It is Valentine’s Day; the 50th one I’ve endured as a hominid on this planet. I have no one special in my life this year and in many ways, since I’m a work in progress and I do think that someday–even as my hair continues to turn gray; my eyesight goes and my butt and boobs sag south, pointing penduously toward Tierra del Fuego, I will find the love…that love… the one that Browning wrote about; that Keats thought about and the Archies sang about.
And when I find him; I will show him this tome, which I wrote more than two years ago, and he will love it and undeoubtedly give it an 86 for the beat, Dick Clark.
Contract law as it pertains to coupledom..
It’s about the contracts we unwittingly make everyday with other human beings. Especially the contracts we enter regarding relationships; those one-on-one things that signify all that’s right in love, which would be Love.
And all that’s wrong which would be the tedium of relationships that so often makes us feel stuck. Maybe even trapped.
Sadly, that’s an unavoidable reality of love and relationships. The way love shifts and morphs into something so different than it began. In the beginning, you have two sentient, rational thinking adults entranced by that giddy, wonderful, endorphin producing feelings of the first few weeks, months…years (if you’re really lucky) of a relationship with its shiny new car luster.
Then comes reality….maybe a few kids. Loss, money issues.. More reality. Another kid. Dad’s blocked aorta. Jimmy Jr.’s car wreck. More reality. Jenny’s braces. Jim Sr.’s layoff. Helen’s hysterectomy. Jim turns 48, starts dressing younger, then hires a 24 year-old-secretary, with big boobs that like they should have Spalding imprinted on their sides.
It may not look the same no feel the same from couple to couple but it’s one commonality is that reality changes every couple it touches, one way or the other. But all isn’t lost. If a couple can work together and try to be flexible enough to change with it, survival rates are higher.
But basically, love and relationships start out the same.
In the beginning, we’re all a twitter. Oooooh, shared carnality, which has its own language, spoken in sensual whispers by two people who feel it to the core.
Sex is frequent and ubiquitous. In the front yard, car, the kitchen; the dining room table; by the dumpster behind the Stop-N-Shop. It’ll be exciting because we are excited. Love has sprung a leak.
It is substantial.
We back that up by always looking our best. You shave closer and I guess, so do I. You groom your hair more carefully; I actually apply make-up with the precise artistry of Emmet Kelly.
We still hold our stomachs in while we’re around each other.
And then, we turn “that corner”; the one that in time, every relationship approaches.
There’s morning breath. Dreaded morning breath with its nasty, “slice and bake” density. The kind that a dragon produces and uses to incinerate everything in its path. Morning breath is its own force field and form of birth control, you know.
There will be evenings when we’re too tired to even count to six, much less have sex. I’ll make spaghetti that will taste the way feet smell and you’ll eat it, then end up making stinkies in the bathroom that smell like Chef Boyardee died in there three weeks ago.
We’ll try to pretend not to notice, but our collective gagging will prove otherwise.
Oh yes, things change. They always change. Suddenly, the glamor of us wears off and we’ll become very real in our eyes.
Very real and very flawed.
Suddenly, we’ll start noticing things that our “love goggles” once obscured .
You’ll one day focus on this long hair thing that I have Rapunzelling off my chin.
I’ll obsess over a skin tag on your neck that to me, looks a lot like Fred Thompson, (R) Tennessee.
Cursed familiarity and it’s damned ability to breed contempt—-BUT ONLY IF—we let it.
That’s why I’m presenting you with a covenant, Sire. Our relatively new relationship is rapidly approaching a mile stone. And this…this covenant, is my way of conveying to you and reassuring you that I fully intend to be a willing participant in roughly 47-percent of that which we share in this relationship.
Sure, I’m authoring it and yes, it’s one-sided, but you can always use this against me as a point of jihad at one of our more rancorous Kendrick family reunions–or as we call them: Mogadishu with potato salad.
• I will always consider your feelings. I will put you first where applicable. For example: I’ll ask you what you want for lunch or dinner…except on those occasions when you’re buying. Breakfast? Fend for yourself.
• I vow to be covert with regard to all the secret things that I will surreptitiously do behind your back.
• I will try to get along with you at all costs. I will celebrate our differences and revel in what we have in common and will make every effort to increase said commonality, in spite of your nose hair.
• I will do my part to quell the toilet seat up/down argument. With that said, I will make this concession: I will learn to pee standing up, IF you’ll learn to pee sitting down.
• I will NEVER ask you your thoughts about love and especially, about our relationship. Why should I? You certainly don’t know any more than I do.
• I will rarely ever color in the lines you’ve drawn for me.
• I will forgive you for being imperfect and more importantly, I will forgive myself for being equally flawed.
• No matter what happens, we’ll have one thing in common: We’ll both always love you.
• When Copernicus calls to insist that you are NOT in fact, the center of the universe, I will defend you by not agreeing with him—for at least an hour after he hangs up.
• I will never, ever be of the ridiculous mindset that you “complete me”, the one that cursed Jerry Maguire regurgitated on to our nation’s emotional landscape. Instead, I will always believe that you contribute to me.
• We will be disappointed in each other; that’s unavoidable, but with your help, it will only be sporadic and never permanent.
• I will try my best to be your friend first and foremost. I won’t always be successful at this and make no mistake–I will make mistakes. I will probably fudge the truth on several occasions. I’ll annoy you, infuriate you with my stubbornness and there will be times when you’ll completely understand why some people premeditate murder. It is likely that I’ll whine from time to time; get in a nagging needle or two regarding your work schedule. I’ll make your crazy when I lapse into “a mood” every once in a while. I will perfectly exemplify my imperfection. But I promise that I will work with you in order to work together. You have my word that I will try. We will have many common objectives. Reaching them won’t be easy, but then again, we do better when the odds are against us.
• Speaking of odd, you already know my family, right?
• Lastly; I am a grown up; responsible and self-sufficient. I do not expect you to rescue me or come to my aid every time I struggle. I am a smart, mature woman….but a woman nevertheless. I NEED to know I matter.
• BUT…. if your ego demands that you prove this every once in a while, by instilling in you a need to slay a metaphorical dragon or two, far be it from me to obviate your gender’s natural order which is of course, hardwired in that rather fetching little fuse box I call your head.
All I ask is that you please refrain from the inherent urge to kill the next time I kiss you with dragon breath.
Signed on this day, February 14, 2010