A reminder of the way things were

Maggie returns home today after spending the Spring Festival holidays at her parents’ place up in the North East.

For the last nine days I’ve been thrown back into a lifestyle I had nearly forgotten – bachelorhood. Now before images of me out all night sniffin’ coke off the scarred ass of a 50 kuai hooker spring to mind – let me assure you, such is not my meaning. My deviated septum doesn’t allow for that anymore. 😉

No, what I mean is, I’ve had the run of the house. Responsible for its cluttered and cleanliness. Free to watch whatever show I want to watch – no debate. Free to cook non-Chinese food – every day. Free to stay up until all hours of the night on my computer and not feel guilty (nerdy, but not guilty). Free to drink 3, 4, 5, 10 beers with dinner and suffer no dirty looks. Free to stretch out over the entire bed without fear of gong-fu like recourse. And whats more…

Free to miss my wife.

Awe, cheese, I know. But well, it’s our first anniversary in two days, allow me some leeway.

Really though, our marriage is fantastic (take that fates!). We have our squabbles from time to time, as all do I suppose, but if anything we’ve grown more tolerant, understanding and accepting of each others flaws (she’s a patient, PATIENT woman) and argue remarkably little considering both of our stubborn streaks and the amount of cultural differences we deal with.

However, one thing I’d begun to notice in recent months and what crystallized for me since she’s been away is that it’s remarkably easy to take your wife for granted.

Those little things that seem like nothing when done every day, really do add up. Glaringly kind things like her, unprompted, going way out of her way to pick me up some fresh crusty bread, to more subtle things like popping her head in my office to tell me my dumplings have been finished cooking for 20 minutes (I have a remarkable ability to begin cooking something and then erase all memory of ever being in the kitchen).

I’ve long known that my quality of life is made up not by the large milestones defined by age, stature or money, but rather by the small moments. The long-tail of happiness, if you will.

I think what I’m realizing now is that this equally applies to a good marriage. When I think about the things I’ve missed about Maggie, they’re not the big things that might be expected. Rather, they are just the little every day things.

Though there’s no shortage of people that will say different, I always used to smirk on the occasion that someone would exclaim how much better their life was with their spouse in it. Perhaps because we live in a world where we’re taught (often by life itself) that love is fleeting, I always had that “yeah, just wait…” glint in my eye.

But now, I don’t know. Nietzsche said, “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” Looking at what I’ve missed most about Maggie while she’s been away, it’s not been the “lover” qualities (ok, ok, sure, missed that a bit too) as much as the “friend” characteristics.

Through choice and/or circumstance, Maggie really has become my best friend and I can’t wait for her to get home.

8 Responses

  1. That’s awesome, man. Although I’m only speaking from experience with girlfriends, I couldn’t agree more about relationships.
    Being with my current gf, I am for the first time realizing how wonderful it is to be with someone who is also such a good friend.
    My ex whor–I mean, girlfriend was so far from that, it boggles my mind that I would have ever put up the a relationship without it.

    As for taking that for granted? Oh yes. For example, here I sit thinking about my gf’s awesomeness…alone…commenting
    on a blog rather than telling it to her face! (I should go.)

    Cheers to good women.(and their under appreciating man friends who always forget to tell them they are.)

  2. Ok ok you made me cry ( just a little) but cried none the less 😉 So happy for your happiness, and happy anniversary! Miss you guys! xoxoxoxox

  3. That’s a lovely, touching well written piece. You’ve obviously found someone very special in Maggie. I’ve yet to find someone who I could even remotely imagine living with, but that’s partly because I am very selfish and unwilling to compromise on things like beer drinking, western food, TV and 50 kuai hookers. So all I need to do is find a girl who will let me do whatever I want whenever I want and it’ll be great!

  4. Now ask Maggie for her list of what she enjoyed while away and what she missed about you while being away. If you can get an honest answer you’ll learn a lot about her.

    BTW I’ve found that if there is no normal bickering or disagreements between spouses then something is wrong. They may be disillusioned or just don’t care enough about each other to have an opinion.

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