Staying married is so beyond “worth it”–a good marriage is the staff of life (better than bread!), the gateway to self-confidence, the reason to relax, the pride of one’s past, and the excitement of one’s future–even as as you get older and calmer!
Michael and I have gone through lots of years, almost all of them excellent; the non-excellent ones were due to unexpected, “imposed” challenges.
Like cancer. When Michael got throat cancer, that was the worst year of our lives together, because together we went through it (though I knew I couldn’t even fathom the pain and physical difficulty he was experiencing).
Like losing Michael’s radio show syndicator. Given that Michael delivers only comprehensive, honest analysis, he had to say what was good about the candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump, and what wasn’t. This didn’t jibe with his syndicator, a multi-million-dollar Trump donor who required his show hosts to sign an addendum to their contracts affirming that they’d only broadcast opinions in synch with the company “world view.” (I thought that was censorship.) Michael continued faithfully and honestly analyzing the news. His contract was not renewed, and with that, 330 radio stations ceased carrying his show.
We’re 10 months past that moment, and Michael is still broadcasting his straight, honest analyses, whether positive or negative toward his subjects. He’s got his home station and a few others, and a growing online and app-based audience of MedHeads who also get his podcasts, but it’s definitely a transition. (Talk radio is slumping; his syndicator has lost listeners and its stock has plummeted. It’s selling stations at a loss.)
The political world is in chaos. It’s almost surreal how the Democrats can’t choose a good candidate and die-hard Republicans cling to a president fending off arrows piercing him from all sides. (Impeachment, Syria withdrawal, Trump foundation implosion and $2 million fine, Summer Zervos lawsuit, tax return likely to be revealed soon, firing of career foreign service personnel without cause…). He must not have been pleased when his doctors pronounced him officially obese.
Pardon the political aside; people in good marriages care about the work their partners do. They provide support and sometimes correction, all within an inviolate commitment to the relationship, and I try to be that reliably loving and strong support when my husband’s work requires it.
Good people become collateral damage in a milieu where there are only friends and enemies–rather than perceiving a variety of opinions from people who share the same aspirations and simply disagree on the means to achieve them. That’s when a solid marriage provides an essential anchor.
Key in any relationship is respect for others’ dignity. A leader–and a spouse– must be strong, and the Jewish “Ethics of the Fathers” admonishes: “Who is a strong person?” “One who can control his inclinations.” For our own benefit, we should strive not to act impulsively (and so much more should the person responsible for the well-being of 327 million exercise consideration and restraint).
Marriage encourages becoming a respectful person who is in turn worthy of others’ respect. When irritants and insults would otherwise set off angry reactions, a happy marriage to a trusted partner becomes the counterbalance. In a marital team, both work for the betterment of the combination; both choose to give even when inconvenient, and this inspires giving in return. A good marriage provides the steady, sturdy resource for dismissing anger and behaving reasonably–the antidote to jumping onto Twitter in retribution,
Marriage gets you through. It provides highlights in a dark night of lowlights. If you’re in a good marriage, you always have a safety net. You always have something and someone to appreciate.
I’m grateful for my husband, whose generosity and integrity continue through insecure times. We just don’t know how the political scene–or any other worrying concerns– will impact our prospects for the future. But we both wake up saying “I love you; I appreciate you,” and trading those words lets the rest fade away.