Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Interview with a Married Woman

My parents slow danced in each others arms for most of the night.

After the Interview with a Married Man, I wanted to have the female side of marriage, love and relationships.  So, I asked my Mother if she would sit for an interview.  She of course, did grace me with her wisdom and presence.  My parents have a real love story.  They love each other through thick and thin.  They stick together when life is rough.  They are honest about the hard aspects of love and marriage.  I love to watch them interact.  They still hold hands while walking down the street together or sitting down to dinner.  My Father enters the house asking, "Where is my bride?"  They get into a heated fight one day and then the next they can't keep their hands off of each other.  To me, marriage isn't about everyday waking up next to someone you're crazy about.  Sure, there are those wonderful times to be shared and relish in.  Marriage is about a partnership.  One that is deeper than any other partnership a human will ever enter into. It's not about compromises but about acting beyond yourself for the greater good of your partnership.  I'm proud of my parents for setting a great example of what a truly happy marriage is.  They continue to show me what it really means to love.

Lazy Girl: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.  This will be a nice contrast to my Interview With a Married Man.  There is one question that I am always curious about when it comes to a life partner/marriage. It is said that “when you know, you know.”  This implies that there will be a moment when you know without a doubt that this is the person you are going to spend your life with.  Did you have such a moment? If so, describe it for me, please.

Married Woman: Yes, it was after I met him and he convinced me to go out with him.  I opened the door when he came to pick me up on our first date.  It was like a bolt of lightning, I just knew I was going to marry him.  But, at that point I didn’t know I loved him, of course.

Lazy Girl: What advice can you give to young couples, when they are just dating?

Married Woman:  If they’re good enough to sleep with, they’re good enough to marry.  And if they’re not good enough to marry, then don’t sleep with them. 

Lazy Girl: That’s funny.  It would certainly help a lot of girls figure out who to sleep with.

Married Woman: Who not to sleep with is more important to know.

Lazy Girl: Yeah.

Lazy Girl: What advice can you give wives/mothers who have hit a rut in their lives?

Married Woman:  I’m a great proponent of “the list”.

Lazy Girl: When you say “the list,” what do you mean?

Married Woman: Make a list of your interests, your talents, different things you can do.  If it’s for entertainment, what do you like to do?  Movies, trade dinners out with people.  You can think your way through any problem.  You just have to define it and then make a list.  Ask yourself, “what’s the worst that could happen?” and if you can live with whatever that worst is, then just go ahead and do your best.  People hold themselves back because they don’t want to be embarrassed, or they are overly concerned about what people will think about them.  Do what’s good for you and those you love, and if someone else doesn’t like it, then, oh well.  Define your priorities. 

Lazy Girl: What do you think is the secret to a happy marriage?

Married Woman:  Don’t both be mad at the same time.

Lazy Girl: And when that does happen, when you’re mad at the same time?

Married Woman: Find something to laugh at.  Usually yourself is a good place to start.

Lazy Girl:  What advice would you give to a woman before she is married?

Married Woman: Be particular.  And, don’t “settle.”

Lazy Girl: Can you explain that a bit more.

Married Woman: What do you want out of life, and what type of person you want to share it with, because once you’re married, you’re married.  It’s for a long time.  Be particular about what and who you want, and don’t settle.  Ever.

Lazy Girl:  What is your favorite thing about your husband?

Married Woman:  His integrity.

Lazy Girl: What do you think is his favorite thing about you?

Married Woman: I make him laugh?

Lazy Girl: What advice do you give to a man on how to choose a spouse?

Married Woman:  Find someone you can be friends with, because you can’t always fall back on sex. You have to be able to trust them, have fun with them without spending money.  You have to be able to talk to them about anything and know they won’t judge you.  Someone who won’t have fun at your expense in front of other people.  Someone who won’t push the wedding cake in your face.  Someone who doesn’t need to be right all the time.  Someone who can admit when they’ve made a mistake, and who can apologize when they’re wrong.  Someone who will let you have the fat off their steak, because they know that’s the part you like the best. (My Mom loves beef fat and my Father always saves his for her.)  Someone who will back you up right or wrong and ask questions later.  They will stand by you.

