No, of course I didn’t forget our wedding anniversary. Yes, I did have to do a quick bit of mental arithmetic to work out what number it was! But who’s counting? The important thing is that we’re still together – and still want to be.
The secret of a happy marriage? I don’t consider myself an expert, but I’m sure tolerance and not having unrealistic expectations of the other person play a big part.
Here’s a slightly edited version of a post I wrote on the subject for my old blog. It’s still true today.
When I first tried to get a story published in a women’s magazine, my husband was completely supportive.
Good idea! Why not? Yes, go for it!
So I did. And when the rejections arrived he was very encouraging.
Never mind, don’t give up. Send it to someone else.
And when I received my first acceptance he seemed as pleased as me.
Well done! I knew you could do it!
But when that first story appeared in print I was puzzled by his non-reaction. He glanced at my name in the magazine when I pointed it out, but made no attempt to read the story. I was a bit disappointed but assumed he would read it later when he had time to give it his full attention. I left the magazine on the coffee table and waited … and waited …
The same thing happened with my next published story, and the next. He was enthusiastic enough about me writing, but clearly wasn’t interested in reading the finished product. I began to suspect he had secretly read some of my work and didn’t think it was any good. Was he keeping quiet to spare my feelings?
The penny finally dropped one evening when he came home from work and started telling me how he’d solved a problem with some sub-standard concrete. (He was a materials engineer in road construction.)
Gosh, that was clever of you! How fascinating!
I did listen to what he was saying, and tried to nod in the right places, but he might as well have been speaking double Dutch with a bit of Chinese thrown in.
It was only then that I understood he had the same problem with my writing. He knew it was important to me, so tried to take an interest, but he rarely read fiction of any kind and the world of women’s magazines was completely alien to him. If a magazine accepted one of my stories that proved it was good, didn’t it? There was nothing else he could say.
When he – very reluctantly – retired, I wondered what he would do all day. Would he expect me to retire too, and spend all my time with him? What on earth would we find to talk about?
I needn’t have worried. Although we’re both at home all day, we still ‘go to work’ separately, and when we meet up we have plenty to discuss. I tell him how my writing or art is progressing, and he explains how he helped a friend with their computer problem or spent all afternoon tinkering with his beloved sports car.
He does know more about writing now (he’s even read some of my stories!) and I’ve learnt at least the basics of how computer viruses and car engines work, but the main thing we have in common is that we’re both happy knowing the other person is happy doing their own thing. Which is probably why we’ve made it through another year.
Are you and your significant other like peas in a pod, or as different as chalk and cheese?
writer, reader, dreamer,
wildlife watcher, walker, gardener,
optimist, lover of life,
I wouldn't dream of stealing your words or pictures so please don't take mine.
But I'm happy to share if you ask first!