Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What Makes Our Marriage So Good?

This was the question my husband Davie asked me over beers at the Carleton Grange Pub Saturday afternoon. We chatted about the subject for awhile and came to some very meaningful conclusions. Maybe some of these points will speak to you, too.

1. Basic compatibility. One big aspect of marriage is sharing the same living space. Davie and I happen to have a lot of living habits in common: we are morning people, we are clean and neat, we like having a plan, we are careful with money. We have very similar taste in TV shows and movies, we both like cats and not so much dogs. We both love to talk at bars, and to shop, and to hang out with our daughters. All this just means we get along on a day to day basis without chafing. That’s actually kinda huge.

2. Independence. Opposite side of the coin: We each have separate interests that drive us to spend time apart. I obviously have books to write, and also polyclay art, and cooking, and so on. Davie is a big fantasy reader, PC gamer, poli sci/current events guy and is working on building his first computer. We often spend the entire night in separate pursuits but then get back together and talk about it all, seeing as we find each other’s pursuits perfectly interesting to hear about.

3. Comfort and ease. When Davie and I first dated, he had trouble believing he was in love with me because our relationship didn’t stress him out. His prior love affairs had always been fraught with anxiety—he was always convinced the girl didn’t care for him or would throw him over at any minute. Never had that problem with me. And seeing as he’s the most forthright, honest, faithful guy in the world, I never have a care either.

4. Not too much “in love.” Now, coming from a romance author, this one might give you pause. But truly, there are some problems that come with being head-over-heels obsessed with a mate. First of all, you get addicted to that feeling and if it fails, you may not have another bond to fall back on. Secondly, your obsession may cause you to neglect yourself and your own interests. Thirdly, you may experience the opposite sentiments of those in #3: anxiety, jealousy, fear of abandonment, etc. I’m a very firm believer in being in love with your fantasy men—guys in your imagination—and having a more stable sort of bond with your real life mate.

5. Appreciation. Maybe it’s our past failed relationships, but both Davie and I never take for granted the devotion of the other. We are very aware of all the things we bring into each other’s lives and all the benefits we reap from being together. We think about it and talk about it on a regular basis.

I won’t lie to you that there is quite a gulf of difference between the romances I write about and the one I live. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that romance makes the world go round, but I also feel the best way to tap into that joy and excitement is the imagination. Meanwhile, though, there’s no replacement for loving someone and being loved by them.

I’m pretty lucky that way.

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