Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Best Five Years

I always write some of my best stuff after 3 am.

You can go ahead and thank “The Shawshank Redemption” and a bottle of Dr. Pepper for that.

For full effect, download “Anthem of Our Dying Day” by Story of the Year and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

I L-word hearing people give me advice on how to have a successful marriage. Seriously, every single one of you with a shared relationship status has your own Dr. Phil-ian way of explaining to me why your marriage has made it through all the ups and downs thus far. 

John Doe: “My wife is the best. She lets me golf, hunt, play basketball, do whatever, whenever and wherever I want to. If I tell her I’m going on a week long trip to Powell with the boys, she’s fine. The key to a good marriage is finding that girl who doesn’t chain you down.”

Me: “And she’ll be filing for divorce…how soon?”

I am surrounded by couples. Young ones, old ones, ugly ones, you name them, I’ve seen them. I live in Southern Utah of all places, where 80% of the population is instructed to wed and start popping out babies as soon as the men return home from numerous foreign countries such as Brazil or New Jersey. Because of those ethical standards, nearly every one of my close friends are on the verge of celebrating their copper and bronze anniversaries.

For the record, that’s 7th and 8th anniversaries respectably. Thank Woman’s World for that stat.

In my years of people analyzing, I have seen the entire spectrum of “sealed by a higher authority” relationships you can imagine. I’ve seen good ones, bad ones, great ones, mediocre ones, ugly ones, ones where the wife was a lunatic, ones where the husband was even worse, ones where the spouse took a backseat to World of Warcraft, ones where the only reason for sex was to create offspring, and ones where in-laws invoked violence. I’ve been a shoulder for both a husband and a wife to cry on as they went through their separate divorces, and I’ve seen the triumph of a second “first dance” at a reception. You name it, I’ve witnessed it.    

Your married lives fascinate me. To the point where I have begun to lay out theories in my head as to how I think an ideal marriage should be constructed. For instance, there is the 72-hour rule that an anonymous individual created, which states that if it has been longer than three days since the two of them have “made whoopee”, either of them can claim the 72-hour rule and the opposite party is then required to “do the dirty” with the other.

Tell me that’s not curse-wording brilliant. And yes, I did just try and use as many phrases as possible that were made up in the 1970’s to describe love making, simply to keep this post rated PG-13 for my younger viewers.

There is also the “no-couch rule” that another couple I know imply into their own marriage which plainly states that at no time, regardless of the fight the two of them may have had, is either spouse required to sleep on the couch. If there’s a conflict, they will never under any circumstance sleep in a different location than the other. That will only cause more of a rift between the two of them.

These are rules I find unique and fascinating in molding a successful companionship between two people. But then again, it doesn’t really matter what I think an ideal marriage should look like, now does it? Because every one of us has our own format for how we think the perfect couple is constructed. In fact, I assume half of you reading this are thinking in the back of your head, “This bastard is a fool. The way he thinks, he’s going to have a lousy marriage from start to finish.”

Well, I can tell you half of that last statement is 100% correct. And here’s a hint, it’s not your prophecy of me having a piss-poor relationship.

I have seen nearly everything imaginable in my life watching all of you flourish and flop, stumble and smile. I’ve watched your ups and your downs, and have had just a taste of what my life will be like in five, ten, twenty years. I see things I never want to endure, and I see things I want more than anything else in this world.

A short while back I had the chance of spending a few hours with one of the most seasoned couples I know. A pair of lovers whose rollercoaster is a ride that almost all of you would never have been able to get on. A few weeks ago I sat in an E.R. with the two of them as they waited to hear a bald guy in scrubs inform an old college friend of mine that his knee was going to take about 10 months to start working properly.

News like that is only a speed bump in comparison to what they’ve gone through in five years together. 

Later that night we sat in a greased up booth in Denny’s well after midnight, and I watched a dejected husband share a few greasy fries with his wife, and tell her that this seemed to fit the bill for their fifth anniversary. Sitting in a hospital for four hours and then topping off the night with a lumpy milkshake and chicken sandwich was a poetic way for them to celebrate being together for the last five years of their life.

She smiled with a look of gold that agreed with him whole-heartedly, and then proceeded to help load the gimp that he was into their car, crutches, ice pack, damaged ego and everything. Watching their X-Terra drive off in the dark, I chuckled at one of the most realistic pair of people who were celebrating their fifth anniversary together in doctor’s offices and dirty restaurants, with smiles on their faces and a love for each other that would make even Romeo and Juliet jealous.   

Yeah, I want what they have.

What do you think?
8:55 AM