Found out today that a friend is ending her 22 year marriage. Husband and I have been friends with this couple for over 10 years, and for the last 7 we've seen -- distantly, indistinctly -- how their relationship has been coming apart. Neither are the kind to make public scenes or announcements, but the things people don't say are often more true than what they do.
It makes me look at my own relationship. I know Husband loves me, but his nature is not as clingy and emotional as mine. I imagine, as I have imagined so many times, how I would live if my marriage dissolved, and I can't see it. I can't see having anything left after. Perhaps that speaks badly about me. It certainly bothers Husband. He says -- and I have to admit it bothers me greatly -- that he feels certain his life would go on even if I were no longer a part of it.
Of course, he does not respond to loss as I do. His losses in life have been fewer, differently staged and timed. This doesn't mean they weren't painful to him, but either they were not as scarring or I am more easily scarred. Or perhaps it is that I am a few years older and so perhaps a smidgen more aware of my mortality. Either way, that's what I see. For me, losses are devastating. I put much into relationships, even small ones, and when they die, they take some of what I put in away. That doesn't mean I don't get something back, but whatever that is I get back isn't equivalent. It may balance in the cosmic scale, just as apples and oranges on a physical scale can balance but not be the same thing.
Anyway, it just makes us cling a little tighter to each other. I know people change, life changes, things happen -- I know all that. I know there are bumps and bruises, detours and unexpected destinations. I know that a marriage takes constant work, daily and hourly. I know there's no point in borrowing trouble into the future. Now is what I have, and every "now" I get has to be handled as it comes. Still, seeing other people go over these bumps in their life road always makes me want to stop and check my tires.