I’m so in love with my husband. We must say “I love you” like fifty times a day – genuinely. I know, cheesy, cute, romantic or “uh, huh still in your honeymoon period are you?” says you. No, I believe we’re different. The cup is not empty or even half-empty – but full all the time. And this NYTimes article When There is No We in Marriage made me realize just how different we are in what we come to expect (or ask) of love. And since Venus has just entered Aquarius (February 17- March 11), freedom v. closeness is the topic du jour.
To me, it’s a sad portrait. More than sad, it’s disturbing, because it lives under the guise of hip, cool, bohemian – and socially acceptable – the norm. It’s a story about two cool Manhattan people doing their thing (it’s a paradigm, agreed?) – who once decided work is equally or more important than their marriage; that it’s okay to communicate Blackberry to Blackberry; and who must know their kids will follow their workaholics examples, and be as clueless about how to nurture their marriage, too. So if you’re wondering like me, where does the “I and thou” overlap? Where does the “we” go? Sometimes it goes on a honeymoon. In this case, alone.
After their wedding, the two often and happily went their separate ways. In fact, they even started married life separately. She began their honeymoon alone (he couldn’t find his passport), checking into their suite in Venice and thoroughly enjoying herself without him.
“I learned, ‘O.K., you like Italy more than you like me – good to know.”
There are useful questions. Like what to do when work and achievement takes precedent over the relationship and child-rearing?
“Andy’s desperate to work all the time, and I want to work,” she said. “I spend a lot of time saying things like, ‘My work is important, too!’ I must say that 25 times a day.”
They do have help – Suzy’s Chinese restaurant does most of the cooking, and they have a nanny 50 hours a week. “If I had the money, it would be more, frankly,” she said.
But my heart bottomed out here:
For a couple that craves and fights for time alone and apart, how do they stay together? One way, they said, is by pretty much ignoring their relationship in the same way a writer ignores a blank page.
“I try not to think about marriage,” she said. “It just seems impossible to me. It’s wondrous. It’s like trying to understand the meaning of the universe.”
Ignoring one’s relationship in the same way a writer ignores a blank page? Do you resemble that remark? Marriage is a blank page. Every day a new page is written. But good marriages are not made by ignoring the relationship. A writer, having all the training and knowhow about writing, sometimes needs to get away from the page to gather their creative thoughts and inspiration. Few if any of us enter marriage as experts that can afford to ignore a process we are just learning.
At this point, I realized there is one thing that is similar between my marriage and -those Aquarian ideals and hopes that shape everything we are together, and everything we’ll become. Perhaps that’s what Venus in Aquarius does best together – envisioning, striving, dreaming, becoming.
It does take a little objectivity to reflect upon on our attitude about love and marriage— because a life worth living, and a relationship worth having takes insight and forethought. It is fragile. Like: planning a shared goal, while making room for alone time. Or examining your jaded attitude about marriage (your divorce, your parents’ divorce) as part of the failure-to-thrive equation. And nurturing your highest shared aspirations – and breaking from ones that aren’t formulaic reflections of everyone else around you (p.s. -a cottage in the Catskills may not function as relationship life support) but truly resemble your unique union. But boy is the payoff high.
The difference between us and this one? While we face similar issues – we both need our work time, and finding the time to cook nourishing meals is a priority – there’s a level of cherishing, nurturing the “us” space, that perhaps these two neglected to consider from the get go.
To me, to be happy together, we’ve got to nurture “we”.
And whereas who would’ve thought “alone” and “together” could co-exist -we truly hope we can have it all.
Question: How do couples that crave and compete for alone time stay together?