HAVING HAD three wives means that my life on occasion has been visited by the ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.
I’ve never decided if I should be envious of people who get married young, and stay hitched to the same person till they die. I appreciate that there’s a long-term solidarity, but they’ve missed the fun times of shrieking terror that multiple spouses occasion.
Hitching two people together long-term usually is a challenge because folks can be quite different. I’ve read that two-ox teams pull badly till they become accustomed to one another and learn the other’s personality. Sometimes the oxen never get in lockstep, and must be paired with other, more amenable oxen.
Are humans and oxen really all that different?
My first wife was quite messy, which was not surprising considering the chaotic home in which she was spawned. That one aspect was a challenge for me. We only lasted five years, but her messiness had nothing to do with my departure.
Let me inject here that a Prussian drill sergeant and I share many traits. You can see how this could provide problems in a matrimony.
My second wife was fairly well-organized, so that was not an issue, which explains, in part, why we were together almost two decades. We likely would still be together if she hadn’t become smitten with an illegal-alien yard boy half her age.
I think my Prussian-ness was a major factor. How much further is it possible to stray from a Prussian drill sergeant than into the arms of Mexican yard boy?
Wife #3, my child bride, lacks my Prussian personality, but it’s not been a problem because I am older, wiser, softer. When we first met, I asked what her worst traits were, and she said disorganization and distraction.
She was not lying.
She’s something of a hippie in spite of being politically conservative. I watch her life swerve this way and that, and I marvel, usually with my mouth shut.
I think the path to a successful marriage often is no more complicated than keeping your mouth shut.