“If you want your marriage to be wonderful...”
Her smile deepened. “True marriage is a love so big that no one else can even see it – and so big that you and your lover can’t see anything else. But it’s little things accumulating every day that make it so big, and sometimes it’s the tiniest things of all that let you see the whole.
“You can always spot the unhappy couples, because they’re always squabbling, especially when they’re pretending not to. And you can just feel the happy couples, because their love for each other seems to cascade over everything. But you can never be sure, when you see any particular object or incident, if what you’re looking at is just a jar of instant coffee, or if it’s a little episode in a decades-long act of love between two people who really know how to make love with each other...”
She pulled her dog up into her lap. “I like that. I like it in my own marriage, but I like to think that way when I see other people: This all looks so mundane and pedestrian to me, but that’s only because I can’t see all the secret love-making going on in the seemingly-meaningless details. I know my own life is much richer than anyone else could guess. How much don’t I know about other people’s lives? How were they rescued from despair by something too small for anyone else to notice...?
“The world is just out there. ‘Happy’ or ‘sad’ are ideas you impose on it. Some days it rains and some days it freezes, but how you take it really is up to you, don’t you think? And if the two of you want for your marriage to be wonderful – enduringly, soul-enrichingly beautiful every day – that’s easy. All you have to do is make love in every way you can imagine.” She laughed and the whole world was redeemed by the sound.
“Greg Swann has insights into emotion on levels that really make you think. He can pluck that one annoying gray hair with pinpoint accuracy. He is a philosopher of sorts and he says and does what philosophers do. He shakes you to the bone, bumps your cup and lets you see what spills out. You see what you see and he sees what he sees. I’ll bet they are dramatically similar and extraordinarily different.” –Jeff Price
This is a book of books. Mine is a life of books. Not a life of bookishness, but a life of listening and learning, and then, ideally, leaving behind me a better map than the one I got lost – and then found – with.
The book I end with is the beginning and ending of everything for me, my map-of-maps, Man Alive! Go read it. It’s free. My books Sun City and The Unfallen are robustly glossed here, and this entire volume can be read as a companion to Father’s Day: More married. More husband. More father. More man. I am hauling marriage back from the abyss, and I’m showing you why you should be doing the same in your own marriage.
But this is a book of ‘us,’ too, of my best-beloved and me. It’s our anniversary – our happiest one yet. If you want to hear how we-never-had-a-fight, you want to read about some other couple. But we made it here – to the love you relished here, the love you’ve always wanted – we made it, by joyous effort every day, Cathleen by unstinting faith, me by indefatigable reason. Here’s an anniversary gift for you from the two of us: If you want your marriage to work, work at it.
This is a love worth living. This is a love worth grailing for. This is a love worth living up to.
on our wedding anniversary
July 4th, 2014