rockinlibrarian: (love)
Dear J,
Eleven years ago last Tuesday you gave me a little crystal bell ornament-- well, "crystal" in quotes, not leaded, not even blown glass, just a cheap cut glass bell ornament, cheap because there was a not-cheap-at-all diamond ring attached to it. Cheap as it was, I still wouldn't have expected whatever adhesive that had been holding it together to COMPLETELY DISINTEGRATE in the past year: for, when I pulled it out of its box, the brassy ribbon-shaped loop at the top to have fallen to the side and the two little balls that had been (decorative, they didn't actually ring) clappers rolling away entirely, without a TRACE of glue or an indentation or ANYTHING to show that they'd ever been attached at all. It struck me as ominous, but I'm an imaginative type-- heck, though, even from a practical standpoint, it probably DOES say something ominous about the Mysterious Dampness in the attic. But no, these were our wedding bells, and the glue had disintegrated.

How frightfully symbolic! What if the glue of our marriage had disintegrated? True, it is not what it once was. The honeymoon is long over. Can I even call you my best friend when there's so MUCH we just SO vastly disagree about: housekeeping, childrearing, politics, the relative importance-or-lack-thereof of Art vs. Firearms, how to behave in a post-apocalyptic society, music, vegetables? IS it terrible that I feel more fluttery-swoony over a man in a hobbit suit than I do the man I'm sleeping with?

But dangit, I wasn't going to throw out that chintzy little ornament. I didn't know how to fix it with what I had, so I did a little research. Ended up buying a clear kind of super glue that claims to work on glass. Also claims to be water-resistant, which would help against the Mysterious Damp in the attic, and may have been the downfall of the original adhesive. I glued that sucker back together, and now it looks perfect. Like it had never been broken. And, if those water-resistant claims hold, stronger than ever.

So it's ten years ago today that we said "I do," as if that was a magic moment, a one-time permanent bond. People tend to think that way. That "I do" is some big, one-time adhesive application and They All Live Happily Ever After, stuck tight. If that was true, every marriage would end in divorce within a year. That adhesive DOES disintegrate. It dissolves away in stress and poor health and economic woes and existential crises and sleep deprivation and whose-family-when-where tug-of-wars on holidays and the tedium of trying to find something for dinner that will make you both happy every night.

There have been so many more "I do"s since then. I Do when one or the other of us is sick and the coughing keeps the other one up at night. I Do each time I decide to pack your lunch for you the night before even though you're perfectly capable of doing it yourself, just because I know you won't bother to pack a fruit or vegetable if I don't, just because I know sandwiches somehow always taste better when someone else makes them. I Do when I'm so distracted by all the thoughts I'm pondering and all the things I have to do that your trying to get my attention just annoys me, until I fall into your arms and realize a hug was what I'd needed all along. I Do when I'm embarrassed by your political opinions, by the Armory in the basement, but as soon as any of my Cool friends or people I admire says something implying that People Like You Are Evil, I take your side, because I know you and they don't, and I may admire them, but I love you.

Marriage is ACTIVE COMPASSION, a true partnership, a working relationship. FALLING in love is not a choice. Lust, sexual orientation, attraction, these things are not choices and I hope never to imply that they are. But LOVE, ACTIVE love, Love-as-a-Verb, is a choice that is made over and over and over. You always have a choice, when the relationship breaks-- when cracks and dents appear or bits and pieces fall off-- to throw it away. To leave it to continue to disintegrate. Or to grab the Ultra Liquid Control LocTite and patch it up. The glue is in your hands. Love is choosing to use it.

I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are, as a band you would never purposely choose to listen to would say.

Happy Tenth Anniversary of the most public of many, many "I Do"s,
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