Marriage is Fucking Hard. A Sonnet.

When I was in college, I got to go to Cuba. It was very cool, and I’ll brag about it any chance I get.  Just ask me. Or don’t. I’ll probably find an excuse to bring it up. 

Anyway, this was in the early 2000’s (when it was actually a big deal to go to Cuba, so I’m a baller, you got that memo, RIGHT?). One of the professors who accompanied us was a very large hippie who got me drunk on the beach (good) on Cuban wine (bad). We talked about life and love and marriage. I was about to get married later that year, and he had been with “his partner” for 20 years. It later came out that he was totally a legally married heterosexual…but he and his wife deliberately chose to refer to each other as ‘partners’ and always had. They also sat down monthly to decide whether they were still “in” or not. This was with kids and a mortgage and jobs and all the other stuff of life. 

At the time, I thought he was an idiot. It was so….unromantic? Precariously committed? It seemed unwise to assign such a tenuous hold on something so important. 

But now I get it. It’s a constant, this renewal of committment. The vows mean almost nothing if you don’t continually update them. 
And it’s hard. It’s fucking hard. 

While we were basking in vacation mode in Puerto Rico a few long weeks ago, my ‘partner’ and I talked about all the life stuff that has happened over the past few years: many, many job changes and career re-focuses, money issues, sex issues, house issues, future planning issues, children arriving on the scene, personal evolution issues, body issues….we’d share more with you, but you’ll have to buy us drinks first (not Cuban wine). 

Anyway…..I wrote a poem, with his permission and guidance: 

Marriage is Fucking Hard

It’s finding out you’re selfish.
It’s being told you’re not always right.
It’s finally, eventually accepting you’re not always right.
It’s learning how to tell someone else they’re breaking or broken.
It’s using your big, scary, honest words.
It’s finding out things about yourself you didn’t want to know.
It’s dealing with the flaws you came in with, and then acquiring more, and dealing with those. Damn.
It’s constantly trying to re-define normal and acceptable.
It’s someone else seeing all your pink parts.
It’s feeling so vulnerable and afraid.
It’s surviving life, which is hard enough, and then having to help someone else survive theirs. 
It’s trying to keep your expectations transparent and fair. 

It’s figuring out what “fair” is. 
It’s a slumber party every night with giggles, and also possibly intercourse.
It’s sharing, SO much sharing.
It’s having to be really brave and stronger than you are.
It’s sometimes being more committed to the cause than to the person.
It’s talking about all of this scary, scary stuff. 
It’s co-managing the hard stuff of life: money, kids, sex, stuff, aging, family, future.
It’s having to figure out your own shit and help them figure out theirs. 
It’s realizing you’re the only one really responsible for your happiness.
It’s forgiving.
It’s forgiving some more.
It’s finding patience and grace when you’d rather throw a shoe.
It’s realizing when you’re closed off.
It’s prying yourself back open. Again.
It’s falling in and out of love over and over, all with the same person.
It’s exhausting. 
It’s taking a victory lap together every time you make it another year or another season. 
It’s keeping perspective on the hard times measured against the rest.
It’s laughing a lot.
It’s figuring out parenting. That’s a whole other list. 
It’s new items on this list every day because we keep changing.
It’s changing together, apart, next to each other, in each others vicinity. 
It’s talking and talking and talking and talking. 
It’s hard. It’s fucking hard. 
It’s accepting that it’s hard and doing it anyway. 
It’s being glad that you did.




 

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