Nietzsche wrote, "It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages."
Of course, taking advice from a man who never married but was turned down twice and ended up being cared for in his final days of complete insanity by his mother and sister is another story. But somehow, Nietzsche knew what he was talking about.
Michael and I have a crazy kinda love. The kind of love where bringing home beer and a black and white cookie is enough. The kind of love where paying the property taxes without freaking me out is enough. The kind of love where sitting on the back porch watching the cool brass sprinkler that I bought at Lowe's for 14 bucks swirling all pretty-like is enough.
This weekend I had the opportunity to share what makes my marriage special with someone else who was trying to figure out how to make his work. My incredibly talented tattoo artist is going through an interesting time with his wife of many years. I won't get into the details but they are best of friends and they definitely want to remain that way.
I want my husband to be happy. That's not just lip-service. If riding a motorcycle and watching Star Trek or starting a business is going to make him happy. I want it for him.
Likewise, if a full body tattoo or a New Year's Day party or a garden full of fruit trees is going to make me happy, he wants it for me.
I've got to admit that, early in our marriage, I told Michael he couldn't ride a motorcycle (he doesn't remember this, thankfully). I'm so, so, so happy I figured things out.
See, not only did I find out that "riding bitch" makes me happy (something I never would have discovered). I also found out that doing the thing that makes him happy (and it does!) makes my life so much more fulfilled.
It's a cyclical thing, even though it's not intentional, he does things that make him happy, he's happy. I do things that make me happy, I'm happy. We are happy. On the other hand, I say, I don't want this thing that makes you happy, someone feels resentful, guilty, spiteful, and so on.
I know lots of people who say things like "over my dead body" or "not if I have anything to say about it." That's not what marriage is about. I'm also not saying that it's this big hedonistic do-anything-you-want-any-time-you-want thing either. With a friendship though, you figure out what works. You compromise. You want to see the other person fulfill his or her greatest ambitions. That in itself is enough.