Friday, June 3, 2011

Back to Back

What if, when we got married, we stuck with some of the "till death do us part" and some of the "forever and ever" stuff but we added some things that are a little more prosaic. I'll bet if we added these vows, more marriages would last a lifetime:

1) When I'm mad, I promise to tell you what I am mad about instead of making you guess out of vengeance for something you probably don't know you did.

2) I promise never to walk in to the house without saying hello to you.

3) I promise never to complain to my friends about you. Little betrayals are still betrayals.

4) I promise not to separate from you the second we walk into a party, as if there is a rule that says we can't talk until we get back into the car.

5) I promise to give you room to brood but to let you know I'm here when you need me.

6) I promise, in public, to look like I'm on your side even if I am really not. (I'll let you know how I really feel when no one else is around.)

7) I promise, even though we'll have tons of business to take care of, never to treat you like a mere business partner.

8) I promise to touch your face and look into your eyes once every day.

9) I promise never to act like I've outgrown affection.

10) I promise I'll remember who I married, flaws and all, forever, and to never expect perfection in twenty years when it never was there in the first place, for either one of us. 
11) I'll always remember that real love never goes away, but it can change dramatically -- and that's okay, because the soul is a kaleidoscope. 

People say marriage is a lot of work. Life is a lot of work, if you don't want to wind up being eroded down to sand by chance, boredom and daily violence. If you stop for awhile ponder what marriage is all about, digging below the cliches, maybe it can be easier than you think. "It's you and me against the world" is a pop song cliche that really means a lot. Maybe couples should just shake hands and say: "Look. We are a team. Nothing happens to change our resolve on this. We will always be best friends because we will be honest and actively involved in backing each other up. We will always be each other's safe place."

I guess that sounds simple. It may not be simple to do, but it isn't much to wrap your mind around when you consider it.

Couples and therapists place a lot of importance face-to-face intimacy. Maybe we ought to sit back-to-back once in awhile, close our eyes, and just feel how solid we can be.


  1. Your sister's husband's sister here (not sure what that makes me to you, exactly :) ) - thank you for this reminder. I think we all need to take some time in our days with all that goes on to remember why we chose to marry our spouse.

    One of the most touching things my husband has ever said to me is that we're a team.

  2. Hi, Kristen! Well, I'm certainly not goin got to call you my sister's husband's sister. Is it as simple as "sister-in-law," technically speaking?

    Thanks for reading myblog, by the way. It is funny how the seemingly simple stuff is the most profound. Once you develop that "team" idea in a marriage, the lion's share of the work is done, I think. And, you know, that's not the same as just being business partners, either. I don't know if you are/were an athlete, but I remember how close I got to my teammates in sports. Working as a team creates bonds. I think it works for marriage, too.