Homicide-investigator-turned-writer Karen Lynch shares her insights on how the importance having your partner’s back contributes to successful relationships in her essay, “Playlist- ‘The Long Run,’” featured on The Manifest-Station.
As the newly-engaged Siren whose fiancé is a law enforcement officer, I find Lynch’s essay poignant and full of wisdom, resonating with the events in the news as well as my own personal life. We all have different soundtracks to our lives, and despite the breadth of our tastes (musical or otherwise), we learn to live with one another. Having a spouse with a high risk profession ups the stakes in your relationship, and forging a strong partnership built on trust and understanding goes a long way.
I know how to shoot to kill, but I can’t shoot a gun out of a man’s hand. Civilians always think cops can do that, but only Annie Oakley could have pulled off that sort of trick. I know how to stay married, but I don’t how to keep passion burning in a long marriage, and maybe I also view those who say they can as I do Annie, rare, unlikely, and highly skilled.
Staying married for decades is like living with a roommate who plays his favorite music on an interminable random shuffle. When you first fall for him, you may love six out of the ten songs in his mix. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones and you immediately love nine of his songs, or maybe like my husband and me, you only love a couple of each other’s songs, but you wait with great patience through the tunes you despise, because you remember a long time ago, he once played you a song so beautiful it made you cry.
When the annoying earworm you have grown to hate, maybe “The Long Run,” by The Eagles, comes up for the hundredth time in a month, you must remind yourself that the song you love is still in the mix, though you fear you may never hear it again. And honestly, I can’t guarantee you ever will. If you want to stay married, you may have to settle for the certainty that the song you once loved so much is still in the shuffle somewhere, and that thought alone will have to be enough to keep you listening.
My husband, Greg, is not my soul mate. He is not my best friend. But my husband is a true partner, and in my world that’s a rank above best friend. He is also one of the few people on the planet who has been willing to listen to my playlist for 27 years, and I have listened, with frequent complaint, to his.
We disagree on many things: politics, spirituality, financial planning. We have invested a good amount of time and money in couple’s therapy arguing such vital issues as whether or not plastic bags should be washed after each use. Yes, we were whining on the yacht. The money we spent on those sessions could have covered the purchase of a thousand cases of Ziploc bags, or fed a small African village. We wasted a good deal of our early years trying to make each other love our music. The thing about marriage, though, is that is doesn’t matter if you both love Elvis Costello, or kale, or Jesus, or Hilary Clinton. What matters is having each other’s back.