They say Adam and Eve had the perfect marriage. He didn’t have to hear about all the guys she could have married and she didn’t have to hear about how good a cook his mother was. Rodney Dangerfield’s marriage was far from ideal, as he was married to an unfaithful, untrusting woman who in Dangerfield’s cliché quote, ‘gave him no respect’. One day, Dangerfield came home and caught his wife in the arms of another man. He shouted to her, “What do you think you’re doing?” She turned to her lover and said, “See, I told you he was stupid.” Another time Dangerfield said, “I met my wife at the front door one day, she was wearing only a sheer negligée. Unfortunately, she was just coming home.” Dangerfield’s wife was not only unfaithful, she also didn’t trust him. One day Dangerfield came home with a red smudge on his forehead. His wife shouted at him, “LIPSTICK!” Dangerfield stated, “No, I was in a terrible accident and I smashed my forehead into the steering wheel.” She said, “Lucky for you!” In the 1950’s, Hollywood instilled the standards of the perfect marriage with Ozzie and Harriet, June and Ward Cleaver. In the 1970’s, Hollywood realized that these characters were unrealistic and did a 360 with such role models as Archie and Edith, Dan and Roseanne.
The perfect marriage doesn’t have to follow or avoid any of these marriages. No marriage is going to be perfect as we are all individuals with different outlooks on the world. We can’t expect our mate to line up exactly the way we think in every situation and therefore there will be conflicts now and again. We can look to the Bible in 1Corinthians to give us a guide to being a good mate. (Replacing the word ‘love’ with ‘mate’) “Love (mate) is patient, love is kind. It is not self-seeking, not easily angered, it always protects, trusts and hopes.”
I look at my marriage where the incursion of my illness has brought to the forefront the marriage adage, ‘in sickness and in health’. With the going getting tough, Nadine, my mate, has got going. My illness has made it difficult for me do regular activities of daily living that I once enjoyed. I have difficulty putting on my socks and without asking, Nadine is there to give me a hand. When riding our bikes on the dike, she always goes in between any loose running dogs and me, as she knows my reflexes are not up to snuff with dogs. She is there to cut up my meat, give me massages, take me to my doctor appointments and the list goes on; all on top of doing her regular activities she always had, such as work. She has exemplified the definition of a good mate from 1Corinthians. Now I’m not saying there aren’t other mates out there who would do the same thing. All I’m saying is that I have one of them. It is fitting that with my Lou Gehrig’s disease that I quote Gehrig with his famous last words to his New York Yankee faithful; “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”