A friend of mine who was one of my first editors told me last night that my husband and I should write a memoir about our relationship and everything we’ve been through. She thinks it’s incredibly noteworthy that we’ve been through so much and are still together.
She didn’t mean that as any kind of backhanded compliment, either, as though it’s so surprising that we’d still be together or anything. She thinks that we have faced far more struggles than most couples do and it’s really admirable that our commitment to each other and the relationship itself has gotten us through it.
I’m not really sure what to think about this, honestly, although I was flattered by the suggestion. I’m pretty sure that my husband would have no interest in doing such a thing with me.
I might consider doing such a thing after he’s gone. But of course, that would rely on my often-faulty memory, which would probably mean I’d get some of the details wrong (even important ones.)
There’s also the very real possibility that I would have a tendency to gloss over the bad times and be especially likely to paint him out as a saint. At times, yes, he definitely has been, but he wasn’t always.
Would I be able to be objective enough to tell our story with honesty? On the one hand, of course not: in only looking at it only from my point of view, I obviously can’t be objective.
On the other hand, does it mean ours isn’t a story worth telling if I can inherently see things only from my own perspective? Two people can be in the same relationship together and see events from a completely different perspective. In fact, I would say that’s the norm.
I guess I do agree with her that our relationship has been remarkable. We have faced so much—especially now—and it really has been both our love for one another as well as our deep stubbornness in refusing to give up that has kept us together.
If I ever do write a memoir about our relationship, I think I would be able to make it interesting. I would try not to paint either of us as the good guy, the innocent. In truth, there have been alternating times when we were each both innocent and guilty.
It’s complex and real. For as many as my personal failings have been, I have always had our relationship as my guidepost, the one thing I wanted to hang on to. I was more conflicted and confused at times when I was younger and more immature but ultimately, I wanted to hang on to him no matter what.
He has stuck beside me when others would have kicked me to the curb. In turn, I’ve done the same for him. What we have built over the past almost 27 years is a relationship that is itself the biggest priority for both of us.
Our kids know it. None of them have friends whose parents have a relationship like ours. Although we have had many failings as parents, too, the kids still have this mindset that extends from our relationship that means family always comes first. (By family, I mean the five of us.)
I have to collect my thoughts a lot more and see if this is something I want to do. And of course, I need to see how my husband feels about the idea, too: it’s not like he can really stop me from writing about him when he’s dead, but I would honor his wishes if he really didn’t want me to do so. (Probably.)
It’s going to be a long time before I would ever get around to writing something like this. But the seed has been planted. And I think that just maybe, my friend might be right that ours is a remarkable story to tell.