Expectations ruin marriage too. My first wife’s family told her what marriage should be like and I paid no attention to my family. I figured sooner or later we’d find our own family. Instead she became more like hers the more she realized I wouldn’t.

I promised Carol I would change but probably not the way she wanted. We shoveled through barnyards of shit and have more barnyards ahead, but we both ask ourselves, at our points of divergence, “Is this shit worth ending the marriage (especially since we’ll start all over with someone just as incompatible down the road)?” By the time we reach a decision, we’re converging anyway.

I can say this. Marriage is the toughest project I’ve undertaken, the most difficult to navigate and unlikely to be finished when we pass, but we’d never have made it 30 years if we tried to copy someone else’s.

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Living metaphor. Follow me @stephens_pt.

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