On Sunday night I found myself in another conundrum. The Grammys vs. Downton Abbey. I love and adore Downton Abbey. Maggie Smith is my God. The Dowager Countess is the best character on TV in a good while.
During the episode she said to Matthew: (Read this in your best British accent)
‘in marriage you have to expect you are going to live 40 or 50 years with this person.
You had better be sure to pick the right one’.
Truer words were never spoken.
I wish I had her to tell me what to do sometimes. Now she also said, “Marry in May, rue the day!” and I am sure that there are many happy marriages that came from May weddings, but the Dowager Countess is usually spot on.
I rushed my decision with Stanley. We met, got engaged, got married and then I got pregnant. I was 32 years-old. Old enough to know better. I can only say in my defense that I had a really intense and emotional job at the time and when I came home from the hospital I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t notice that he didn’t talk until I was home on maternity leave after our first child. All of a sudden, I was like ‘dude is kind of quiet’.
What the hell was my problem that I didn’t notice that before then? So, we had nothing in common before we got married and nothing in common after except the children. We don’t even agree on most things. Politics, kind of. Religion not at all. He has no idea about anything going on in the world of entertainment or music or fun and I thrive on it. He doesn’t read fiction he reads science books and books about beer. He is completely unemotional and I am a fountain of words and feelings. He hates all sentiment and I cried at the Valentine’s episode of Raising Hope the other night. It was soooo sweet.
|Yes, that is Cloris Leachman.|
We can’t even talk right. He mumbles and I say, “pardon?” and he mumbles again slightly louder but still my eardrums are begging for volume and I say, “what?” and then he shouts in my ear and I get mad because he shouted at me. This is a normal pattern of communication for us which is why we finally succumbed to conducting both our marriage and our divorce via text message.
Now we co-parent via text. We can be quite sweet to each other via text. Like
“I just want you to be happy”
“I want you to be happy too”
I can still manage emotion via text.
My parents have been married for 52 years. And she ignores a lot of immature behavior, like his quest now to never get old, so he is dragging her perfectly coiffed country club ass up and down the road in an RV (if you could only see my mother) in search of something. She goes. She may roll her eyes behind his back, but she goes. Because at the end of the day, they are best friends. And you put up with a lot of shit from your best friend. You will walk on coals for your best friend. You will follow your best friend around and make sure they don’t fall off a cliff. Or marry a very bad man in Vegas. Or cover for them when they are up to no good.
And I have determined that that therein lies the problem; Stanley and I were never best friends. I loved him and I liked him fine. But we were never best friends. We weren’t even good friends. At the end we were sort of acquaintances that slept together. He wouldn’t have followed me to Kroger to make sure I didn’t fall off a cliff.
Maybe for marriages to survive you have to be best friends. Plus I am sure it helps if you want to touch them all the time. And my male best friend cannot have ugly feet or like reptiles. I’m working on quite a list for my next husband.
If you haven’t watched Downton Abbey you are missing out. It is available on the PBS website for free. I will leave you with some of the best of The Dowager Countess.