The Prussian and the hippie

HAVING HAD three wives means that my life on occasion has been visited by the ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.

I’ve never decided if I should be envious of people who get married young, and stay hitched to the same person till they die. I appreciate that there’s a long-term solidarity, but they’ve missed the fun times of shrieking terror that multiple spouses occasion.

Till death — or the farmer — do us part.

Hitching two people together long-term usually is a challenge because folks can be quite different. I’ve read that two-ox teams pull badly till they become accustomed to one another and learn the other’s personality. Sometimes the oxen never get in lockstep, and must be paired with other, more amenable oxen.

Are humans and oxen really all that different?

My first wife was quite messy, which was not surprising considering the chaotic home in which she was spawned. That one aspect was a challenge for me. We only lasted five years, but her messiness had nothing to do with my departure.

prussianLet me inject here that a Prussian drill sergeant and I share many traits. You can see how this could provide problems in a matrimony.

My second wife was fairly well-organized, so that was not an issue, which explains, in part, why we were together almost two decades. We likely would still be together if she hadn’t become smitten with an illegal-alien yard boy half her age.

I think my Prussian-ness was a major factor. How much further is it possible to stray from a Prussian drill sergeant than into the arms of Mexican yard boy?

Wife #3, my child bride, lacks my Prussian personality, but it’s not been a problem because I am older, wiser, softer. When we first met, I asked what her worst traits were, and she said disorganization and distraction.

She was not lying.

hippieShe’s something of a hippie in spite of being politically conservative. I watch her life swerve this way and that, and I marvel, usually with my mouth shut.

I think the path to a successful marriage often is no more complicated than keeping your mouth shut.

24 thoughts on “The Prussian and the hippie

  1. I call disorganized and swerving as ‘pinball’, which my wife is, bouncing from one thing to another frantically, accomplishing nothing. Being an engineer I had to be logical and procedural, which can also be irritating. When we were working, pinballing was time-consuming and got in the way. Now, in retirement, it doesn’t matter and sometimes is amusing.

    Now that I’ve mellowed, I am more patient, and more willing to walk away from someone than argue or complain. (I will complain, but not argue about it.)

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  2. It’s a skill to argue/discuss a problem with one or the other in the partnership. It’s getting off on a tangent which becomes a war of words, none of which will go anywhere toward solving the problem which was the reason for the argument/discussion in the first place.

    Constructive reasoning and discussion from both are better.


    1. Carole: Oddly enough, after almost 16 years of marriage, my wife and I have virtually never had a real fight about anything at all. I think we’re both so glad we found each other, for totally different reasons, that differences of opinion pale in that light. Works well.


  3. Felipe,

    I’ve been married to the same woman for almost 29 years. We have very few common interests and usually approach problems from totally different angles. However, the result has been a match made in heaven. Her strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa.

    She is very tolerant of my idiosyncrasies, I much less of hers. Thus, occasionally I do cause friction by pointing them out to her;-)

    However, I wouldn’t trade her for all the money in the world or any other 10 women I could choose.

    We fit together like a hand in a glove. Well, at least after 29 years together, it seems that way!


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  4. My marriages have been a comedy of errors! Picker is broken, mouth is open, booze is flowing and skirts are swirling … over 50 years of this. At times it was quite a ride, and I’ve gotten to see the world even through rose-colored glasses at times. New adventures await again …


    1. Peggy: You’re funny. As for new adventures, they’re always on the road ahead. Steer straight … and cut out the booze. I found that one thing to aim everything toward the positive.


      1. I cut that booze out 31 years ago, but still have some rose-colored glasses around here someplace.


  5. You are admirable for continuing to persevere after being hurt by your second wife. I have friends that have given up on finding a partner and I understand why. They have invested in several relationships that have not panned out for one reason or another. Eventually it’s safer to stabilize as a bachelor. Less highs and lows. I’m glad I sowed my wild oats (so to speak) before I decided to settle down and get married at 30. I’m pretty sure that if I’d got married earlier it wouldn’t have lasted. Our secret of 30 years is no kids, no mortgage. That’s the death knell. Cheers.


    1. Brent: I had no choice but to persevere. I do not like being single even a little bit. Luckily, ladies like me. No kids certainly improves one’s financial situation. I’ve only had one mortgage in my life, in my 40s, and it was paid off in nine years. I don’t like debt, which is one reason I was able to retire early and move to Mexico. Cheers back at you, señor. You are smart.


  6. From one who has enjoyed many of those moments of shrieking terror over more than 40 years of marriage, I can say I am better for it. Many would likely not need those harsh lessons. Some of us do, I guess. Of course, it took several more than one wife to attain those lofty years. And think of the fun those women had.


    1. Ricardo: I’m not so sure the moments of shrieking terror were a good thing, even in the long run. But what do I know? At least it all turned out well in the end.


  7. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. There are plenty of fish in the sea.
    The only thing that is constant is change. You either change together or separately.

    This is the first time you’ve ever had a kind word to say about hippies.
    They are not the source of all evil.


    1. Andrés: I was using the word hippie very broadly when I connected it to my wife. She is, after all, a former civil engineer, an occupation famed for strait-laced people. Plus, she is politically conservative.

      As for hippies being the source of all evil, yes, they are. The entire PC mindset and the air-headed Kumbaya attitudes running rampant in America today were born in the hippie era of the 1960s.


  8. The hippie movement was to a large extent an extension of the anti-war movement. When the Vietnam War ended, most hippies morphed into responsible adults and grew up as they entered the workforce to earn a living.

    A relatively small subset of hippies stayed in college and became academia and became infected with PPS – Peter Pan Syndrome. The refused to grow up and created the PC mindset.


    1. Andrés: How right you are. Most loopy cultural problems in the West today are the result of those hardcore hippies, their spawn, their spawn’s spawn and perhaps their spawn’s spawn’s spawn. The oiginals may have been a relatively small subset, but that does not mean they were few, and their evil effects have ballooned all out of proportion. In short, it’s serious.


  9. I think a lot of husbands, including mine, would agree about the “keeping your mouth shut part.” Disorganized and distracted!!!!! Your child bride and I really do have a lot in common.

    By the way, our Cuba trip did not work out because unbeknownst to us, anyone born in Cuba needs a special visa. Steve had sent all our documentation to the airlines and the cruise lines, and no one ever said anything about such a visa. We thought for sure the tourist one would be fine since I have lived in the US for 55 years and am a citizen. As luck would have it though, we got a refund from the airlines and a credit from Celebrity Cruises and will be going to Greece in the fall.


      1. I’d forgotten that I had sent you that e-mail. To be honest I think I’ll have more fun in Greece, and after that we’re going to travel by rail to several different countries and down to Sicily where we lived for two years while Steve was in the Navy. Thought I had proofread that last comment but evidently I didn’t since it said crease instead of Greece.

        Yes, i have heard that Cuba is depressing so we are not really sure we’re going to make another attempt to go or not.


        1. Teresa: You will surely have more fun in Greece than Cuba. Cuba would be interesting due to your being born there, but for good times you gotta go elsewhere till the commies are long gone.

          I have changed crease to Greece. Fret not. I was mightily impressed that you started sentences with capital letters!


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