Yet years later we're toasting them at their 25th anniversary party. Other couples, that seemed prefect for each other, fall out of love, often ending up divorced in battles so vicious they are unable to maintain any level of civility.
I don't have the answers to why some couples make it and others crash and burn. We all expect so much, blinded by sitcoms and happily ever after movies and books. I get that; I don't want to read 'sad' either. People have enough difficulty dealing with their own issues. I want my books to be an escape from reality, but on the other hand, I have to write what I know, what I believe to a certain extent.
In Book One of my Sugar Babies, Inc. Series, A Sweet and Sassy Match, there's a section where Sam is explaining his views regarding marriage and relationships to Johanna. I absolutly agree with what he tells her about 'the givers' and 'the takers'.
People often say to me,
'You and Bill are so lucky. You have a great marriage." Excuse me, LUCKY? Luck has nothing to do with it! Love, hard work, commitment, putting someone's needs above you own, those are the qualities that make a marriage work. Be a giver. Here's another little thing I've learned along the way.
People tend to be who you think they are. I'm not a physiologist, but if you spend you life ragging on your man, you will end up with a man worth ragging on. If you put that time into building him up, accentuating his good points, the good points will grow. Let him hear you tell a friend what a wonderful, husband, father, lover he is, and he will want to be that man. It sounds simplistic, but it's tough to be a prick to someone who thinks your the best thing since sliced bread.
Okay, enough ranting from the old married lady. Hope you enjoy this excerpt:
“The answer to your question, Jo, is yes. I did smack your ass. You were late.”
“I apologized for that,” Jo insisted indignantly.
“Yes, and I accepted, but you need to know there are consequences in life, Jo. There will always be consequences with me for tardiness or other unacceptable behavior.”
To say Jo was flabbergasted would be an understatement. After she collapsed back against her chair, her mouth dropped open and then snapped shut. For several moments she digested his words as Sam calmly waited for her response.
“Don’t you think that attitude is a little outdated, even old-fashioned maybe?” she asked when she finally found her voice.
“Absolutely,” he agreed, without an ounce of uncertainty. “I’m sure the feminists of this world would like nothing better than to string me up as a bad example.”
“Then why would you…?”
The waiter appeared to take their order, and for the next several minutes, Sam discussed with her what choices she would like. After they decided, the waiter disappeared and the conversation continued. Jo found herself listening intently, intrigued. No matter how off base Sam appeared to be, she had to respect his confidence and determination.
“I know who I am, Jo. And I know what kind of woman I’m looking for. I have no doubt that when I find her I will make her very happy.”
Jo snorted. “What woman would be happy to be controlled 24/7? I can’t think of anyone I know who would want to be under some man’s thumb, with consequences for what he would consider misbehavior.”
“You’re wrong, Jo,” Sam said, pausing while their salads were served, and grinning when Jo ordered another glass of wine. “What you’re referring to would be the absolute other end of the spectrum. That would be a master/slave relationship where every aspect of the woman’s life would be controlled and monitored. I have no desire for that type of relationship. I’m talking about something entirely different.”
Jo speared a cherry tomato and considered. “How would it be different, in what way? You obviously want to be the one in charge, handing out smacks for infractions. Maybe that would progress to actual beatings over time?”
Sam’s eyes narrowed, pinning her in place. “That would never happen, Jo. I protect and cherish what is mine,” he growled.
“Sorry,” she told him softly, a quiver of fear trembling in her tummy. “I’m just trying to understand your position.”
“I know it’s difficult to comprehend if you have no previous experience with it. Think of it as a loving and benevolent father, putting his daughter’s well-being above all else. Cherishing and protecting her, guiding her and yes, providing discipline when it is needed.”
`”I’m afraid that would be a stretch for me, Sam,” Jo informed him with a bitter twist to her lips. “My father was nothing like that. The only thing he cared about was having a good time with an endless parade of women. He finally deserted us when I was thirteen, and while he never physically abused me or my mother, he made it perfectly clear that we were an impediment to the life he wanted. Cherishing, protecting and guiding, well that was not something he had time for,” she finished, unaware of just how much she had revealed.
