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Thursday, April 04, 2013

c m huffine & e e cummings are spot on

On Tuesday, Caris and I watched a movie.  I can't remember if I was watching it first and she joined me, or if it was the other way around.  Either way, we ended up sitting and watching "Hope Springs" with Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep.  It's about a couple, married 31 years, who have, in essence, lost their way in their marriage.  They basically co-habitate.  Nothing more.  I suppose I sat and watched it because of the subject.  I don't usually watch movies in the middle of a weekday.  But, this is, after all, the week of our wedding anniversary.  So why not?

It wasn't too long into the movie where it became quite evident that they were making Tommy Lee's character out to be the "bad husband" and Meryl's character the "forgotten wife".  Caris instantly began to take offense, understandably.  The story was going on in a way that didn't put Tommy Lee in the best light and Meryl was definitely the long-suffering wife.  Caris made a comment about how she would never put up with that kind of treatment, and she would have left him.  I told her that we should wait awhile and see where it goes.  There is more to a marriage story than just one side.  Especially a long marriage.  I told her that her age group is obviously not the target demographic for this movie...that this was definitely targeted at people at the stage of life where Charlie and I are now.  I said to give the story a chance to pan out. 

Caris:  "Well, you and Daddy don't treat each other like that."

Pua:  "Yes, Honey.  I know.  But that doesn't mean that there haven't been some really hard times.  And if you love someone, you try to remember on a daily basis what it was about them that you fell in love with, or what you fell in LIKE with.  You don't just bail when it gets hard."

Caris:  "He's making me mad."

Pua:  "Yeah.  He's making me mad too.  But I bet there's a backstory.  And I bet she's not as innocent as it would appear.  It takes two.  It always takes two."

Sure enough, as the story unfolded, it became clear that there were hurts and scars under the surface that needed to emerge, and needed some working through.  Caris mentioned that there were parts that she didn't understand.  I told her that it was okay, because, again, I did, and really, I'm the target.  I appreciate those subtle nuances, the little looks that would mean nothing to someone who hadn't already spent three decades of their life with one person.  People get tired, complacent, forgetful.  Sometimes, it's just "easier" to stay in the rut.  It takes real courage to stay and fight for what you had, what you may have lost, and what you want back.

At one point, the marriage counselor asked Tommy Lee; "Have YOU done EVERYTHING you could possibly do?"  I said to Caris that's really the bottom line, right there.  It's hard to take a personal inventory.  It's hard to ask that question of yourself.  But it is the most important question when you're in an "ebb" in your relationship.  If you can honestly answer that you have done all that you can without any return, then perhaps, it is time to walk away.  I am of the opinion that you don't just stop loving someone.  It's not like a tap that you just turn off and twist tight.

As the movie finished, I knew that I wanted to talk to my best friend about it.  I knew that it would be a topic of conversation tonight.  Not just the movie, but Caris' reaction to it.  I was pretty sure she walked away unsatisfied and maybe a little disappointed, even if there was a happy ending.  I thought that maybe she couldn't understand, again, because she's not....us.

Yesterday, as we celebrated our anniversary, I was stunned to see a beautiful tribute from Caris on my Facebook newsfeed:

My parents may never win the lottery, be able to afford a house in Hawaii, have the car of their dreams, remodel their home, attend movie premiers or travel around the world. But they have one thing that everyone wants, everyone tries for, but so few will ever have. That one in a billion marriage that doesn't just last, but is full of genuine happiness, contentment, trust, honesty, respect, sillin...ess, fun and above all those things, love. Real best-friend-sweetheart-embarrass-your-kids kind of love. I know some people will go their entire lives without ever seeing, knowing or understanding the very best of what love can actually mean and be. And I will forever feel like one of three of the luckiest kids in the world, because I got grow up surrounded by it. So happy 31st anniversary to my mommy and daddy, whose example of love keeps my faith in it alive.
I sat and stared at it, teary-eyed for the longest time.  There it was, in black and white, bold as can be for the world to see.  Proof that she got the jist of it.  Caris isn't one that's prone to sentimentality.  Especially when it comes to relationships.  So to see these words of affirmation was a gift of value beyond measure.  I'm still bowled over by it.  Still touched to my soul. 
I will always believe that it takes real courage to stay and work through the hard stuff.  But, I also realize how lucky Charlie and I have been to have found our soulmate.  So, even the "hard stuff" became a moot point.  Yes, we work through them when they come.  However, I realize that it's been way easier for us than it has been for most people because we really, really LIKE each other.  I don't want to think about life without that silly goofball who says the dorkiest things, laughs at his own dumb jokes, hugs me from afar, winks at me from across the room, thinks that every ounce of me is gorgeous enough that other women don't turn his head, and every laugh line is something we earned together.  That "one in a billion" that Caris' nailed so beautifully in her note?  Yeah.  That and so much more.


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