Justin and I have been married for eleven years, happily for most. We’ve been together for sixteen years, happily for most. I adore him and he adores me, at least that’s what I keep telling him.
[Top Image via: Ben Rossett/Unsplash]
The idea of marriage always seemed logical to me. My parents have been married for over 50 years. Marriage seemed like the thing you do, when you’re old enough to do it, if you can find someone with whom you can stand to do it.
Plus, I’m a fairly monogamous person. Too many choices send me into a chaotic tailspin. I’ve had the same haircut, with one detour at bangs and a bob, since high school. I don’t mind eating the same thing everyday. If you were to look at my outfit today, and my outfit from this day in 1989, you’d probably notice that they don’t differ that much.
Doing the same thing every day does, as it seems, suit me. But on occasion, usually when I’m speaking to someone much younger or a man-child in his 40’s who questions the institution of marriage, I can’t help but wonder why we do get married.
This past weekend, I got my answer.
Justin had been invited to Las Vegas to see Mariah Carey’s show. He’s doing a project that involves her and so he had been invited to see her Vegas show and go backstage afterward. He wanted me to join. While Justin made all the travel plans, I secured the babysitter, assured the kids that we would indeed return home just 24-hours later and that they would live through it, packed a bag, and off we went.
Ten minutes into the car ride, Justin asked me to check online to see if our flight was on time. “Yup,” I said as I reviewed the flight info. “The flight boards at 3:00.”
“Three?” he shouted. “What the…?”
He grabbed the phone from me to look for himself.
“I thought the flight left a half an hour later,” he confessed. “We’re going to have a problem.”
If you know anything about my darling husband, in particular if you’ve ever spent time with him when he’s behind the wheel and you are sitting in the passenger seat praying for divine intervention, you know that Justin drives like he lives. He likes to take risks. And, those risks he likes to take are with my life.
He began to drive faster and faster, dodging in and out of lanes, while getting remarkably close the back end of each and every car stopped nearby as if his goal was to terrify other drivers off the road so we could get there on time.
“Close your eyes if you have to,” he barked. “I’m getting us there.”
Justin drove like we were in the inside of a video game. I remained silent, closed my eyes, and spend the duration of the car ride reviewing my life, year by year. In the event I died in that car, I wanted to at least remember the good stuff.
I couldn’t help but make a mental note of the fact that if I had the wrong flight time, I would have heard it from my darling husband for the next decade. There would be the funny ribbing, “Hey remember the time you almost made us miss our flight and I had to nearly kill us on the highway to make up for it?” And then the serious, “You know, you nearly cost us the whole trip. What would have happened if I hadn’t been there to save the day?” To which I would have begged forgiveness while promising to be “just a bit more organized.”
I chose not to remind Justin of that fact. My life was in his hands. I didn’t want him to “accidentally” sideswipe a car on the passenger side where I was sitting at the time. I wanted to make it to the airport alive. I wanted to meet Mimi. I knew I was right in my mind, so I kept my mouth shut.
We screeched into the airport, probably only using two of the car’s four wheels. Half of the garage was under repair, which meant we’d have to circle to another floor for parking. Justin lamented the airport construction by screaming, “Mother fucking airport construction!” as if the expansion of Los Angeles’ terribly dated airport was an organized effort to thwart our travels. We parked on the top floor, ran down the stairs with luggage in hand to the sky bridge level, and sprinted across the sky bridge in hopes of the notoriously kind and helpful TSA agents letting us cut the security line.
The sweet woman running TSA at the time didn’t even respond to Justin’s appeal. She just raised her one good eyebrow, nodded in the direction of lengthy security line, and moved on to not being helpful to someone else.
The first person we asked to cut the line pretended like he didn’t know English.
The second person we asked to cut the line didn’t know English.
The third gave us a, “Hey man, we’re all late too,” shrug before finally relenting and letting us in.
“Score,” Justin whispered to me under his breath. “I totally saved us by asking the guy to let us in line.”
My thought bubble screamed, “Well we wouldn’t need to cut the line if you had the correct flight time,” but I didn’t. I knew I was right in my mind, so I kept my mouth shut.
It wasn’t until we were boarding the flight that Justin informed me that he was seated in Business Class and I was in Coach.
“What?” he said like a toddler caught with his hand in the better seat jar. “The upgrade just came through. You take it if you want.”
“No,” I responded through clenched teeth. “You take it.” I headed back to my row where I was seated in between someone whose body type can best be described as Sumo, and a gentleman who had clearly bathed in garlic.
But truthfully, it was only a 45-minute flight and I didn’t want that Business Class seat. Taking it would make me less right in my mind and I couldn’t risk it. And after enduring the jet propulsion that Justin likes to call driving, I figured we could use a few moments away from each another.
We landed safely, got into a cab driven by a man who didn’t believe in air conditioning, and headed to the hotel.
“You go stand in that line,” Justin said as we arrived at hotel check-in. “And I’ll stand on this one.”
Ten minutes later Justin barked from across the lobby, “Mer, come over here! My line’s moving faster.” I followed The General’s orders and went over to his line, which didn’t move for the next fifteen minutes. We watched, with great line change remorse, as the ten people behind me in my former line, easily and quickly checked in. I swear one of them even started a Conga line as if to rub in my face that I had given up my spot in the good line to take my place as Justin’s plus one in the line that moved slower than quicksand.
30-minutes later, we got to the front of his line. We gave the check-in agent our id’s. That’s when she told us we were at the wrong hotel.
In that moment, I realized why marriage is so important. I understood why we get married.
We don’t get married for love and eternal devotion to one another. We don’t get married to build a family and have children, nor do we get married to provide our children with a stable, loving home environment. And we don’t get married because we are committed to building a family and a life together. We get married for a much bigger and more important reason.
We get married because if we weren’t legally bound to each other, we would never stay. Without the threat of legal action and the looming thought bubble filled with the reminder that your spouse is annoying but your lawyer is expensive, you’d be out the door at the first sign of each other’s failings.
The days when your spouse screws up the flight time or takes you out of the good line to stand behind the customer with 2000 questions are fleeting, even if they don’t seem that way at the time. But without the promise you made to stay forever, you never would. And then you’d miss the good stuff.
I did see Mariah Carey’s show, which is spectacular as is she. You can see me and Mimi on Instagram. She looks divine. I look wilted, but at least you know I have an excuse. I didn’t have much time to get ready. I was busy trying not to call my lawyer.
*Don’t forget to hit LIKE and SHARE today’s post.