I have heard several narratives of love and marriage, as no doubt you have, Gentle Reader, in which the amazed gratitude of the wife, at being noticed and loved and married struck me. Struck me hard. I heard one such tale earlier today- a lady recounted that she had met her future husband-to-be when she was sixteen, and had become so enamoured of him that she became determined to marry him and have his babies one day. Which she did. I have heard other wives too, talking of their amazement and wonder that their husbands loved and married them, their gratitude at being chosen, their immense good fortune and luck.
Of course, I do not deny that it is luck, though not necessarily the greatest, to be loved where you love, but still. Although I am not given to self-doubt, yet I wonder, how come I never felt this immense gratitude, this sheer overwhelming feeling of being fortunate, of being lucky, upon my marriage? I feel lucky in many things- the chief of which is good health for myself and my children, the second of which is having an impressive British accent which has smoothed many a job interview for me, the third of which is having good skin, and so on… yes, I do have a list of things I feel lucky and grateful for. But nowhere featured on the list is the bloke I married. In fact, not only is he not on the list, there is noone else who ever was on the list- I mean, there is no man I can recall I ever met, who I ever felt I should be so lucky and so grateful to marry. Happy, yes, but amazed gratitude? No.
That is not to say I have never met any impressive men- yes, over the course of the years, I have met many men – and women- who impressed me beyond words with their knowledge and abilities, their capacity for effective action and eloquent speech, their talent for writing fluent prose, their charm and good humour, their dedication to service. But my reaction to these people was that I’d like to be like you one day, not that I’d like to have you one day.
Maybe the stars never aligned for me correctly. Or maybe I am simply not marriage-material. All I know, is that sometimes, when people speak, of their relationships and partners and husbands and whatnot, I feel my mouth gape metaphorically, and I wonder- really? Is that how it is supposed to be? Is that how it’s done? Why did nobody ever tell me?