We Need To Try Harder by Mario V. Farina

We were on our way to dinner. Rita was at the wheel. The Chevy was new, and my wife had not driven it very much, so she wanted to drive. I was in the passenger seat enjoying the luxury of being driven for a change. Rita and I had been married a year. It had been all right for the first few weeks, but we had been having rocky times lately.
We Need To Try Harder
We Need To Try Harder by Mario V. Farina
We had talked about it, but hadn't decided what we should do to improve our relationship. "What shall we talk about?" I asked. We had not had very many interesting conversations on the way to dinner lately, so I thought I would ask for a topic. "Anything you want to." We were silent for several minutes, then I said, "if you were more interested in some of the things that I find interesting, we could have many interesting conversations together." There was no response again for several minutes. I said, "Is it because the topics that I'm interested in don't interest you?" "You might say that." "Can you tell me some of the topics that you would like to talk about." "I suppose I could do that, but you wouldn't think I was intelligent enough to talk about them." "I knew it was all my fault," I said harshly. "I didn't say that. But you're always putting me down and make me feel as if I don't know anything!" "We've had conversations like this before," I responded, "but we never decided what we should do about it. Do you feel that our marriage is going downhill?" "I suppose so." "Don't you care?" "No." I was taken aback by her last response. I didn't realized that things had gotten so bad. I had no wish to break up our marriage, but it was obvious, it didn't matter much to Rita whether it happened or not. She stopped at a traffic light. "It's a good thing we don't have a child." I commented. "Yes, that should make it easier." "What are some of the things that bother you about our marriage," I asked. I was not eager for a divorce. I knew how expensive they were, and how messy. The light turned green and Rita resumed driving. I need to admit that she was a better driver than I, slower by at least five miles per hour, and more cautious. Neither of us spoke for several minutes. "I feel as if you are interested in so many other things besides me, that you feel it's an imposition to have me around," she finally said. "All I can think about concerning what you've just said, must be my interest in sports." "Yes, it seems that whenever you want to talk, it has to be the Milwaukee Foxes or the California Jet Streams. I don't think those are the actual names of the teams, but I can't think of any that are for real." "Anything else?" "On TV, all you want to look at are the news and the miserable ballgames. If it isn't baseball, it's basketball, and if it isn't basketball it's football, and if it isn't football, it's golf. I swear, if it wasn't for the games where a ball is being kicked around or thrown through a hoop, you wouldn't have anything to be happy about!" "You forgot the politics," I responded sarcastically. "Yes, that too. And you're always lecturing me, on what this person said wrong, and what the other person said right, and how another person lied, and so on, and so on." I realized, that she was giving a pretty good summary of what was happening in our marriage. "Why didn't you mentioned these things sooner," I asked. "I didn't think it would do any good," she retorted sharply. "Everything has to always be your way! If ever I wanted to bring up a subject that was of interest to me, you would always say you didn't have time to listen and that I should bring it up later." "You seemed to be always interested in your little niece," I said, "or what you did while shopping, or that we never go anywhere, or that you have no friends, and a lot more like this." I was retaliating with as many of the irritating ways that she did, without thinking which were important and which were not. I was beginning to realize that many of the problems that we were having were caused by me. We arrived at the restaurant. It was three in the afternoon on a Saturday, and there was no waiting line. The host ushered us to our booth, and we sat. The server came and asked what we wanted to drink. Rita ordered a Coke and I, a light beer. She and I said nothing to each other while we were waiting for the drinks to arrive. The server brought them, and we placed our food order. She ordered pork chops and I, a steak. "We've had an interesting conversation after all," I ventured. "I don't know what good it did," she responded. "You wouldn't want the divorce after all, isn't that true?" I asked quietly. "That's up to you. We do everything your way. Whatever you decide is fine with me." This statement made me realize how far our relationship had deteriorated. She was ready to grant me something that I did not want. I understood that what I said now, could affect our lives for many years into the future. "Rita," I said, "a divorce at this time would be a disaster for both of us. We loved each other once; otherwise, we wouldn't have married. I know our love for each other has not diminished. It has simply gone into Limbo Land because of carelessness on both our parts, but especially mine. I have been selfish in not understanding you better, and in not trying harder to make you happy. I would like to propose that we start again. We need to try harder than we have been doing to make our marriage work. Are you willing to try?" "Of course, darling!" She responded. "Let's talk more about this when we get home. I see that our food is arriving. Let us enjoy it. And let us enjoy the rest of our lives together."

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