Tag Archives: marriage

With Friends Like These…

Reading an advice column the other day, the opinion seeker declared that her best friend was getting married, but because she didn’t approve of the fiancé – describing him as a cheater, a liar and a thug (several of many traits that apparently make up a ‘ratchet’-type individual), she wondered how best to break it to her friend that she wasn’t going to attend the wedding – not even as a bridesmaid.

The columnist’s advice was based on her own similar experience, and so she recommended that she buy the dress, put it on and show up to support her friend. Because when she had neglected to do it years earlier for her own friend, their relationship went the way of all flesh. As did the marriage.

I’m reminded of a similar story where I knew the participants. Luckily I was neither the bride nor the bridesmaid, but I heard the story because one of the maids was busy telling everybody who would listen that she didn’t approve of the union. I always wondered whether the person who really ought to have known was any the wiser about how her “bestie” really felt.

And I said to myself, with friends like these – you’re better off with enemies, because at least with them you know where you stand. But, maybe she did tell her to her face, because as far as I know, this bridesmaid did attend the wedding. And I don’t want to think that she did so without ever telling her how she really felt.

So I agree with the columnist’s advice if she also insisted that she make her true feelings known to her friend, otherwise they’d end up in two different places – with one of them being seriously mislead.

Weddings require that you smile – a lot. Both my husband and I are no slouches in that department, but I know some people who shut it down two hours into the reception.

And they’re happy to be there.

So I take my hat off to the person who can smile even though she’s convinced that all the dresses and the food and the entertainment and the location rental are a total waste of money.

I am in awe of the person who can smile even though she thinks that the hours spent hosting a bridal shower, helping to prepare the favours, to choose the flowers and box up the cake were a colossal waste of time.

I bow deeply to the person who can smile when the photographer asks for just one more picture, even though she’d prefer to cut her eyes and suck her teeth instead.

I marvel at the person who can smile when asked to make a speech or give a toast which requires wishing the happy couple all the very best, even though it doesn’t gel with what she’s been telling everybody else.

Anyway, if the marriage that she considers doomed to failure actually survives, she will have already mastered the acting skills required when she’s obliged to be happy at the outcome.

But if the marriage does falter on the rocks, she will have already mastered the acting skills required when she’s expected to feign surprise at the outcome.

And she’ll be there to provide a willing shoulder to cry on.

I just hope she doesn’t spoil it by saying, “I told you so”.

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We celebrate Valentine’s Day – Now and then

For quite a few years now, my husband and I have not visited a restaurant on Valentine’s night for the obligatory dinner, because frankly, we can cook a cheaper meal at home.

I’m a girl who loves to dress up and go out, and staying in does mean that dishes have to be done after we eat, but where’s the fun in sitting down in a too-tight dress and looking around at all the other people who en masse decided to take somebody else’s word, that it was the second best night of the year to go out to dinner.

If I’m to be completely honest, though, our tradition came into being by accident. Valentine’s Day invariably fell during the week, and our babysitters just weren’t making themselves available, so although my sister-in-law once took her daughter along in her car seat to a romantic dinner with her husband, we decided to stay home and make our own fun (and food) instead.

My husband cooks quite well, so with a menu of food items that we have only once in a while, some soft music, a few glasses of wine, an early bedtime for the little one, we were set. When the second child came along, we just decided to make it a family affair, with the baby in her car seat and the four year old with his own place setting.

I guess as the years pass, you become a bit more practical and you make adjustments where necessary. I’m not saying that romance goes out the window, but I have to get up to go to work the next day.

But lest you think that I don’t appreciate a romantic gesture, there’s one that my husband made one Valentine’s Day BC (before children), that I won’t ever forget.

Saying that he had a surprise for me, he asked me to stay in the bedroom until he was ready. I was aware, since he wasn’t in the house that the surprise was happening outside, but I was pretty sure that it wasn’t a new car.

Finally he was ready. When he came back inside, I was surprised to see that he was sweating bullets – and having long since proposed, I didn’t know what all that perspiration meant. I wasn’t pregnant, was I?

Across the road from our house was an empty lot. And there on the grass were about forty small paper bags lit with votive candles that had been placed in a heart formation. I took his word for it, because it was probably more obvious when viewed from the air. My first thought was “what a beautiful thing to do”. My second was, “Lord that was a ton of work – no wonder he was sweating”.

Since those were the days when we paid to eat dinner on Valentine’s Day, we got ready to go. But since we didn’t want the neighbours to think that we were irresponsible – or worse, engaging in the dark arts – we made sure to blow out the candles before we left.

Are you okay, Madame?

Image credit: images.theage.com.au

Valerie Trierweiler and Francois Hollande
Image credit: images.theage.com.au

If only all of us had the luxury. Of checking into the hospital for “rest and a few tests” when we get wind that our significant other has been stepping out on us. But most of us have to actually get on with our lives and go to work the next day.

I’m not making light of the fact that Valerie Trierweiler, who is the partner of France’s president Francois Hollande, was seemingly unable to deal with the “shock” of finding out that he was having an affair with a French actress – because not everyone processes bad news in the same way. And having worked for years as a journalist herself, she knew that her unfortunate circumstance would have been the story of the day.

