We all have life goals and dreams and yes, one of these is to fall in love.
From first crushes to 2nd (or 3rd!) marriages, our instincts drive us to seek companionship. We work tirelessly to increase our chances of making it last, which is great, but more often than not, we end up focusing on the wrong things. Before we know it, something precious has slipped through our hands, crashed to the ground into tiny little pieces – lost forever.
I know of single mothers who vehemently blame the divorce on their exes saying that they didn’t receive enough help with the children, but if you talk to the husbands, many will say that they felt a loss of connection with their wives the moment the children were born, that their place in her life had shifted.
Now they head to work, head home to eat, they head to bed; to wake up and repeat. ‘Cause some invisible somebody’s gotta pay the fucking bills. Not to say that they resent their children, just that they perceived that their role had changed from daily companion to monthly paycheck. Football, beer, and (?) fed them when they were left hungry for attention, appreciation, affection, and sex.
I know many men who swear it all came to an end because of their wives ridiculous spending. The pressure to keep up with the purchases of shoes and clothes, and tennis rackets galore! It’s enough to drive any black card holder crazy, goddammit! Is she oblivious to how hard he’s working to create his Empire?! But talk to her and she’s likely to say how she didn’t even realize she was subconsciously filling a void until they were apart for some time. A chasm created by slow erosion: conversations with his face in his iPhone, his despondent and ill-tempered nature in the few moments over coffee in the morning before he rushed off to work or just before bed, and her sleeping alone many nights while he cuddled with his stress on the couch. But neither one can see the other’s view while this is all happening.
“It’s nurturing the friendship that makes it last 65 years. He’s my best friend”, a woman told me today, as we stood in line at the grocery store.
This beautiful stranger with laugh lines for miles caught my ear with her sudden uttering of these words: “He just got 3 months to live this morning. My husband. We’ve been married 65 years. He’s 86.”
It was as if she just needed to tell someone; anyone. I expressed my empathy and then asked her to tell me what she loved about him the most.
She went on to describe their after-dinner walks together, how he held her hand “during the whole movie”, and how she could tell he was listening intently, even when her ramblings had nothing to do with him. Her eyes filled with tears. I gently took her hand as I thanked her for sharing with me. I noticed her very simple, yet beautiful wedding band. The words of the famous Beatles song looped in my mind for the rest of the day.