Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let's Panic About Marriage

I don't have kids, but I read "Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay" in 2 days.  

Anne Lamott's "Operating Instructions," about her son's first year of life, is one of my favourite books.  I RSS feed "Aiming Low," am in the middle of "Let's Panic About Babies,"  and subscribe to Julie Matlin's blog, "Mommy Said What?"  

I'd like to say all this reading is for research purposes, and partially, it is.  But it's also about my love for voices and stories that remind me: it's okay not to be perfect.
That, in fact, not being perfect makes you a hell of a lot more interesting, and is something that should be celebrated.

Lately, all this research has got me thinking.  According to the bookstore and the blogosphere, it's okay to be an imperfect parent, and that's great.  But what about those of us who aren't parents?  Or who are, but who also have (gasp!) an imperfect relationship?

There are shelf-loads of self help books and billions of websites on how to improve your relationship, but very few memoirs or blogs or columns where real people come out and admit that they're in couples therapy, or that they're wondering what they were thinking when they agreed to sleep with only one person for the rest of their life, or that they fantasize about running away to a cabin in the woods which they would decorate exactly the way they want and where they would NEVER MAKE THE BED.

(read about this place here)

Why are people writing about their babies but not their partners?

Is it because babies can't read what we blog about them and we feel more justified in admitting our mishaps?  Is it that our entire society, not to mention the model of Hollywood films, is built upon the idea of monogamous, Happily Ever After marriage?  Or maybe there are blogs and books like these, and I just don't know about them.  If you do, please point me to them. 

In the meantime, I'm going to start a club, for people who are in a committed relationship and who want to talk about the imperfect bits, and the difficult parts, and the nights they locked themselves in the bathroom and swore they were leaving tomorrow.  No judgements.  No "well, that wouldn't happened if you'd picked the right person."  And no washed-up ideas about sex.  

I'm lucky: I'm imperfectly married to a guy who documented our imperfect relationship, and used it in part of a film.  He doesn't mind me talking about this stuff.

I invite you to join my club.  Virtually, of course - no names needed, no stories required.  (Although if you have some you want to share, please, feel free.)  It needs a name, too, and I'm too tired to think of one right now, but if you have any suggestions, please share those too.  

Single people are welcome.

You can say it's for research purposes.


  1. You know, funnily enough, the posts in which I write about difficulties in my relationship get the most traffic.

    And I'm also fortunate. My husband, at one time, had a 3 week rule. He needed a 3 week buffer between the incident I was writing about and him reading it to ensure he wouldn't freak out. Many times he convinced me to publish posts I thought pushed the boundaries. He's very supportive, which makes all of his imperfections seem... insignificant.

  2. There's a lot more troll-able treasure to be had in marriage panic. Every relationship has it. I think the whole concept of soul mates and perfect relationships was sensationalized by cinema and at one point everyone bought in. But in the long run it's the squabbles and the imperfections that make every relationship unique and memorable.

  3. Julie: that is funny . I think the 3 week rule is a good one. Pants, you are wise! I love the idea of troll-able treasure.