The ‘visions’ of marriage
by Sandi McBride Contributing Columnist
On Oct. 15 this year, Mac — Wallace to his family — and I celebrated the 45th year of our marriage vows.
Yes, 45 years ago he swore love and fidelity to me and I to he. It is a first and only marriage for both of us. We’ve had our ups and downs like everyone else who participates in this game we call life in double harness. Sometimes he pulls a bit harder to take up my slack, sometimes I pull that much harder to make up for it.
Marriage isn’t so much 50-50 as it is give and take. I can hear some of the men out there making snide comments about “yeah, he gives, she takes” and if they aren’t miserable yet, they soon will be. Give and take works for both of us. Sometimes I give and he takes sometimes he gives and I take. As my mother would have said, it all comes out in the wash.
Marriage is hard work and there is no chairman of the board, and no one gets stock options. Ideally, money is pooled and shared by the family, some gets put in savings, bills get paid and wants are fulfilled. Over the years I have found that in small matters and large, sometimes it’s better to give in than to give up.
What holds a marriage together? A large tube of super glue that I call a sense of humor. You know for the first year of our marriage I made it a point to be up, dressed and in full makeup before he got up to get ready to leave for work. I had a big breakfast cooked and on the table (even when all I wanted was a cup of coffee and piece of toast). Of course since he was in the Navy, he was generally at sea six months of every year, but still.
I stood before that mirror and carefully applied the basic warpaint that kept the face he had fallen in love with, well, basically the same. I’m not sure when I noticed that he stopped shaving on days he wasn’t on duty. It was about the time that I noticed, that I began to appear at breakfast with a clean scrubbed face, no powder, no mascara no lipstick no eyeliner. At first it was just once or twice a week and then afte r about three years I just knocked that silly mess off all together. Makeup was for special occasions. Dressing up meant fixing up .
Now, when ever we went out, I took the time to do it up right and wait for that look of “all rightttt” that would greet my appearance. I am not really sure he ever knew that I went to such lengths or trouble when we were first married. I’m not sure he much noticed, or for that matter, cared.
What he does notice is when I start what he calls “the reconstruction period.” Uh huh, I love to rearrange things. I do it all the time. If the couch has been in one spot too long, over it goes on another wall. If the chairs haven’t been moved at least twice a month, someone needs to check my pulse.
I put the leaves in the dining room table, I take them out. Yesterday I decided that all the canned goods needed to be where the dishes were and the dishes where the canned goods were. When he saw what what I was doing, he started moaning.
“I just figured out where everything was, and now you go and change it?”
I just looked at him with what I am sure was a puzzled look. He has been married to me for 45 years, after all. It’s who I am. If he wants to go fishing, I happily send him off to fish his little heart out and leave me to my “visioning.” He worries when I stand in one spot, one hand on my forehead the other on my hip. He knows in his heart that I’m having a brainstorm, or as I call it, a vision and it’s going to mean work for him.
I do this in the yard and in the house. Of course things in the yard are not as easy to move around as they are in the house, so I have to be pretty darned sure where I want things from the beginning. It usually requires his help, if not his approval. But, happily he’s been pleased with most of the changes I have asked for and has learned to trust my taste. Lately I have been envisioning a long row of Eastern cedars at the property line. It would make for such a lovely cozy feel. Uh oh, I see him giving me that worried look.
I need to go reassure him that what I have planned won’t send us to the poor house. Or take too long plant. And wish him a happy 45th wedding anniversary.
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