Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I have a little problem with magazines, and what I mean when I say little problem is that I subscribe to Cosmopolitan, Self, Glamour, Allure, Marie Claire, the Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Cooking Light (I let my Redbook, Fitness, and Shape subscriptions lapse. Shame on me).

In years gone by, I'd read each one the night it showed up in my mailbox, but for some reason, even though this is the first year in the last five that I'm not in grad school and the first in the last ten that I'm not teaching night school, I don't feel like I have time to do that. Now when they come, instead of reading them, I take them out of their (unnecessary) plastic bags and find them space on my increasingly cluttered coffee table, fully intending to get around to them later in the week.

Last Saturday and Sunday I read about seventeen magazines.

During my magazine-a-thon over the weekend, while I was catching up on the last 3 issues of the Atlantic (a magazine, along with Vanity Fair, that I subscribed to in an effort to convince myself that I'm at least a little bit highbrow, but which did nothing but convince me that what I am is decidedly lowbrow), I came across what I soon realized was a monthly feature: a pie chart. These monthly pie charts take a subject, presumably survey people about different aspects of the subject, and then present statistics.

At a time when I was struggling with major decisions regarding my marriage, the subject of February's pie chart, the 3-month-old issue that I just happened to be reading in the middle of May, was marriage.

Because I no longer have the magazine, I don't remember the exact premise of the pie chart, but because I took a picture of the section that interested me, I do know the exact focus of one piece of the pie:

Which one of these marriage vows is hardest to keep?

The choices (or at least all the choices that fit into the picture on my phone)?

To be faithful
For better or for worse
In sickness and in health
For richer, for poorer

I repeat

To be faithful
For better or for worse
In sickness and in health
For richer, for poorer

Wait one cotton pickin' minute.

There are vows other than the vow to stay faithful?

I've been married so long, I guess I must have forgot. 

I know you probably don't believe that. I barely believe that myself. It is, after all, pretty unbelievable. But really. Marriage vows are something I haven't thought about in years. Probably 15 of them.

You'd think that, being an adulterer, the adultery part would be the part I'd home in on.

It wasn't.

Probably, if I had to guess, the reason for my lack of interest in that statistic is that, unlike vows in general, which I hadn't thought about in practically forever, adultery is something I think about all the time. Marriage vows in their totality, though--I think about them never.

And one of those that I think about never, well, after seeing it in that pie chart, I couldn't stop thinking about it:

For better or for worse

For better


for worse

For worse
For worse
For worse


Things are definitely worse.

Over the past four years, they've been "worse" a lot. And you know what I do every time they are?

I tell Glenn I want a divorce.

I can't do this anymore, I say.

I can't live like this, I cry.

I seek escape because I can't deal with worse.

I can't deal with worse, but-- 

I made a vow*.

From the beginning, worse was a possibility, and still--

I made a vow.

A vow.

*Vow: a solemn promise or assertion; specifically: one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition (Merriam-Webster)

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