This quote from the late Bob Marley got me thinking today…
‘So don’t hurt her, don’t change her, don’t analyse and don’t expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she’s not there.’
Wise words which I’m sure all women will agree with. Words that are all well and good in an ideal world where people have no flaws or imperfections, but countless books are written and a myriad of films are produced based on the misery of broken love affairs, adulterous relationships, and lost loves. This always makes for a good story, but any real-life scenario is doubtless heart-breaking for the couple involved.
What is the possibility that any long-term relationship has remained happy and monogamous on both sides? In my grandparents’ day divorce was rare. My paternal grandparents stayed together all their lives, but as I’ve grown older it occurred to me that maybe they were one of the ‘unhappily married’ couples instead; he drank because she nagged, and she nagged because he drank. Their wallpaper wore many colourful stains due to various plates full of food hitting the wall at high speed and trickling down to the floor whenever Granddad deigned to stagger home from the pub. My maternal grandfather spent most of his married life with other women, causing such pain to my mother that she still carries the scars 90 years later. I’ve no idea if my parents’ marriage could have withstood the test of time, as Dad died aged 49 in 1977. Mum never married again, as ‘one man was enough’.
When we read a book we love the idea of a ‘happy ever after’ ending, but more often than not real life isn’t like that. I was told a while back to always write in a happy ending, because that’s what readers want. However, I sometimes wish for courage to go against the grain and write in a realistic ending instead. I was brought up to be a realist by two parents who never sugar-coated anything so that in theory I would never be disillusioned (for example I remember being told aged 3 that Father Christmas didn’t exist, and so not to worry about strange men coming down the chimney!). Wrong! They didn’t take affairs of the heart into consideration. It took my husband 30 years to be able to apply Bob’s words above, but he got there in the end. In-between were many good years, but as time went on there was also heartbreak, mistrust and suspicion. As we sail on calmer waters into our dotage I’m glad we finally got it sorted out. He’s what I want. Bob, you’re a genius!