As I sit in my evil lawyer lair way too early on Friday morning awaiting my weekly BNI meeting, Democratic yankee Joe Biden has taken a razor thin lead in the State of Georgia in the Presidential race for the first time since approximately the Mesozoic era. I know this because streaming my local NPR tells me so (donate!).
My NPR impression: “Children are dying in Myanmar. Take this tote bag if you are against the death of Asian children.”
What does this have to do with you, dear reader?
I had a lengthy phone conversation with a Family Law attorney colleague of mine a few days ago. We are fast friends and frequent court adversaries. Once upon a time in 2019 we would see one another three times a week in Court and catch up with one another’s lives in twenty minute tidbits while judges waited impatiently for us. I had not seen or spoken to her since early March thanks to both the pandemic and then fact that she and I had not had a case together since barely resolving a deeply wrought relocation case in mid-2019 that aged us both. She aged more gracefully than me, which is why I blog and don’t vlog. Face for radio.
She is a wonderful person and attorney. A f*($&ng endangered species, that.
She intimated that she (an independent) and her spouse (a Trump-accommodating conservative) were looking forward to election day and had come to a kind of household domestic detente.
An independent and a Trumper living in the same quarantine household and, not only surviving, but, I’m sorry, did you say looking forward to election day (which has, as I write these words, entered its sixtieth hour). You don’t say. Shut up! But tell me more!
How can this be? This black swan of all marriages. Raising two teenagers. Through a pandemic. In a fevered election year. Not politically compatible.
How did they make this work?
Was this all a clever ruse. Was my friend simply using me as an unwilling alibi? Had she, in point of fact, murdered her husband that very afternoon and was calling around creating a list of witnesses? If he mailed in his ballot before being murdered does his vote count? Why has there been so much murder on this blog this week?
What can the rest of us learn from this marriage?
Did my friend secretly get drunk every morning? Not quite.
From what I came to understand, this married couple made the politics work with an acute emotional quotient and deep understanding of when partisan feistiness was appropriate and when silence was necessary.
Different days call for different approaches. Context is king.
Gauging their partner’s mood without words being spoken, husband and wife determined (almost always correctly) whether shutting the hell up, gentle prodding, dialectics / discourse, or outrageous political insult and attack would carry the day. Depending upon the barometric pressure in the home after work the couple would respond accordingly.
The two seem to read each other and communicate with easy telepathy the way only long-married couples, twins, and dolphins can (I’m assuming).
I know, I know. So we raise a glass to this insufferable, successful, happy married couple but what do they have to do with us? Us who can barely get a civil political conversation off the ground with our spouse because the two of us are so politically incompatible that we might as well be living in different realities? Realities in which there is only one way to load the dishwasher, BRIAN, and only one correct answer to immigration reform?
Maybe nothing. But I am an optimist.
Marriage has never been easy. That is why the romance novels and the romantic comedies end at the wedding ceremony. The rest is not lighthearted or fun or terribly exciting. Diapers, debt, deadlines, desperation, disability and death essentially. You may know kiss the bride.
Divorce attorneys have a dark joke that goes something like this: if you were truly in love you would never do something so terrible to a person as marry them. We are not invited to many dinner parties. OMG Remember dinner parties!?
Truly, there are few worse things you can do to the love of your life then marry them.
And that was before 2020 where we spent almost every waking hour stuck at home finding new and exciting ways to get on our spouse’s every last nerve, blaming them for everything from the death of Sean Connery to the sourdough coming out flat (and too sour).
In a year when we spent our entire work day, workout, and kiddo’s homework time with our spouse I think the marriages that survive this cursed year should give themselves a hearty pay on the back. And an old fashioned.
Cheers to you and the dynamic you share with your spouse if, like my attorney friend above, your dynamic with your person has shifted, changed, suffered, strained, evolved and rebounded back like an elastic pulled so thin.
If your marriage has come out of this hellscape stronger then here’s to you.
The sunset is more beautiful than the sunshine sometimes and it can be easy to forget that.
“Politics doesn’t make strange bedfellows – marriage does.” -Groucho Marx