• August 6, 2019

30 Years to Life: Lessons & Tales from A Crazy Marriage

30 Years to Life: Lessons & Tales from A Crazy Marriage

30 Years to Life: Lessons & Tales from A Crazy Marriage 900 600 Stacey Robbins
30 Years to Life: Lessons & Tales from A Crazy Marriage 1

Life is never boring.

Not for us, anyway…

Because today, August 6th, Rock and I are married 30 years.

We’ve had times when we didn’t know HOW we were going to carry on
And we’ve had times when we didn’t know IF we were going to carry on.

Sometimes, it’s been hairy.

We’ve gone through health stuff and finance stuff,
Moving
And jobs gained, jobs lost stuff…

We’ve gained spirituality
Lost religion
And walked away from family and friends
Who acted more like enemies than advocates.

We’ve raised kids
And raised each other
All while raising (and losing and regaining) ourselves.

We’ve always been affectionate
And generally kind
And made beautiful music together.

If I had to share anything that could be helpful to anyone else, I would say…

Communication is your friend.

But when you’re healing through a hard time, sometimes another long, intense conversation doesn’t always help.

Sometimes it’s a shared experience:
Like walking on the jetty, or going to an arcade,
A comedy club, or a movie

Some place where you get a chance for the hand that’s sitting in your lap
To find its way over the arm rest between the two of you and give a squeeze to the hand of the one you’ve been angry with.

Sometimes it’s the silent act of your bodies finding each other in the middle of the night and making love
As an expression of the deep connection that you share, beyond the hurt that feels unresolved and “in process.”

We always told the couples we counseled
that it’s so important to stay connected in the bedroom.
Because once you step away
Or use that sacred thing that only you two share,
As a punishment and withholding against the other one,
The wedge between you can get bigger
And then it’s really hard to want to be that vulnerable and intimate again.

We’ve always stayed connected that way and been a “yes” to each other.

It’s part of our strength.

We are faithful to each other.

And grateful for each other.

We are polite.
We still stay please and thank you
And hold the door for each other.

He still holds my purse when it’s hurting my back
And his tongue when he’s really upset with me
And (though somewhat resentfully and awkwardly) still buys me maxi pads if I need them and forgot to time my trip to the market just right…

I’ve made mistakes… and so has he.

I’ve told him what I think he’s thinking
Instead of asking him what’s going on for him.
“Please don’t impute motives on me, Stacey.”
He’ll say with a sigh.

It’s hard not to when you’re hurt, but now I’m better at telling him what I think
And asking him what he thinks now that we’re both a little older.

It took some time.

I can be a little bit controlling.

(Just a little.
You know…

Sometimes.)

“Don’t work my side of the teeter-totter, Stacey.”

I have that tattooed on my brain all these years later…

Sigh.

He loves to dance with me
And touch me
And watch a funny comedian with me.


I don’t know the difference between ‘upload’ and ‘download’
And he knows that I don’t really want to
Even though he’s a tech guy who could teach it to me…

“Think of sending something ‘UP’ to a cloud, Stacey…”

I shake my head, “Please don’t explain this to me for the 40,000th time. My brain hurts and my left eye is getting a twitch.”

He gets me, even though he misses seeing me sometimes.
Just like I do with him.

We’ve both been patient with each other in different ways

Even though it’s made me crazy to deal with the laid back parts of him
That have at times been the ‘completely inactive’ parts of him…

… the truth is: We’ve both grown.

How could you not when you start the whole trip out when you’re 18 and 19 

and eloped just 2 years later?

But there was a key moment
When I knew that our relationship had shifted (or maybe it was just me)
When he put on a really cute shirt and he said, “I love this shirt on me.”

I said, “I know! It looks great on you! YOU picked it out — great job, honey!”

“No, I didn’t.” He said firmly, reworking the buttons,  “YOU’re the one who bought it.”

I looked at him quizzically,

“Noooo, it wasn’t me. It was YOU!”
And then he insisted again that it wasn’t.

All those years ago, I would have fought for credit for the good things,
And felt quite comfortable
Giving him credit for the bad.
But, at some point it stopped mattering so much to me and so I stopped keeping track.
I reached a point where I really understood

If he wins
Then,
I win
And
If I win
Then he wins.

And if we do that,
Then, we both win

And then,
Everybody wins.

And who really cares about winning a fight over a shirt
When there are so many more important things to fight over
Than that?

We still fight, by the way…

Well, it’s more of a disagreement
A loud disagreement
With ‘f’ bombs thrown in
And time-outs with separate walks on the pier
Followed by him walking in, seeing me and shaking his head in a gentle way, “You make me crazy, you know that?”
And comes closer to give a softer, sigh-ier kiss on my nose, “I love you, you nut…” And he pulls back and looks me in the eye, “… because you’re my nut.”

And me, being sassy, squinching my nose I say, “I’m still mad at you but, I’m sorry I was being a jerk even though YOU were being a jerk too, but I feel bad about MY jerkiness.”
And then, he laughs…
We have ‘those kinds’ of conversations

I told him before we got married,

“I’ll be committed for the first 60 years. After that I will strongly consider murder.”

He raised his eyebrows, considering the offer.

“Deal.” He said.

Those were our vows.

To love, honor, cherish… and not kill each other for at least 60 years.
And we’ve traveled halfway there in the most beautifully, messy, unceremonious ways — sort of like the old, scratched up but sturdy cars that we drive.

It’s not pretty but it runs well.

Our marriage, that is…

I told him one morning as I woke up, feeling all googly and in love, throwing my unshaven leg over his,

“There is NO ONE I’d rather be bored with than you.”

I gazed at him with true amore and then realized what I had just said.

He turned to me and nodded in a mock serious way,
“That sounded better in your head… didn’t it, Stacey?”

I nodded sheepishly several times feeling like I was Meg Ryan playing some darling character in a Nora Ephron film and started getting too chatty, “It did. It really did. I didn’t mean to say that you were boring. I was saying that I even like the boring things with you, but it came out sounding wonky. But I really meant it as a compliment… “ I glanced up at him to catch the smile in his eyes, “I did.”

He kissed me on my forehead and pulled me to his chest, “Stasha… I knew that from the moment you said it.”

And I thought:
That’s really love:

When someone knows what you meant, even though you completely screwed it up.

Happy Anniversary, 30 years.

We’re doing a good job.

And I’m really proud of us.

30 Years to Life: Lessons & Tales from A Crazy Marriage 2

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