Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What makes a marriage work?

Hell, I don't know. I've been married for almost three decades and it's still a wonder that two people can go through all the shit life shovels at you and remain happy partners.

Marriage is a mystery.

And yet, conservatives like Newt Gingrich and John Ensign insist they know what makes a good marriage and that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman. But if Newt Gingrich and John Ensign haven't destroyed that narrow concept of marriage, I don't think two guys tying the knot in Carrboro is going to shake the foundations of matrimony any harder than Newt's serial marriages or John Ensign's infidelity.

In case you have a life and haven't been following the latest sex scandal, John Ensign (R-Weaseltown) is a conservative senator who is a member of the Promise Keepers. Promise Keepers is an organization that fills stadiums (stadia?) with right wing men who loudly and publicly declare their love for their wives, over and over and over.

There's a lot of Jesus talk in there, too, although even Jesus, who could walk on water and raise the dead couldn't make John Ensign keep his pud private. Because Senator Ensign, while making public stands of moral rectitude was privately boinking a married woman. A woman who worked for him. A woman married to his own legislative aide.

Just for the record, this is the same John Ensign who was in high dudgeon over Bill Clinton's White House hummer.

OK, now that we're caught up, let's get back to what makes a marriage work.

Last weekend The Nephew's smart and patient wife said something that gave me a clue as to what makes a happy union. She said that The Nephew makes her laugh every day.

Think of that. How can a marriage go south if your partner is always making you laugh? And if you're laughing, that means the rest of the marriage must be in a good place, too.

But marriage, at its core, is a mysterious enterprise, which is why I can't judge John Ensign's wife for standing by the moralistic ass. Who knows what makes that marriage work?

But I don't think John Ensign has made his wife laugh in a long time. And I doubt that she's laughing now.


The Nephew's Wife said...

I can't speak for everyone else's marriages, but the laughter thing has worked well for us. The mutual trust and respect probably helps too. However, maybe I'm underestimating the Government's role in the success of my marriage because gays and lesbians can't marry in my state. Yeah, that must be it. Treating others fairly, allowing them the same rights that I have, encouraging more people to enter into committed long term relationships... whew, really dodged a bullet on that one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The greatest gift I was ever given is my husband who has never sent me to bed sad, hurt or angry. I wish for others-thoseof every sexual and religious persuasion, the same blessing. Why can't they wish that for others too?

Anonymous said...

The secret to marriage is simple: Do not treat each other like shit.

See? That wasn't so hard.

So why is Newt Gingrich, who dumped his wife while she lay in a hospital bed recovering from chemo, lecturing people on marriage?

Gerard said...

Speaking of laughter, The Nephew's Wife signing in as The Nephew's Wife made me laugh.

David Terrenoire said...


They're both funny people. I love spending time with them.

The Nephew said...

Funny? Funny how? What, am I here to amuse you?

Oh wait, this is a compliment. Thank you. Of course, the flip side to this is that she has to put up with my chuckle-headed behavior. In all seriousness, if it wasn't for her calm and understanding nature, I don't think the laughs would come so easily.

charlie stellaw said...

The nephew quotes Goodfellas (Tommy DeSimone) ... "Two Gun" Tommy ...