At some point, the willingness to absorb all of your mate’s less charming attributes fades and you begin to begrudge them, like you would with a roommate. Sharp words, which, she would correctly point out, he would never use with a colleague or coworker, ensue. Minor insults can shape, degrade and finally erode marriages as surely as raindrops can erode mountains. To love and honor forever apparently presupposes someone easier to live with. That turned out to be true on both sides of their particular equation.
Intercourse had always been the salve they applied to those minor scrapes, to keep them from becoming infected. You might have irritated the daylights out of me earlier today, but you just made me forget all about that; I love you. With luck, she’d feel the same way and say I love you back. You tell her you love her, at least in a very small part, to reassure yourself that you do. Modern life makes brainwashing yourself essential. “I love you” at the end of a phone call. “I love you” on getting dropped off. “I love you” before going to sleep. Damn it, I do love you. Without doing this, love can start to slip away; as silly as it sounds, you can forget that you are in love with the person next to you. But “I love you” in that sense depends on having fucked in recent memory. Otherwise, you might not really even like them at the moment because one, they did irritate you earlier that day, and two, although they could make it all better very easily, they are choosing not to.
As the author of a deeply intimate book, I’m always glad to see some of my musings reflected in real life. Although the paragraphs above are pure fiction, the NY Post ran a filler piece today about how Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick (married since 1988) dealt with the stress of losing “a lot of money” to Bernie Madoff’s giant Ponzi scheme:
“I don’t think there was a moment where it was like, that thing happened and then we got pissed at each other. It was sort of the opposite,” Bacon revealed to GQ editor-at-large Michael Hainey at a Q&A on Tuesday. “We kind of went, ‘Holy shit. Let’s . . . I don’t know. Let’s have sex or something. It’s free!’”
Yes, the problems remain after you’re done, but you’ve strengthened each other in the process, for free.