Breakfast. This morning: Eggs that my son collects each evening. And Froot Loops, the ones that have extra colored sparkle dust, just in case you didn’t remember that Froot is not Fruit for legal reasons.

The boys are absorbed in discussion about how to get me to plug in the Wii again. (“We should clean our room without her asking!”)

I look across the table to the farmer and I say, “I’m happy. I love you.”

He says, “That’s good. The kids need that. Interesting does nothing for kids.”

Then he walks over to my side of the table. He puts his arm around me and squeezes me. He says, “I love you, too,” and he goes out to the wood burning heater.

I watch him.

I’m happy

There’s something primal about a husband who literally cuts the wood to heat the house in the winter, and then keeps the fire going. And when he kisses me at lunch, his face smells like the fire.

We do not have an easy relationship. No relationship is easy. Thank goodness we know this, because marriage is starting to remind me of childbirth—it’s incredible that so many people do it when it is so painful.

But marriage is like childbirth also in that the benefits are so much.

We have had so many violent outbursts that the farmer has taken the precaution of putting the police on speed dial. This means a lot, especially when you consider that he doesn’t really know how to use his phone. It took him a long time to learn how to do speed dial.

We have been dishonest with each other. He changed his will without telling me. I found out by reading his journal. Sins galore here.

My favorite thing about us is that we are forgiving. Today, if he dropped dead, my house, and probably all the furniture in it, would go to his parents. I should hate him for changing the will without telling me.

He should hate me for going off the birth control pill, for a year, without telling him. After I had the most publicized unwanted pregnancy in the world.

The patience we have for each other is incredible. But maybe every couple is like this. Does every couple fuck each other over like we do?

I think about what might happen if I left the Farmer. Where would I go? I don’t know. There is not somewhere I want to live more than the farm. There is not someone I would rather raise my kids with than the farmer. I love the stability of him. The chores. His tractor breaks down and he pauses, fixes it, and continues.

When something goes wrong in my life, I get wildly frustrated. I have to eat 10,000 Power Bars. I am easily thrown off track.

I told the farmer about a feature on Ask Men (I can’t find the link, sorry). You can find out why men like a given woman: Face, body, intelligence, money, wild side…

I said, “Why do people like me?”

He said, “Intelligence and wild side.”

He likes that I don’t feed my goats on a schedule. He didn’t know baby animals could survive on such an erratic feeding schedule. This is my wild side, I guess.

His life was incredibly boring and lonely when he did not have me. And my life was incredibly frenetic and unpredictable when I did not have him.

Last night, in bed, when I was working hard at not yelling and not crying when I found out he changed his will, I said, “What are we doing together?”

And he said, “We are making life not lonely for each other.” And he said, “We are raising boys together.”

I want to tell you I am happy happy happy, and this is a happily ever after story. It’s not though. I don’t trust happiness. I trust interestingness. I feel like I have more control over it. I need to have a company that consumes me intellectually. And I don’t quite have that right now. I’m working on it.

But the company doesn’t make me happy. The research does not lie. A career makes an interesting life. A good marriage makes a happy life. This is so basic and simple, but it always ends up being controversial. It’s so un-PC to say that marriage is essential to happiness. And is it controversial to say kids need happiness around them, not interestingness?

I don’t have evidence to support this. I only have a bright sunny morning breakfast with two scheming boys and one squeezing husband. Hooray.

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  1. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    No, not all couples fuck each other over like this. Definitely not. I can’t speak for other couples but my suspicion is that it’s probably not even most.

    Also, it’s likely not legally enforceable for your husband to leave all his assets to his parents rather than his wife.

  2. Robin
    Robin says:

    It’s too bad that more people don’t realize that marriage takes work and commitment. Everyone is so ready to move on to the next relationship even when there are kids involved. I get it if your husband or wife suddenly starts abusing you or has a total personality change that is impossible to handle but friends of mine are getting divorced and having affairs because their spouse doesn’t voluntarily do laundry. I want to shake them and tell them that no one likes to do laundry. That’s not a good reason to upset your childrens’ lives and create havoc and stress. So many people I know think if they aren’t deliriously happy every second of the relationship then something is missing and they should go try to find that missing piece with someone else. What’s up with that?

  3. maximillienne
    maximillienne says:

    the statistics do lie…people that are happy being married are happier being married…

    but for non-marriage types being married is mostly a living hell…

  4. Julia
    Julia says:

    The best way to be happy is to take care of what you love. If you don’t want sex but he does, give it to him as a gift because you love him – and you’ll find yourself enjoying it too! Caring for people, causes, and objects pretty much works the same way.

  5. Penny
    Penny says:

    I think you are settling…like so many of us do. How can you tolerate him putting his parents before you? There are so many great places in this world to raise kids! It’s hard to believe you are content with this situation.

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  7. Jessica Bosari
    Jessica Bosari says:

    Oh, Honey, you’ve got it so wrong: “A good marriage makes a happy life.” A happy YOU makes a happy life. A good marriage helps, but it starts with you. If you can’t be happy by yourself, you’ll never be happily married.

    I got here reading a blow-by-blow from one of you 2007 marriage counseling sessions and wanted to see how things turned out. You sounded so lonely in that post. It makes me wonder if you are you married in your soul or just on paper.

    It’s as if your ambition is an invisible wall around your heart so that you can only see what’s going on inside you. I don’t know if it will work for you, but for me, letting him in helped us both find more happiness. Marriage doesn’t work if you both give 50%. You both have to give 100%.

  8. Steve
    Steve says:

    It´s the little things that make us happy and the big stuff that drives us mad. If you could surround your life with little stuff, then we´d all be happier, but perhaps we need the bad stuff to recognize the good stuff – Oh so deep over my scrambled eggs this morning.

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