My friend and I took our children to the University of Georgia football game on Saturday. The Bulldogs played the Ole Miss Rebels for homecoming and won after a very ugly first quarter, 37-10 (woof, woof, woof)! As the game waned on and on because it was televised and there were lots of TV timeouts, we began to talk about things outside the realm of football. Imagine that!
During a slow time in the game, my friend was telling me about her parents. She said they secretly married during their senior year of high school and only revealed the truth to their parents upon graduation. They are still married, have four adult children, and many grandchildren. I have met her parents at a number of our children’s sporting events and adore them. As a lover or romance and a romance writer, I was blown away by the romantic story. Until I glanced at the back of my fifteen-year-old son’s head (that’s it there, the last one on the right. Yes, he is cut in half…) and imagined my very own son doing the same thing in three-and-a-half years! Suddenly the story wasn’t quite as romantic as it first seemed.
And then I remembered that I was only twenty when I met and fell in love with my husband. We are, in fact, celebrating our nineteenth year of marriage tomorrow. So even if my son doesn’t meet, fall in love with, and marry his high school girlfriend, he may very well meet, fall in love with, and marry his college girlfriend in five years. So in three to five years, I could be blessed with a daughter-in-law and a few years later, grandchildren.
It really would be a blessing to see him fall in love and marry. Frankly, I can’t wait for him to have children and experience the highs and lows of parenthood. When the teenage years roll around, I’m going to sit back and swallow the words ‘I told you so’ as he muddles through these fun years with the love of his life by his side. At least I hope that’s how his future goes. I have no control over how he lives his life and who he chooses to marry, but I do know that my husband and I are doing the best we can to set a good example of marriage for him and our daughter.
Can we do better? Absolutely we can. We were kids when we met and slightly older kids when we got married. We basically grew up together. Now we are raising kids of our own and making more mistakes than we ever thought possible. This parenting thing is hard! But the one thing I know we’ve done right is to love one another every day and to love the life we live.
This one’s for you, Boog. I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Have you ever asked a loved one to help you with something? I should have known better than to ask my husband to show me how to fly fish. I was already reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fly Fishing by Michael D. Shook. And I am an idiot—I’m sorry—a completeidiot when it comes to the sport of fly-fishing.
We were on vacation. On a river. With all the gear. And he was going anyway. I’d already read the first five chapters, through knots and casting. Now all I needed was the feel of the rod in my hand and the sound of the water. Just me and nature and my most loved one. Why you ask? For my work in progress, of course! I couldn’t care less about fishing, mostly because if I actually caught a fish, I’d have to touch it to get it off the hook and I really didn’t want to touch it.
The first time I’d ever asked him for help was back in college when I was taking accounting for non-majors and he (a finance/risk management major) seemed like the perfect person to help. He loved me. We never fought (remember new love?), and he was way smarter than I was about math. It was our first fight.
Obviously, we made it through, but it set the stage for a lifetime of me asking for help and him seriously making me mad and not being able to relinquish control. The scenario plays itself over and over again whenever he and our son try to do something together. My poor baby! He can’t call the man a control freaking idiot and walk away the way I can. Although now that he’s fifteen, it probably won’t be long.
What is it about spouses? Is it just me? Even when I ask him to help with something simple, something I’m sure he won’t take over, we end up at odds and I end up wishing I’d never asked.
At the end of our lesson when he wrestled the rod from my hands for the hundredth time saying, “Watch me. Like this,” I couldn’t take it any more. I didn’t want to watch him. I wanted to do it myself and figure it out on my own. I guess that’s what happens when two headstrong people vie for control of a situation that requires finesse and patience—two things neither of us possess.
So make me feel better, will you? Tell me about a time when you and your significant other struggled to get along and complete a task. And if you know of any fishing guides out there who’d be willing to answer some pretty basic questions, send them my way, would you?
