Marriage is not simple in any country, but it can be simplified.
Where I live in Chennai, India, marriages are often arranged. Parents, with a maturity that rises above the fluctuating young adult hormones, do most of the arranging. Indian parents want their children to marry someone with potential. Potential translates to the proper age, religion, skin tone, caste, family history, degree, career and cash total in the bank. Compatibility and love are acquired through and during marriage, not necessarily considered pre-requisites.
Americans could borrow from Indian tradition. Not that I see US parents taking over the mate choosing process for their children. For better or worse, Americans have been marrying by personal choice far too long for that. There is a chance, though, that a left continent marriage might last longer by taking a cue from the East--by developing spouse-to-be checklists. If you’re wincing because the idea feels a little like more like being bred than wed, take a closer look at our own culture.
When you are buying a car, you research, watch interest rates, study advertising, scrutinize gas mileage, inhabit salespeople-free car lots on Sundays and kick all the tires including the spare. A dollar bill will not be released from your wallet until a car passes your full inspection. Now, if we’re that picky about an investment that lasts, at most, a decade, we should be down right fanatics about scoping out partners we will share morning breath with for more than half a century.
A checklist couldn’t hurt. It may seem a bit clinical to write down what you need in a spouse but later when the clouds of love fog your right mind, you may thank yourself. In the rush of passion, you will still be able to point to the list and see that “Yes, I CAN live with a snorer!”
If you intend to travel through life with another, may I suggest that you include somewhere near the top of your checklist: Must Wake Up Well. . I am hope-to-die-if-I’m-lyin’ serious. A spouse who wakes up pleasantly is one who cannot and should not be replaced. I am fortunate to have such a specimen as a husband.
The instant his sleep-weighted eyes open, he smiles and it is not usually a gastric event. It is the way he is--ready to meet the moving world and deal with daylight, birdsong and barking dogs. I, the womb-shaped introvert, beg the night gods for five more long minutes of quiet, please. Waking represents responsibility I refuse to handle just yet and I look the part, too with eyes stuck at half mast and movement by the millimeter.
My husband is aware that it is beyond a serious infraction to attempt to hurry me to wakefulness. The following are forbidden: jolting, poking, any form of dog saliva and most evil summoning of all, tickling. If caffeine is not quickly forthcoming, a disturbing back-throated ggaaaaaaaaaaawwww is emitted--the warning of a hibernating bear forced too early from her cave, pawing blindly at the burst and chatter of sun and noise. Meanwhile somewhere else in the house, my husband climbs steps, waters plants, dances to music, and sometimes even uses electrical appliances or lights matches. This is from a man who was dead to the waking world just five minutes ago.
My husband’s willingness to accept full and immediate consciousness and actually enjoy it may be his greatest quality. That he is also capable of coping with a person who is stubbornly unwilling is a solid second.
People who carpe noctem absolutely require people who carpe diem. Just in case you might be taking notes…..…………