Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Seventeen-Year Itch?

"I'm reminded of a story I heard on NPR once about a woman who ran into her old high school flame at the frozen yogurt shoppe. He was the manager. She, on the other hand, was happily married to a successful business guy, had a couple kids, a nice house, yadda yadda yadda. But she became obesessed with this yogurt dude. She'd go in and flirt with him, and he with her; they'd even pass notes like in high school. She thought about the guy all the time. Until finally, unable to stand it any longer, the woman confessed everything to her husband. But he didn't freak out. He didn't act jealous. All he said was, very sincerely, "Oh honey, I'm sorry I don't give you that feeling anymore." And her obsession was gone. Phlit. Phlat. Phlew. Out the window. Because she was reminded that giddiness, like those rubbery carrots that sat in our bilge for eighteen days, is a perishable good. It never, ever lasts."

--Janna Cawrse Esarey, The Motion of the Ocean (page 283)

Earlier this month, Terry and I celebrated seventeen years of marriage. We've reached those numbers that many people do not reach, and so some people offer real congratulations with awe and respect for making it this far. But then there's this odd comment that one of Terry's coworkers offered: "So, you've had time for two seven-year itches, right?"

The older we get/the longer we've been married, the more there is to pull our focus away from each other. Just like a sail around the world, sometimes we are powered by wind, and other times we drift.

That's one reason that I enjoy reading marriage memoirs. A good memoirist is not afraid to tell it like it is -- to share the good along with the bad. And those of us who have been there can laugh or nod in agreement right there with her.

Marriage is not easy. Anyone who tells you it is, is either lying or in denial. Fulfilling? comforting? secure? -- Yes. Easy? -- No.

Read my full review of the Motion of the Ocean at 5 Minutes for Books. Other marriage memoirs to consider:

I really enjoyed Halfway to Each Other, which also has a similar feel -- the examination of a marriage in the context of an exciting journey (relocating to Italy as a family).

Elizabeth Gilbert practically created the popular genre of memoir with Eat, Pray, Love. In her first memoir, she travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia as she is escaping a failed marriage. Her second memoir Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage is already on the bestseller list and is supposed to be on its way to me, so I hope to be reading and reviewing it soon.


morninglight mama said...

Seventeen is majorly impressive. Well done you two!! :)

planetnomad said...

Happy Anniversary! (We're on number 19...this August it'll be 20!)

Martha said...

I would never want to get back into the dating game nor am I tempted by anyone. We both are lucky to find our guys when we did and that they are as perfect for us as can be.

Kimberly said...

Happy anniversary!

Has the coworker ever been married? I hate when people make stupid comments like that.

Annette said...

17! Yea! Congrats on the commitment and the love.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

So true.

I thought about that this year too -- even though we're a year behind you. Sixteen years is longer than many marriages last. Sad, but true.

unfinishedwork said...

I enjoy memoirs also. Two of the best "marriage" memoirs I've read are A Year by the Sea and An Unfinished Marriage, by Joan Anderson. It's basically the story of a parting . . . but very insightful and the 2nd book goes into the healing of her marriage. Well worth reading for her honest insights into the marriage relationship.