Of all the Seinfeld bits, this is if not the funniest, certainly the one I quote most. Kramer in his element, talking Jerry back from the ledge of marriage — and in the process, Jerry bails on a pledge he made to George (they’ll each settle down and get married) not five minutes before.
Marriage is a wild, curious little adventure, and thanks to older siblings and older friends I did not go into it unaware. I never expected to go into it at all, frankly — but then I met a gal who somehow made my life even better, month after month, year after year, with alarming consistency.
Stil, I couldn’t stick it out even with her if she didn’t share (well…okay, “tolerate”) my sense of humor and appreciation for the absurdities that come when you mix normal human hormones and life cycles with the codependency of a long-term commitment to another. So when we’re going through the mundane stretches of a year that feel like work-sleep-shower, work-sleep-shower, work-sleep-shower and we’re able to catch our breath to talk, I needle her with “And how was your day? Did you have a good day?” in the Kramer voice. We laugh. (Usually. Sometimes it’s just me.)
I’ve never picked up a self-help book — in my arrogance I would suggest I’ve never needed one. But I imagine they’re all a bunch of different ways of telling you what you already know, or what you already figured out, or what you just needed someone else to tell you so you feel okay about believing it’s true. And that’s great, people need that.
But from the outside — and again, with the benefit of so many models before me — it looked to me like the key to happy codependency in the curious institution of marriage is:
- Know yourself. (This is hard.)
- Know your partner. (This might be harder.)
- Accept that each of you will change over time — it’s human nature.
- Communicate constantly, so those changes don’t take you by surprise (and maybe you’ll even change together).
Obviously it helps if you take care of the first two before you jump in, lest you have to retrofit each other.
This Post was Actually Supposed to be about Biking
Well it’s allllll-right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s allllll-right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s allllll-right, even if the Sun don’t shine
Well it’s allllll-right, we’re going to the end of the line
“End of the Line” ~ Traveling Wilburys
Anyway, it’s funny: For years I wanted Mrs. Fall of Because to get a bike so we could go biking together. But we always sort of put it off — we certainly haven’t lacked activities to do together. So what made her finally do it? A few friends who convinced her to join them in a sprint triathlon, for which she needed a bike. Hee hee, whatever it takes.
Now a few weeks ago we biked about 22 miles in the Illinois flood plain with her aunt and uncle. We are a 10-minute ride from a major city park that has a 6-mile loop in it, and now we’re biking that loop (which I used to bike with my mother, incidentally, so that’s surreal in its own way). If she does another triathlon, I might actually do it with her, provided I learn how to swim efficiently first — an exercise that has already produced new comedic moments as I try to coordinate arms, legs and lungs together in a medium in which they’re normally lounging on a raft with a drink in hand.
Suddenly we’ve got a few new answers to “How was your day?” and I imagine one day we’ll look back and crack up about these times when we started biking together, when I cursed trying to get my 20-year-old bike rack to fit the 10-year-old car, and each early ride was marked by trying to figure out what was up with her chain, and she doubled over watching me try to do the breast stroke while sinking steadily to the bottom of the pool.
The hope, the idea being that we’re going to the end of the line.