Happily married for 37 years…however, we’ve been married 42!

We had a great visit here in June 2012.
Torshaven, Faroe Islands – We had a great visit here in June 2012.

For all my friends and family who are reading this, yes she knows I’ve written this and her first comment was that she thought I was being generous on the 37!  Nice!

Anyway, yes, today is our anniversary and yes, we’ve been married 42 years.  I quite honestly have no idea where the time went.  It seems like only a short time ago that I swung my legs off the cot in the room I was sharing with my parents before the wedding, stepped right on the bridge of my glasses that I had “carefully” put out of harm’s way, broke them in half, and let out a string of epithets that my mother had never heard me say.

My folks both laughed like crazy.  Not at the fact that I broke my glasses but at the apparent ease with which I strung together a significant number of curse words that made complete sense in a contextual way.  In case you’re wondering, I borrowed my brother’s glasses for the church service and a good old friend “repaired” my glasses so that I could at least use them.  I was a sight to behold.

We had moved the wedding day up by several months and one of my father-in-law’s friends asked if L was pregnant as that was what people were thinking.  Sorry buddy, but if you’re still waiting, the time is long past.

I wish that I could be like some people interviewed on TV when asked, “And what do you attribute to your long years of marriage” and they reply “We just love each other” or something equally smarmy.  While that may be true, I don’t think it is total truth.  As I said in my post about my friend David and his son, he was loved “most of the time” and I think that applies to marriage too.

So what lessons have we/I learned in these 42 years you may ask?

  1. We respect one another no matter what happens.  We have never fought “dirty”.  We may think that an idea or statement is stupid or idiotic but we have never said that about each other.  However, stupid and dumb ideas have abounded.  Jonathan Kozol said it best “Pick battles big enough to matter and small enough to win.”  I didn’t heed that advice all the time.
  2. We have learned to compromise.  If it always goes one person’s way then you have an autocracy not a marriage.
  3. We learned to adapt to each other’s personality and quirks.  However, even after 42 years there are still things that we do that drive each other crazy.  I still (occasionally) chew my nails.  L has beautiful nails and it drives her nuts that I chew mine.  Part of adapting is acknowledging things that really affect your relationship and working on those things.  For example, putting down the toilet seat guys!
  4. Neither one of us were dumb enough to believe that we could fundamentally change the other person.  To anyone who enters into a marriage and says “I’ll change him/her once we’re married” is smoking something or has lost their sense of reality.  Here’s a little free advice if you think that way: if you need to try to fundamentally change them, then why are you marrying them?  To me, that’s like getting a new Ford Fusion and deciding to send it to the body shop to have it look like a Chevrolet Camaro.
  5. Talk things out.  I realize this can be a challenge.  I married someone who gets angry, says her piece, and moves on with life.  She should be so lucky!  It took a long time for me to argue and get over it quickly.  You know the old statement about asking your spouse what’s wrong and they reply “Nothing”.  Well that was me.  (OK sometimes it still is.  I thought I better get that in before the editor caught it; if you get my drift.)  But we now talk until the issue is resolved or we agree to disagree.  The latter isn’t a defeat.  It’s a cease-fire and that isn’t all bad.
  6. Guys remember those three little words that will make all the difference in the world as time goes on.  Those words are, “Yes my love.”  (Editor’s, aka L, note:  The last paragraph is BS.)

20 comments

  1. Nelson, I just found your blog! I love that you’re writing! Can’t wait to read more. Happy Anniversary! Big hello to L from us!

  2. Too funny! On the top of my list is a sense of humor. We could not have survived the last 25 years without it!
    Thanks for bringing it to the party. I hope you are having fun clicking on links and saying howdy doo!

  3. Oh, how I appreciate your honesty here (and your wife’s openness to it being put on your blog)!

    Anyone who’s been married a significant period of time knows it’s never all sunshine and roses, right? Bill and I have decided that (probably) every single marriage gets tested – that each couple reaches a place where you have to decide “is this it? are we going to stick it out?” or pull the plug. We certainly had our stretch a decade ago. But I think that since we looked the precipice in the face and decided “YES WE ARE IN THIS FOR THE LONG HAUL” things have only gotten better.

    If I had to say how many years I was happy out of my 21, I’d have to give it a lot of thought. But I know for sure I’m happy now. That’s what matters to me.

    Cheers to you and your wife for sticking it out. Being loved most of the time is pretty darn good.

    XO

    1. Thanks for reading Julie. I appreciate it. Linda reads all my posts before I put them up. Sometimes she captures a nuance I missed.I can truthfully say, since we’ve been through our travails and come out better in the end, I haven’t met a single person I’d rather spend the rest of my life with. Yes, we still bicker from time to time, but that’s what sets us apart as individuals. What a boring life if we agreed on everything. All the best to you and Bill.

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