Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Successful in Love

“You will be successful in love.” It came from a fortune cookie I got once. It’s stuck in a picture frame on my desk. The photo is of my wife in a hospital bed holding our daughter the day she was born. Such an incredible day in all of our lives. Such an incredible person who made such an incredible person. I really do feel like the luckiest man alive.

I realized something the other day: I am the second most important person in two very wonderful people’s lives. As it should be. Don’t read that as “favorite.” Just important.

Emily and I knew each other for around 15 years before we were married. We had off-and-on romantic connections over the years. We had some of the most nuclear fights I’ve had with anyone in my lifetime. Whatever happened, we always ended up back together in some regard. So after sowing my crazy oats with the Ranch lady, I realized that I needed to find someone rational and domestic with whom to build my family. Emily was a clear choice. I already knew I could be very happy with her, as well as have all the drama a grown man could ask for. I knew she loved kids, and she was a reasonable person (about most things).

I think one of the reasons people say we “seem to like each other” or similar sentiments contrasting our relationship to what many consider to be “the norm” these days is that we went into our marriage knowing how difficult it can be sometimes. We weren’t under any illusions the way I imagine a lot of celebrity marriages seem to start. I don’t have any inside track on any celebrity marriages, but I imagine that two gorgeous people with millions of adoring fans get together thinking everything will be great, but they maybe haven’t thoroughly tested the waters to see how things will go through the thick and thin and all that. Then there’s all the opportunities they have to be unfaithful. And not even just opportunities, but genuine temptation as dozens of people likely throw themselves at them. I just heard that Antonio Banderas is getting divorced. Was it really a surprise to anyone that he had an affair? Sure, there are plenty of good, honest, dependable, faithful people out there. Then there are the actors.

So I think one of the keys to our success as a couple (8 years and counting) is that we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We knew it wasn’t going to be perfect. Even our honeymoon in Venice was less than perfect, and we had at least one doozy of a fight right there on the island. It was about being lost, not being able to read the map, not asking for directions. Luckily the tension was broken when we saw this:
We were trying to find St. Mark’s cathedral and the island was getting really confusing. Once we saw this we just laughed. That’s one of the keys as well: we can laugh about things, no matter how bad they were. In fact, the worse they are the more we laugh later. The laughter is so important.
I don’t mean to brag but I do think I’m just about as lucky as they get. Of all the lotteries I’ve never won, all the huge promotions and private jets I’ve never gotten, all the fame and riches I will probably never know, I believe I am happier than the people who do get those things. I’ll take my little laughing family over all of that.