The following is a guest post by author Sheila Blanchette.
I too met my husband in a bar. In Boston. Across the street from my apartment. The night was over. The musicians, an Allman Brothers cover band, were packing up. Their sound system playing the real Gregg Allman and Dickie Betts. Revival. People can you feel it? Love is in the air.
He asked me to dance. I asked, “Where have you been all night?” We danced until they shut the lights off and shooed everyone out of the place. Out on the sidewalk, I asked him if he liked ouzo. He replied, “I love ouzo.” “I have a bottle I brought back from Greece,” I told him. We crossed the street to my place. I swear I never did this kind of thing before. Inviting strange men to my apartment. And it is true. But there was something in the air that night.
We shared the same taste in music which we listened to until the wee hours of the morning. I fell asleep on the couch, he was on the floor. As my roommate left for work that morning, in her nurse’s whites, he wondered how he ended up in a hospital with a stiff neck and throbbing headache. He later admitted he didn’t really like ouzo.
We dated for nine years before we eloped to the Canadian Rockies. “We were getting to know each other,” he tells people who ask why we dated for so long. When we returned home as Mr. & Mrs., we had a party in our backyard for friends and family. We danced to the Allman Brothers. Revival. People can you feel it? Love is everywhere.
Twenty three years later we are still married and as Aidan noted, we have our stuff. Just like everyone else. I agree a good marriage has presence which I take to mean awareness of each others feelings and needs. But looking back on the years of my marriage, presence was missing on many a day. Our marriage is far from perfect.
Over the years there were demanding jobs, layoffs, lack of work, lack of money, resentments. Kids and their growing problems as they reached their teenage years. But we’re still together. How is that?
I can’t always explain. My husband isn’t good at expressing himself. He doesn’t do emotion. He doesn’t do the talking thing. I am a writer. At times I am an emotional basket case. I could talk all night trying to explain. I often accuse him of not listening.
I still don’t have the answers but I think love and marriage are something worth working to keep. I just finished my third novel and like the two novels before it, it is about this very issue. How do you make love last? How do you hold on to a marriage?
There are times my husband frustrates me immensely. That is not hyperbole. He really drives me nuts. But when our youngest daughter left for college, he agreed to sell our old house in New Hampshire (another source of many a marital disagreement, with all its repairs and maintenance we couldn’t afford to keep up with). We moved to Florida where I would have time to work less and write more.
We also have more time to spend together. Walking the beach, cooking dinner, talking. Being present. He still isn't the best of listeners but I've learned I could also use some work in that department.
The writing thing is going okay. Not the writing itself, that’s going really well. As I mentioned, I’ve finished my third novel. In under two years. My writing is improving immensely (this might be hyperbole) but marketing as an indie author is a challenge. I am attending a writer’s workshop in Southampton this summer. I am bringing my third novel with me, hoping to find a wider audience. All of this has been made possible through my husband's support.
He may not always say the right words but he’s hanging in there and so am I, because we believe a marriage is worth holding on to. We are a work in progress. The lights are still on, the music is still playing and no one has been shooed out of the place.
Thank you for sharing these wonderful words, Sheila!
Anything in here to which you relate? Want to share a marriage story with me? Email me at aidandonnelleyrowley [at] gmail [dot] com.