On the day my partner and I got married, I didn’t promise him much. Life is long. Uncertainty is its only certainty.
For poorer? In sickness? Forsaking all others? Until death?
I have questions. Why are we poor? Are we poor because capitalism sucks and robots took our jobs? Or poor because one of us hid a gambling addiction, and poured our life savings down a slot machine somewhere in Hollywood, Florida? Because those are pretty different things!
What sickness? All others? Because if I get a neurodegenerative disease, and I lose every memory of you, but you stay by my side, and the kind nurse (who has been with a long string of undeserving guys and who’s super pretty but doesn’t know she’s pretty) leans over to check my vitals, and compliments you on your unfaltering loyalty to me, and then your eyes meet, I do want you to kiss her. Details from my upcoming self-published romance novel to follow.
When comes the death? Who dies first? How different will we be? What kind of world will we live in? What will it cost me to keep these promises?
Obviously there is a pleasant future we’re aiming for where none of these mundane trials become marriage-ending events. But I am a realist. Life can change people, sometimes beyond recognition. I don’t make promises I can’t keep. So I would never promise to stay married to someone no matter what. And I would never expect a pledge from a partner that I myself am unwilling to give.
In the end, what we promised each other was this: “I will always enable your happiness.”
If we were happy together: mazel tov. If we were happy apart: so it goes.
That was a promise I knew I could keep. And it was the only one I wanted in return.
But I did make one other promise that day, this time to his parents. I took them by their shoulders, looked them square in the eyes, and gave them this pledge:
“I will take care of your son. You never need to worry about him ever again.”Read More