It was expected that she would be released from the hospital a few days after she was admitted, but she might need a few more days to recover. Or to get over the embarrassment of having everyone else find out. Because if we are to believe from certain sources, that there were evenings when the gentleman did not make it home, she should have been smelling the ‘poisson’ long before now.

But one does have to take what the tabloids say with a grain of salt, because the President may have had some late night meetings of which they were not aware, and these may have been what prevented him from arriving home at a decent hour. And since the lady is ensconced in the “madame wing” of the presidential palace, it’s likely that he tried his best not to wake her when he came in late – on his side of the house.

I’m told that more than most, the French are willing to look the other way with regards to infidelity, and marriage seems to be something that quite a few can take or leave. Francois Mitterand, a former president of France even had a second family, something that was well-known but not spoken about in polite company.

But you have to give it to Ms. Trierweiler. She wasn’t inventing any mysterious ailments. She wasn’t claiming exhaustion or dehydration. She said she wanted to go lie down in the hospital and have her pressure taken, because she couldn’t believe that this man to whom she has so far given a good eight years of her life would do her like that.

Anyway, according to a friend, she’s not closing the door on the relationship just yet. It appears the affair may be considered a lapse of judgement – a “whim”, to quote the friend. But the cuckolded lady rightfully wants to know exactly what his intentions are. Well, as we used to say on the night before an exam – “if you don’t know now, you not going to know again”.

But maybe she will. Since she says she doesn’t care for marriage herself, maybe she’ll get something even better.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

How do you show your love to those who matter the most to you? How do you let your significant other, for example, know that he means the world to you? If you’re a celebrity or someone of great worth, you know that someone loves you for you when that person is willing to sign a pre-nuptial agreement.

Since most of us bring nothing into our marriages except love, a little baggage and some life insurance, pre-nups are not something most of us even think about – even though signed agreements between married couples, are becoming more popular among regular folks.

And I’m not talking about the toilet seat.

I’ve read of pre-nuptial agreements requiring both spouses to keep a handle on their individual weights, or the wife having to provide a certain number of home-cooked meals or the husband needing to be home by a certain time every night. So you see – it’s not always about the money. It’s really about making sure that you can live happily ever after.

Some people say that behaviour that seemed cute, or eccentric during courtship or even the first few years, may seem like insurmountable annoyances after the seven year mark. Hence the stipulation that a cat lover can have no more than two of them during the course of the marriage – because really. Who wants to be married to the crazy cat lady?

What would I write into my agreement if I was to get married today? Probably that my husband be able to multi-task as well as I do. That our wedding day not be the only day that he’s on time. That he agree to let us disagree. That he stop talking to the other drivers because they can’t hear him – but I can.

But it’s the little things that I didn’t give much thought to that should be there.

Like calling to thank me for making breakfast.

For saying that he appreciates the balance that I bring to some situations where he would likely fly off the handle.

For letting me know what outfits he thinks would look good on me, and for letting me know when I don’t.

For getting emotional when he’s going to be away for awhile.

For complaining about work only a little, but getting on with it anyway.

For being the romantic one in our relationship.

For amazing me with his creativity.

I wouldn’t have known to write any of these things into an agreement, but next time, I most certainly will.

Getting Married? Use your playing cards.

Some people say that they no longer attend weddings because the marriages aren’t lasting very long. I haven’t been to that many weddings in my life, but having had one and having been involved (to varying degrees), in the planning of a few, I know that we sometimes put greater stock in the wedding that lasts a few hours, rather than the marriage, which is supposed to last for more than a few years.

We’ve all seen the wedding planning shows where all the details are painstakingly attended to. Most of the attention is concentrated on what happens after the vows. Some brides even have two dresses because the traditional (long) wedding gown is sometimes not suitable for the ‘after-party’ that some receptions become.

The groom is relegated to second class status, because it’s really ‘the bride’s day’ and all he is required to do is to show up. Some men are happy to stay out of the decisions about the what, where, and when. But they’re probably saving their strength for the actual marriage which people say requires so much work.

Nobody goes into marriage thinking of divorce, unless you’re well-off and insist on a pre-nup. The rest of us think that our insurance rests in knowing our partner for years, before we take that ultimate step – but does that guarantee a successful marriage?

I know a woman who met her husband when he visited her island for vacation; they’ve been married for over twenty years. They don’t have any children. So could that be their secret?

I had a friend who married someone five months after she met him, while she was visiting family abroad. When asked how she knew it was the right decision, she replied that when it’s right, you just know. Which should also mean that you know when it isn’t.

Some people live together for years without that ‘piece of paper’, and soon after making it official, they go their separate ways. Maybe expectations change? Some have known each other and dated for years, but after taking the plunge, decide that the water isn’t fine after all. Maybe they should have shacked up first?

How about the ones that have lasted for years, through the death of parents and in-laws, the birth and growth of children, but for some reason they throw in the towel before what should be their golden years. Maybe they’ve become too familiar?

The vows say ‘for better or for worse’, but since life is short, some people will tell you that the best thing to do in an unhappy marriage is to get out of it. That way, both parties can be happier apart. But for some, the uncoupling and its attendant issues aren’t worth the effort. What’s a few more years in misery?

I don’t make any judgements either way, and compared to a lot of people, I have many more miles to travel; but I’ve come to realize that, notwithstanding the ‘hard work’, sometimes marriage really is luck of the draw.