The day audibly begins at seven am, nearly every day. I hear a greeting, or a bump on the floor above my downstairs apartment, and know that one or both of the dear people upstairs are ready for the routine that puts them above and beyond any married people I have ever known personally.
The sounds morph into a stair creaks, and two sets of footsteps that stop for the next half hour. I know where they stop. It is at the double recliner love-seat that is well named. My daughter and her husband are sitting there in bathrobes with their bare feet up and the morning paper out. If the TV is on, I don’t hear it.
What I do hear is two voices. TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER! Often there is just a comfortable burble of sound, intermittent, and reciprocal. Sometimes, like this morning, there is an outburst– I don’t hear the words. It sounds heartfelt, but I can’t really tell the nature of the passion… excitement, assertiveness, or consternation? Can’t tell.
What I do know is that these people spend the first half hour of each morning at a regular meeting with coffee, newspaper, and each other. They share the news. They offer their opinions. They don’t always agree. But they always talk.
My daughter and her husband have been married for 33 years. They are dynamic, opinionated people with an inbuilt portion of “feist” that is not boring, and is sometimes volatile. They have powered through serious differences of opinion, and some big weather-changes. My own marriage did not survive such stresses, but theirs has.
These two are evidence that love is an action verb.
Living with relatives is a dicey matter sometimes. And I am mindful of the stresses to my own marriage caused by the in-house residency of my own mother in years past. No doubt my former husband suffered somewhat silently. We didn’t talk to each other every day at seven. Sometimes we didn’t talk to each other at all…other than in passing. We lasted 20 rather passive-aggressive years.
Neither of us found success in remarriage. We never learned how to “love”, v. trans. Not at least the talking back and forth kind of love.
Today there was an outburst…just about fifteen minutes ago. Footsteps went rather loudly up the stairs at 7:30 am…to the shower. As usual.
Outbursts are not terminal here, with them. They are fearless about communication of nearly any sort. They work the muscles of this marriage. Sometimes they get sore.
But they talk to each other. And answer. Every day.
I am in awe. And not walking on eggshells here. Seems as if their stability will withstand the presence of a mother-in-law. If not, they will say so. I count on it by now.