The Secret to a Perfect Marriage? Act Like You’re Single

Image source: Thinkstock
Image source: Thinkstock

You newlyweds are funny.

You stand there in your morning kitchen, in your condo or in your little apartment, and you gaze at one another through the steam rising out of your goofy mugs that you gave to each other last Valentine’s Day. Intoxicated by your togetherness, that alone allows you some room to finally breathe — to finally let down your hair in a sense after all those years of keeping it so styled and perfect whenever you went out the door as a singleton. And who could blame you? You never knew when you were going to meet that “special someone.”

Eventually, when you DID meet that special someone and fell madly in love, either swiftly or over a period of time, you still gave a sh*t about everything, didn’t you? You made sure that whenever you were going to meet up with him or her for a drink after work or for a Saturday in the city or whatever it was, you were at your best.

You laughed your best at the things they said and you meant it, too.

You listened harder than you had ever listened to anyone in this lifetime before, and it made you want to listen to their voice, to their story even more.

You kissed liked you meant it, like friggin’ Parisians in the warm spring rain.

You were not messing around. You were the girlfriend or the boyfriend you had always imagined you would be when you had finally found the one. Then you got married. You got fat, lazy,cool with the new status quo. You got dangerously comfortable.

But finally, one evening as you both sat there slurping down ice cream and watching the TV, neither one of you saying anything, same as last night/same as tomorrow night, true love held a revolver up to its temple and sighed one last sigh.

And neither one of you even heard the shot.

So many people stop acting single and interesting once they get married. I don’t know why it happens, but I know that it does. It happened to me. I killed original kick-ass parts of me off and replaced them with everyday boredom, with the daily grind.

Once upon a time, I met a girl named Monica and, dude, I fell so hard for her. Then we got married and I kissed the girl goodbye — I climbed inside a schlub suit and I just sat in there for a long long time.

I systematically deconstructed an insanely-cool love affair using every implement of pure ignorance I could get my hands on. All of that original desire to show Monica, with every tiny move I made, that I was so f*cking into her that I would use my friggin’ teeth to drag a subway car up out of the darkness to the busy streets above — I let it rust away, man.

I slowly shut my most important factory down — my heart — by flicking off all of the currents that once electrified me back when I was single. Every night after work, every day during work, we tend to let go of so much of it that eventually we simply forget what the love was all about to begin with. Married couples become locker room buds. We have sex night patterns, or no sex at all. We start wearing sweats around the house. “They’re comfortable!,” we chuckle.

But listen. Seriously. Sweatpants=divorce. Or worse, they equal decades of soulful resentment buried inside. Humans are so lazy when it comes to love. We will  show up for work on time everyday for 50 years, but we slack off completely in our love affairs. So strange, so sad.

Monica and I separated last year. It’s the worst — especially when you still love someone so bad.

But whatever.

We divorced a few months ago.

The winds blow where they wanna blow, though. Remember that.

Lately, the winds have been pretty cool, I think.  Monica and me, we found each other again amid a dizzying spin of strange fortune and second chances. And oh man, check it out. No matter what, I’m never going back to who I was in our marriage. I’m never ever forgetting to make every single damn day count, to seize any fleeting moment I can to be cool, to listen, to light her fire somehow, even as I understand that I will always be learning what lights her fire to begin with, you know?

I’m not feeling lazy. I’m feeling alert and alive. I’m scared in all the right ways, the ways I felt back when I first met her and was dying to win her over. It’s so funny; now I’m single and she’s single, but we’re together. There is no more room for laziness. Feeling comfortable, that’s no longer an option. This will be work, every step of the way for as long as we want it to last. And I never want the work to go away again.

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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