This post could turn out to be that ‘kiss of death’ post, regarding the equilibrium of my marriage, spookily akin to when celebrities stupidly naively decide to elaborately celebrate their whole three months of togetherness, (in which time they’ve become engaged, pushed out two children and given them ridiculous names), by posing on the front cover of glitzy celeb magazines like ‘Hello’ or ‘OK’.
Usually leading to divorce.
No, the old man and I are not about to ‘spill’ to the gutter press about the awesomeness of our ‘very long’ marriage, firstly, because it’s simply not our style to air our dirty laundry to anyone bar our very extensive group of friends and the internet, secondly, we’re not famous, and thirdly, it’s simply not British.
This could in fact be the ‘last post’ (very punny!) regarding my marriage, because I’m going to elaborate on a topic that should probably never be discussed by ‘happily’ married couples.
I’m hoping for a nod of acquiescence here, when I pose the question of whether or not other ‘on-the-surface’, happily married couples, spend a huge chunk of their married life negotiating with each other over their (possibly) impending divorce? Like we do.
You see, like our retirement, the old man and I have planned our divorce with the fine attention to detail that we applied to our wedding planning, all those decades ago. Actually, that’s a blatant lie. For while he is happy to help plan every minor aspect of our divorce, he was in fact completely reticent regarding ribbon detail and the superiority of Gerberas over Lilies at our wedding.
But we’ve had nearly twenty years to prepare for our marriage finale. We just need to iron out some of the more rudimentary issues, like who wants gets the kids.
I realise it would be tempting to lecture me about ‘being careful what I wish for’, and maybe I am playing with fire, but I avidly believe that our marriage methodology contributes to us staying together; it keeps us on our toes. Being prepared for our divorce is hardly a Kim Kardashian move, we’ve done our time, and it’s an infinitely cheaper option than marriage counselling (and much less awkies). There are other ways we could proactively prevent our marriage from stalling, but our method is to challenge each other mentally to maintain the competition interest. Therapy and sex toys are short-term remedies, and they probably involve having sex again, and I’m not sure we’ve quite reached crisis point yet.
So we mind f*ck.
Adding that whole ‘will we/won’t we have a future together’ angle keeps our relationship exciting. We have what you might call, an ‘extreme’ marriage.
We call each other juvenile names that you wouldn’t call your worst enemy and we often let the sun go down on an argument, because ‘stewing’ breeds bitterness and resentment.
Mind f*cking helps us avoid the abyss of marital monotony, like ‘taking each other for granted’, which I’m sure we’d be Olympians at. When he seriously pisses me off, I no longer try to ‘communicate my disappointment’, because I know how ineffective that is to someone with selective hearing. I go straight for the jugular; his pocket.
I’ll bait him with sentences like, ‘when we get divorced….’, or ‘when I have my apartment in Mosman…’,which is his cue to retaliate with something equally clever and vile.
You have to understand that we have tolerated each other for nearly 30 years. We’re what my father calls ‘lifers’, in comparison to his two shorter ‘terms’ brought abruptly to an end by his seven year itch.
So when the pressure in the house really begins to escalate, the point at which the old man wears his ‘invisibility cloak’ every day, (causes ranging from hormones per se, end of financial year, or simply having kids), our all-time favourite game is Divorce Monopoly; the game of domestic ‘settlement’, where we ‘virtually’ negotiate our meagre collection of personal assets. These include the kids and the dog obviously. It’s a kind of in-house training for when we do actually find that aspired-to ‘window’ to divorce, and in the long-term, should save us the value of half the house in solicitor’s fees.
Peculiarly, the dog seems to be our biggest asset, (unlike the kids, whose worth ranks somewhere around that of Enron shares).
It’s definitely a game of ‘take’ and ‘the winner takes it all’ so it’s not for amateurs. I have laid out the rules in the following example scenario. The players true identities have obviously been concealed for legal reasons.
The ‘old man’ saunters up to his wife mid-screech, in what appears to be a conciliatory move. The wife is peering hopelessly into an empty fridge, disappointment etched on her face. The old man bends down, seemingly to speak to her, changes his mind, and dry-humps her with an exultant look on his face. He then leans down to speak in her ear.
The old man: “Ok, I’ll be generous; 60/40, but you take the kids”, he whispers provocatively.
(This is Divorce Monopoly slang for a ‘dog of a deal’, I’m getting ‘nada’ here for the blood, sweat and tears of babysitting this Alpha-Knob for a quarter of a century!)
Wife: “70/30 my way, AND I’ll take the kids, no questions asked”, she hisses through clenched teeth, turning towards him.
(The wife then grabs ‘the old man’s’ testicles between her fingers, twists them 180 degrees and moves away from the fridge.
The ‘old man’ scuttles retires off-stage to his ‘cave’. The wife remains on stage, slumped at the kitchen table.
We like to think we’re keeping it real.
How do you keep your marriage alive?