Sunday, February 13, 2011

Marriage Matterhorn

Happy Valentine's Day!

This lesson works for Michele and I. Over and over.

Born after 1970? Go watch the Sound of Music before you read this. Getting married will also bring some understanding.

Our experience…

A couple of days ago I related a little marital bump-in-the-highway of life that we ran into many years ago. The conflict concerned Valentine’s Day and birthdays and by the end of the story, I’m thinking everyone was convinced that I had performed admirably and my wife was a little unreasonable.

I finished the recount with a firm reassurance to all that things are now hunky dory between us, giving the illusion that we were locked in the arms of each other and enjoying marital perfection everlasting. I really believed it at the time I wrote it.

Isn’t it funny how most marriage participants climb, crawl, scrape and struggle up the incline? They get mud under their fingernails and chinks in the old shins, struggling away and climbing that monster of a mountain I call the Marriage Matterhorn.

Finally, when you both get on top and sit down to rest, you want to relax and enjoy the bliss. You are on top of the world. You both start singing and yodeling. You feel like Captain Von Trapp and are certain the little lady snuggled up next to you is nun other than Maria.

This time is different. This time is unlike the many times in the past when you’ve had to wonder, how do you solve a problem like Maria?

At the moment, there is nothing to solve because she is not a problem.

Not much Matters more than Marriage. When things are sailing smoothly in that department, life is the best. I like to get on the horn and share the good news. We have won! We’ve conquered our own Matterhorn!

If you're on top of the world, you want to share the good news. Both of you pull out your cell phones since it’s a little tough carrying those giant 10-foot bugle horns up the mount. You get on the cellular trumpet to everybody you know and expound on how great it is to really be in love, to have finally worked out the many kinks and snafu’s and climbed all the rocky ridges. Kind of like I was doing the other night. You reassure and convince yourself and everyone else that all is well. Maria starts to sing something about how the hills are alive with the sound of music when…

Pow! All of a sudden, you get rocked. It’s a vaguely familiar pow, one you’ve had before but conveniently forgotten about until the moment of impact. The hills really are alive! You both go flying off the Matterhorn, rolling pretty much straight down, tumbling and smacking into every jagged boulder in your path.

And just when things were looking so good. You look around and little Maria has ended up on the complete opposite side of the ravine you both are now clinging to.

What happened? You look back up and see a big buck of a Billy goat occupying your and Maria’s former love seat. He’s standing on top of your world, looking cross-eyed at his horns and admiring the way they polished up when he blindsided the backsides of the both of you.

Unfortunately, this periodic throw-down occurs in most marriages. At one time or another when this goes down, half the climbing population takes the apparently smoother, beckoning, wide trail off the ravine and look for a different mountain to climb with somebody not named Maria or Von Trapp. One that doesn’t look near as imposing as the one you just got booted off of. One that has more snow on it or greener pastures or lusher meadows or riper tomatoes.

The harder thing to do is crawl down the ragged ravine, hook up once again with your bruised and battered climbing partner and trudge back up that same old rough mountain. Again. The next time you should probably be a little more careful to watch out for the nasty goat that is always lurking at the top. The more you scale your Matterhorn, the better you get to know its ravines and cliffs and the tighter you’ll hang on to Maria. The more you scale the same summit together, the less you’ll see of Billy.

So what does this have to do with the unreasonable expectations of my little Michele, I mean Maria? Well, we were on top of the Matterhorn the other night when I posted the picture of our happy family and today Billy decided to polish his rack again.

Basically, we got in a little spat about my blog posting time. She was adamant that I am on the comp 20 hours a day. I say baloney. I’ve kept meticulous track and I am averaging no more than 17.4 hours per day which I believe is very reasonable. She is at least 13% off! When I informed her of the true numbers and set her straight, she said I could take that info and stick it in File 13. I’ve looked several times through our file cabinet and for the life of me cannot find that file.

Once again, I wonder how do you solve a problem like Maria?

Now, we’ve had bigger disagreements over things more petty than 13%, but not many. To be honest, Billy did his thing, we skidded down the Matterhorn for awhile and it wasn’t accompanied by the sound of music.

The cool point to this story is just a few hours later, we were back climbing the trail. In the old days, it took weeks, months, or years to start climbing the mountain again together. Over time, we’ve found the quicker and more often you both pair up and climb the same mountain together, the more the mountain grows on the pair of you.

The key is both of you have to want to keep climbing the same mountain. We've found if we don't keep climbing together, neither one of us can make it to the top.

When it’s all said and done, there’s no better mountain than our own Matterhorn.

A couple of days after I posted this I ran across the following picture of Michele's dad Karl and his new wife Mary. (Michele's mom passed on several years ago.) They're all set to tackle the Matterhorn.

I'm going to call Billy and tell him to get ready.


Mary said...

I see what I posted in my 1st comment there. I'm sharing this with Paul again! It's his B-day tomorrow...

ginny said...

Ben, this one I have to agree with whole heartedly. Keep the blogs coming--we are really enjoying them. When you are not scaling the mountain, that is.