He: I’m “supportive” She: This wuss will put up with anything
No sooner had a story about my wife’s astronautical ambition aired in Austin than strangers took it upon themselves to diagnose our obviously flawed marriage.
“Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a one-way trip to Mars,” tweeted one stranger.
“She must really be sick of her husband,” commented another, unaware of how surprised I am that she married me in the first place.
One Internet commenter posting under the pseudonym “Acup” wrote: “Wow Im glad Im not married to her.” True enough, since she’d probably tell him where he could put his apostrophes.
More to the point was “buck,” whose keen insight resulted in this trenchant observation: “Going to Mars and abandoning your husband and children forever? Brave? Hardly. Selfish? Most definitely.”
This would all fit more neatly into popular understanding if we were conforming to gender stereotypes, if she were the man and I the supportive wife. These roles are not strangers in our society. She could be understood as an explorer, and I the determined source of support back at home. If I were the wife, I could say that I love Sonia, no matter what, that I love her to the ends of the Earth and beyond, that I want what she wants, and people would nod approvingly at how nice it must be to have such love and support.
But until the culture grows up, my answers will only puzzle those who want me to describe the view as I look into the abyss. I will miss her. I will be lonely. I will mourn her a million times before she dies. I will not like any of this, but I love her, and this is a horizon worth crossing.
Well, it’s said that people get the spouses they deserve.
Posted by Charlotte Allen