The Grassy Knoll
I’m sure anyone who’s married would agree with the following statement. Every marriage has cycles: mountains and valleys with many miles in-between.
Of course I love being on the mountain top with my husband. That’s a no-brainer. High up in the stunning peaks, we can’t keep our hands off each other. We think everything the other one says is hilarious. We spend all day in each other’s company and it never gets old. We’re an unstoppable force.
One such mountain top Friday night, we felt quite juvenile. So we bought a huge pack of toilet paper and shoe polish and headed to a neighborhood two of our couple-friends lived in. We thought it would be fun to “enhance” their vehicles. Couple #1 recognized my handwriting and called me at 7am the next morning. Couple #2 had to field questions from their school-age daughters and re-assure confused neighbors that they had, in fact, been happily married well over a decade.
Our valleys stink like everyone else’s. Down in them, our marriage is prone to flash floods and falling rocks. We can’t stand to be in the same room as each other. We say hateful things we don’t really mean in order to inflict wounds. We’ve been known to throw things and yell. During these times the mere sound of Jerimiah chewing makes me want to punch him in the throat.
One morning Jerimiah left for work with both of us angry at the other. In the middle of writing in my journal about how ticked off I was, his computer behind me started crooning Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye. I forgot he uses LogMeIn, and he’d signed into the program from work. It was scientifically impossible to remain angry with him. Thankfully, as painful as our valleys can be, they don’t usually last long.
It’s the miles in-between that get tricky. At times, Jerimiah and I walk hand-in-hand on the same tree-lined path. Other times it seems we sit on opposite knolls in the same grassy field; playing telephone with two cans and a line of string. And the cans get horrible reception.
The field is, at first, very appealing. It’s beautiful and serene and we’re so weary from walking. We see the first grassy knoll, but it seems too small to comfortably fit the both of us. So one sits down while the other wanders off to find a similar resting place. We stay within eyeshot of each other; believing our tin and twine to be an appropriate tether.
But it’s not. The distance between us quickly turns lonely and scary. A roommate situation emerges. We check each other’s schedule out of politeness and go through the motions of our individual lives. We begin to turn all importance inward, instead of putting the other first.
At one point during an opposite knoll cycle, we verbalized the following to each other:
Jerimiah: “I’m worried that you’ll change into someone I don’t like.”
Me: “I know. I’m worried about that too.”
Separate knolls are a dangerous place to rest our road-worn feet. If this distance is allowed to continue, our marriage would eventually bleed out. The good thing is, it’s a simple act to drop the cans and squeeze two behinds on one small, grassy knoll.