Engagement Ring

Engagement ring.

Wedding ring.

Suffering.

This was in a Carmel Pinecone newspaper columnist’s article (he’s a guy) about marriage. I am female and have never heard that before.

Is that how men look at marriage?  Or only the divorced or unhappy ones? I know that’s how my ex-husband saw it.

There’s a commercial on this month where the guy says he is a family man. I don’t know what the commercial is selling.  Cars?  Insurance?  Hot dogs? At any rate, it got me to thinking that a marriage is probably going to be as successful as the marriages of the couple’s parents. It’s all about role modeling. Did the guy or gal see how a functional marriage worked? Or did he or she see unresolved conflict, parents living as roommates more than partners, or some other sort of dysfunctional dynamic?

I worry that my own children won’t want to get married (except the oldest. She’s already engaged).

Marriage is tough, especially when the two individuals have their own circles of friends that do not intersect.  Thus was the case for us. My husband had his work friends, and I, a stay-at-home mom with a traveling husband, had my own. Very seldom did my husband and I do things with other couples. I remember one evening when we did, and on our way home this is what he said:

“You might as well give up on them.  I’m never going to like that guy.”

Wow!  I had made an effort to get the four of us together, and that was the feedback.

My ex didn’t initiate double dates with any of his friends. I do remember being scolded by his friend’s wife once when I brought an appetizer to their party.

“I don’t need that,” she said, as she stuck it in her freezer. “I didn’t ask you to bring anything.”

Wow!  It felt like a slap in the face.

Another time I showed up at a black-tie function in a street-length outfit, poor me, an Iowa school teacher, who did not know the rules of the big city events. No, my husband did not offer to buy me a dress for it. No, I did not feel comfortable in my homemade, albeit it lovely, shimmery skirt and matching blouse.

As long as we’re griping here, I will never forget the black-tie event in San Francisco where I did have on a long velvet dress.  I had gotten my hair done, I had on extra make-up, and I was wearing uncomfortable heels. In the first hour there, a guy who worked with my husband introduced his fiancée to us, and I admired her ring and congratulated them on their upcoming wedding. Then my husband and father of our three children said this:

“Why would ANYONE want to be married?”

My husband horrified the woman, stifled her fiancé, and humiliated me all in one breath.  Was it the alcohol talking?  After that, the rest of the evening was a bust.   I was so hurt, and he was oblivious to what he had done wrong.

That was the last company Christmas party I attended with him.

Looking back, I realize he probably didn’t even know he’d expressed his thoughts out loud. The man had a stressful job, and he stuffed down everything, sharing nothing. He drank his problems away.

I hope that not all men feel the same way as the Carmel columnist and my ex-husband. I see healthy, functional marriages all around me, and they look like a lot of fun.

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