Lazy Girl:  Is that the same advice for a woman as well? 

Married Woman:  Yes

Lazy Girl: What if you hear something bad, or catch your spouse in a lie?

Married Woman: If someone says something about your boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse, you don’t immediately jump to conclusions, go to them and find out for yourself.  Say, “I guess I need to find out more information.”

Lazy Girl: Do you think women can have it all?

Married Woman: That depends what is “It all”?  Define all.

Lazy Girl: Having the house, the husband, the job, the kids

Married Woman: Sure, I think you can have it all. Whether you’d be good at it?  Will it be worth it?  The more things that require your attention, the less time you can spend on other things.  You have to decide early on, do you want to raise good, well-adjusted kids or to be involved in the market place.  No one in day care is going to raise your children as well as you can.  They don’t have to love your kid.  Caring for your kids and loving your kids are two different things. That’s why they call it “daycare” not “daylove.”

Lazy Girl: What if a mother has to work?

Married Woman: Then, she and the childrens’ father need to have all that stuff ironed out.  How much are you spending on the travel, daycare, clothes, etc. Can you live without the cable so one of you can stay home?

Lazy Girl: My thing is, I don’t want to lose my identity when I have children or get married.  I want to stay home with my kids, but I don’t want them to become my life and define me.  Ultimately, my identity might become ‘wife and mother.’  How does a woman maintain her identity?

Married Woman: Love yourself, celebrate yourself, appreciate yourself.  There are different parts of you.  One part is a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a woman.  Not all parts are the same. You have to invent yourself. Once you have a good grasp on yourself, you will know that there are different parts of you.  With my friends I’m a different person.  When I’m in public I’m a different person.  I show some parts of me, but I don’t always have a stupid grin on my face to imply that things are perfect.  Everything is not always perfect.  I have a high tolerance for difference, but I have a low tolerance for nonsense.

Lazy Girl: For moms out there, who feel guilty about doing something daily just for themselves, what do you say?

Married Woman: Do you feel guilty about eating?  When you take a drink of water?  When you breathe?  Things that keep you healthy and sane does not mean that you’re being selfish.

Lazy Girl: Was there any moment when you thought you were going to get a divorce, and if so, how did you get through it?

Married Woman:  "Murder, Maybe.  Divorce, Never."  That's what my Grandmother Murphy used to say.  We (My Father and Mother) made an agreement: Whoever left had to take the kids...It worked. 

Lazy Girl: Any last thoughts before we conclude?

Married Woman:  That’s it??? (Paused for a brief moment.)  My Grandmother Flanagan said to me when I got married at 19: "If you ever have a problem, don't come home."  It was her saying, "...keep your troubles between the two of you.  Stay in the marriage, and work it out."

Thank you Momma Bear!

I hope this is helpful to others.  It certainly was for me.  I have always known marriage is a lot of work but also, a lot of joys.  One of the reasons I haven't been so quick to jump in the deep end is because I know it's forever and one better know before making such a commitment. I hope this helps people figure out when they have someone to hold onto and when they have someone to let go.  Like it has been said before, "When you know, you know."  My parents knew within their first few dates.  I've heard this from other couples as well, let me give just a few examples.  My brother-in-law knew he was going to marry my sister before they even started dating.  I also have a good friend that didn't marry her husband until her late 30s and him in his 50s.  They have both said, it was worth the wait.  Don't settle for anything less than amazing!

Thank you to my Mother, Queen Catherine.  She is the Town Clerk on Nantucket Island and a Justice of the Peace.  Her wedding services always brings tears to my eyes.  When she's not doing her Queenly duties you can find her creating something.  She loves crafts, writing and playing and spoiling her grandbabies.

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