The XX Factor

I Do, I Do

Responding to Jess about the value of marriage in a moment when so many women writers are wondering why they bothered , to be sure it is far less complicated to run your life alone than with a partner.  I’ve been single and self-sufficient and I’ve been married and co-dependent. For me, at least, married is better. Marriage is the place I can completely unpack: where I use my most personal of inside voices and reveal emotion inappropriate anywhere else.


Under the matrimonial contract, a joint venture that often results in a family, marriage dresses up a bit when it goes out in public and leaves unbecoming marital bickering at home. Who we each become in the service of the partnership is inevitably a different individual than we would be alone. As time goes by, we don’t just complete each other, we complete each other’s sentences. My mother, a paragon of triumph of hope over experience, has been married four times and for her, each marriage was a very different package. Now both in their 80’s, she and my current step-father are still enjoying their affiliation. I tease my husband of 25 years that we will one day inevitably be having our own version of their typical conversation:

Her: Honey, what is this number?

Him: Which one?

Her: That one.

Him: I can’t see it.

Her: Yes you can, look.

Him: Oh ok 4-2-0….

Her: That’s not a 2 it’s an 8

Him: It is?

Her: Yes, what’s the rest?