In the end analysis

June 9th, 2009

You know I’ve been married before, so you might wonder how the second time around is better than the first. Surely the first one was wrong and the second one is right?

I’ve stopped thinking that way. It seems to me that we have the same fights, the same frustrations, the same salty tears, the same low-grade despair, and yes, even the same loneliness. I’ve stopped thinking that one husband is different than the next, or even that my husband is different than yours. They all seem a lot alike to me. After two, five, ten years or more of cohabitation, they still don’t know where you keep the extra toilet paper.

In the middle of it all I remember that my husband doesn’t have a spiritual practice, so he can’t always see things clearly. In the middle of it all I remember that I do have a spiritual practice, so I try to see things clearly. I cannot find a different husband, but I can find a different me, who looks at things differently, taking more responsibility and assigning less blame, appreciating the whole instead of dividing the parts.

A reflection on recent social media reconnections.

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  1. I just love the topic of this post and the fact that I have learned to change me in order to be happy in most everything. Changing my mind has helped more than I ever would have imagined it would.

    Comment by Cat — June 9, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

  2. Well Karen there are things that never occurred to me as well … weekday movies for instance.

    The next time you are running your hotel, changing light bulbs and replacing toilet paper know we are all doing it with you.

    Now I think I'll go pick my husband's work clothes up of the floor of my otherwise clean bedroom and start a load of laundry.

    Comment by Shalet — June 9, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  3. i hope you know how much your words are of use to me.
    you teach me.

    Comment by jessamyn — June 9, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

  4. thank you Jess. Only when my words have taught me can they be of use to anyone else.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — June 9, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

  5. I'd love to hear more (sometime, when you have a chance to write about it) about what it's like to be in a "mixed" marriage: you with a spiritual practice, your husband without. I've often heard folks talk about marriages where spouses have different practices, but seldom do you hear people talk about the "with & without" combo.

    Comment by Lorianne — June 9, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  6. Helpful perspective! I've often thought that issues that came up in my past relationships were because of the dude, but now am starting to realize that I bring a lot into the equation too (sometimes a whole lot!) and that there is always something to work on. Like finding the toilet paper.

    Comment by Mambinki — June 9, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

  7. Lorianne,
    I could ascribe much in the way of my failures to the mix in my marriage, but the truth is, I'm the one doing the mixing. My husband has never held me back from my practice. How could he? Marriage keeps my feet on the ground, where I no longer seek to escape my karma!

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — June 9, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  8. I like our husband!

    And it makes me feel useful, always being the bearer of bum wipes (barer? … you know what I mean)(you always do).

    Comment by Mrs. B. Roth — June 9, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

  9. Uh-huh, I'm in a "mixed" marriage, too. I worried about it for a while, but then I realized that his path is a lot closer to mine than I would have guessed. We're all in the same woods, after all.

    Comment by Judy Merrill-Smith — June 9, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

  10. you are by far, mae, the wisest woman i've ever known.

    One look up close at a husbands (or jellyfish even) and you have to wonder why you thought you knew anything at all about this life.


    Comment by wendy — June 10, 2009 @ 3:27 am

  11. That makes two of us Wendy because don't you know our husbands married the same woman?

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — June 10, 2009 @ 3:39 am

  12. I'd be willing to bet that your husband tries to see things clearly, too.

    Comment by Empty Bench — June 10, 2009 @ 4:06 am

  13. smiling here. its been a rough few months in this area and here's to seeing things differently.

    Comment by Bridge — June 10, 2009 @ 5:12 am

  14. Yes yes yes. I'm feeling more and more that when anyone else does ANYTHING that gets to me then that's just learning for me. That's not to say that it isn't appropriate to have appropriate boundaries, but I'm believing less and less in the idea that our partner's job is to do anything except be themselves.

    Comment by Fiona Robyn — June 10, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  15. This is why we practice, isn't it?

    Comment by molly — June 10, 2009 @ 2:03 pm

  16. The theory says that there are not two people in a relationship. The practice of marriage keeps whacking us in the head until we really start to know this lack of duality, in the bones.

    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — June 10, 2009 @ 11:04 pm

  17. My husband still asks me where those things go too and we've been married almost 8 years. I get frustrated and then I see all the great things he does know how to do.

    Male Onset Refrigerator Blindness I call it.

    Comment by beautiful birth — June 11, 2009 @ 2:25 am

  18. Nice post! I think that all of us are in some way married to the 'same person'. Everyone I know in a relationship has the same issues in some way, shape or form.

    One time when we had a small fight, instead of giving in to it, I picked up a Thich Nat Hanh book and started reading, realizing that I had a lot or responsibility for what was going on and it was up to me to let go.

    I notice that in some ways being married 'is' my practice. Often I feel like I'm learning detachment with love each and every time something isn't done the way I want it and I start to get frustrated.

    Comment by Katie — June 11, 2009 @ 4:16 am

  19. OMG! This is fabulously relevant and timely!

    Thank you for sharing it.

    I see you.

    Comment by Lisa — June 11, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  20. lol.

    Comment by DQ's Windmill — June 11, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

  21. This is all at once fascinating, inspiring, and terrifying to me. How do we make sure we don't screw it up over and over and over?

    Comment by Lisa — June 11, 2009 @ 11:52 pm

  22. Lisa: No make sure, no screw up, over and over. Be new.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — June 12, 2009 @ 1:20 am

  23. Life IS a spiritual practice whether one labels it as that or not. Dropping the labels that divide us is part of my practice and practice and practice.

    Comment by Kathleen Botsford — June 14, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  24. ah to think of second marriage is not a part of my path right now.

    i would think my lessons from the first marriage ring true in what you said that the only thing I can focus on is my own point of view.

    that and the toilets are much cleaner now there is no man in the house.

    Comment by underthebigbluesky — June 15, 2009 @ 1:24 am

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