More musings on marriage

More musings on marriage

Please forgive my continued musings on the advent of marriage and the end of single life. For those of you who are married, this is all old hat and for those of you who are not, you probably don’t care. Nevertheless, a blog is sometimes a place to put down thoughts you want to preserve for later consumption and review.

I was just thinking about how the idea of being married and having a family changes how I look at myself. As a single guy, the idea of being healthy, fit, in shape held a sort of theoretical attraction. Mainly, the idea was to be fit and healthy enough to be attractive to the opposite sex, but that was about it. But now as I think about my upcoming responsibilities to Melanie and our possible future children, it has a different meaning.

God willing and always putting His plan first, I need to ensure that I’m around for a good long time for them. Not just to provide an income for their material needs, but also for the emotional and spiritual need for a husband and father. Whereas before things like heart disease and cancer were somewhat concerning, like an abstract worry about terrorism in the world, these have taken on a new urgency, as if you’re on an airliner with some suspicious looking men where the worry is no longer so abstract.

I find myself concerned with my health, with eating better, with avoiding bad habits, and with getting in shape. Melanie and I are just starting our lives together. I want to be around for a good long time to enjoy these years. I am going to be 37 years old this year. Yeesh, just writing that makes me feel old. I’m going to be middle-aged soon. This is when things start to go wrong with your health. (By this age, my dad had already had the first of three heart attacks and a stroke was also in his future; he was also a three-pack-a-day smoker who handled toxic chemicals.)

N.B. In case I haven’t said it before, I do appreciate all the advice I’ve gotten in the past few months regarding weddings and marriage. Some of it was unexpected and bracing. For instance, David Alexander offered that we should never, in the heat of an argument ever use the D-word (divorce). Once uttered it can never be taken back and it forever changes the landscape of the relationship. Very good advice that Melanie and I will take to heart. (I hope we’re never in a situation where we are even tempted to use it, but at least we’re prepared.) So thank you all.

  • I know just how you feel. I have a propensity for gaining a few too many lbs. myself. My wife is naturally thin. I tend to focus on the spiritual life a little more than my wife, at least I enjoy learning about the Faith, whereas she does not show much of an interest there. But she frequently reminds me that I need to be healthy. I sometimes think she is nagging but I know she is genuinely concerned. I try to argue back that our culture is too concerned with health and beauty. But then she mentions that I should think about our 3 daughters(and soon to be a son, we are adopting from Ethiopia, woohoo). And I realize, much to my chagrin, that she is right, Doh! So I try to loose weight and excercise.

  • Hey Dom, best to you and Melanie on the upcoming nuptials.  I just ticked off 41, and I have 4 kids.  I’ve been married going on 12 years now.  This is my second, and it has been “normalized”.

    We have a great marriage, after a couple of rocky years starting off.  The big divide for us is Catholicism.  I returned in ‘98, after we’d been married 5 years.  She went through the roof.  To this day, it’s the only thing that divides us.  It makes for some “lively” conversations, and the last few years of scandals has only cemented the negative opinions even more.

    But in any event, one thing I’d impart to you is to keep in mind that there WILL be times when you absolutely, positively could just KILL, you’ll be so ticked off.  Knowing that will occasionally happen makes it easier to not get so caught up in it – you know, where you’re throwing around the “D” word.

    They say that if you can get through those first few years without too much police involvement, you’ll be all the more happier for it.  :o)

  • My father used to say, “You have to make your wife happy, or she will make you miserable!” I’m single, but that seems true enough to me.

    Best of luck w the healthier lifestyle thing. Your kids will be really grateful you had the determination to be there for them.

  • And you might think twice about requesting sex in the middle of a shout fest. 

    On second thought, if done with a poker face, it’d be a fantastic way of defusing a dumb argument. lol.

  • On our honeymoon in Jamaica, our cab driver told us, “Marriage is like driving down the road. At first, you notice all the bumps in the road but over the years, although the bumps are still there, you won’t notice them.”

