Celebrating 18 Years of Marriage
June 29, 2008
I found a good woman, and it was easy. There she was sitting across the table in the cafeteria during my senior year of college, and I loved her. There’s this mystic quality about my Beloved Angie that I’ll never fully grasp, but I call it “woman”. It’s the great unknowable, unreachable thing I long for but can’t fully own, figure out or control. Women are mysterious, irrational, powerful creatures that are a lot easier to admire (or hate) than they are to figure out. So I can’t give you the math equation that happened when I looked across the table and fell into the black hole draw of an angel, yet it happened.
People are transformed by meeting my Beloved and she doesn’t have to try. Whereas I have to sweat, scream, exert every ounce of will I have to move anybody about anything, The Lady just is and things are changed. She resents that she doesn’t have my ability to debate, argue, reason, or draw but she gets by on her own magic… transcending my meager accomplishments while sleep-walking across a battlefield.
New Agers go crazy over My Beloved. They smell the power to destroy the universe in her person and assume it’s her Zenliness. I assure you, she’s no Eastern mystic. She’s an old-school born again Christian who wears galaxies as scarves on her way to run trivial errands at the mall or change another crappy diaper. Lesbians love her. All of my friends ask me what country she’s from. While she speaks many languages there’s a tactile decrescendo when I tell them, “She’s from Arizona.” Atlantis? Yes. Valhalla? Believable. But not Arizona. It’s the cognitive dissonance one gets when finding out a hot girl is really a man or a wise friend is voting for Obama.
When we were married in 1990, she was 22 and I was 23. Yes, we were young and dumb, but not because of our age. It was because of our culture. Some day someone is going to study the world in which the Baby Boomers chose to raise my generation and they’ll be amazed we could spell, read or do the simplest of chores. We were raised to be perpetually adolescent so one might wonder what these star-crossed lovers were doing walking down the red carpet of a church, promising to have and to hold each other til’ death do us part. That’s where our secret weapon comes in.
We didn’t get our values from the Boomers, our values come from a much older source than Marx. It goes back, all the way back to the first marriage, in a garden, between the first man and woman. There, among the pre-fallen maggots, snakes, tigers and toads stood the first couple, just a few days, a few hours or a few decades old depending on your reading of the Old Testament. They too, had no business getting married so young. How could they possibly know what they were doing? Adam had no idea how to navigate Quickbooks and Eve never read a Dr. Laura book on parenting. However would they make it? Without car-seats?
Pre-marriage, my Beloved broke up with me because I was an idiot. I wanted to control her and couldn’t deal with the idea of her spending even a few minutes away from me. A year and a half apart and I learned pretty fast how to appreciate whatever time she gave me. In that time away from her, I grew up a tiny bit. Enough to where this Arizona flower found me again. Oh God, I can’t imagine what a horrible life I would have had if she hadn’t turned her gaze at me again. I only needed one more chance, and I would move heaven and Earth to make things work this time…and that became a mini-theme of our marriage. That second chances are good things when change has taken place. Forgiveness. Then resurrection from the dead.
But how could I have known that when I locked down this goddess that I also happened to marry the perfect mother of my children. I say MY children because I wanted kids before I ever met my Beloved. I got my values from that old fashioned book where God calls children ‘blessings’ and weren’t to be dodged forever with birth control, abortions and career planning. See, there’s something about being the perfect wife that also makes one a perfect mother. The 23 year old me couldn’t possibly have the wisdom to shop for the right kind of mother when he saw one. Perhaps the closest thing I came to that was probably valuing a woman who was a whole lot like my amazing mom.
I teach my boys different lessons than my stupid culture wants them to learn. I tell them that they should marry a woman one day, guard, protect and love her and only her. I tell them that they should also have children with her some day. But most of all I tell them to shop for a woman who has Mom’s values. That if they find a good wife they will automatically find a good mother, a good friend, a good lover, a person able to challenge your character and make you a better man for having journeyed with her.
My children aren’t allowed to speak a low opinion of their mother. I don’t run a democracy in my household and mocking the world-altering goddess isn’t wise. Question her? Permitted. But never disobedience in deed or even in attitude. They learn that when they use words to hurt mom their behinds hurt too. Perhaps there would be a lot less name-calling if we all learned that words can hurt as much as sticks and stones.
My children can abandon these values at their peril. It’s a free country. The same goes for me, nobody is forcing me to stay with my Beloved. But I hope they learn what I know…that I’m the luckiest man ever to walk the earth. That God can take me yesterday with cancer or a car accident and I will leave the planet a complete man though I entered this world a crippled mutant.
Happy 18th, Angel. My sister, my bride. I didn’t get what I deserved and you certainly didn’t for different reasons. But thank you. Thanks for sticking around and making it work for 18 years of the best half of my life.