This, above all:

This, above all: To be God's best for The Coach and for Anna

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Getting along

A while ago The Coach asked me to pray with him. He prayed for our friend M, whose marriage is a step-yes, step-no non-union; for her little son, A, who at six thinks that by hating his father he is loving his mother; for grace in fulfilling our calling—that is his term for his coaching and my writing, bless him; and for the child/children we desire (whenever he starts praying for twins, I silently add a little caveat: Lord, when in Your most gracious will, You answer his prayer, please grant the resources and the strength to raise—gulp—twins).

Then he prayed for us, for our relationship. “Panginoong Diyos,” he said, “we don’t have a perfect marriage. But…” and then he semi-laughed, so faint I could discern it only from the way his voice rose and fell in slight singsong, “…we get along.”

A few hours before, while he was trying to earn brownie points by washing the dishes he should’ve done waaaaaay earlier, he had mentioned how many of our laugh-out-loud times are fun only to us and don’t elicit as much amusement from others, when shared. I thought maybe he was referring to those fun times when he was praying, but now I think he was truly, honestly grateful, and perhaps a little surprised, that we get along—in spite of.

Getting along 24/7 is incredibly difficult, even when you love the other. The very things that you used to consider cute in the other could be the very same things that exasperate you no end. It takes enormous strength not to nag a spouse (The Coach) to please put the dirty clothes in the hamper, as well as enormous grace to forgive an erring but unrepentant partner (me) who still doesn’t know how to say sorry. Little things—like not jiggling the flush handle a couple of times to stop the water closet from continuously flushing water (me) or forgetting to water the plants (The Coach; his classic line: What? We have a plant?)—could start a war. It is unbelievably easy to fan a spark of irritation into an inferno simply by hurling grand generalizations that start with, “You never…” or “You always…” Dangerous ipse dixits that attack the person instead of the fault or omission can escalate, and before you know it, one will end up sleeping on the couch, while the other tosses and turns in bed, pretending she (all right, me) is justified in locking the door. (That’s why you gotta believe them truisms printed onto mugs. For a time I sported a drink holder that read: Marriage is the only war where you sleep with the enemy.)

Getting along takes the right combination of and timing for blindness and deafness, perhaps more so for The Coach, since I can be quite crabby, PMS or no, and veer annoyingly to the dramatic. If, say, he were to ask me where the key to our inadvertently locked bedroom is kept, I simply wouldn’t tell him where it is: I have to lean my head to my left, tap my fingers on my cheek, one after the other, look up to the ceiling and say not so nicely, “Hmmm. If I were to die, say, right now, then you’d have to break down the door to get your pants so you won’t be in your boxers when the guys from the morgue arrive to pick me up.” Oh, I can be so annoying, even to me.

But The Coach has learned to just snort at my affectations (as well as know what items are stored in the utility room), even before I learned not to carry over into our home any dramatizations that should remain in my writing. I just zip my lip. And somehow we get along.


Ree said...

hahaha. i so agree--it can be annoying to live with me too. all that drama and emotion! the hubby says it's the weirdness of being a writer.

but i also agree that marriage is a hard thing to be good at--but it's so worth the effort.

oh, and we're praying for twins too! a boy and a girl :D and yes, the provision, strength, grace and PATIENCE to raise godly twins.

Ree said...

oh--and also, the hubby and i think that we're the only ones amused by certain things too. people usually just find us weird. hehe.

Pinoy Traveler said...

Hello Ms. Janet,
I happened to just stray along into your blog and got hooked! I like to hear that you have such a wonderful romantic married life to this date. I am sure the coach is as happy as you.

I am also intrigued that you seem to have switched from being a "blabber" (lawyer) to an equally intelligent "pencil-pusher" (writer). Your writings are inspiring! Do keep on! I also have attempted to jot my mind on a blog and I guess I could use your very personal kind of writing.


Alimango said...

I can't believe that, young as I am, I already envy you and the difficult (and sweet) life you talk about here. [Sigh.] :)


janet said...

Ree: Oh, yeth, you and I are the weird ones. Love is definitely not a many-splendor thing; it's more like that moon hitting your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore, yeah.

Noypi: Thanks for your kind words. :) I will tell my lawyer friends that to you, they are merely blabbers, heh. Should be enough to blow their bubble. Write on!

Gelo!!!!! My favorite young artist, you. *hug* Gotta tell you, though, Jo and I had awful, bad times too. We almost quit each other, oh, about 20 zillion times?

sairo said...

janet! yknow, you & the coach are one of the reasons i now believe marriage can actually work. more pics to come in my blog! i just need to catch up on my sleep.

janet said...

Hey Sands. Thanks. =) And for the MoMA birthday card! Been hounding sairo-in-a-skirt daily--beautiful pics, particularly that one of you by the fountain. Loved the Hogwartsy buildings. Very old world, no?

Imee said...

What a nice sharing of your self, this blog site that you have created! I know I have not been in touch with you for a long time but every time I touch base with you, I learn something new. I can now relate with every word you said, how it is to be so in love and involved with someone, how it is to share the same space with that person, what it takes to nurture that love and take it to the next level, knowing fully well that nothing is permanent in this life, that "love" is a moment by moment choice, a work in progress, a journey not a destination. It is what we become in the process of love that makes love a worthwhile experience. Thank you for your beautiful insights! They are nourishing to my soul at this time in my life.

janet said...

Hi Imes. You said it. Hugs..

sairo said...

been so busy this week, still haven't uploaded photos. actually, busy shopping at insa-dong, hahaha. we're going to stay at a temple this week. wheee!