Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Marriage and Chess

I always had odd ideas about marriage.  Growing up; I didn’t see too many marriages that I wanted to emulate; certainly not my own parent’s or grandparent’s.  I would look at my friend’s marriages and didn’t see too much there that I liked. One of those marriages, the woman would say all the time that if she died, she didn’t want her husband to remarry. That disturbed me- why not? She was dead; he should be free to go on with his life- how controlling and jealous was she about other things- I had to wonder.    Then I would find out about men who were having long-term affairs with their secretaries for 13 years and I would wonder about the pain that must be causing for the entire family.

The marriages that seemed to work did so because compromises were made, they had each other’s backs, they backed each other up; they were on the same team no matter what.  They learned to see the other’s point of view, they learned to have empathy and that some things are more important than other things- like spending time together is more important than having a clean garage.

No, I didn’t want to get married. Then I met D*** and got married. It soon felt like a football game or chess match. I felt like we were on opposing teams. I had to out think him to survive; like I was always being outflanked; like he didn’t have my back even though I had his. Like if I scored a point then he lost (yet I wasn’t playing the game that he was, which really made for an unequal playing field).  This was confusing to me as I didn’t want our marriage to be this way.

Once, my friends were having a Christmas party. I dressed up, did my make-up extra nice.  The husband’s were invited. When we showed up and were doing the small talk thing, one of the women didn’t have her husband with her. I asked where he was. She explained he was away on business. I told her how nice it was that she felt comfortable coming without him. My passive-aggressive husband said,”Yeah, Alecia even complains when I travel.” I called him on it, since it wasn’t even true, I liked it when he was away, and my life was easier.  But the damage was done; he had called me a complaining bitch of a wife in front of my friends. 

Play. Match. Win.

I lose.

Is marriage just a chess game, like Men from Mars and Women from Venus, always on opposing teams, never the twain shall meet? Can the two sexes be team mates? Or are we destined to always be opposing each other?

No comments: