Yes, it happened again – sadly it happens a lot. So I’m on my email close, it off and the first Yahoo! News bite – “The men you should never marry”. Father Pat Connor wrote a book Whom not to marry: Time-tested Advice from a Higher Authority. I haven’t been active in church for many years but I do know that priests are privy to a lot of couples in their times of need. And this fellow seems to have actually been not only listening but really hearing what his parishioners were saying.
Perhaps my anniversary having just passed was the reason this article caught my eye so I’m going to share some of his points. On his never list were never marry a man who . . . has no friends or cannot hold down a job. Among his other pearls, “You can be deeply in love with someone to whom you cannot be successfully married.” If you think love conquers all, “it doesn’t”. Money really is important in a marriage. Yes. Yes. Yes. And if you think you can change him – Forget it!To this I respond – Fact. Fact. Fact. Fact.
Father Connor also received wonderful feedback that included more advice from a lady who was twice divorced that was worth sharing. Never marry a man who had to be sued for child support, who is more affectionate in public than in private or, who notices all of your faults but never any of his own.
Upon reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that marriage is a funny thing. (I know, so original.) If you think it will change your life and in itself make you happy – you’re just wrong. On the way to the movies – our outing to celebrate our anniversary (we don’t get to go out much because of our very little one at home), my hubby put his arm around me and said “4 years of wedded bliss.” My response: “Bliss? I don’t know about bliss. You still love me. I still love you. We have 2 healthy, beautiful children and a pot to piss in. Life is good.” Now we’re not exactly a lovey-dovey couple – clearly. Especially since after I said this he went into a rare diatribe about the origins of the ‘pot to piss in’ expression. The whole evening brought me back to dating and the process of selecting someone to share your life with. Like the Seinfeld episode “The Stakeout”, you could keep looking forever – Jerry was going for the record. At some point you want to get off the freeway and take a more leisurely trail. And that means 2 things: Making a decision & Sticking to it. (Please don’t get me wrong – there are legitimate reasons to leave a relationship – abuse, fraud, criminal activity. I could go on.)
I know for myself, my husband doesn’t look like I thought he would. I had another look in mind altogether. Like many people, I was told what to look for and I did not find it. And I was really looking. I’ve dated a lot of different guys. An unnatural number. And I never did find the look I was going for. So how did I chose my husband – that’s a bit of a saga but it began with this event. My husband is a reluctant driver. (I am too – preferring to avoid it when possible.) He also has a genuinely terrible sense of direction. And although he was raised in Calgary and I moved here in my 20s, I knew the city better (particularly the core) because I’ve lived everywhere. (I actually have lived in 16 different houses or apartments in the city – in just 14 years.) So one day, I’m driving downtown with him and must have said some smartass comment and he gave me a look. What’s that look? I ask. My intimidating look. Intimidating look? – You couldn’t intimidate a puppy with that look. His reply; Who would want to intimidate a puppy? Right there. Right then. That was the beginning of it all. Who would want to intimidate a puppy? It was like a fracture occurred in the cosmic universe and I could see right into him. I knew I could trust him to be what he had shown me up to that point.
Naturally after that decisive choice came the work, the compromise and the slap-in-the-face reality that now that you’ve asked someone to take you as you are, you have to do the same. You have to accept that he doesn’t give you any notice when he takes off to work overtime or go to the scrap yard but does call his parents from destination X to let them know he made it. Not you – his parents. Ah, the fun of it all. It’s not easy to trust that the person you’re sure you saw is still there in such moments. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that everyone gets multiple opinions on their choice of mate. So that when you are sure that this person is trying to destroy your will to live, that they are purposely doing everything in their power to sabotage your life, you’ll have someone to go to. I have my mom. Sometimes I think she loves my husband more than I do. (Not in a creepy way – in a he’s a great guy way.) Whenever he does something so ridiculously stupid that only an idiot could possibly think that was a reasonable thing to do, I have her.
You want an example, I can tell. OK here’s just one . . . My husband hates the outdoors but loves a particular kind of car so much so that he has 4 of them and is a member of a car club. This club was having a camping weekend out-of-town and my husband not only went- and camped- he volunteered our home to some girl he’d never met to stay with us and our child overnight on the way out to camping and on the way back. Did I mention he’d never met her. That she didn’t even own a car but was somehow a member of the club. That she came into my house and sat herself down between me and my sister to ‘join’ us to watch a movie. Ah yes – and she drove to this camping site with my husband – and drove back with him. An idiot manoeuver if ever I saw one. To reiterate, when my husband does something stupid, I know that I can go to my mom and her faith in him buoys my faith. Because that’s what it is – faith. Unproveable, wavering and a version of constant. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t surprise me that a priest wrote a book on how to choose a mate. Who knows more about the trials of living with faith?