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On Rock Climbing and marriage



The second honeymoon (10 years later)was sort of a revisit of the first honeymoon. We spent the first one in Maine and Nova Scotia and ended the experience angry at each other (who angrily mumbles "Fuck off" to his new bride? Unfortunately, I did.) This time around we stayed in the states--Massachusetts and New Hampshire--and we didn't end the trip safe in the rough arms of wrath.
One of the highlights of the trip was our climbing Rumney Rocks in NH, an internationally recognized sport climbing spot--truly! We heard some variation of German, some east Asian language, French, and a few others spoken while there.
Of course physical effort is required, but just as importantly, or perhaps more so is the mental aspect of climbing. Each step and handhold must be thought out and care must be taken to not accept defeat. After several hours of climbing, the physical can trump the mental and one can surrender to the mountain. The reverse is true too; it can appear that there is no way one can climb any further--where am I going to put my hand? That tiny ledge will NOT support my foot (those climbing shoes were amazingly spiderous by the way) and so on.
Marriage (for me anyway) was and is much the same way. We rely on habits, find ourselves clinging to the wall full of fear, seemingly with no way up, and think "It'd be much easier to just rappel down." And that is true: it would be much easier to quit, rappel down, and pack up. One has to fight against that insidious voice, that feeling that threatens to absorb you. When I think she's the greatest bitch in the history of mankind, when I would like to do just walk away from marriage is when that resolve is needed. To be honest, I have many, many, many flaws and shortcomings too that create the same response in her. So, I can let the circumstances get the better of me and be like all too many people and abandon my vows or I can pause, look at the terrain before me, and plan a way up. The temptation to despair is strong, but the vista from the top is worth the struggle, the sweat, sore muscles and tender fingertips. I don't know what the summit of a marriage looks like but the more time I spend "climbing" the more I want to reach it.
Climbing rocks was tough, but rewarding; I think it is the mental challenge that draws people again and again to climb. To overcome the fear is to master some part of ourselves that needs discipline. Marriage kicks my ass, but I'm becoming a better person because of it. To those who persevere is given great reward. I'm looking forward to the next ten years with my wife.


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