A MARRIAGE OF EQUALS AND OTHER FALLACIES


Here’s a statistic for you. Since the 1990’s there’s not only been a decrease in the divorce rate, there’s been an uptick in people getting married. This renewed interest is not just in marriage per se, it’s even in weddings. Gay weddings, straight weddings, Hindu weddings, Vegan weddings. A friend of mine has a blog about Jewish weddings: Smashing The Glass. It’s hugely popular. There’s even a TV program devoted to finding the perfect wedding dress, Say Yes To The Dress, which almost always ends in floods of tears.

Why this renewed interest in marriage? Search me. Maybe it’s because marriage has changed in recent years.

I’m casting my mind back to the dark prehistoric ages. The mid 1960’s. And though much is hazy about the past, I remember this very clearly:

My first husband was in his senior year of University, having interrupted his studies to become a newspaper reporter. And I was working on my Master’s degree. Or rather I had been, because in order to support us I was working a 40-hour a week job.

I shuffled in the door, sweaty, exhausted and frankly fed up. And there was my handsome husband, standing at the dresser, looking into an open drawer, confused, dismayed.

“I have no clean socks.”

Now, it may have been the 60’s but even then I knew just how outrageous that was. I busied myself in the kitchen, probably beginning to fry the pork for the cheap pork and bean stew I had devised.

He followed me in. “I don’t think you heard me. I don’t have any clean socks for tomorrow.”

“Oh, I heard you.” I continued cooking.

His bewildered expression changed. He was smelling something in the air and it wasn’t just the frying pork. “Well, aren’t you going to wash them? You know how long it takes things to dry in this place.”

I turned back to him. “That’s why you better get cracking right now. The soap suds are under the bathroom sink next to the toilet brush.”

He stood there for about a minute, his big beautiful brown eyes full of confusion, trying to figure out what to do next. Coming up with no answer, he turned and went back into the other room. That evening he rinsed out his own socks with a sour downcast look that spoke volumes. The worm had turned.

This is hardly The Handmaid’s Tale. But is it really tales from another era? Maybe. But I’m not so sure. My husband (no. 2) is a new man…well…at least for a man of his era. He’s told me stories about how after working all day as a lawyer he used to be the one who got up when his children needed a 4 o’clock bottle.

Really? Seriously? There can be only two options. 1. He’s a liar…or shall I be kind and say, he misremembers. Or his first wife was a way better woman than I am, because I cannot claim anything like that kind of success.

Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s not the 1960’s and that things certainly have changed. I remember there was an ad in the 60’s that said: “You’ve come a long way Baby.” It showed a bunch of sassy aspirational women, the kind of women who wouldn’t take shit from anyone. Of course the kicker was the ad was for a brand of cigarettes. Hardly a feminist manifesto.

We have come a long way, Baby. Like many women today I’ve always worked. At a dinner party, I don’t rush to the kitchen to help (It’s more likely the gay guys who pitch in.) I feel the equal to the men I know. And yet there is a little creeping feeling that maybe not everyone sees the world as I do.

For example. Have you watched the TV shows, “Girls” or “Fleabag”? I don’t think the trip from “Sex In The City” is all that far. And the trip from waiting by the phone for that that guy to call, like in the 60’s. Not so far either.

Let’s face it, Baby. For most of us there still is a long way to go.

I guess the best we can hope for is that relationships can be many ways, depending on the amount you want to dig in your heels. Maybe like most things in life, it’s a bargain. We make bargains all the time. If I do this for you, you do this for me. We do it in business, so why not in relationships?

I’ve been away for three weeks and I know my husband has stacked the refrigerator with food and even put flowers in vases. Of course I know this because he has told me it REPEATEDLY over the phone for several days. I could say snidely: Give the man the Congressional Medal of Honor. Or I could say thanks.

Because in the end, he did do it.

I guess what I’m thinking is that now marriage has become an evolving thing. There are times I have the option to not wash his socks because I am just too damned busy. And sometimes I just do it because he’s even more tired than I am.

Lucky us.

TURNING POINTS from Crowd-Writing

a book by Shelley Katz

Out Now

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