It is good to be married. There is no way I can adequately express here what it has meant to me to be partners with Luca for nearly half my life, but I hope you will agree my attempt is worth it.
It occurs to me that a lot of what marriage is about is the shared mundanities.
There is something very humdrum about it all.
Humdrum means that I pair socks and iron shirts, buy toilet paper, and occasionally dust the windowsill. Humdrum means that he gets up and goes out to work even when I sleep longer, which is nearly always, or that he helps me with the same simple technology problem again, patiently again, or that he checks the doors are all locked before lights out every night. Humdrum is uncomplicated assumptions together about the pattern of our evenings, or our Sundays, and about emptying the dishwasher when we find it full; it is the ongoing histories of each other’s extended family that we observe, choosing not to judge.
And you know humdrum is just fine - is pleasant even, like bread and butter, or, for Luca, pasta and pesto: the basis of ordinary existence, the essentials of daily life (apart from the dusting, of course)(and not that Luca eats pasta for breakfast, however Italian he is). Humdrum has a lot to say for it.
As long as it doesn’t mean taking for granted, or self-orientated boredom, or annoyance at the inconvenience of the other person not realising that the way I see the world is the only valid way; or ingratitude to the other person knowing that I think that the way I see the world is the only valid way and nevertheless staying patient with me and loving me faithfully. I confess to all the above (and most likely you know exactly what I mean (don’t you?)).
But there is, too a very special satisfaction about the shared mundanities of married life. And especially after so many years together.
Satisfaction is that I know I can give him pleasure by always stocking that spaghetti and pesto sauce in the larder; it is being able to wake in the morning enjoying each other’s mussed up hair and baggy pyjamas (and no longer worrying if I snored). It is the enjoyment of some shared musical memory - Tanti anni prima by Piazzola, or our Corenno SIngers concerts, or that organ CD we were given for our wedding and always used to play with Sunday breakfast. It’s 2 espressos and a piece of cake after a weekend lunch.
Satisfaction is meeting old friends and experiencing again that we are a ‘we’: we have an identity as a couple, and are loved and honoured by these people whose lives have been touched and (even) enriched by our our-ness, as well as our individual-ness within the relationship.
And finding our conversation has increasingly often gone to a place that would need explaining with anyone else but knowing that it’s okay to try ideas and share experiences and go deep: tentative and honest and scary and real.
Discovering that we both need a new way to pray these days and that neither finds religious wordiness helpful.
Satisfaction is looking together at our children, now fully fledged independent adults, and being overwhelmed with thankfulness and pride: with no-one else would my offspring have turned out like this! Such openness to life, such unforced beauty, such energetic commitment, such gentle loving hearts, such God-ness and you-ness and me-ness and most of all individual and phenomenal them-ness.
Satisfaction is trusting that, for all these reasons and many more, keeping going with this one person is worth more than any giving up or wishing for something different, whatever ups and downs there have been and will be. It is patience and persistence; memories from a shared past and hope for a shared future.
The satisfaction and humdrum of our 25 years of day-in-day-out emerge from a million yesses, each of which echoes that first shared yes on May 1st 1993 when I declared my commitment and intention towards Luca, and he towards me.
Thank you, Luca, my lifelong friend and partner, my love and my husband.
Thank you, God. All this good is typical of you.