My mama had some key phrases that she used regularly in response to certain situations. For example, when my sister or I were complaining or whining about something fairly (in retrospect) insignificant, she would say, “You’ll get over it before you’re married twice.”
I don’t know where she got that phrase. I never heard any of my aunts say it, just my mama. But to this day, it sticks in my head and I find it bouncing around in there whenever someone around me is grumbling about something small.
As a young girl, I used to think that her statement didn’t make any sense. If she was trying to tell me that I would soon be over my anguish, well then, telling me that I would be over it before I was married twice caused me great confusion. Since I would never be married TWICE, I would obviously have to spend the rest of my life working through my heartache.
I knew very few people who had divorced parents. I had one cousin whose parents were divorced, but we never talked about. None of my friends had parents that were divorced, and if any of the other kids in my classes had divorced parents, I didn’t know about it. In my very protected little world, divorce just wasn’t a known entity.
So, it was with authority that I would reply, “Then I’ll always be unhappy because I’ll never be married twice!”
Ah, the innocence of youth.
At the age of 42, I have not been married twice. But this is not a result of being so smart and emotionally mature that I just waited for the exact right person. No, it’s the result of things not working out the way that I wanted them to. I would have married a man who I dated in my 20s, and I am fairly certain that it wouldn’t have lasted. It’s only stubbornness on his part that prevents me from being married twice.
Matt and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Each year has had its challenges. Each year has had its joys. And no matter how much you are advised that marriage is work, you can’t appreciate how much work until you are in one. I couldn’t appreciate the blessings, either.
Speaking of marriage, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at my mama’s house. My Aunt Baby, Uncle Joe and cousin Judson came over on Christmas Eve. During the evening, the topic of “John and Jill Doe” arose.
mama: You could be like John and Jill Doe that got divorced after 42 years of marriage.
me: Who are John and Jill Doe?
mama: They used to live across the Blue Ridge Parkway from Mama and Daddy. They got divorced after 42 years.
Judson: Why after 42 years?
Baby: Because John stayed in the bed drunk all day while Jill worked.
me: And that had been going on for 42 years?
Matt: Well, what happened after 42 years?
Baby: Jill got tired of John staying in bed reading westerns, being drunk all day, while she had to work.
me: Yeah, but why did she put up with it for 42 years and then decide enough was enough?
mama: Maybe she figured he was never going to change.
Joe: I’ll say one thing. John is a better man than me. If I were in bed drunk, I couldn’t read. That would be too much for me. Maybe TV, but definitely no reading.