Friday, February 27, 2009

The Music of Marriage

Photo at
My friend Helen is doing one of the most difficult things I can imagine: she's saying goodbye to Luke, her husband of 25 years. He has cancer. With her permission, I've posted below what she has to say about her marriage.

It's Luke and my 25th wedding anniversary on July 14th. Will he make it?
I should qualify that question: Will he make it in the flesh? I have no doubt that his spirit will be with me.

I have been thinking about marriage. It's like playing a Mozart piano sonata. You have the left hand busy with the Alberti bass, regular, rhythmic and steady, with occasional runs. The bass part is the root of the harmony, it creates the richness and depth to the melody.
The right hand carries the melody. It's the bit in the public face, the part that people whistle, the part that carries the overt feelings. It's the extrovert side.
If you have two left hand parts your marriage is dull and plodding. Two right hands and it is two people competing for the limelight, - all froth no milkshake.

So 25 years ago Luke and I started our sonata together. For the first two years it sounded good. Then we started jarring each other. Sometimes we were playing different bars at the same time. The right hand got ahead of the left, or the left got over loud and drowned out the right. Between there were enough good bars to make it worth while.
We've had times when we thought it would never come right, and we should stop playing. But when we got it right it was so good it was worth playing through to the end.

Now we are almost at the end of the sonata. We are closing with a graceful ritenuto. Winding down our marriage, speaking it through, going back and talking out the difficult bars. Apologising for drowning the other out, dragging or rushing ahead. For jarring chords and banging down the piano lid on the other's fingers...

It's the most satisfying thing I have ever done. Finishing off beautifully something it has taken 25 years to create.


David Mooney said...

Wow, that was well said. I am looking forward to making music of my own. My fiance and I are getting married tomorrow.

Heather Trent Beers said...

I know it will be beautiful, David. We can't wait to see you two tomorrow.

Paul Nichols said...

Awesome. A beautiful analogy. Why have I never heard this before? Excellent.

God bless and comfort that couple.

Heather Trent Beers said...

I agree, Paul. God bless and comfort Helen and Luke.

Paul Nichols said...

Here are two favorite blogs by two wild and crazy guys. They're the ones responsible for 'Blogstock 09.' Their wives must be saintesses, cuz they're awful patient.

Cliff Morrow:

Ralph Campbell:

I'm gonna give them your blog and ask them to visit you a time or two. You'll like 'em.

kenju said...

Paul sent me, Heather. That was a beautiful treatise on marriage. I am about to celebrate 45 years of it, so I may print this out, if you don't mind.

Heather Trent Beers said...

Yes, please print it out. My friend, Helen, wrote that. (You can follow the link to her original post on her website here and let her know how you appreciate her thoughts.) Thank you for stopping by. By the way, congratulations on your 45 years, and God bless you both!

Cliff said...

Touching to the bone. Nice thoughts. Some not so nice.
I came via Paul. But mostly for the beers then I find that's in your name.
Read everything. All the way down and even where you had lost all of your marbles. Except one.
Paul can't possibly be as nice as he seems so be careful.
You write gooder than me.
I do like the varied content.

Heather Trent Beers said...

Thanks for stopping by, Cliff. Even if you were fooled by the name. (I felt the same way when I met my husband, but after awhile, he grew on me.) Hope you'll stop by again some time. And thanks for the warning about Paul!