For those of you who have been following my blogs about our marriage and the bad years, please don’t think it’s all rainbows and butterflies now. It’s not been my intention to lead you down that path.
Mondays are our fundays. Stuart’s off and we can usually be found on the water. Today was no exception.
We headed out to the bridge to try our hand at catchin’ some crappie. We generally do well out there but the Texas heat coupled with the recent torrential rains have the water a little funky.
In our marriage, we each have our roles.
At the house, I do the inside stuff: cook, clean, laundry and pick up after him. He does the outside stuff. I will occasionally mow.
On the water, he operates the boat and trolling motor. He ties us off if need be. I retie his line if he forgets his glasses. But mostly, I fish and look cute.
Anywho, it is no secret that Julie doesn’t operate the boat. That rule of thumb has deep seated roots in the “unfortunate boat and floating dock incident of 2014.” No people were injured, just my pride. I will occasionally operate the trolling motor but it’s rare.
We idled up to the pylon, he tied us off and the fun began, or did it?
Generally, we know after a cast or two if the crappie are at “our” pole. If not, we move on down to the next one.
He always has the upper hand when we get to the bridge, as he should I guess since he does the tying off or operates the trolling motor. I often stand on the front of the boat with him. Today, was no different. I tried to cast “down the pylon” where the crappie hang out, tried being the operative word. He casting on one side of the pylon, I on the other. My jig wound up between the pylons, crossing his line. “Come on, Julie. You’ve been doing this long enough for that not to happen. It’s all about your release!” “Well, no maybe it’s about the fact that you hog the front of the boat and situate the boat to your advantage.” Back and forth we went. It did have a lot to do with my release but I wasn’t giving in as I am a fiesty ole gal. Today is one of those days I could have pushed him off the boat. Problem is I wouldn’t have been able to make it back to the ramp, being as “Julie doesn’t operate the boat.”
We moved further down the bridge trying out pole after pole. Not one single hit. Again, my release caused a kerfuffle. Through the pylons, crossing his line, same story different pole with an additional amount of screw up. This time, I reeled in and drug his line in with mine. As both lines emerged from behind the pole, my chartreuse jig got stuck in the rope that was securing us to the pylon, along with his line. It just wasn’t my day.
I proceeded to tell him that “this” is why I like fishing in my Pelican. I am in control of my destiny. No one telling me what to do. No one witnessing my screw ups. Not having to depend on anyone.
Do I give up fishing after days like today? Nope. You will find me back out there as soon as he says, “Booger, you want to go fishing?” And I will do so with a happy heart full of excitement and anticipation.
Our marriages should be approached like those crappy days on the water. Learn from them and get back out there. You can bet I was working on “my release” the rest of the day. I didn’t acknowledge that as the origin of my mishaps though, no way!
When marriage waters aren’t just right and you are going through a dry spell, get back out there and anticipate those “just right conditions” were limits are caught and there are no hang ups. Hold fast to those days.
Yesterday, Stuart and I were talking about couples who choose to live together versus getting married these days. Surprisingly, Stuart didn’t disagree with the living together practice. I said, “you don’t believe in marriage as an institution anymore?” In true Stuart fashion without missing a beat he chuckled, “oh, marriage is an institution, like a freaking insane asylum.”
Fishing continues to remind me of things that help me navigate the asylum. I just sometimes forget the reminders.
Camaraderie. I realize that there is comfort in camaraderie, be it with Stuart or any of my other fishing buddies. Laughs can be limitless and memories will be priceless. – Do things with your spouse that promotes camaraderie. You will need to cling to these moments when “the fish aren’t biting.”
Impossible Feats. Fishing lends itself to situations in which you accomplish things that you didn’t think possible. “Obstacles are the raw materials of great accomplishments.” Tommy Newberry – Marriage is like pissing in the wind at times. Hand in hand and chin down, don’t be afraid to head straight into the wind. You will feel victorious once the winds lay down.
Humility. A lesson I’ve learned over and over again on the water in both kayak and boat. Learning to embrace it is imperative. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis – No explanation needed, Mr. C.S. Lewis sums it up in one sentence. The aforementioned is for not if we don’t apply it to our marriages.
Slack. While in the middle of the lake, bay or ocean, bound by bow and stern with no escape route, cutting each other some slack is a must for a good time. “Give and take makes good friends.” Scottish Proverb -In marriage it can feel as if you are the only one cuttin’ some slack. Note to self, tit for tat is a recipe for disaster, be the slack cutter.
Patience. I’ve had many moments fishing in which anger played a huge role. Hanging up. Losing “a big one.” Not having the right tackle with me. “Be patient and calm, no one can catch fish in anger.”Herbert Hoover– You will be angry at your other half. It’s inevitable. The dirty socks and underwear on the floor. Crossing lines and getting hung up on the rope. Believing that you will live day in and day out in harmony is setting you both up for failure. Anticipate the rough waters and practice patient. Anger gets you nowhere fast.
Letting go. We don’t often keep our fish. There is a lot of CPR; catch, picture and release. Letting go of a “big one” isn’t always easy but I do feel better for doing so. – This is analogous to forgiveness in a marriage. Not really a stretch. Indulge me. Letting go of the past is hard. Oftentimes, letting go requires that you allow yourself to “go there.” Forgiveness is the precipice of which many relationships teater back and forth. Don’t be afraid to forgive and let go and make sure that you aren’t too big for your britches to say you’re sorry. My britches are often way too tight.
Sticking it out. Wading in bay conditions consisting of a twenty mph north winds blowin’ and temperatures in the forties, have produced some of our biggest flounder to date. I wanted to go back to the truck many times but stuck it out. The reward was worth the pain. – Don’t give up. There will be pain. There will be frigid conditions. But the reward is great if you can put your big girl or boy panties on and tough it out. There will also be sunny days to follow. Bask in those rays.
Passion. Passions require an investment of time. Scouting brush piles, testing new lures and techniques are requirements in angling. “Everyone should believe in something. I believe I’ll go fishing. ” Thoreau– Be intentional on a daily basis. Put as much into your marriage as you do hobbies. Your relationship should never be on the back burner.
Preparation. Anglers often have to replenish their tackle and check their gear in order to maintain the level of success that they yearn for. “There is a time to fish and and a time to mend your nets.” Buddy Bee Anthony– Take time to reassess your marriage, mending if necessary.
Solitude. Fishing has taught me that it’s ok to be alone in my kayak. Solitude is a necessary. “It is only truly alone that one bursts apart, springs forth.” Maria Isabel Barreno– Make time for yourself. Time to decompress. It will make you a better spouse.
Note to self: I might have to stop being a princess and learn to operate the boat.
Today was one of those days I could’ve pushed him off the boat.