Forty And Counting

fullsizeoutput_5b8dAs 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.

IMG_2998We’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.

Happily Ever After

wedding pic 3It’s impossible to reach middle age without also reaching some rather significant milestones in life, and I’ve had my share of big ones (graduations, becoming a mother, publishing a book) and small ones (shedding the extra fifteen pounds I’d carried around for decades, starting this blog, etc.)  This weekend, I’ll be reaching another large milestone, because Sunday is my 35th wedding anniversary, and I don’t think that managing to stay happily married for over three decades is any small feat.

When I think back to my wedding day, which was memorable mostly for the record-breaking heat of 110 degrees with a heat index of 120 degrees, I honestly can’t believe that it was thirty-five years ago.  The time has just flown by, much faster than I ever could have imagined.  We had planned to celebrate with a trip to Ireland and England, but then my daughter and her boyfriend decided that this would be a good year to get married, and the thought of financing both a wedding and an overseas vacation didn’t seem like such a good idea.  (We hope to go next year, instead.  Who says you can’t make a big deal out of a 36th wedding anniversary?)

I’ve learned a lot of things in the past thirty five years, and most of it has to do with the delicate art of compromise.  I am a minimalist who gets nervous when I look around a room and see too much stuff, while my husband is what can best be described as a “keeper.”  We learned early on in our marriage that separate closets were a must.  Our child-raising styles were similar, thank goodness, but our decorating tastes were not, and that became one of the many areas where we learned to compromise.  I said “yes” to the plaid sofa and love seat combo in our first apartment, but “no” to the velvet tapestry of the dogs playing poker.  It took awhile, be we figured out how to be a part of two very different families, how to manage our finances in a way that made us both happy, and how to play to each other’s strengths in deciding who does what job.

I suppose after living, more or less peacefully, with my husband for thirty five years that’s it only natural for me to want to give my daughter a bit of marriage advice.  So far, I’ve resisted the temptation, but if I did, my advice would be simple:  be true to yourself, be loving toward your spouse, and always make your marriage your priority.  Know there will be good days and bad days.  Sometimes he will annoy you by doing nothing more than walking in the room and breathing your air, because that’s what happens when you live with someone day in and day out.  But if you have chosen your spouse well, there will be far more good days than bad, because you are sharing your life with your best friend, your strongest supporter and the person you would rather be with more than anyone else.  And trust me, the years will just fly by……