My dear friend and honorary little sister, Karen, recently popped a link up on Facebook from a site called Thought Catalog: “I Want a Tuesday Kind of Love.”
As soon as I was finished reading it, I was struck by how much of it resonated with me, and reminded me of life with my husband: our practical-yet-silly, remarkable-yet-routine-at-times, life-changing-yet-comfortable little world.
My parents have this kind of love, too. That’s probably why I was able to see the potential we had when we met, but mostly I was startled by how comfortable Gradon made me, and how quickly. That’s a funny thing, to be sure: to be thrown off track by the arrival of balance. But I was.
In the years prior to meeting him, I’d done the usual amount of idealizing and romanticizing and pining that many young women do, especially those with any sort of access to romantic comedies and love songs and magazines with headlines on the cover like, “10 Tips for Your Most Amazing Relationship” or “Finding Mr. Right… Right Now!”
I was too dumb to duck my head down out of the clouds at times, and too heartbroken to get up from my fainting couch and keep walking, at others.
Gradon’s arrival on the scene made me realize that my romance novel — not the one I’d been handed, but the one inside of me — looked a hell of a lot more like a Day Planner.
It’s not sexy, but it’s true.
But it’s also not without bumps in the road.
This very weekend, we had two arguments, after not having any arguments for quite a while. They were both fairly dumb arguments: I’ll spare you the gory details, but one involved me not apologizing (I did something stupid and didn’t seem even remotely sorry, and he became upset at my lack of sorry), and the other one involved me ignoring something he wanted to do because I was being… uh… ignorant. So, if you’re keeping score, I was the cause of both of them… but his taking offense lit the match, and I added the requisite fuel with my response.
In the first instance, I got quite upset and emotional, and ended up tearfully apologizing (eventually.)
In the second instance, I apologized at first, but then went absolutely ice cold, and got mad that he got mad.
Here’s what they had in common, these two arguments: they were both, while about something, not really about the something they were about. They were evidence of two overtired people with busy lives and some very specific pressures and situations to deal with who slowed down long enough to let themselves get cranky, and who needed to take that crank out on someone who wasn’t going to freak out in a problematic way.
If you freak out at someone on the T, you might get beaten up.
If you freak out at work, you might get fired.
If you freak out at a friend, you might get a reputation for being an ass, and more importantly, lose a friend.
If you freak out at someone in a store, you might not get your ice cream.
Freak out at your spouse? Maybe some yelling. A slammed door? Sure. Perhaps a silent car ride, one way.
At least that’s what it looks like for us, because that’s all we let it be. We believe the flip side of loving and cherishing all the ordinary aspects of being in a relationship and the day-to-day awesome… well, it’s being practical about the moments that suck, too.
If I don’t expect the best days to be roses and sunsets and unicorns, I can’t let the bad days be the Apocalypse. And, if anything, that’s been the hardest part of marriage for me.
I’m good at caring for my partner in practical, simple ways, and at not building up romantic gestures as the be all, end all of love. But I’m not quite so good at realizing that conflict and fights and hurt feelings are not the end of the world.
If I hurt a friend’s feelings, I worry they’ll never speak to me again. If I upset my parents, I feel like I’ve broken their hearts instead of just pissing them off a bit. And of course, I’ll do it again to everyone in time, even if I don’t mean to, and then I’ll fuss some more until I’m bright red and sleepless and not just a little loopy. It’s not my best quality. Ask anyone who knows me well.
But to be honest, it took me by surprise in my relationship. I always thought I’d have a healthy attitude towards conflict in marriage, since I’d seen my parents fight (unlike many of my friends), and their fights never led to the end of their relationship (unlike many of my friends’ parents.) As it turns out, however, my natural tendency to develop the worst case scenario isn’t as selective as I’d like. Or as Gradon would like.
We’ve worked on it, though, and will continue to.
We’ll patch up, and we’ll move on.
We’ll learn to handle our stress better in time, and to recognize when we’re experiencing it.
We’ll learn to listen first, to forgive faster, to drop things once they’ve been dealt with, and to keep the drama to a dull roar.
I didn’t know I was a Day Planner until I found the man I wanted to be with all of those days, from Sunday to Saturday… even if we argue the night before.
And on this Tuesday, because of him, I remain very much in love.