As of today, my husband and I have been married for forty years. Our wedding day set records for both heat (112 degrees) and humidity (think steam bath), which meant we had to ditch our plans to take outdoor photos in a nearby park. It was a nice wedding even so, and my main memory is of being grateful for all the friends and family that came to help us celebrate. Like most newlyweds, we were young, in love, and had absolutely no idea what the future had in store for us.
The ensuing forty years taught us many things, usually a mixture of both good and bad. Our meager starting salaries meant we made all of our early purchases based solely on price, including our first house. But it also taught us how to fix up houses ourselves, turning them not only into a home we actually wanted to live in, but one that we could eventually sell at a profit. Later, we welcomed a son and a daughter into our family, and learned what it meant to be a responsible parent the same way most people do: through trial and error, tempered with love.
We learned that some friendships fall by the wayside over the years while others endure, and that those long-term friendships are one of life’s greatest gifts. When hard times came our way, it was always the support of friends and family that got us through them, and that’s as true today as it ever was. One of the few things I know for sure in this world is the importance of human relationships and that they are worth every bit of the time and effort they require.
When you live with someone for forty years, you can’t help but notice each other’s odd little quirks, and you also figure out that you aren’t going to change them. My husband knows that when I say “I’ll be ready in five minutes,” I’m not exactly lying, but I sure am being optimistic. And I know that when his favorite team loses a game I’m going to hear a lengthy rant about poor coaches, inept officials and all the other unfair factors that can snatch victory from the jaws of the more deserving team. But we’ve both learned that loving someone also means accepting them as they are, annoying habits and all.
I’m not going to lie, it feels very odd to me to be celebrating our 40th anniversary. In many ways, it feels as if our wedding day was only yesterday. And yet here we are, grey-haired (under the dye, in my case) and well past middle-age, with forty years of memories behind us. We have lost people we loved dearly, but also made new friends and added new loved ones to our family, including two beautiful grandchildren. No life is without challenge and tragedy, but overall, the years have been kind to us.
We’re definitely not young anymore, but we’re still in love and we still have absolutely no idea what the future holds in store for us. And that’s okay. The important thing is that we have each other, and I know that together, we’ll make the most of whatever comes our way.