This, we are agreed, is for both Rob and me our second and final marriage. I am reminded of the research Rob loves quoting, showing that couples who marry in their fifties have very low rates of ‘failure’, or high rates of ‘success’ – whichever way round you prefer it. The point being, I guess, that as one gets older one is surer of oneself, surer in one’s partner – and perhaps, aware that options are running out, time marches on, and commitment is good for one’s health.

Contracts, of course, are not really needed in the good times – it’s when the merdre hits the fan that people run to their lawyers. And so it was with mixed feelings that Rob and I recently saw my lawyer, to discuss our antenuptial contract, and yesterday after lunch, after letting the matter settle separately in our minds for a week or more, the two of us sat down to go over the figures and the main provisions. It is an odd feeling, making provision for the end of a marriage, when the marriage hasn’t formally started yet, and when our intentions – need it be said – are to live together to the end of our days. Yet, in the event, it was a sensible and considerate discussion, fair-minded, respectful, and I believe we are both comfortable with the outcome. But we were happy to move on to other matters.

Perhaps it was the tone of the antenuptial conversation, perhaps it was simply that the moment had come to talk about the other things that were on our minds, but talk turned after dinner (trout, poached in vermouth and served with salsa verde) to anxieties about how we were going to make a two-country solution work, given the deep roots each of us has in our own countries, and to the (few) things that each of us find concerns us about the other. It was a good conversation, in the end, good to get some of our fears and uncertainties out into the open, good to feel that we were (are, still) in this together.

Even at our age, love and marriage are not quite so simply matched as the musical horse and carriage…. This is serious stuff, folks, as y’all well know!

It will be easier from here on, I’m sure of it. Three weeks tomorrow, this is not talk, this is our life together.

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