In just over 10 days, my parents will celebrate their 30th anniversary. I wonder about this. It’s an odd thought, as I have not lived with anyone for 30 years, including myself. What does that DO to you, being around the same person for such a span of time? I can’t imagine – it has to be something shaping and profound. The two of them probably don’t understand it completely themselves.
And yet, even in such lengthy entanglements, there’s still a distinctive ‘I’. People still get divorced, maybe only staying together until the children are grown. People still get remarried, even when there may not be 30 (or 40) years left to enjoy one another’s company. What does this mean? Are we all just lonely? Are we all just bad-tempered enough that eventually we can’t get along?
In Cambodia, for one couple, the ‘get away’ urge was overpowering. After the couple separated (they did not legally divorce), the husband physically removed his possessions – including half of the house – to get away from his wife. Drastic, yes. Necessary? I wouldn’t claim to know.
I’m sure it was a move somewhat precipitated by anger and bitterness. I’m sure it’s something he will later regret. A house, once split, doesn’t reunite cleanly, and I’m sure having only half a house detracts from the value of each half. What do you do when it rains, and you’re missing walls? But then again, what do you do when you can no longer peacefully coexist with your wife of 40 years?