In November, I'll have been married 13 years.

Hasn't been all roses, but I assure you, that the quality of my relationship probably makes a lot of others pale in comparison. Why, do you ask? Let me explain some things.

When we got together, before we even got married, we laid out some ground rules. The first is that we'd never call each other out of name. Meaning, even at the most heated portions of our fights, the words, "You're being a bitch/asshole" have come out of our mouths, but never "You ARE a bitch/asshole". To the both of us, there is a vast amount of difference there. The difference is respect. If you're a friend or a loved one, when someone's acting a fool, only a friend or someone who loves you can get up enough compunction to tell you you're screwing up. Everyone else just lets you screw up. But a person who CALLS you a name that isn't 'nice', well they don't have a lot of respect for you, do they? And if they can't respect you as a person, they sure the hell can't respect your opinion.

One of our other rules is that we don't lie to one another. Not even white lies. You think I jest? Lying totally screws trust, and if you don't have trust, you don't have much of a relationship. So....frankly, we have omitted portions of the truth or let it go untold, but we don't flat-out lie to one another (some people might think there is no difference, but to us there is significant difference....). If you don't tell me something, shame on you for not disclosing the whole situation. But if you tell me something and I can't trust you at your word, what good is our relationship?

The third is that we have never laid hands on one another. And I don't mean healing. I think that our childhoods were probably a little more rough-and-tumble than they should have been, but I have seen people take things out of hand, and once you lay your hands on someone in anger, habits form. The force seems to escalate. We have NEVER, in the 13 years we've been married, even pushed one another in anger. (Now I can't say I've never thrown anything at him, but the intention wasn't to hit him. And I can tell you, when you have a small case of beadery explode next to your head, it will certainly get your attention. Not one of my better moments, but it accomplished what I set out to do.)

Those two things I think have been fundamental to the survival of our relationship. There were several people who didn't think we'd last the first three years, us being young and 19 when we got married.

Oh, how wrong they were.

Funny enough, I probably got more offers for extramarital affairs than I cared for. That is saying, after I got married, seemed like everyone crawled out of the woodwork and offered to sleep with me. I don't know what it was. Maybe it was the draw of 'forbidden fruit'. Maybe life didn't turn out the way it seemed for them. But as far as I was concerned, I was married, and by the gods (BEFORE THE GODS), I was going to keep my word. At least two incidents I can remember, I jerked a guy up short trying to kiss me, telling him I as a married woman and thank you if he'd keep his tongue in his own face so I don't have to lop it off. In my eyes, willingly kissing someone else (meaning more than a friendly or loving peck) and you're stepping outside your commitment. Let's lay down the law....if you place a TOE in a building you've forced your way into, the judge will STILL call it B&E. Promise.

I got married. I took vows before the Gods. Firstly, I would be covered in shame to break a vow to my husband. Secondly, I'd be mad to break a vow that I swore in front of the gods. Seriously.

These are MY feelings, and they're mirrored by my husband. I mean, he was a trucker for a while. If someone had told me that when he was out trucking that he'd cheated on me, I'd laugh in their faces. He's not built that way and he carries the same sense of honor as I do. Even if he had been completely pissed off at me, he would have still honored his vows. Same here.

By the same token, I suppose I expect much of others. I cannot say I haven't been let down. A lot. But the idea comes from the fact that if I can, as crazy as I am, live up to these things, the people that I love and think much of should have the same kind of 'sterner stuff' as I do. Not necessarily true. So...I generally don't hold it against them, but I find the older I get, that if they can't live up to at least half of my determination and honor...I really don't need to waste my time on them.

And it's not to be ugly, it just that we don't have a commonality. There are certain thins that mean a LOT to me, and if they mean little to them, how do I expect them to keep up with me? They...can't, really. We're just too different, I suppose.

That goes along to the tune of 'with a fool no season spend, least you be counted as his friend', I guess. If my husband were to drop dead today, any guy/friend that I have ever known, if they'd EVER cheated on their wife/girlfriend and had the foolish notion to confide in me over it, had they been candidates for relationships they were immediately moved to the bottom of the list. Any person who would maliciously act out at someone (yeah, he broke my clock so I slashed his tires) goes to the bottom. Any person that steals knowingly (which includes office supplies, people...a thief is a thief is a thief....) is not even up for any consideration.

Anyway....the side bonus was telling you about how cool my marriage is. But the main point of this blog was the idea of 'oathbound'. Let me get to that.

The idea isn't the pleasure of keeping a secret for a secret. The idea is being able to keep promises. To make commitments and stand by those commitments. It is a gauge of strength of character. Of determination. Of devotion and dedication. Ideally, (and I am forever the idealist) I think that it represents a people with that kind of character throughout every aspect of their lives applied, which is to say that they give their word and they live by their word.

It doesn't have to do with keeping super-secret information. It has everything to do with loving and trusting the people that you're practicing magic with. It's a different level of intimacy, but intimacy nonetheless. And in that intimacy is the same high standards, the same level of respect, commitment and trust.

So now...before you go flapping your gums about how wrong it is for those Traditionals to keep their secrets. Before you rant on about their elitism or call them names over the fact that they're so tight-lipped....instead of dwelling on what you don't know, how about you take some context clues on what their behavior tells you.

How could you want anything but that kind of commitment?


Evn said...

And I can tell you, when you have a small case of beadery explode next to your head, it will certainly get your attention.

So this one time, Jack and were (surprise!) in the middle of a big argument, and out of sheer frustration, I picked up a remote control and threw it across the room.

It was not my intent to throw it in any specific direction, or at anything in particular: I just wanted to physically express how angry I was. Unfortunately, the remote flew out of my hand at a weird angle and... um... hit Jack in the leg.

It didn't hurt him in the least, but he was convinced, convinced that I'd purposely thrown it at him. And for reasons known only to the Gods, the whole thing struck me (pun) as hilarious, and I just started cracking up. Which made Jack even angrier, and the angrier he got, the more tickled I became.

It's really, really hard to get someone to accept an apology when there are tears of helpless laughter streaming down your face.

Regardless, congrats on 13 years! (An auspicious number, no?) I wish you 13-to-the-Nth happy more.

knottybynature said...

Aww. Thanks, Evn. :)

Oh, and I am THRILLED and HONORED I made the blog roll. Truly. ;) I love reading your stuff!

Evn said...

Aw, you're very welcome! And you're like the Loyalest of the Strifemongers--I'm sorry it took me so long to remember to add you. (My brain not work good always.)