Thursday, April 5, 2007

Simple Key to Happy Life

I have a friend, who met her husband a few years ago. They had a fairytale romance of prince and princess, eyes for only each other. "Penelope" and "Colin" were pledged soul mates who had weaved their weary way through the frosty world into each others waiting arms. They soon wed, and shortly before the wedding Penelope had a conversation with another friend, "Susan", who had been married for almost 20 years. They spoke of some of the trials and tribulations, arguments, out and out brawls that married couples may encounter. My delusional punch-drunk-love-bitten friend said to this seasoned matron that she could "understand this could be how it is for less fortunate folk". However, she and her beau would not fall victim to the same diseases run rampant on us unenlightened couples. They had truly found the fountain of pure, everlasting love and adoration. When Susan did relate this tale to me, we had a fantastic laugh, a knowing glance at one another, and said: "just wait." Penelope relocated from her home country to her husbands and has recently called Susan to say that she has since kicked him out due to his overall inability to "get" her. Colin has failed to remain as devoted to the relationship as she, unable to maintain their former nirvana, and could not truly be the man she married. As Susan is the wise sage of our circle, Colin also called her to lament that he has tried desperately to please, (or avoid displeasure) yet falls short every time and asked for advice. Susan, gentle and nurturing, gracefully tactful told Colin that all Penelope really wants (as does every wife) is "a woman with a penis".
My own husband wooed a wonderful love story for us as well. He was spontaneous, romantic and full of adventure. We kissed for hours under the moonlight and waxed lyrical about the life we would create together. About endurance and devotion resulting in the ultimate bond where we would collapse in an elderly embrace somewhere on the craggy cliffs of the pacific northwest, after raising beautiful children and seeing them plentifully provided for, now raising our grandchildren who would adore us and come for visits of hot cocoa and oatmeal cookies. I bought it hook, line and sinker. If I were to still believe in our own love story, we would be rooted in the endurance stage for the last 5 years.
See, husbands and wives really are fundamentally different in so many ways. Men do not sit around and ponder if the relationship is headed in the the right direction. They don't worry about our happiness and wonder if we are satisfied and content. They don't stand in front of the mirror, turning to see every angle and possible protrusion both wanted and unwanted asking themselves "will this dress and haircut make her happy?" Men are like cheetahs. They use up all their energy in the chase and then need to take a breather (for a good decade or so). Husbands have two indicators, at most, as to what calls them to action in their marriage: are we having sex? and is she nagging me? If the answers to these questions are (former and latter) yes and no, then there is no need to do anything at all but come home, plop on the couch and fondle the remote. If the answers are reversed then, well, a little more time is spent in the bathroom or garage.
Poor Penelope, I do not envy her stage in the marriage house. The disillusion, and possible dissolution if you don't recover from your heavenly euphoria. It took years to grasp the reality that marriage is a really great friendship in which you may have sex occasionally. Your husband will never "get" you, that's what your girlfriends are for. So have your sex then call your best friend to chat while your husband snores away blissfully. Simple key to happy life. And, I've decided, in the next life: he's the woman.