Marriage is work, guys. Hard work. The hardest yet most fulfilling work possible. Today is my four-year anniversary with Hailey and there hasn’t been one day of our marriage that I didn’t wake up, thankful to be working with Hailey, feeling completely blessed to have her as a partner.
That’s a lie. I pride myself in being honest and I think it’s only fair that I’m honest here. There was a period where I wondered if it was all worth it. And this period made me realize the biggest and best truth of all: I wasn’t in love with my wife.
Let me explain.
We graduated in December 2010 and immediately moved to Chicago where Hailey had an internship with the Chicago Tribune. I would leave for a month to shoot Cinema Six then come back to a fantastic opportunity to hang my master’s degree on a wall and wait for CVS to process my application.
We were newly married, still getting settled, and money was very tight. It was fun. I liked Chicago. We were getting to know the areas (like where Pequod’s Pizza was) and enjoy all the food the town offered (like Pequod’s Pizza.)
Then, Hailey was offered an internship at the LA Times. It was a dream job for her. A fantastic opportunity. She could not have been happier and I could not have been a bigger asshole about it.
I didn’t want to move to Los Angeles. I fought against the idea of ever moving there. I hated LA (I had never been there), I hated the people (the few I met from LA were nice), I hated the competition I’d be surrounded by (like Chicago, or even Oklahoma, was much better?) And I let her know it. I proposed other options, other jobs, other cities. I bitched about the cost of moving and the cost of living in California.
The move went fine. I found a job relatively quick thanks to Earnest Pettie. Our apartment was nice but the location was terrible. I complained about anything I could. We fought and fought. I think at one point I ate an entire Domino’s pizza alone (maybe three or four times. [and the difference between these times and most other times I do this is the sadness level. Normally, it’s at zero. These times, it was at infinity.])
Basically, I was a huge baby and was acting like a coward. The move to Los Angeles was frightening and yes, there is tons of competition and yes, there are assholes here, but they are everywhere. It was dumb to assume that any other city would be a haven of nice people who were willing to give me money to make films because I’d be the only one doing it. Just completely stupid on my part. I had fears about how I would fare in Los Angeles and instead of being mature and discussing them with her, a psychiatrist, or anyone, I lashed out and ruined what should have been an amazingly fun time in our lives.
The second half of 2011 was the darkest time in my life. It was during this time I contemplated going to my parents’ place in Texas for a while, just to get away. I wondered if this was it for Hailey and I. But that felt… wrong. I felt sick about it. Any time I thought about a week in Texas away from her, I got a strong and painful feeling in my stomach (copious amounts of pizza might have added to these feelings as well.) Something wasn’t reacting well to that thought. And when I thought about being without her, I felt cold. It felt empty.
And it was in Los Angeles I learned I wasn’t in love with my wife anymore. To me, being in love implies it’s possible to be out of love. And it’s not possible for me to be out of love with Hailey. I’m not a person without my love for her. I’m just a discombobulated mass of liquid full of bad dick jokes drifting through space.
And like I said, marriage is hard work. You have to want it to work and I want us to work more than anything in the world. And we work well. There are hiccups, sure. Every marriage has those. Nothing is perfect. And I mess up often. I have a lot of growing up to do and I might get there by the time I’m fifty but I’m not promising anything.
She deserves someone better than me and why she is sticking around, I don’t know. But I want to work every day to prove that she isn’t wrong for staying. I want to prove how proud I am of her and show her how much I value her and her support, like even though she’ll find a few typos and grammatical errors in this post, she won’t think less of me for those or for this run-on sentence. I want to make her as proud of me as I am of her and I’m going to work the rest of my life trying to do that.
Hailey, you’re stuck with me. If you don’t like it, listen to Paul Rudd: