Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. . . . You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life. . . . They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you.
Stephanie Coontz On The Past, Present, And Future Of Marriage
One quality that helps a marriage work is when partners respect each other and are each grateful for what the other brings to the relationship. Relationships run on an economy of gratitude. And if your partner needs to change his or her behavior, it’s important to ask for that change without attributing bad motives to the behavior. When you do argue, or when your partner gets angry, look for the soft emotion under the hard one and talk to that. A belief in the goodwill of the other person is critical.
For most of history it was inconceivable that people would choose their mates on the basis of something as fragile and irrational as love and then focus all their sexual, intimate, and altruistic desires on the resulting marriage.
The first time the married man tells you to kneel and wait for him, you are at home in your pajamas. He is at work, and his text arrives over your phone: how fast can you put on a sexy outfit complete with shoes and unlock your door and be kneeling silent in your apartment when i come in.
She neglects to mention the coins that dot the walkway in front of the prison’s main doors. As you leave, you bend over for a penny and discover the coin is sticky with ejaculate. Cheers and howls erupt from the many floors above your head, and more coins rain down, along with obscene invitations. You drop the penny and wipe your fingers on your pants, but the damage is done. They now have your measure.
We started to keep a list — not just a traditional list of birds but a record of two lives coming together. We were strict, allowing on it only birds we saw in tandem. Anything experienced without the other didn’t count anymore. That first bird, Bullock’s oriole — black and white with a bright-orange belly — coincided with our first kiss, under a cloudless sky at Sunol Regional Wilderness Area.
As the train slows down approaching Sunnyside, I look out the window for the spot where Harry jumped to his death. It’s marked by a tree still pinned with a few tattered ribbons and plastic flowers in Harry’s honor. “You fat fuck,” I whisper. “Who am I supposed to jam with now?”