Friday, October 31, 2014

Expectations: a marital checklist

I've got dinner in the oven, and since I'm waiting for Mr. P to return from being a great father to my step-daughter, C—, I thought I'd write a list of things a wife can/should expect from a husband.

Equality - Paternalism from a husband is old news. These days a man wielding power over his wife chalks up to patriarchal schematics that closely resemble misogyny. Expecting equal control or freedom of finances, household maintenance, personal interests/development, shared interests, parenting, sexuality, respect of differing opinions, education, work, conversations, etc., is how a partnership best rolls. A partnership is what marriage is. Not a corporation with a CEO and a Vice President. Also, this is NOT feminism. It's just fair. (Although, that's what fourth-wave/post-feminism basically engenders, regardless of your sex.)

Patience and kindness - Yeah. Because Jesus really was into these things, even if he did cleanse the temple in Jerusalem and call out the Pharisees for self-righteousness. 

Friendship - If we marry only to be components in a Barbie/Ken facade, that's how rich your marriage will be.

Time - More than the ten minutes it takes to fall asleep at night. Dates that aren't for show. Give your interest.

Affection - She's your wife. If you can't keep your paws off her while you're dating, then "get your fill" on the honeymoon, and want little to nothing from her in the way of touch afterward, I'm not sure you were actually in the wife market. Craigslist can help these people.

Adoration - If she adores you, you damn well better reciprocate. If you don't, you're an asshole.

A listening ear.

110% - And when you think you're giving it and not receiving your share, give a little more. These times happen. Nothing is owed you if you've got anything left to squeeze in effort.

The benefit of the doubt - There are so few people in this world who are truly out to get you. If you think your wife is one of them, get therapy. 

Your best effort - She doesn't owe you. You are not a bank. This is not politics. Holding out is only strangling yourself.

And here's the clincher: If you read this list backwards, it's exactly what a husband can/should expect from his wife. Cool, huh?

How one passes four weeks of life happily married

Marriage is work. Not the hard, unenjoyable kind, Mr. PNU says. But definitely the rewarding effort necessary for two people who want to build something more than illusion together.

He says, sometimes when I tell him stories from my last marriage he'll think, there's always the other side to the story. Then he says, but I never hear about fighting or abusive ugliness from the stories from your first two marriages. Sometimes I have to remind myself this too.

For Halloween this year I am happily married.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Life as Mrs. PNU

I didn't know happiness. I just didn't.

Didn't know about being married to a kindest, best friend. All of the benefits of doubt. The logic of love enumerated. How many times can you entangle yourselves in a day? The fact that he does the dishes and folds the laundry. (FYI: I long ago gave up on folding laundry.) The joy of being caught up in this sort of blissful constant banter. The smarts of it all. The silliness of each other.

Here's my latest fear. If we get what we want and I am pregnant by the end of this luteal month, people may not understand the planning that's already happened. Our deep, heartfelt prayers. The consultations with psychiatrists and pharmacists. The hope and faith that this major decision is the right one. The trust that biology still works at our age.

I am two days weaned from Lithium. This was a medically guided decision. Specialists are on board. I am also possibly carrying around the components of personhood. We'll see. But what is most important is that we want a child. We exhausted the discussion of this option for weeks before and after our engagement, settled on trying pregnancy with Latuda (a class B atypical anti-psychotic), then found the side effects unsettling if not frightening. When that chance handed us a blind corner we knelt again. Positive, forward emotion. And so I am reassuring him that I can do this with his calming love and support. My psychiatrist is positive as well. 

We dance. In and out of each other's periphery like significant dust motes, lights, points of interest and fascination. Our work at the Pie Tin goes on. We encourage each other. Laugh together. We hold each other every morning and struggle with parting. Friday is three weeks.

I am told this is how it is supposed to be.

I just didn't know.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Definitions of a Marriage

to give an adequate portion
to call one by the gnostic name

to locate the heathered element
some sliver of careful phylum
the function and mean of glistening filament

to discover the sudden chord
enharmonics of a common construction

the scaffolding of a blind affection
the frame encasing a tangent
breeze animating a lover's soul

bones carrying the skin like a garment
clothing the embodied life
we piece together

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Because we are growing older. Because we both want more. Because we are completely in love, devoted, and committed. Because there was no way I was going to approach a marriage without giving full due to the possibility that I might come under the spell of my fertility again. Because my husband is the best father I know. Because our parenting styles are so similar. Because we are a thinking team and a loving companionship. Because we have enough love for another. Because we know we will never be financially secure enough to raise any of our kids. Because it doesn't take much more than f


Of the many beautiful wedding gifts we received, this one is the most precious to me. 
Mr. PNU and I were both touched by your thoughtfulness. 
We hope to hike with you once Persephone is returned to her mother.
A million times over: Thank you!

Philosophy of family

My husband is sitting in the rocking chair where I nursed each of my children. He is reading the New Oxford Annotated Bible, glancing every now and again at the television screen where his daughter is working on a game of Portal. E— is in the Valley of Salt filming with his friends. M— is working at Burger King. L— and B— have just come home from Ex Numero Awesome's, and they are chilling down the hall. This is our first weekend as a family. It's been fairly low key; no serious expectations. 

But there is a shift from dating to married life, and my darling Mr. PNU and I are working on the adjustments. There are financial tweaks, emotional tweaks, professional and academic tweaks. And though we are definitely required to work at it, we are making it work. I am a fortunate woman.