The Story of a Happy Marriage

I love being married.

It’s so great to find that one special person

you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

Rita Rudner

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“Five decades and five children ago…” is how my parent’s love story would begin to be told. Today, as they celebrate their almost half a century together, I wonder what requires greater strength and courage: keeping it together or walking away?

Novelist Ann Patchett was a child of divorce and suffered through an early divorce of her own.  In the midst of the turmoil of her first marriage, she recounts (in her collection of essays This is The Story of a Happy Marriage):

Standing waist deep in the swimming pool, I received a gift–it was the first decent piece of instruction about marriage  I had ever been given in my 25 years of life. “Does your husband make you a better person?” Edra asked.

There I was in that sky-blue pool beneath a bright blue sky, my fingers breaking apart the light on the water, and I had no idea what she was talking about.

“Are you a smarter, kinder, more generous, more compassionate, a better writer?” she said, running down her list. “Does he make you better?”

“That’s not the question,” I said. “It’s so much more complicated than that.”

“It’s not more complicated than that,” she said. “That’s all there is: Does he make you better and do you make him better?”

This conversation cleared Ann’s resolve to leave her husband. She vowed never to remarry to save herself from any more pain, not even after she met a wonderful man whom she dated for 11 years.  Until the day he suddenly fell terminally ill and she realized her logic could not save her from losing him in other ways:

The fact that we came so close to missing out, missing out because of my own fear of failing, makes me think I avoided a mortal accident by the thickness of a coat of paint.  We are, on this earth, so incredibly small, in the history of time, in the crowd of the world, we are practically invisible, not even a dot, and yet we have each other to hold on to.  When we do things differently, and very often we do, I remind myself that it is early a matter of right and wrong.  We are simply two adults who grew up in different houses.

I continue to think back to Edra, standing in that swimming pool on a bright day in summer. “Does he make you a better person?” was what she asked me, and I want to tell her, Yes, with the full force of his life, with the example of his kindness and vigilance, his good sense and equanimity, he makes me a better person.  And that is what I aspire to be, better, and no, it really isn’t any more complicated than that.

Ann’s reply is exactly how this lucky Powerful Goddess describes her own gem of a husband.  And he’s tall and handsome, too!

Click on “Leave a comment” (above left) to describe what you love best about yours.

xoxox

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© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

 

What I Love About Men

For Father’s Day, tips and quips from Rita Rudner, a favorite comedienne who (st)ages with glamour and style:

1. On gift ideas:  If you buy your husband a video camera, for the first few weeks he has it, lock the door when you go to the bathroom. Most of my husband’s early films end with a scream and a flush.

2. On guilt:  When a woman tries on clothing from her closet that feels tight, she will assume she has gained weight. When a man tries something from his closet that feels tight, he will assume the clothing has shrunk.

3. On memory:  Men forget everything, women remember everything. That’s why men need instant replays in sports–They’ve already forgotten what happened.

4.  On diets:  Men who can eat anything they want and not gain weight should do it out of sight of women.

5. When you find yourself wishing he were someone else:  No man is charming all of the time. Even Cary Grant is on record saying he wished he could be Cary Grant.

6. Don’t try to teach men how to do anything in public. They can learn in private.  In public, they have to know.

7. Men are self-confident because they grow up identifying with superheroes. Women have bad self-images because they grow up identifying with Barbie.

8. On movie selections:  Men are less sentimental than women. No man has ever seen the movie THE WAY WE WERE twice, voluntarily.

9. On planning what to do together:  Most men hate to shop. That’s why the men’s department is usually on the first floor of a department store, two inches from the door.

10.  Men hate to lose. I once beat my husband at tennis. I asked him, “Are we going to have sex again?” He said, “Yes, but not with each other.”

11. Don’t take clothing too seriously. I’ve never seen a man walk into a party and say “Oh, my God, get me out of here!  I’m so embarrassed–There’s another man wearing a black tuxedo.”

12.  Accept compliments graciously.  Example: “Mitch, you look great.” Mitch: “Thanks.” On the other side: “Ruth, you look great.” Ruth: “I do? Must be the lighting.”

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to tell us what you love about your man.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

To Baby or Not to Baby


Simply having children

does not make mothers.

John A. Shedd

Would you believe this photo series is the celebration of a Goddess who turned 43?  She wishes looking a decade younger could silence the deafening tick tock of her biological clock and the nosy nags at family gatherings.  Elusive Mr. Right continues to hold hostage the children she may never have–despite the parade of Mr. Right Nows who volunteer to be sperm donors.

Friends, celebrities, and experts provide a mixed bag of social proof on the matter of her biological imperative.  She’s heard the cynical declare “Having kids is overrated!”  She has witnessed older friends regret not having kids, single mothers who juggle an act for two, women who snob adoption for the pain of freezing eggs (aka, hope) or fertility treatments at a king’s ransom.  Some unwittingly bind themselves to a lifetime of indentured parenthood with offspring who are forever dependent whether by illness or lack of ambition.  She’s seen women agonize over the destiny of their yet unfertilized eggs while others plop kids out without a thought.  Some consider kids as social security in their old age.  Others acquire them as the  latest luxury “must have.”  There are those who would fare better taking a parenting license exam not just driver’s ed.  And how can she not admire women who truly enjoy the thankless role of mothering? — That mythical ideal both inspiration and curse to the many of us who can’t measure up.

Childless or not, what moves you to have children?

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

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