Two days out of town with my Libra grrrlz, in a cozy WARM little cottage near Mendocino. We mostly stayed inside reading, eating, talking, and singing. B and I went to the gym and she worked out while I swam. Then back to the cottage for more good books, wine, dark chocolate, discussion, and the movies Enchanted and an old pic starring a young and breathtakingly beautiful Elizabeth Taylor called The Last Time I Saw Paris.
It was refreshing to get away from home especially as I had pushed and pushed myself to get out a full draft of the play before we left. Somehow before I leave for any trip i am always seized with the fear that I won't return, or I won't return in one piece, and so I must get my affairs in order. So I ordered my Chanukah present for my brother, finished a draft of the play, mailed what i had to mail, deposited what i had to deposit, and in general secured the perimeter before we left.
And when I got home, C had fixed the radiators and the furnace so we now HAVE HEAT and we just ate dinner and it was a very civilized 68 degrees inside the house!!! There was a big article in the NY Times Sunday magazine by a married woman writer who got her husband to go along to various marriage therapists and counselors with her so they could improve their marriage. Reading it made me shudder. Maybe I am superstitious, maybe I'm old and somewhat battle-scarred but i think even good marriages are vulnerable tender entities which should be treated with care and not subjected to the harsh scrutiny of Feudian psychoanalysis or whored out for a book contract.
Maybe it's because I've been through one failed marriage already, a marriage which started with mutual love and devotion but collapsed startlingly quickly that I think there may be a mystery at the heart of love which can be expressed through poetry but which should not be dissected in the office of a professional. And yes, spouses drive each other crazy, and yes C and I drive each other crazy sometimes too, but I think insight and analysis are highly overrated; I think they often increase irritation rather than resolve it. At any rate I don't believe there is any "solution" for the problem of two distinct personalities struggling to work together in harmony. I don't think it's supposed to be easy.
Rather than analysis, I would vote for old-fashioned virtues like patience, loyalty and discretion as keys to a lasting union. If C and I got to the point where we needed extra help I think I would turn, not to a marriage therapist, but to an older, longer-married couple, because any long-term union endures its shares of bumps and difficulties, and I'd want to hear from a veteran how to make it through the rough patches, not from a psychoanalyst with a bunch of theories. I hate theories--I prefer my reality mixed-up and messy and confusing, not sorted into neat little categories. And like most couples we've developed our own private language and way of reaching out to each other when we're stressed or cranky and I'd want to protect those small tender gestures at all costs, not subject them to a fifty-minute hour and some psycho-jargon.
So far my best relationship advice has come from my married lesbian friends. Once when i was complaining about something C had done or said that annoyed me I looked over at B who has been with her wife for over ten years and she was biting her lips to keep from bursting out laughing. I realized how ridiculous my ranting was and I started laughing too--at myself. Which seems, in the end, the best strategy of all. Because we're all ridiculous and childish and self-centered, and most of the stuff we stress over is pretty silly in light of the much bigger issues that confront us now. And our best friends help us realize this.