Is The Key to a Happy Marriage Never Getting Married?
Frequently, people ask me if am married. At times, I say that I am not, and at times I say that I am. I do not know which is the truth. When I say that I am single, people want to arrange a date with a person from their family.
They believe I would make an excellent daughter-in-law. In fact, that is true. I would be a perfect daughter-in-law because I like to send cards of gratitude, I like talking, and I know how to make a pie.
Me and the man that I am not married to meet during the second week of college. His name was Hans. He said in an ironic tone that we were both wearing black. Actually, we were in a black box theatre, so people were wearing black.
Hans was in a relationship, but after a few months, we got together. And, now, we are together for 21 years.
One year before Hans and I met, one of his relatives used his name to open a credit card and charge another relative’s wedding. Then, for years, this relative kept forgetting to pay the bill.
Hans found out about this when he was applying to graduate school. So, his credit was destroyed, and he was not able to get a student loan. The only way to clear the credit was to take his relative to court.
However, Hans did not want to do that because the woman was a mother, and he did not want to make that child motherless. This was a thing that I really liked about him. He was in his 20s, less than poor. But, he had integrity.
We loved each other. Then, we had been in a relationship for 6 months.
This situation would be strange to people that I do not know. They like to ask questions such as why did not clear the credit card and get married. And, the answer to that question has many reasons.
When we met, I was 18-years-old, and I had no idea about how long would our relationship last. I did not want to ask my parents for money because it was a lot. Also, we did not have jobs, and we desired to be artists more than to be in a marriage.
I or Hans had to take credit to pay apartment and groceries. And, when we had enough money, we had a feeling like we were together for a long time, so we could not bother. Anyway, I do not tell any of these reasons.
Sometimes, people ask if I like weddings. In fact, I adore weddings, and that strange mixture of religion, pageantry, government amazes me. It feels like a theatre, but there are real people.
I have attended many weddings, seen the white dresses, the word the bridesmaid dress, smelled the roses, and I have never caught the bouquet. In fact, I have done a lot of things around weddings.
I have been an accountant for 13 years, and he is my second most important relationship. We were having a conversation about whether I should get married or not. I said to him that I and Hans were together for too long.
My accountant said that there are always good reasons to get married. And, the reasons were: What would happen when I die? And, what would happen if I fell ill and then die?
One day, when I and Hans were coming back from Japan, one customs agent was angry because we used the same suitcase while not being related. So, what could be done? Then, I began talking that when we were in college…
So, this thing that happened summarized the reason to be in a marriage. As a person gets older, there are many arguments with customs agents. Although I know this is true, I would not like to get married because I think it would feel as the last 21 years did not count.
Hans and I have had even four dogs together, we have traveled the world, we have cooked a lot of meals together. I have dedicated a few books to him. We have a life together, but we are not a married couple. And, in California means we are not even common-law married.
When we were not married for 15 years, and when we had a condo in New York, Hans woke up and looked through the window. He said that he thinks he was seeing Kristen Schaal. Her show, “The Flight of the Conchords”, was one of our favorites.
Then, we went for a walk with our dog, and we saw that the woman was not Kristen Schaal. So, every time we remember this it turns into a conversation, and it is funny to us.
We have friends that are now divorced, and they had been together just as long as we are. I thought they were happy. However, you cannot know what is happening between a couple.
When I asked how many percents is she happy, she said to me about 20. Then, a few weeks later, she said 2 percent.
I and Hans are happy most of the time. Of course, we have arguments, and they usually end with him saying that he is not a handyman.
So, maybe the secret to a long-lasting and happy marriage is to never be in an actual marriage. Anyway, there are married couples that are happy just as we are.
So, recently, one woman asked me about getting married and said to her that I and Hans were together for a long time, and probably we both do not believe in marriage. I felt smart after answering in this way.
The woman said that belief is for children. And, you know, she was right. Since we are together for more than 20 years, we must believe in marriage, and life is much better when shared with someone.
But, when I express myself as someone who does not believe in marriage, I mean that I have an understanding of the financial and legal stuff, but I do not believe that the law or the church would change how we feel for each other.
On the other hand, maybe it would change everything. When you are not married, you choose to be with each other every day. Otherwise, the law forces you to be. So, probably, the possibility of choosing is what makes one relationship good.
And, people who have happy marriages surely know about this.
When I wake up in the morning and see Hans, I know I love him. He is my choice every day. I have faith that I will be your forever, and you will be mine.
Source: New York Times