Act III, Scene 3
Making the necessary adjustments and compromises in our marriage was just like the game of "Battleship"...a series of hits and misses. There were skirmishes and major battles, but in the end, a peace treaty was negotiated and a bond formed. Not that it was all smooth sailing or that we never fought again. He and I had some major differences to overcome and we both knew it would take time, but since we had both promised "till death do us part", we knew had plenty of time to get it right...hopefully without ending up on the ten o'clock news.
At the end of the movie, "Sweet Home Alabama", there is a scene where the wedding cake topper is replaced with "Rock 'Em, Sock "Em" robots. We quickly realized that's what should have been on the top of our cake. That would be us for the next 36 years battling it out until one of our heads popped up declaring a victor for that round and then getting to make up where the clinches really mattered. It got to where we didn't even see the arguing as necessarily a bad thing...just another way of communicating. We learned not to bottle things up until it festered into a ugly fight, but just to go ahead and say what was on our minds. This would take years of practice to get right and not be just a means of sucker punching the other, but a real way of expressing our needs. There would, however, have to be unspoken rules involved for it to work. There was never any hitting below the belt or going for the jugular...only constructive jabs to prevent irreparable damage to the marriage with a promise to never go to bed angry. Marriage is a fragile thing, tenuous in its beginning and to deliberately go for the other's vulnerable spots only speeds up the end of it. Cruel words can't be taken back or repaired with a band aid. Another unwritten rule was we never did it in the company of others. Public humiliation would never be forgiven either. If there is no mutual respect there is no marriage. Arguing with just a dash of humor, provided an outlet that kept molehills from becoming mountains. A disagreement is just as private as what goes on in the bedroom and should be treated as respectfully. To maintain a healthy perspective of who's right or wrong....there should never be witnesses to take sides...especially if it's a mother-in-law!
With the Marquess of Queensbury rules in place, the marriage was starting to take shape and we were able to settle into a comfortable routine. One night in early December, I came home a little late for work. He was sitting in his chair waiting on me. I thought he was put out with me for working overtime on a Friday night, but that wasn't the case at all. He was just anxious for me to get home and more than a little concerned about the road conditions. Seems he had gotten off early and had been doing a little shopping. As I sat down on the couch, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a jeweler's box. Talk about a sucker punch...I didn't see that coming at all! He didn't open it...just handed it to me. I opened it to find my rose wedding rings. Seems he had never stopped looking for them...or at me...not even while driving down the road.
(And they lived happily every after!)
Epilogue: In the 36 years of marriage, those two rings have only left my finger for hospital stays and I have the permanent indention to prove it!