Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: anniversary

Ten Years of Marriage

I wonder what I’m supposed to write about. What I’ve learned?

As if that’s what marriage is for—learning things.

That’s not to say I haven’t learned anything.

I’ve learned how to listen. I’ve learned how to own different points of view. I’ve learned the awesome power of forgiveness, mindfulness, and red wine. I’ve learned tons of shit.

If there were a test at the end of this marriage, I’d ace it.

I love tests.

But marriage isn’t about learning.

Should I write a defense of marriage?

That’d be fashionable.

But why?

There’s nothing good in marriage itself.

It’s where good and bad can find a place.

I found good. Lots of people don’t.

Marriage isn’t a thing that needs defending.

Heck, it isn’t a thing at all. It’s a convention. A label. Something we made up.

It’s a life-long club for two people.

Most exclusive club around. Our home is our clubhouse. We get to pick all the rules. We do awesome projects, like growing children into existence and perfecting the Nacho. Membership benefits include coronary love, soul-tickling intimacy, raucous sex.

And a friend who won’t quit on me.

No matter how much I change. No matter how much she changes.

So I don’t know what I should blog about on our anniversary.

But ten years ago I stood, pale and shaking, in front of nearly everyone I knew and I made a deal to be Ruth’s live-together, bonk-together, stay-together-until-death-do-us-part friend.

I had no idea what I was in for.

Ten years later, I still have no idea what I’m in for.

Hey Ruth, It’s been fun so far. Wanna keep it up until we die? I’m in if you are.

Eighth Year

     The problem with expressing sentiment, especially romantic sentiment, is that it can so easily seem trite. Most folks wander on to Facebook on their anniversary, armed with dozens of exclamation points, and throw down one of many packaged statements about how happy they are that they married whoever they married. Everyone does it. And that’s what makes me approach this subject with trepidation.
     You see, my marriage is better than everyone else’s.
     I know, I know, that sounds arrogant and maybe even a bit offensive. But I really believe it. You know all those things that married people fight about? Money, sex, kids, events, family. We don’t. Like, ever.
     And you know how married people can’t wait to get away from each other and do the guy’s night out and the girl’s night out? We don’t really understand that.
     And you know how they say that your first year is the honeymoon and it all goes downhill from there? Well, to be completely frank and honest, that’s just bullshit. I have no other word for that destructive idea and if you ever find yourself uttering it, please jam your foot deep inside your mouth.
     Sure, I have problems in my life, just like everyone else. But my wife isn’t one of them. But how can I express that without blending into the crowds of people who can hardly stand their spouses most of the time but give them lip service on special days of the year?
     Maybe I can’t. Maybe there’s no way to sound unique and special. And, in the end, that’s fine.
     Because the second month of marriage to Ruth was better than the first. And the third was better than the second. And the ninety-fifth was better than the ninety-fourth. So every month seems to be the best month of my life. And that’s pretty cool. I may die of happy soon, and I can’t think of a better way to go.
     So here’s to you, Ruth. Here’s to the love we feast upon and the luminescent beings we are evolving into together. The ride’s been great so far and I feel like we have hardly even started yet. May our love continue to cast out all fear. May our hope always endure. May our faith in each other and in this radiant Universe in which the mystery of love happens grow and flourish.
     Amen.

For When She Wakes

My wife is asleep right now, in Pakistan. When she wakes up, it will be our anniversary.

She’s been gone a week or two. I can’t really tell, truth be told. Living without her is like living on night-shifts. I can’t really gauge the passing of time well. So here I am doing night shifts and away from her. So, yeah, I hardly can tell what day it is.

What can I say about Ruth this year? What can I say about where we’ve come and where we are?

I never could understand poets and story-tellers who would compare their lovers to gods. I could never understand that idea of worshipping a spouse. It was distasteful. Worse, it seemed forced. Because, since I did not understand it, I assumed it was not nearly as real as they were making it out to be. Because any spouse, at best, is flawed. And how can you worship something that is flawed?

But I get it today.

Ruth, are you there? Are you awake yet, my beloved Devi?

I love you.

I offer my life and my heart as a sacrifice to you. I do not say any of this out of ‘oughtness’ or duty. No. My heart yearns for you, even when you are with me.

When you are away, I have trouble finding the point for anything I do. I try to write and my mind whispers ‘What is the point? Your Devi is away.’ I try to study and my mind whispers ‘What is the point? Your Devi is away.’ Suddenly I understand in what way you are my muse! The muse does not grant ideas and creativity. Those things are already in each of us. No. The muse shows the importance of those things. And you, Devi, are my muse.

What can I say? I look back over all the years that I have called you ‘wife’. And here I stand on the tallest mountain of love I have ever seen. It makes all the other years look like bumps and hills.

What can I say?

Remember when we used to joke that we were Sita and Ram? We are not really like that, because Ram drove Sita out in the end, because he felt his responsibilities as king demanded it. A kingdom is not worth as much as you to me.

Or when we joked that we were Layla and Mujnun? We are not like that, either. Because Majnun gave up when Layla’s father refused him. I would have never relented.

Or when we joked that we we Romeo and Juliet? We are not like them. Because our story is not a tragedy.

Who are we?

We are Matt and Ruth. We are the greatest love story the world has ever seen. Other readers may roll their eyes and think I exaggerate. But you know. I know. We have the sort of love that stories are made of. And that is the truth. That is the truth.

See you soon, Devi.

In kadmon mein saansein waar de
Rab se zyaada tujhe pyaar de
Rab mainu maaf kare
Rabba khairiya, haai mainu maaf kare