In What is Marriage

 Turnaround in Marriage Conversation

Good marriages are all about paying attention.

Monterey Bay on a sparkly blue day in early February, the bay stretches out to a light blue sky seals honk and squawk and the smells of healthy kelp beds mix in a warm breeze with whatever’s cooking in the small ocean facing shops as a single man plays his guitar sitting on a rock.

What we do is look for the perfect spot, the perfect experience, the perfect relationship. But this day, I’m turned around. I’ve entered a sweet spot where some constant longing always present in my life has dissippated in the blue ocean and it’s soft and tender breeze. I took lunch at a Chinese restaurant which faces this ocean and I was the only patron. As I’m a bike rider and came in in helmet and shorts, the woman who served me my soup pulled up her sleeve and showed me her horrible scar. Four months ago she had a bike accident and warned me to be careful.

It was a gesture of friendship easy and present without demand for further conversation. The longing lessened. I rode the entire Monterey coast pumping hard, breathing in, smelling, seeing, letting go of past failures and current challenges. Turning towards the present, entering it, embracing the gifts of this special place.

Our constant looking toward what might happen or backward to what just happened is a devil’s trick designed to keep us from living in this sea blue moment when all the world seems tuned to the gorgeous gifts of simply living.

To turn a marriage around from dial tone lethargy to vivid blues and greens is to face and then let go of the myriad disappointments and mistakes you both rehearse. We fear the present but why do we fear it? I know a man who continually experiences a desire to hold his wife close but as he moves towards her something stops him and he walks away. What would that present moment look like if he could let himself have it?

He might have to deal with some earlier experience of rejection, he might have to experience his panic as he approaches intimacy with a woman, he might have to acknowledge that he really never has been close to a woman since his mother confused him with her own ambivalence towards men. But he must turn around or every day walking as he does by the massive ocean, he will only see the buildings of the town and only smell the exhaust of the cars passing by.

Partnership is created by turning toward each other as we unconsciously turn towards the ocean, as we breathe more deeply there, as we pause to let it enter us. Let love enter. Let yourself be, in the moment, with the ones you love.

Special thanks to Ellen for reminding me that lazy is curable. SF

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