I was hanging upside down cleaning the bathtub when I happened to catch sight of my face. It was sagging the wrong way and looking very red. Think Arnold Schwartznegger in the end of days. Not the movie. His real end of days. Especially if he is constipated on the way out.
I was startled. My husband has never mentioned seeing me like this. Having had a relatively long married life, chances are he has. His ability to not notice these things is my new definition of sweet love. He is also oblivious to my back fat. I hadn’t notice any either until I caught sight of it in a three way mirror. His assurance that I was just imagining things can be grouped in the same category. Sweet Love.
Savage love is another thing entirely. When I find yet another hidden item from Value Village, (a turquoise vase, honey!) and go into a rage filled rant, I can last for a good ten minutes. Afterward, my husband will exit whatever room he was in, give me a puzzled look and say, ‘Were you talking to me?’ That, on my part, is Savage Love. Still sweet on his side. However.
Let me throw away a moth eaten, stained pair of woolen winter pants and he will transform into a version of me. It is a monumental thing getting him to part with his clothes or any item in his ‘collection.’ Others are not oblivious to the situation. “I can have a team here in an hour and clean all this shit up,” promised a mutual friend of ours. “One hour. A whole team!” As she walked away, I felt vindicated. I was not the only one thinking our garage was overfull. On days when we leave the door open, people pull into the driveway thinking that we’re having a yard sale.
My short temper and his latest turquoise vase collection have led to some humdinger arguments. The warmth in the room disappears while we sulk in our respective corners and contemplate divorce. A half hour later, we’re snuggled in bed reading our books (because God forbid we don’t read every single night!) while playing footsie. After a good night’s sleep, sweet love reigns again.
There is an art to a lasting marriage. An ability to take the long view and not let a hissy fit, (mine) two speeding tickets in a row (his) and a disagreement over how to weed the garden, take away all the good stuff. Like the fact that he is the kindest person I know. That he is passionate about family and community and never tries to be anyone but himself. I know, because I’ve tried to make some changes and they haven’t taken very well.
So, even when I’m building a full head of steam over his latest find, I appreciate very well what we’ve got. Between us we juggle this glass ball of delicately beautiful, sturdily complex love. We remember how we looked when we were young, and that’s pretty much how we view each other. We know all of each other’s stories. He excuses my bad mood and Arnold Schwartznegger, end of days, expression. I forgive his cupboard full of bargains. Because the truth about marriage is this. Forgiveness soothes the savage days of love, turning them sweet. The bad moments are lost in the colourful tapestry of our life together, becoming just another piece of the beautiful puzzle we call marriage.