Is that what happened?
Is that how life happens? Marriage doesn’t come with a Sat Nav. Lord knows it should.
Did anyone else do one of those pre-marriage questionnaires with their priest while preparing for a wedding? A rather extravagant multi option compatibility test. It asked whimsical questions like how we cope in social situations and whether we both wanted a family.
This is what it should have said:
Will you support your partners career?
Will you celebrate and support one another’s autonomy?
Will you change nappies?
Will you remember to be kind?
If I had seen the honest answers to the above I’d have grabbed my hard-earned savings and ran. As it was, we blindly marched into marriage, despite the regular squabbles, we believed love was enough. Love endures, love binds, love knows no limits.
Until it does.
The picture perfect wedding. An extravagant honeymoon. Cocktails on the beach as the sun set over Hawaiian seas. Two helicopter tours, one over the Grand Canyon, another over the picturesque beaches and volcanoes of Kauai. Stunning skyscraper views of New York. We bought a projector to be able to share the memories with family and friends on our return.
I had never allowed myself to dream of such luxury, such love. Yet there it was. What’s more, he agreed to support me to study and do the career I dreamt of. It seemed, for one moment in time, that I had it all.
He was charismatic, charming. People never failed to warm to him. He was generous in spirit. Happiness radiated throughout each room he entered. We both loved to live each day like it may be our last.
When we ate out, we had the best of everything. Large glasses of delicious heady wine, tender pink steaks piled high alongside chunky and crispy sweet potato fries. Plump tomatoes sliced finely and smattered with deep olive oil, garlic and oregano. Finished with a Moroccan mint tea and no doubt a cheeky digestif for the road.
Evenings in were still an occasion, there was never a viewing of Mad Men that wasn’t accompanied by an Old Fashioned meticulously prepared by myself, he was never patient enough to stir for that long. Yet the impulsiveness which accompanied his inability to be patient was almost intoxicating.
His allure was how he contradicted me. While I am scrupulous and love the meditative effect of taking my time over the things I enjoy, he wanted and made everything happen immediately. He was the yin to my yang. Or so we thought.
“Often it’s the selfsame thing that attracts you to someone which eventually drives you apart.” Anon
It transpires that his view on life did not transpose well over to being a father. Patience is more than a virtue. When you’re a parent, it’s a necessity.
We didn’t have a sat nav. While the average marriage would benefit from one, parenthood requires a compass and stormwear to endure the destabilising knocks that bringing new life into the world entails.
We didn’t have the gear. We got lost. We got angry. We never found our way back.