Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Anniversaries

I celebrated two anniversaries yesterday – celebrated, that is, in the sense of "did not exactly notice until today." On a happy note, yesterday was the one-week anniversary of this blog (marked by an extremely exciting burst of comments by new visitors to the land of Bub and Pie – a "burst" in the sense of "two new comments," or "double my previous record of comments"). On a somewhat less happy note, yesterday marked what would have been the thirteenth anniversary of my marriage to the Wrong Man (for me) (a parenthesis I can add now after the passage of years has left me willing to acknowledge that there may be someone for whom a commitment-phobic, chronically unfaithful man is actually quite suitable). It has been almost eight years since that marriage blew apart – I almost wrote "fell apart," but that implies something gradual, accidental, regrettable, as opposed to a sudden conflagration after five years of steady, workaday unhappiness.

So my marriage blew apart and exactly ten days later, I met the Right Man, Bub and Pie’s father, so unjustly maligned as an emotionless robot in a recent post for which my only excuse can be that my mother raised me to believe that people who exaggerate are more interesting. It was a Thanksgiving weekend, and my best friend had rushed home from Ottawa to ply me with chocolate and Janis Joplin and to get me out of the house. I was still subsisting at that point on a diet of milkshakes and mashed potatoes, but we went out to a bar and grill where I choked down a few french fries, and my best friend’s boyfriend, ever the multi-tasker, decided to bring his best friend along. (Yes, in the manner of Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, we managed to marry best friends, though not, unfortunately, to live in stately Darbyshire manor houses.) The only thing I really remember through my grief-induced haze that night is a conversation about the Myers-Briggs personality types. Hubby is an INTJ, a personality type that I have concluded, after much study, is the best match for my INFJ personality (and a vast improvement over my previous INFJ/ESTP mismatch). The MBTI aside, what hubby conveyed over the following months as he faithfully showed up wherever I might reasonably be expected to be, with insightful comments on any book I happened to mention reading, were the traits I still love: calm, analytical intelligence and dry humour. I have always thought of him as a Mr. Darcy without the money – a mix between Colin Firth’s arrogant intensity and the shy, almost bumbling Darcy of the recent Keira Knightley film.

To borrow John Donne’s metaphor, I think that romantic relationships invariably resemble compasses, with one fixed and one moving arm. The key to relationship bliss is to know which arm you want to be: Hubby is the fixed emotional point, calm, steady, utterly trustworthy, a rock in the storm of my occasionally turbulent emotions. In my previous marriage, I had to be the stable one, the impulse-restrainer (some might say stifler) – not a role I perform with grace. The moving arm can be many things – emotional, flamboyant, extraverted, funny, adventurous – while the fixed arm enjoys the opportunity to look on from a position of security and sometimes superiority. I was always a bit bemused when my fixed-arm friends indicated that what they wanted in a man was "someone who makes me laugh." I’m often uncomfortable around really funny men; what I wanted is someone who would laugh at my jokes. What I got was even better – someone with whom I have accumulated a thousand absurd inside jokes (the lamest of which involves the term "Dutch oven"), someone with whom I can find laughter even in the midst of disagreement, who can laugh at me and laugh at himself. Indeed I am truly blessed.

4 comments:

Marla said...

We have a "Dutch car" joke. It is what you think it is.

sunshine scribe said...

Happy Anniversary. Both to your blog and to the brave realization that your first marriage was wrong for you. That is worth a celebration ... especially since its "blowing apart" ultimately gave you Bub and Pie :)

gingajoy said...

happy week-a-versary! I am wife #2 for my hubs too, and I met him when he was still married (but separated, thankyouverymuch). so amny people warn about "rebounding" after a bad relationship, but our stories show that timing is never that perfect.

it's our tenth anniversary this august (cripes!)

metro mama said...

Happy Anniversary!

I almost married the wrong man in my twenties (I called it off in the nick of time). I was the fixed arm then. Now I'm the moving arm--it's so much nicer being the moving arm!