“What money he did make was for his personal enjoyment.”
“Jo, I’m so sorry,” Sam whispered, reaching across the table and firmly taking her hand.
Jo laughed, not aware of how hollow it sounded. “Don’t feel sorry for me, Sam. My mother and I did all right. Student loans and part time jobs put me through college, and I manage to take care of any of my mother’s expenses that she can’t afford.”
“It must have been difficult for you, taking on so much responsibility at such a young age. I take it your mother isn’t in good health?”
“No, she’s not,” Jo answered, finishing her wine and looking around for the waiter.
Their dinner arrived and they continued to talk while they ate. Sam was charming, and Jo found herself relaxing and enjoying herself, despite the somewhat rocky start to their evening. Jo tried to get more information out of him about his business, but Sam just smiled and told her, “Soon.” Now what the hell did that mean?
When their waiter came to clear away their plates, Jo asked for another glass of wine. Sam looked at her in surprise and instructed the waiter to bring them coffee.
“Don’t you have to work tomorrow?” Sam asked, choosing to ignore, for the moment, Jo’s mutinous expression as she picked up her purse and pulled out her wallet.
“Yes, so?” she asked, pulling out a twenty dollar bill. “I can buy my own wine, Sam, if it’s a problem.”
“Buying you a glass of wine isn’t a problem, Jo. The problem would be in sending you home drunk, and you’ve already had three glasses. Now put your money away and stop trying to push my buttons. Believe me, you won’t like the results.”
“Push your buttons?” Jo gasped, the slight buzz she had making her voice louder than she intended.
“Yes,” Sam insisted firmly just as the waiter appeared with the coffee. Sam thanked him and slid Jo’s coffee closer to her. “Now be a good girl and drink that. Do you think I don’t know what you’re doing? You’re curious Jo. Wondering about that spank I gave you earlier? Wondering if I truly mean everything I’ve told you tonight? You’re thinking only a crazy woman would agree to the kind of dynamics I’ve described. After all, what woman would want a man so totally devoted to her that he paid attention to every little detail of her life? What woman would want a man who knew her so well that nothing slipped by him? If she was upset or angry or hurt, he would know it and do everything humanly possible to help her.
“A man who would care for her as if she were the most precious thing in his world, because she is.”
Jo squirmed in her seat. It was clear he meant exactly what he said. Butterflies danced in her tummy as her heartbeat thumped at her temples. Her panties were damp and it appalled her. God, yes, she thought him attractive, but now doubly so. She couldn’t imagine someone taking care of her for a change, and it was a heady thought and oh so tempting. She actually couldn’t remember the last time someone had asked her what they could do for her. Had there ever been someone to hold her when she cried, or to reassure her when she was worried or weary? Her hands trembled as she picked up the coffee cup and obeyed him. Jo knew she’d had too much to drink, but hadn’t been able to stop herself from ordering another one. This evening was nothing like she had expected, and she was truly rattled. After several sips of the strong brew, she pulled herself together.
“That’s quite a lovely picture you paint, Sam, especially for someone like me. But you already knew that, didn’t you? I don’t know how, but you did,” Jo told him, tipping her head to one side and looking quizzically at him. “The problem at the heart of such a relationship would be the loss of control, for me at least. I don’t think I could just throw myself into your arms and say, here I am, take care of me.”
“You’d be surprised at what a freeing experience that can be, Jo,” Sam said, looking into her deep blue eyes and trying not to notice how much darker the circles under them looked in only a short time. “Yes, it would involve giving up some control. I would expect a woman of mine to listen to me and trust that I always have her best interests at heart, especially when it comes to her health and safety. But as I said before, I’m not looking for a slave. There are two kinds of people in this world, Jo, the givers and the takers. The best relationships are formed when you have two givers, both parties working together to build the best union possible.”
“And you would be the giver of spankings?” she asked, leaning back in her chair and forcing her eyes to meet his squarely, despite her shaking hands.