1. There are no good, believable messages about how marriage really is anywhere in our culture. Except maybe on Modern Family. This fact makes me hate things like the "Defense of Marriage Act" even more than you could know. And it also makes me think that anybody anywhere should get married if they want so they could know how fucked up and crazy and useful it is for certain things.
2. Comparing your marriage to someone else's marriage is a bad, bad idea, because everyone, and I mean everyone, is fucked up or compromised in some way that they will never, ever let you see. I am not being cynical. This is just the truth. Because the only creatures getting married are humans, which means marriage is human, which means marriage is as fucked up as we are. And we are all fucked up in some way. Good marriages, I think, just figure out how to work their way through the fucked-up-ness with honesty.
3. I was pretty sure I was happily married for the last ten years or so. I really wasn't so happy. I'm guessing some of you saw this and now are like, "duh," but I didn't really get it in a conscious way. Then our marriage exploded, and we've been gluing pieces back together into some strange postmodern sculpture that is a lot more about truth than beauty and I finally feel happy. I love that old chick flick How to Make an American Quilt. There are these scenes where a woman throws all of her beloved knick-knacks and trinkets at her philandering husband and then putties all of the pieces on to the wall in a jagged pastiche. The breaking and the rebuilding give her her freedom back. She sings again.
4. I'm happy for now. Next year may be different. And then I may get happy again. There are bad times in marriage and good times and it's hard to know which kind you're in sometimes. Sometimes you need help. I need lots of help because I have spent a long time not using my voice in a good way.
5. E. is not a philanderer. Maybe you are thinking that, but you are thinking wrong. You are wondering and wondering and trying to fit what happened to us into a box that explains things, but there is no box. It's too big and complex and simple and obvious for all of that.
6. Therapy, and lots of it, is the only reason I'm still married right now, and is why I'm happy in my marriage. E. showed up in a big way in the therapist's office. That would have been a dealbreaker if he hadn't.
7. Watching t.v. together in bed is good.