Years ago a friend and I were discussing marriage, hers and mine in particular, and she made a comment I’ll never forget—in fact, one I argued against at the time (something I did quite regularly before I realized I still had a lot to learn!). But as I aged, er—matured, my view-point shifted.
What was so memorable you ask? Simply this: ”It’s just as easy to marry a rich man as it is a poor one, so why not choose the rich one?”
Well I never! Sound the alarms, sand blast me now, how dare she utter such wicked thoughts. I didn’t marry for money, I married for love.
To insinuate otherwise was insult. And by my very best friend! Ugh. The madness.
She allowed me my huffy-puffy routine, but stuck to her guns—as is her nature—and didn’t cave on her position. “We should have married for money. Life would be a lot better.”
At the time, I chalked it up to the fact that she and her husband were having financial problems. Young, new baby in the house, she a stay-at-home-mom and he just beginning in his career—things were tight. Perhaps she was just yearning for easier days and restful nights, neither of which she would see for about the next ten years. But three kids will do that to you and I don’t care how much money you have!
However, all was not lost. You’ll be happy to hear this lovely couple just celebrated their twenty-second wedding anniversary because in the end, their life was rich with love, something money cannot buy. (It’s more than a cliché!)
Of course my marriage didn’t fare so well, but that’s beside the point. Isn’t it? J
I mean, I’ve also heard that “If you marry for money, you’ll earn every penny.” Not sayin’ that’s what happened to me, but I will say we weren’t hurting from finances. Our issues coalesced around personality differences, not lack of dollar bills.
But I married for love. I was head-over-heels, deeply engaged in the lifestyle, our prospects—how could little old “happy and in love me” end up divorced?
It’s simple. Marriage is about commitment, nothing more and nothing less. Something I apparently lacked at the time. Arranged marriages may lack love, but they can still provide for long and fulfilling relationships. Think: partner, associate. Then there are those high school sweethearts you hear about celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversaries with oodles of grandkids in tow despite the fact they were mere children themselves the day they said, “I do.”
And don’t bother to ask the typical trophy wife how her relationship is faring. Yes she wears nice clothes (size 2) and lives in a grand house (on the hill) and while she has no wrinkles (she can’t blink either), is she happily married? Probably not.
Now about this point in the story I don’t know about you but I’m ready to throw myself from the nearest cliff from an island far, far away, where there is no man to tell me what to do or how to do it, no man to feel the need to please…
But then again, there would be no kids to jump off with me either. A sad thought. Ah…but I write romantic women’s fiction so fear not—my stories ALL have happy endings! They must, else I toss myself from the barren rocky hillside for real.
No. On second thought, scratch that notion. Most likely I’d still be in the islands, the scenery to die for (no pun intended) and of course I’d be escorted to the edge of my precipice by some handsome scrumptious cabana boy! (Do they really exist?)
They do in my novel world which is good enough for me. As for the real world, I found my tall, dark and handsome complete with Italian passion and temperament sizzle to match. Two kids, a future of grand babies, life is good in the Venetta household.
Now I have a daughter to consider. What advice should I give for her big decision? Marry for love or money? Get to it while she’s young or wait until she has a bit of sense about her (at least knows who she is before diving into a relationship with some fellow). I’ve grown wise enough to realize that having enough money would indeed eliminate a major stressor in life, but marrying for love adds depth to a person. It builds character, because trust me, tall, dark and handsome occasionally reverts to ornery, demanding and distant at times and a girl needs inner fortitude if she plans to continue forward with said man!
That said, my second go round is much improved over my first. I chose love—which originated from physical attraction—and then I sought compatibility—based on common values. For us, it works. In fact, this time around I may actually see that golden anniversary, providing I live long enough.
But isn’t that what kids are for? To keep you young? Then again, there’s always my gardening as a fall back plan… I hear many centenarians are gardeners!
So how about you? How did you choose your husband?
p.s. it’s the theme in my current novel, Jennifer’s Garden.