No doubt about it, I consider 2019 to be the second-worst year of my thirty-year marriage. The worst year was back around 1994, and is a long complicated story for another time. It was the catalyst for our eventual move to Nova Scotia.
In order to understand why I consider 2019 to be such a bad marriage year, here is a little back story. The Doc and I moved in together in 1986. He was legally separated at the time and I was in love because this man was gentle and cooked and wasn’t anything like my chauvinistic brothers. I became an instant stepmom to his boys, who we had three out of four weekends a month and during all our vacations. It seemed as if we hit the ground running and didn’t stop. Our life revolved mostly around our jobs, the kids and their hockey, and meal planning. Three years later, we were married. JT was born in 1991. Life was running at full speed as it does in any marriage that involves kids.
Fast forward to 2018 when I was happily restructured out of my job and retired, thinking that The Doc and I would start to have some fun together. The Doc had already been retired for five years, What I didn’t realize was that he had already fallen into a daily routine that did not include me. He liked to putt around the house doing chores and tying flies or building fishing rods. And when he wasn’t doing these things, he spent his time reading or watching videos related to them on his iPad.
The Doc is a good person, but what he isn’t is a good communicator. I retired to a very quiet house, where conversation might consist of a few sentences a day. One can get very lonely in a quiet house. Conversation is my aphrodisiac. Without it, I get distant. While I craved the two-way discussions we engaged in at the beginning of our relationship, The Doc longed for the physical connection we once had. Both had been lost. To be realistic, these things just didn’t disappear in the last year, they had been gone for some time. It just wasn’t as noticeable before. Plus there were other factors, hormonal, age-related and emotional baggage, that were compounding these issues. And the oh-so-many additional things that time wears into a relationship.
All we seemed to do was annoy each other. To me, he came across as sulky, stubborn and grumpy; ignoring my words when I did speak. As for me, well I was angry and yelled and swore and shared exactly what was on my mind. In the past, The Doc and I rarely fought, say once every few years; but this year we made up for it. It seemed that not a week went by that we didn’t have it out about something, usually initiated by me because, unlike The Doc, I can’t keep things inside. The more he kept inside, the angrier I would get. Explosions happened.
Everyone loves The Doc. Not everyone loves me. I have been painted as the bad guy on more than one occasion. I am strong and can deal with this, but I don’t necessary appreciate it. Neither one of us are perfect. It takes two to maintain a good relationship. What I do appreciate is the friends who patiently let me rant and ramble on, over wine or during walks, when I needed to get things off my chest. You know who you are, and I want to thank you for listening without looking bored or rolling your eyes.
This year I considered packing up and leaving, just like I considered it back around 1994. But really, I love where I live. I love our home, my garden and the lake. I love how these things bring balance to my life when other things are in chaos. What would I do if I left? I would be lost. What would The Doc do if I left? He would also be lost. We have been each other’s anchor for a long time.
And then The Doc went away for a few days and something happened. I missed him. I missed his presence in our home. I missed him during dinner and while watching baseball games–as quiet as these events often were between us. So I told him. Since then, we have both been trying harder. The last few months have been relatively calm. I am sure that there will still be times when one of us is grumpy or angry. We will never again be that couple who said I do in 1989, but we are still a couple and are working at being one for the long haul.
Here’s to 2020.
Thanks for reading.