From The Daniel Island News
Marriage: it takes two (a parable)
By Steve Ferber
Aug 14, 2013 - 10:03:53 AM
In honor of the institution of marriage, we offer the following parable, drawing liberally on more than 50 idiomatic pairs (55 to be exact). Enjoy.
They’d had their ups and downs. For the better part of two years, their relationship was touch and go.
He left bright and early for work, she an hour later, first attending to household odds and ends, then dropping the kids at day care before arriving at the office. Traffic, as always, was hit or miss, so when she arrived late she could count on her boss reading her chapter and verse about punctuality, and corporate policy.
She was born and bred in the South, a prim and proper woman who put heart and soul into the marriage. To him, life was more cut and dried. He had some hard and fast rules (a list of do’s and don’ts, if you will), none more important than telling his kids to mind their p’s and q’s.
Year after year he complained about the wear and tear of his job. He knew the ins and outs of his work, and fought tooth and nail to climb the corporate ladder (how else was he going to earn the family’s bread and butter?).
Day after day she encouraged him to leave, to search far and wide for a new position. He was sick and tired of mistreatment at work (not to mention the daily aches and pains), and his displeasure was growing in leaps and bounds. Twice his raise was denied (“just wait and see” his colleagues told him), but he was tired of the non-stop song and dance from management.
At home, she was at his beck and call (“a life on pins and needles,” she once told a friend). But she too was suffering from the hustle and bustle of life. It was time for a change. And money was tight. They’d debate the facts and figures, but rarely saw eye to eye. Now and then they’d agree (e.g., on that new set of pots and pans, for example), but with everything costing an arm and a leg, opportunities to save were few and far between.
Whenever he was down and out, she’d search for that magic elixir. They’d talk through the pros and cons (volleying back and forth), and though her message was short and sweet, his ire grew. Round and round, they went, on and on he complained. He finally shared: “All I really want is a moment of peace and quiet.”
Was life ever fair and square? Rarely, of course, but it was time, she insisted, to stop the ranting and raving. The kids were safe and sound (witness their endless game of hide and seek), and the house was always neat and tidy (she kept everything spic and span). Challenging days, she told him, are part and parcel of life. Greet every day, she urged, as a chance to live and learn.
First and foremost, she reminded him, the family was alive and kicking. Through thick and thin, they had managed to build a life together. Abandon the path? No rhyme or reason to do so. It was time to forgive and forget. Time to yield to the notion that life, in all its glory, is not meant to be free and easy.
Between sink or swim, she told him, it was time to swim.
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