The Partner informed me the other day that I am a failure as a wife due to my lackluster attitude toward housekeeping. After listening to an exhaustive list of my failings, I asked him to cite a few of my positive characteristics so that I might have something to cling to as I teeter on the edge of a maritally-induced depression.
He thought for a while. Then he told me I was perfectly good as a girlfriend, back when I would visit him at his apartment and then go home again (to my own pig sty).
At first I was shocked and appalled by his line of thinking. Then I remembered that he is always right. By forcing myself to look at the issue from his God-like point of view, I saw everything with a strange sense of clarity. He was on to something.
Things were better back then. I was a nicer person, more carefree. He was unstressed each evening as he tossed another Skillet Sensation on the stove top. I made my own money. He drove a big, black truck, factory-fresh. We were two autonomous beings enamored with our own independence, and with each other's.
Upon our marriage, we got a gift subscription to the Hallmark greeting card school of thought that told us sharing a life not only makes good times better, but it makes bad times more tolerable. It was a course load of shit. Missing was this core: sharing a life is infinitely more difficult than living one's own.
I don't think it does much good to dwell on things that were easy. Unfortunately, looking forward to the hard parts is daunting. I don't know how to work through them and it's pretty evident to me that The Partner doesn't, either. We're both bad at compromise. We find it hard to reconcile a given situation with the way we think it should be. He won't apologize and I won't forgive.
But at least now I understand that marriage is supposed to take effort. This is no small realization on my part. I'm the type of person that will try to get away with whatever I can for as long as I can. It's how high school, where I never had to study for my high honors, blended into college, where I failed half my classes freshman year. Though guaranteed to be a long process, I can be taught.
So marriage is hard. Okay, I get it. But now what? I guess all that remains to be seen is if I'm truly as lazy as The Partner thinks I am, and if his solid work ethic translates from the office and the garage to the less tangible turf of our life together.