Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Honeymoon Is Over

This was originally from my CM journal on 12-09-08. Apologies if you've already seen it! Since it's 1:00 AM and I'm not feeling very creative, I thought I'd just throw this up for now. It still makes ME choke up when I read it! lol

I was having a good soak in the bathtub one night last week when a certain phrase popped into my head. "Looks like the honeymoon is over." I have always been mystified by it. What exactly does that mean? It's always stated by some smirking, middle-aged, married person with a misery-loves-company face. As if he or she is pleased to see that detestable marital bliss finally go out the window. Hah! Now the two of you can hate eachother, pick apart every flaw, and make snide and demeaning comments over dinner. Welcome to the club!

What kind of an outlook is that? These people think that everyone goes through a "phase" where they actually like one another. Then that goes down the crapper and "real" marriage begins. The chore called holy matrimony.

If you knew going into a relationship, a union of such monumental proportions, that it was going to be like that, why would you do it? I certainly wouldn't. And yet I hear that phrase tossed around everywhere. I ask Bryan to go get one last thing out of the car after he's already made three trips. He rolls his eyes and huffs as he grabs the keys. Uncle Bob chuckles and says, "Oh-ho! Looks like the honeymoon's over, eh, kids?" Yes. Because Bryan's annoyed by repetition and wasted effort, we now see our true selves and hate one another. Are you kidding me?

Maybe Unlce Bob is just using the phrase incorrectly. So what would it actually mean for the honeymoon to be over? Most people these days date for a long time before getting engaged. Then they're engaged for a couple years, because weddings are too elaborate to be planned quickly any more. Chances are, the couple has lived together for months if not years before sharing a last name. That gah-gah moonstruck period of initial infatuation is long gone. "Puppy love," my Grandma calls it. I get that that part ends. Thank God, right? Mushy gushy, do-no-wrong couples make me want to hurl. They're like one of those MTV reality shows where everything is fake and scripted. No one is buying it, and I don't want to watch. So is this the "honeymoon" people are talking about? If it is, then yeah, Bob's not using the phrase appropriately. We're long past that.

I've been waiting. For over five years now, I've been waiting for that matrimonial foot to drop. The curtains to open. The scales to be removed from my eyes. (Side tangent - what the hell are scales doing in eyes anyway? The Apostle Paul has some explaining to do.) One of these days I'll wake up and understand what everyone is talking about. And that's what I thought had finally happened the other day in the tub.

I had decided to take a bath shortly before the time Bryan got home from work. As it got closer and closer to his normal ETA, I came up with a plan. Instead of getting out and ready for bed, I'd just linger a little longer. He'd wonder where I was and find me naked and warm, nonchalantly posed while reading my book. Oh, hello, dear. Are you home already? Oops, are those my breasts peeking out of the water? It was a great plan.

I heard him unlock the front door and come in, and hurried to cross my legs. Gotta play coy.
I heard rustling around as he took off his boots and set his wallet on the counter. Footsteps. More footsteps. Ok, now he's making a bottle for if the baby wakes up in the night. And now the TV is on. Well, he'll notice soon. That's what I thought, but nope. I sat in that bath until things began to wrinkle that I didn't even know were capable of it. Now freezing, I dragged myself out of the water and headed up to the bedroom. I shot a glare over at him, sitting there on the couch with a dumb grin on his face over some comedian, as I went past. Now I get it. Now I know what it means. This sucks! Our honeymoon really is over.

But then I paused for just a second to look again. There was my handsome man slumped into the cushions. Even though he was smiling, his face looked so worn out. I'd been sick all week, so he'd taken on the middle of night feeding and morning chores all by himself. That's on top of working, commuting three hours a day, paying the bills, and chopping wood to heat our house. Could I really blame the guy for collapsing when he got home at 1:00 in the morning?

Come to think of it, this is actually a lot like our real honeymoon. Our Big Day followed a crazy, emotional year for me. My parents' divorced was finalized the month before we got married. Planning had been filled with so many awkward situations, so many disputes. There was a budget that dwindled every day, but a guest list that kept growing. I had a maid-of-honor that lived on the other side of the country, an MIA mother, and a collection of girlfriends who were concentrating on high school finals. I don't think I need to go into details about the wedding day itself. It was wonderful despite all, but still...longest day of my life.

Our honeymoon in Mexico was beautiful. We swam in the ocean, we explored Mayan ruinas, we shopped and stayed up all night just to take advantage of our resort's 24-hour pizza bar. We even took a bus, to a cab, to a dirt road, and then walked three miles just to get back to a gorgeous deep lagoon where we could snorkel all by ourselves. But as charming and lovely as it all was, I was still in some sort of shock and still feeling the pressure. I had to put on a sexy new negligee every night. What kind of losers wouldn't blow the roof off each night of their honeymoon? One night I came out of the bathroom and climbed into bed and just started bawling. Four nights before, I had been snuggled in bed one last time with my little sisters. That night I had options. I could live at home and keep going to community college, I could go off to a university, I could live with friends, I could even get married if I wanted to. But that night in Mexico it dawned on me that the options were all gone. Happy or not, this was my new life FOREVER.

My new husband, himself going through the same drastic changes, held me close and told me it was all going to be alright. We were going to be happy. We would take care of each other always, whatever new adventures life threw in our path. He even told me I could go off to college and stay in a dorm if that's what I wanted - he wasn't going anywhere. Surrounded by his strong arms and calm reassurance, I just let all the pressure and frustration and trepidation that had been building for so long pour out of me in a storm of tears. I cried until I was a clean slate, a happily blank page inside, and drifted off to sleep nestled against Bryan's chest. It was by far the best night of the trip.

Looking at my failed seduction and the weary guy across the room, I had to admit I'd been wrong. Our honeymoon wasn't over. We were still scared, struggling, flawed little children trying to figure this whole thing out. And I knew that when we crawled into bed in a little while, I would pull Bryan close to me and hold him and thank him for all he does. And as we drifted into sleep together, I knew that this kind of honeymoon would never end.

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