    Seventeen years this coming October…

  • PS, David Alexander is in good company w that advice about the D word – Dr. Phil said the same thing yesterday!! (No comments – I like Dr. Phil.)

  • And you might think twice about requesting sex in the middle of a shout fest.

    Yeah, Dom.  It wouldn’t be “sacred.”  grin

    But seriously…

    After 35+ years of marriage, I can testify to the fact that you can recover from the “D” word.  It has become our own personal “pay attention” signal.  When the word comes out, it means “I’m serious about this, so you had better listen.”  Ten years or more ago it had more of an impact.  These days the usual attitude of the spouse when it comes out is “Oh yeah?  I’ve heard it all before.  So bite me!”  Chances are 50-50 one of us will be chuckling in the midst of this. 

    These little differences of opinion become a lot easier after you’ve been around each other long enough to know your spouse is reliable and isn’t going anywhere.  Even when he uses the “D” word.  I wouldn’t recommend you try it in the first six months, though.  smile  smile  But I was trying to be serious…

  • Not sure how I can be succint on such a topic, but I will try …
    Along w/the 4 children [cf. “lactivism” – hi, Carrie!!] , I have a wonderful husband with whom I will celebrate 19 yrs of marriage, thanks be to God.

    We married in Ireland [my uncle is a priest in the diocese of Kerry] a few days after the divorce referendum was defeated… a lot has happened since ‘86 [to include divorce being made legal in Ireland], but I am happy to say that divorce is not an option in this household, even if the whole bloomin’ Emerald Isle were to chuck the whole dang institution of marriage!!!

    My mom gave me two great pieces of wisdom [and my parents have an AWESOME marriage]. First, she said that she could have married any one of a number of men and been happy. That blew my romantic idea that “there’s only one” right out of the water! It did not take anything away from the beauty or wonderful-ness of marriage, but it made me realize something … God has given me this husband because when I was ready to marry he was the right one for me.

        The second thing was that marriage gets ordinary fast. In our overly-romanticized, syrupy, short-attention spanned society, this is an invaluable observation. Because it won’t catch you off guard when it happens. Notice I did not say stagnant – I said ordinary. Things just simmer down to a certain pace, but it’s in the ordinary that you will find the extraordinary. Trust me on that.

    It is gratitude that keeps a marriage going. Plain old gratitude. Gratitude to God and to each other. How can you mistreat someone, or take for granted someone for whom you are eternally grateful?
    Don’t be afraid to say “Thanks for marrying me” – frequently!! – And remember that some day your half dozen children will leave home and once again you will be alone together. And what a pleasant home it will be where courtesy, honor and gratitude are as natural as the air you breathe, along, of course with love and fidelity and commitment.. but you’ve learned all that “theoretical stuff” in marriage prep. and theology, right?

    God bless you and your marriage!!!

  • You mean kids leave???

    Well, my wife & I both have kids from prior offenses.  She’s got 2, I’ve got one.  Her oldest is going to be 27 in two weeks.  My wife is (you didn’t hear this from me) 46.  The last of the mohicans is not yet 2!!!!! 

    Now, her 27 y.o. daughter already has two children.  So our son is younger than two of her grandchildren!  When this youngest gift graduates, I’ll be 57 and she’ll be 62!  And since one of her grandchildren is already 8, heck, he could grow up and have a child, making her a great-grandmother before her youngest child even leaves the HOUSE!

  • I’m with Mr. Alexander on this one.  In 26+ years of marriage, we used the “d” word once.  It was so scary, we backed right off it and have never said the word again.  It’s not an option, so why pretend it is???

    Into every marriage, hard times will come.  Not even necessarily *within* the marriage, but tough external events that put stress on a marriage.  When that happens, pray like crazy and JUST LIVE THROUGH IT. 

    And I think annieransom above is genius:  Find the extraordinary in the ordinary.  It’s there if you look!