Today is both my wedding and my first official date anniversary with my hubby of 17 years. We’ve been together 26 years and met 27 years ago at summer camp when we were in high school. Our first official date was my senior prom. We lived in different states, so it was trickier than whether or not to rent a limo or the color of my dress. This past week a woman I follow on Twitter posted a message about her husband giving her a “reality talk” about her writing. He told her that she didn’t have a fan base and would never make money. I’ve thought a lot about her post. I had to push past my initial angry flair up to think about my hubby David and our relationship.
Now, I don’t know anything about that woman’s marriage or her husband. On reading it, it doesn’t sound great. I also don’t know anything about their financial situation. I don’t know if he was feeling the weight of the current situation, freaked out a bit, said all the wrong things, or was a complete jerk. It could be both. The point is support is needed to achieve any goal, and it should start at the very least with your partner.
David has been incredibly supportive as I’ve tried to figure out my footing after my prolonged illness, which he experienced alongside me. It’s taken time to figure out what the hell I’m doing. I’m restless, anxious, excited, terrified. I’m chomping at the bit to make up lost time, but I also know my illness accrued a ton of deep black hole style debt. As much as I want to gift myself a year off to write, I can’t afford it. I would love to get an MFA, but I’m afraid of widening the black hole. We’ve had honest, challenging, raw conversations about my heart and my head. My heart is wanting to take the time back and my head knowing the cost.
Over the past few years, I’ve had opportunities to go to ME, NJ, PA, the Azores, and Lisbon for writing adventures, and my initial reaction each time has been no. My head takes over and says it’s not worth the money. As I’ve read him the emails of acceptance, he’ll say “you’re going” before I can finish. Knowing the strain of distance while he holds down the fort on his own and the cost of travel, I make every effort to squeeze all the juice from each experience.
What makes me laugh are other people’s reactions. They ask if he’s going, why not, or is he letting me go! To that one I snarf, those are obviously people who don’t know me at all. Let me go. As if. And no, he does not always go to my writing adventures for a couple of reasons. Sometimes they discourage partners so writers can focus. It’s expensive. Also, he’s a people person. If he’s there, I’ll let him take the lead. If he’s not there, it forces me to do what I need to do.
I can’t comment on another person’s marriage, even when they ask. It took me 10 years of telling David I’d never marry him before I said yes. I’m no expert on marriage. However, I prefer the term partnership. Your significant other should be your partner. Life is long and can be difficult. You want to spend it with someone you can assemble furniture with and not want to stab in the eye with the awl. They should complement you, by that I mean both tell you nice things about yourself, but also should help you find balance whether that’s pushing you to an adventure or creating the security if you fall. They should call you on your crap in the most helpful way possible. They should support your dream, but also check in with you along the way.
As for that couple I mentioned at the beginning, I don’t know if he has a thing he does that he loves and doesn’t bring in money. Don’t we all? I’ve made way more money in a few years of writing than my hubby has made playing World of WarCraft, for I don’t know how long, and we probably dedicate equal amounts of time and energy to our activities. We both have day jobs, share in the household, not fall to pieces, and spend time together. As humans, though, we need things that are for ourselves too.
I’m so glad I’ve had 28 years total with David. A man who appreciates my need to say Dude and give high fives, neither are in his wheelhouse. A guy who has told me to stop asking him if he wants to go to whatever thing I’ve come up with because he’s gonna say no, but instead tell him we’re going. He’s always happy once he gets there. My personal space heater. The man who loves to feed the kitties more than any human I’ve ever met. Who adores getting cards. And can’t watch a TV show or movie without reading about it as it’s happening right in front of him. To my hubby with the crooked smile, happy anniversary!
I took the photos at the top of my sister and brother in laws wedding rings. I think they are such an excellent example of marriage. They’re a little scratched up, and you can see the imperfections but are solid at their core.