Friday, April 27, 2007

Curmudgeonly happiness

When it comes to love I remain a skeptic. Not that it exists - but that it can be trusted and it can remain beautiful. It wasn't until I was over 30 that I could say I knew more than two couples who were in what I considered successful marriages. I first became aware I harbored this love-skeptic heart - in my late 20's. A friend had just announced he was getting married - and I bemoaned to Spooky, my best friend, "Why are they in such a rush?" I want to tell him, "80% man (my nickname for him), why not wait a few more years until you're older? You've got plenty of time, why rush?" Spooky turned to me with a surprised look on her face. "Mitter, they've been dating for 3 years. He's 27 and she's 31. They are both in good careers. Why would/should they wait? I understood why you felt that way when our friends were getting married before college graduating - or just after graduation, but now, Mitter? Maybe you haven't noticed, but we are grown up! Well, that shut me up! I mean, she was right. For years I'd been saying, "wait until you're grown-up", but ... now we WERE grown up. Of course, we've also seen those we love, marry the wrong people and for the wrong reasons. You want to put caution signs in front of them, but you can't; not if you want to remain friends with them. It's doubly worse when your fears are confirmed and the marriage begins to unravel. There are a lot of things I observe in relationships that cause me doubt. Generally I try to keep these thoughts to myself, but I’m not always successful. Faking enthusiasm isn't something I'm accomplished at doing. It takes more artifice than I choose to command. Knowing all of this - and acknowledging that it is my bais, still doesn't smooth over the rough edges with friends. When people are in love - they want everyone else to be in love too. Usually I just try and hide from the ensuing goo. Today however, I am so excited and pleased and happy to be indulging in the goo. A co-worker of mine got engaged over the weekend. The nicest part of this is I am excited and pleased and happy for both them! I felt honored that I was one of the first people she wanted to tell. I was on the road … and she wanted to tell me in person – so she was going to wait until I returned. But I could tell from her small little e-mail on Monday there was big news afoot, so I called her from the road – and she broke down and said she couldn’t wait till Friday to spill the secret. Let me repeat, normally I don’t get too caught up in joy of these announcements. This time however I am! Not only do I think he's a terrific guy, but I think they've both got their feet firmly planted on the ground. This relationship is so confident, secure, and solid, it takes my breath away. It REALLY takes my breath away. It could have all the hallmarks for disaster. They only met a year ago - when they were both on vacation at Disney World. He lives in Rochester, NY, she lives here. She's young .. just 22 years old (OMG she's a baby!). They've spent the last 12 months developing this relationship on weekends - with her flying to Rochester every other weekend - I mean, doesn't that send of sirens of probable disaster? But what they have is so ... grounded - I have no worries. They talk constantly each day to each other. Not just goofy stuff, but the important stuff. There is no drama in the relationship. He is so easy going and strong with her. She is so ... relaxed and herself with him. She's Heather "distilled". Only the essence of herself remains. Any superficiality that may have lurked around the edges has been banished. She has blossomed. Today I took her out to lunch and she told me the whole story about the proposal. It wasn't some grand orchestrated moment - just a perfect moment - and not even the one he'd planned. The ring? It too is perfect. More than she expected, but not more than he can afford. She keeps looking at it and sighing and saying, “I didn’t need anything like this! This is so much more … I would have been happy with anything.” How refreshing to see her value the gesture and all that it implies – and not appraising the symbol. They won't be getting married right away - they want to enjoy their engagement for a year. But the few wedding plans they've kicked around are small and simple - and so very, very them. As I said, it's unusual for me to be thrilled about impending marriages, but in this one I see nothing but a bright and shinning future. Congratulations Heather and Mr. Szcz ... Szcz ....Szczepanski! May the world be yours!

4 comments:

Woodstock said...

I am in what would be considered a "successful relationship" and I'm still a skeptic that love can last and be good. Why? Because our society's definition of success when it comes to relationships does not necessarily = "good relationship."

My second youngest cousin (me - 6) got married a few years ago and I vowed that I'd never go to another wedding. When people ask me why I answer honestly that at least at the funeral you are guaranteed that the dead guy will still be dead in two years. Can't say the same for 50% of the marriages in the world.

That said...here's to hoping your friends can ignore everything they've learned about relationships while growing up and actually be adults, say what they need and want, and respect each other (all the necessary ingredients for a "good" relationship)

Mit_Moi said...

Woodstock,

I will pass along your good wishes.

And? I totally understand your desire to never attend another wedding. Usually they make me feel hollow inside.

Anonymous said...

MM-With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Love and marriage are both wonderful things and they can last a lifetime. It's sad to think that weddings make you feel hollow inside. Couples getting married simply wish to share their love and joy with others, and that in itself should make you happy and honored to attend their wedding. Perhaps if engaged couples were forewarned of your disenchanted views on love and marriage, they would not invite you in the first place.

Mit_Moi said...

Anoymous,

You're right, some can and do last a lifetime. Unfortunately endurance does not indicate happiness or pleasure, does it?

Admitting to hollowness here, on my blog, is my chance to quietly expressing my feelings. To say out loud to someone, "Weddings make me feel hollow", someone who is overjoyed at their good fortune would be rude beyond belief ... and even I would never dream of uttering those words.

IfWhen I am invited to attend such ceremonies, it is my choice whether to attend and share in the joy - or quietly bow out. Hopefully with each decision I do it with dignity and grace.