Robert Louis Stevenson called marriage “a sort of friendship recognized by the police.”
I guess that’s one person’s account of it.
Here’s another, from Annie Dillard’s beautiful novel The Maytrees.
The Maytrees are in this scene a young husband and wife, living in Provincetown:
She lay shipwrecked on the sheets. She surfaced like a dynamited bass. She opened her eyes and discovered where on their bed she had fetched up. She lay spread as a film and as fragile.… She loved Maytree, his restlessness, his asceticism his, especially, abdomen…
Maytree, flexed beside her, was already asleep. He usually fell asleep as if dropped from a scarp. From above he would look as if his parachute failed. Intimacy could not be unique to her and Maytree, this brief blending, this blind sea they entered together divng.
His neck smelled as suntan does, his own oil heated, and his hair smelled the same but darker. He was still fresh from an outdoor shower. Awareness was a braided river. It slid down time in drops or torrents.
Now she as he woke the room seemed to get smarter. His legs moved and their tonus was tight. Her legs were sawdust; they were a line old rope shreds on sand. All her life the thought of his body made her blush.
“We should get up” Maytree said and moor the dory. Tide’s coming in.”
Now he stood and brushed sand from the side of the sheet. They always had sand in the bed it. It was a wonder she was not slimmer….
I’m happy to say I find marriage to be more like this second account than the first. Friendship is crucial of course – also the ability to laugh at yourself, to forgive and to admit that you’re no picnic to live with either. But if you also have those times when you get taken outside yourself? Well, that’s just the icing on the cake. 🙂