Once upon a time my husband and I started working together in an upscale restaurant in Midtown Toronto. We were young and newly married and we liked to joke around and have fun. My husband was a Chef and I was a server. After a particularly grueling Saturday we all went out collectively to catch last call at the local pub. On our way down the street I was talking to a fellow server and she asked me why I had a British accent while J had a Canadian accent.
“I was born in London, he’s from Kitchener,” I replied.
“But aren’t you guys, like, brother and sister?” she asked, clearly perplexed.
I must have looked slightly shocked, perhaps a little green, as I gasped and cried, “Dear God, no! We’re married!”
It was then her turn to looked shocked.
“But…But…you’re such good friends!” she declared.
I was amazed by this response. Apparently no-one had told them we were married so everyone had assumed we were related due to having the same last name. It’s true, my husband and I do have very similar senses of humor and we can be very silly together but it had never crossed my mind that by being so was maybe not how a husband a wife could be around each other. I quizzed her further on why she felt this way and she just assumed husbands and wives perpetually got on each others nerves and wouldn’t dream of working so close with one another, let alone be as warm and friendly towards each other. She told me she’s never seen a married couple so happy with each other. I thought that fact in itself was a little sad and at the same time I was quite stunned.
Ask people who have been married for 60, 70 or 80 years what the secret is to a long marriage and the answer is usually always the same; ‘I married my best friend.’ I often wonder now what makes people think they are ready to marry. Not too long ago girls weren’t given a choice – if you weren’t married by 16 you were in danger of being labeled a spinster by the time you reached 25. Marriage meant you were set for life, you had a home, an income of sorts and you had a household to maintain, regardless of whether you liked your husband or not. Unfortunately there are still beliefs in arranged marriages these days, not that I agree with them, but each to their own. During the two World Wars, people didn’t know if they would see each other again so there was a desperate passion when together and an appreciation of having the chance to love and be loved.
In today’s world rights and ways of life have changed. I suppose factors that may have always been in place, just never voiced, are now no longer taboo; divorce, women in a strong career position, better education, better travelling opportunities. There’s more to life now than simply getting married yet although people are given time to get to know each other it’s perhaps not always taken. Not everyone is doomed though! I’m sure there are many married couples out there who share the same easy relationship that we do and have a good working commitment to each other. It can be done and it’s a beautiful feeling; you have to work for it, with it and through it.
Nowadays my husband and I are in a different field of work – hospitality can suck it – and we also have a young family to look after so nights out are few and far between and usually involve just the two of us. Our friends are in other various fields and have young families so getting together with them involves moving mountains at times! Date Night for us is very important! It lets us reconnect and talk about things other than work or kids. It’s almost like the Man Cave theory; getting space to recharge the batteries and to remember what it’s like to be a free adult, even if it’s only for a few hours. During that time we will laugh and joke, share stories and reminisce. We are friends and we enjoy being with each other. We have felt like that for the 13 years we’ve been together, 10 of which married to each other: Isn’t that the point of finding the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with?