Marriage and Writing

One of my friends posted an article on facebook about what marriage is. The author gets all Christian about it, but the point I found interesting is that he said the goal of marriage is not necessarily to be happy, but rather to grow into a more whole person. What I liked abut it was that he addressed the nitty gritty; not the “you complete me” bullshit, but rather the day to day business of living together and being partners. He talked about how learning to deal with the truly irritating parts of living with the person you love teaches you about sacrifice, compromise, and becoming a more thoughtful human being. Also, the process of coming to terms with the parts of yourself that truly irritate your partner can make you either divorced or drive you to work on your less than perfect traits.

I went to therapy because of my partner. I had been grouchy, angry, and unsettled before. But I had always been able to retreat into the bedroom of my shared apartment and didn’t need to explain myself, necessarily, to my roommates. I didn’t always like living with myself, but I coped. But DP was having problems with living with my explosive, needy self, and he wasn’t ready to just put up with it. He wanted me to do something about it. It took me a while, but I did.

DP is a fantastic reader of my work. He cuts right through my bullshit. He deletes words that need to be deleted. The first month we were dating, I gave him a poem to read. He cut the first three lines and handed it back. The poem got published the following month.

The book takes me away from DP, and away from my friends. But of course DP is a writer too. Theoretically he should be able to engage with my work. But DP does not like The Fucker. He does not like creative nonfiction. He does not like it when I cry. He does not like it that I am depleted at the end of the day. He does not like it that I might stay home and write Saturday morning rather than going out to breakfast.

I’m fine when he tells me that an image doesn’t work, that I need to explain something further, or rework a paragraph. “I don’t really like nonfiction,” however, sends me spiraling, spitting right over the edge.

Will your marriage survive your fucker? Are you glad not to be all shacked up so you can get the fucker done? Would it be easier if someone rubbed your feet and brought you a cocktail in the evening?

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8 responses to “Marriage and Writing

  1. Getting married and starting out with 2 kids, 365 days a year, taught me many a lesson. I was a stepchild, and suddenly I was a stepmother. I can hardly list the number of things this taught me, but I’ll share this. The more positive I was, the better things went. There’s no room in the house for a stepmother to run around yelling and screaming and barking orders — this is how you become the Evil Stepmother. This applied to the marriage part of things as well. We’ve never been a fighting or arguing couple and this continues now that the kids are grown and gone.

    My husband reads way more than me and, thankfully, appreciates and reads both fiction and nonfiction. And besides me, there’s nobody who’d like to see me finish this fucker more than he would.

  2. I have tried—am trying, every day—to pretend it doesn’t hurt that my husband won’t read any of my stuff. Not even the blog, which is like 250 words a couple of times a week and intensely personal. I can’t help but feel a message is being exchanged between the two of us and it’s getting through on this end loud and clear.

    • I quit asking my husband to read my stuff when I asked him to read a story I was sending out, and he took it, sat down, and turned on the TV.

      I quit bothering him about it altogether when a story of mine placed third in a local contest, which meant reading it during a festival thing, and when my MIL offered to watch the kids he said, “I’m not teaching a class, so I’ll be home.”

  3. It’s taken a long time for my husband to value my creative side but I believe he’s finally a fan. It matters that he’s interested. Sure, he’s a kick ass editor and I reap the benefits of that skill but his interest/support makes me feel less alone in the experience.

  4. Timely post. Sometimes I wish my partner was a writer, or at least an enthusiast. Alas, words are not part of his skill set. When I agreed to shack up 4lyfe, I had to bury my desire for that connection in the yard. Sometimes — many times — it rises from its grave to haunt me.

    Simply having a writerly connection isn’t always a pleasurable situation, though, as you have shown.

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