Brand building through storytelling

Is a husband just a partner in life’s everyday grind?

Marry HimIt was my husband of 37 years who handed me the March issue of The Atlantic and told me not to miss a punchy piece called “Marry Him:The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.” I’ve tried to make this case myself whenever a single friend ditches a perfectly decent guy–funny, devoted, principled, good-looking–on the grounds that he isn’t The One. “He’s probably as good as it gets,” I have warned. I’ve been known to add, if the friend has reached a certain age, “You’re not getting any younger. Do you want to be alone for the rest of your life?”

So far, I haven’t changed anyone’s mind. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising: I don’t have single cred. I’ve never even lived alone. In The AtlanticLori Gottlieb speaks from experience. She waited and waited for The One, then realized she was running out of time to have the baby she desperately wanted.

Now 40 and a single mother (not so much by choice as by rueful resignation), Gottlieb is nobody’s Betty Crocker cupcake. She’s funny, thoughtful and blunt. What you need in a husband, she argues, is not the endlessly captivating hero of your fantasies, but “someone who knows your day-to-day trivia. Someone who both calls you on your bullshit and puts up with your quirks.” While Gottlieb is hardly the first to challenge the myth of undying romantic bliss, she certainly does it with panache. My husband’s favourite line: “Marriage isn’t a passion-fest; it’s more like a partnership formed to run a small, mundane and often boring nonprofit business.”

True, but not the whole truth. If the “business” of marriage is still raising children, as Gottlieb seems to think, then what’s in it for couples who choose not to have them? And what about empty-nesters like my husband and me? As I see it, the enduring reward of marriage is coming home to a man who puts me first, even if I sometimes drive him crazy. And he if finds me captivating after all these years, so much the better.

Our latest winter vacation concluded in Las Vegas, where eye-popping excess is a way of life and the shops sell gleefully outrageous clothes you couldn’t buy anywhere else. We paused to gawk at one flimsy little number, a rhinestone bra. Except it wasn’t a bra; it was a top worn with skinny black pants. My husband said, “That would look good on you.”

A joke, right? Or maybe a costume for our private pleasure? No. He was serious. He said, “You could carry it off.”

I went on and on about being too old, and mutton dressed as lamb, and all that predictable stuff. We strolled past the rhinestone bra and never looked back. But I savour the memory. I like knowing that in this vast world there’s one man who thinks I could go out on the town in a rhinestone bra.

 

Posted by Rona

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