“We really don’t have anything in common, do we?”
When I get that question from Mir, there are only two choices to make – run away or face the music. This is one I usually face, mainly because for me it’s a non-issue. There are a number of ways I can react to that question.
I can agree with her.
I can disagree with her.
I can laugh at her. Mock her.
I can be offended by what her statement may be implying.
Mir and I are not alone with this dilemma. A friend told me recently how she and her husband also wrestle with the same question, her own husband asking the same question. My gut tells me that this is an issue most couples experience at one time or another durng the course of a marriage. More often than not, I hear it from someone who is going through a rough period with their spouse or. even worse, a separation or divorce. At this point in my life, I have heard it for the latter reason more often than I care to hear it. In that context, the question is usually followed or preceded by “I am not sure I still love you or have ever loved you.”. Oh my.
And that is what makes that question a scary proposition. In a way, it is an expression of resignation.
In my own marriage, what has changed? Essentially nothing has changed except for the passage of time and the infusion of children into the mix of our relationship. Mir has been asking me this same question as long as I can remember. Twenty some years she has been posing that same question to me. Why?
We are different. Duh. I think you and I, oh blog person, have had this conversation before.
When she looks at me today, does she still see me as she did some twenty years ago? Is she able to do that, see the man whose touch once made her clothes fall off? Am I not that same man?
In the beginning, it did not matter that we are different from each other. That was part of the attraction. The attraction was what we had in common.
I think back to the very beginning.
Our second date, after I had cooked dinner for her and took her to a movie, a night that was simply a night to experience each other in a very polite, stress free way. I liked her. She was different than most of the girls I had dated, her expectation only to get to know me, a very relaxing escape from the sex charged encounters that had preceded her. That was what I wanted. And we had that in common. So I asked her to do something out of her comfort zone, which was to meet me at Waterfall Glen, a local forest preserve, at sun up. That was easy for me, not so easy for her. We walked together in the pristine quiet of a crisp October morning, and I asked her if I could hold her hand. As we walked hand in hand, I learned to really like her. She smiled. She laughed. She liked me. And we enjoyed breakfast together. It was a perfect morning.
Our third date was an adventure outside of Chicagoland, to Starved Rock State Park for a picnic lunch. I decided to test her tastes in music on the way there by putting what was an obscure artist to some in my car stereo, Larry Norman. She cooed as she heard the music, and sang the lyrics she knew well. Oh my. I loved that. We shared our lunch on a crisp sunny afternoon. I asked her if I could kiss her there, in the sun next to the river at the park, and we lost ourselves in the most wonderful kisses either of us ever have experienced. The trails at Starved Rock never saw two people more in love. That was the day that changed both of our lives.
Until our children were born. Lord, did that change our lives. Two reminders of who we are. Constantly.
But we have nothing in common.,,
Except for that house that we so carefully chose together.
Or the faith that has always seemed to define our relationship.
Tijuana. Houses built there. With our children and friends.
Prayers that our son will survive through school.
Countless conversations about the boys who our red haired daughter attracts.
Holding her hand while the doctor tells her what is about to happen to that child she thought she was carrying in her womb.
Playing catch for the two children she did.
Holding her hand and the hands of her six sisters who surrounded the bed of her mother as her mother breathed her last breath.
Comforting my brother together as he mourned the news that his soon to be ex wife delivered to him.
Warm satisfaction as we cuddled in front of our fireplace after a Christmas dinner for two.. and what followed that.
Laughing and working together with our first child, a black and tan welsh terrier, a handsome yet challenging imp of a first child.
We have nothing in common. Nothing. Nada.