prosper--in all aspects of your lives.

Scotty said...

But when my husband reaches for me, he does not see what I see.A lot of men don't, and I don't mean that they're blind or uncaring but rather that they've learned to read better. Women have such a hard time with body image issues at times and the media has a lot to blame for the unrealistic way that women are often portrayed in terms of what's nice or beautiful or sexy, physically, emotionally, and mentally. My current lady friend, despite going to the gym several times a week, eating well, and having a figure that would make some 20-year olds envious, still has her moments where she sees flaws; she's told me on a few occasions that she often struggles with the fact that I find her attractive and sexy as far as physical appearance is concerned (she's attractive and sexy on other levels too, I should add). Where she sees lines, wrinkles, blemishes, I see life, experience, womanhood, motherhood, and countless other stories written on what might be considered the best canvas in the world, the human body.

Reading: it's not just for books.

PS. I'm sure you'll do a post about but here's wishing you and Tim a happy anniversary in advance; may you both have many more years together.


Reddunappy said...

My first marriage lasted 5 years, my ex wasted everything in drugs,I was 17 when we got married, and I refused that road any longer, now he is a toothless crack addict, its so sad, he wanted to be an electrical engineen in high school, and he was smart enough, what a waste, I have two wonderful kids from that relationship, and I wouldnt trade them.
My husband and I will be married for 19 years in June, and together for 20 years. I treasure every day with this man, although he is very self efaceing, he has gotten me/us through my getting hit head on by a drunk driver and my brain cancer. We have had our up and downs and continue to, but after 20 years I love him more every day. We have a beautiful daughter between the two of us and she is a treasure too.

Very eloquent wrighting, hearfelt and meaningful, may life never become to much for the two of you.

Redlefty said...

Excellent, Debby. Thank you for that.

One thing I've noticed in my 10 years of marriage is that our list of "dealbreakers" has gotten consistently shorter as time goes on. If she ever knew how short my list really was, she could take advantage of me terribly!

But she probably won't. Which is exactly why my list is so short.

jeanie said...

What a beautiful post, Deb - and (for the most part) beautiful comments.

I haven't had the years with V that you have with Tim but right now, I know where Tim is at about the work situation because V is there too.

It can be hard being the support person, especially when you KNOW the person you are with is not the person they feel they are becoming by the current job outlook.

Good luck with everything - and lots of hugs.

Bush Babe said...

I think that anyone about to get married should read this post. Marriage/long-term relationships are about making things work... it's nice when it doesn't take much effort, but having cleared a few hurdles together (and almost stumbled at one or two) I can say that (for Mr Incredible and I) the sweetest memories are those we have worked the hardest for.

Tell Tim he looks pretty amazing to us too. And you, darling Deb, are a beautiful woman. You'll just have to trust us all on this one!

PS I am with Pam. On all points.

Bush Babe said...

NB I was referring to A Novel Woman (Pam) then but the other Pam made some great points as well!!!

Dave said...

Debbie, a very thoughtful post. Well done. Great that your now-husband is the sort you deserve. Good for him. I have been made redundant twice in later life and beleive me it knocks a man's confidence for a six! For some the effects can be serious. Love him, as you are, and keep reasuring him, as he is you. - Dave

corymbia said...

This post was just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this. You captured exactly what I think on the subject - and you did it in an eloquent NON-JUDGEMENTAL way.

Debby said...

I liked reading other comments from other people who view marriage the same way.

Dave, hope all is well in your current job situation. Losing a job is tough stuff for anyone, but I think that you are right that it affects a man on a whole nuther level. What is sad is to see it happening to virtually everyone we know.

Kelly said...

What a great post!

Marriage is definitely a thing that changes and evolves over time. It must be worked at, too! Our older daughter is divorcing for the second time (she's only 28) and I find that so sad.

Our marriage (23 years) is my first, my husband's second. I have hopes of making it to that 50 year mark!

Bob said...

Beautiful, Debby. Marriages grow and evolve like so many things. And like Michael said, the list of dealbreakers grows smaller. Most of it's small stuff. Thanks for another great installment. I am so glad you and Tim found each other.

MuseSwings said...

I love this post. You certainly have the correct view of love, marriage and long term relationships. I agree with all you have said and my number one reason is my own 40 year marriage. The list of dealbreakers does grow smaller - that's a good comment by Michael. We ARE left with the real stuff now and we have a comfortable and meaningful relationship that endures. I second Novel Woman - you are an excellent writer!

Kim said...

How true.
May the bad times pass quickly and you celebrate 50 years.

mommamia said...

I read this yesterday and got busy and didn't comment. I will have been married 29 years next month. O agree with everything you said.

Marriage is a work in progress and you cannot give up on each other. Each person must be willing to support the other through tough times. Our marriage has become stronger through the years but it has also indured its share of rough spots. Like you I hope I make it to 50 years.

sexy said...
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