Commenter BurgoFitzgerald, in particular, has inspired much discussion here with his (just guessing here, BurgoFitzgerald; feel free to correct the gender) recent remarks amid anniversary congratulations:
I loved the fact that you didn't go on and on about how hard marriage is and how much compromise is involved and how there are days when you just want to walk away from the whole she-bang. I am sure all of that can be true about marriage in general, but for once, it was wonderful to read a post that didn't bring anything of that up let alone put an emphasis on it.BurgoFitzgerald has performed several kind services here: given lovely congratulations, paid an elegant compliment, been witty in the combox, and provided us with a platform from which to pontificate on marriage, which we dearly love to do. Thank you, BurgoFitzgerald!
...These days there are many married couples who, I suppose, in an attempt to be kind will go on and on about how marriage is often a Bataan death march that is filled with aggravation and back breaking work. It just smacks as either insincere and condescending or indicative of two idiots who engaged in absolutely no discernment before they chained themselves together in a domestic version of The Octagon. Comments to singles by bloggers who have recently married that point out that singles don't think about how married people have an entirely separate vale of tears: burying a spouse and infertility, well, these just ring as hollow as well.
Whenever a married person tells me how "smart" or how "lucky" I am to still be single? I suppose that says a great deal more about how so many people approach and view marriage.
I, for one, am here to tell you, dear readers: there has never been a day, not once in my marriage, when I felt that marriage was a burden or a hardship. Everything I do is better and richer for being done with Darwin. Every part of my life is brighter for being shared with him. We have never fought, never sparred or insulted or skirmished or accused, and I can count on one hand the times we've experienced the briefest of coldnesses or silences in our fourteen year relationship. Any conflict is external, never internal; circumstances do not touch the core of our unity.
Some of this may be a function of our personalities. We are very similar, and do not thrive on conflict. Neither of us have any history to overcome or legacy of sinful relationship interactions over which we reproach ourselves. We share strong religious, moral, and intellectual convictions, which give us a solid foundation on which to build a secure and prolific family life. Incorporated into the bedrock of our marriage are the basic manners and etiquette that ease all social interactions, and to which spouses are even more entitled than friends, co-workers, or complete strangers. Enriching this etiquette is the familiarity which breeds confidence, not contempt. And this confidence is expressed not in using the other person as a secure dumping ground for daily frustrations or existential irritation, but in sparing the other as much as possible from both small annoyances of daily life and the vagaries of mood or whim.
Many people would claim that this too is a description of their marriage, and yet I'm often appalled by the condescension, the sharpness and sniping, and the petty or childish behavior that I witness in even the most committed of spouses. And if this is the public face, what must the private life be like? One speaks from the fullness of one's heart.
And so, from the fullness of my heart, I say: I can't imagine a better life than the one I've had these past ten years. I don't know anything about being married to anyone else, but there's no one else I'd rather share every moment with, whether good or bad, than Darwin.