Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Mistresses From the Past and How To Keep Them (and still have a happy marriage)

If I've heard it once I've heard it a thousand times.  Once you marry, forget holding onto the majority of the things you loved to do before you walked down the isle to dedicate yourself to another.

Isn't it always like that?  You find a girl and after a while you turn back to look at who you were. You realize you've changed.  Not quickly, but you made incremental decisions you would not have made were you still single.  The road still calls to you when you see a lone motorcycle cruising the opposite way down a country road.  But you're on your way to shop for curtains.  With your wife and kids.  In a vehicle intended for carrying capacity and safety.

If you're lucky there's still a two wheeler stuffed somewhere in the garage.  It's behind the kids' toys but it's still there.  Maybe your wife hints about what the money from its sale could buy for the house.  Don't blame her though.  You were the one who got down on one knee, remember?

Maybe the mistress(es) were a collection of musical instruments you plotted and saved to acquire over years of playing with garage bands who were at the cusp of "making it".  If they just would have taken managing themselves more seriously.  A '62 Strat..  A priceless Les Paul..  Or if you're like me, you stumbled on great old saxes which cost quite a bit to restore to playing condition but sound nothing like the modern horns on the market today.  Maybe, like me, you craved a vintage Selmer MK VI alto but the four to six thousand dollar price tag kept you at bay.  And your sax tech kept reminding you people came to hear what you could do and didn't care about the nuances of sound attributed to the name and model inscribed upon the bell.  But a King Super 20..  a singular sound recognizeable to other sax players would still be the holy grail.  How much carpet and tile could the price of that rarity afford, asks your loving wife.  Wouldn't you prefer a nice modern flat screen television with all its clarity?  It would cost thousands less and everyone in the family could enjoy it.  The little white angel on your right shoulder reminds you not to say what you're thinking; that screen clarity doesn't make the shows they produce any better.

Marriage is comprised of compromises.  But they don't have to cut away the things which make you who you were when she first met you.  It's important to remember who she was in those early days of your lives together too.  If you think back, you'll realize she's given up alot to make this marriage thing work.  She deserves your gratitude.  She deserves your undivided attention when she's got something to say.  Give her the space to recall who she is.  To do the things she's always loved but put aside for the sake of the family.  Put aside for the sake of your kids.   You aren't the only one who feels the effects of sacrifice.

It isn't enough to simply acknowlege the distances she's gone for you and the family.  You've got to put it into action.  And frankly, wives really don't ask much of us, comparatively speaking.  Think about when you lived the single lifestyle.  No one around to help with all the duties in running a household.

You didn't marry the maid.  Maids can quit employment.  And wives can find more attentive significant others.   Then what'll you have?  Suddenly that single life just isn't as appealing as it seemed in the rose colored memories you conveniently mentally edited.  The married life has its share of jewels to be enjoyed and appreciated.  Why else would you trade the old life for this one, then?

Because you knew it then and you know it now.  You're not one of those guys who can thrive on the single life.  I give those guys credit.  That life takes its own patience and strength. 

But  the married guy has the hardest time being single again.  He can forget how much he depends upon his spouse.  And that's about the time he begins to lose sight of her needs.  It's also about the time she begins to remind him how much power she can wield.

There's an old saying about about how she has the power to keep him from "it" in the bedroom.  But you know, that's only half the story.  Because if he's not getting any, neither is she.  So nobody's happy.  The problem is what we think started in the bedroom, started long before then.  In the kitchen. In the closet where the vacuum cleaner is.  In the flower shop (the cheapest and one of the most effective ways to a woman's heart there is) and at the dinner table where we should have been listening all along.

Don't lose who you are by forgetting who she is.

Look, a yield sign.
Now check your mirrors.