They tell me that the hardest thing to do is take the first step, or ask the first question, or write the first line. So now that I’m on my second line of writing I can now say that I have passed this mind-boggling soul-wrenching test. So let’s now move on with this then.
My eldest is twenty-two and the youngest is seventeen. Does that tell you anything? Yes—that I am twenty-two years married--and no, because what else you may want to know is safely stacked up somewhere in my mind away from curious and prying eyes. But.... I’ve got news for you… it is safe no more. You see I have children who will travel this same road one day and I have decided to put up road signs to acquaint them with the territory. Yet I venture out with a wee bit of apprehension least I be saying too much or too little. Yet after giving it some thought, I have come to the conclusion that if I was to err—I’d rather err on the side of truth. A good stack of information is still a good stack of information and could very well serve as a well of learning for interested souls whoever they may be. By the way, this is not about me--- this is about – "road signs!"
People marry for a variety of reasons. Some out of convenience or circumstance but most do for the universal thing called ‘love’-- where it all begins and continue up to the point they decide to take the ‘plunge’. Then the usual trappings of a ceremony take place followed by a romantic honeymoon somewhere in the Caribbean, Hong Kong, or Shangri-la Hotel. That’s the short story of it— the long story… well, it’s just beginning. Time does not wait for anyone no matter how much you’d rather stay where so much magic has been spun for you. Time is a hard-driving taskmaster. Ready or not, he gets you moving down that road. And soon enough bills and babies fill up your days. Change now becomes your bedmate. Subtle changes often hit you where you least expect it. The bigger changes, on the other hand, get you reeling with life-altering issues as serious illness, separation, job loss, and death.
I have this close-knit group of friends which gather occasionally for harmless girl-talk. The chat would run through all current issues of the day and a bit of sensational trivia of famous people’s lives. But talk almost always would zero down on bugs in marriage. Ha-ha, they compared notes as to who had the most bugs.
Was it always like that? Heck no, they’d chorus; they remember being in love— the bouquet of red roses, the box of chocolates, the whispered sweet nothings, the love songs, the romantic dinner dates (painstakingly punctual, too), the sharing of things—trivia or not (everything was labeled ‘ours’).
The ladies chimed in to say ‘so sweet and perfect!’ So then what happened? Here’s what they said…. ‘-- We got married! That’s what!’ The flowers and chocolates stopped.’; ‘Doesn’t notice my new hair or dress.’; ‘Thinks love songs corny.’; ‘We don’t talk anymore—won’t listen either.’; ‘Walks several steps ahead of me like I had leprosy.’ ;‘He growls like hell when I’m a minute late.’; ‘He’s always late.’; He’s so rude and inconsiderate.’; ‘Hands over to me his case or coat like I was his personal butler.’; ‘Doesn’t ask my opinion on important issues in the home.’; ‘He is always right and I always wrong.’; ‘Money is almost always his. Not ours.’; ‘Blames me for anything that goes wrong in the home.’; ‘Doesn’t respect my decision.’; ‘Ignores my friends.’; ‘Forgets birthdays and anniversaries.’; ‘Leaves the house anytime he wants to-- saying nothing at all.’
‘True colors; it’s only a matter of time’, they chorused.
Nope, maybe those were road signs. Just wasn’t looking hard enough; ignored the road signs when it came. That can’t be too hard to miss. Inconsistencies mark the road signs well. But if one chose to hold on to the dream-- an illusion or mirage woven out of chocolates and moonbeams-- looking at marriage through pink-colored glasses-- certainly one would miss even the slightest hint until it’s too late. Something got lost down the road --and nobody’s retrieving. Somebody’s causing hurt and pain --yet nobody’s saying I’m sorry. So where do you go from there?
Take a look at this-- take a lopsided vehicle on a long trip. Sure enough you may come across bumpy roads and too the view could become boring after awhile. But your car doggedly sputters along and you hang on suffering the bumps you get along with it. Then something snaps, you finally decide you’d had enough of this crater-stricken road, now aching for relief, you try another road which you think will be much better. True enough, the different road and landscape does engage your attention and feeling quite comfortable with it makes you very happy. But then --your car starts sputtering again. Again! Could it be then that the marriage was—a sputtering lopsided vehicle that would still sputter no matter the kind of road you take?
Did you miss something? Were you paying attention to the road signs? A bumpy journey is not mainly because of the bad roads. It could also mean your car may not be in good shape. We get ‘road signs’ in life wherever we find ourselves in. Marriage is no exception. But what to do with it – is solely a decision to be made by you. Nobody will and can decide that for you. It’s just you. Yet--- I believe that no decision can ever be strictly labeled as good or bad. Because the heart may have reasons the mind does not know. Who’s to tell?! Yup, a wise man said that long ago. Well still, take heed the road signs in life… cause the life you may be saving may be your own. Yup, somebody said that too long time ago.
Well, my friends moved on with their lives. Made decisions only their hearts knew. But this time they have “turned down the car windows and began looking at the road signs as they journeyed on.” Nobody knows how their stories are going to end. I don’t. We friends still meet ; nobody’s talking about it. So nobody’s asking--Mercifully. That’s what makes friendships beautiful, I guess ….knowing when to talk, when to listen, and when to be silent.
But do yourself a favor, take heed the road signs in your life.
posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 12:23 PM