Thoughts, Musings, and the Occassional Bit of Wisdom

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.)

23 Comments on “Happily married for 37 years…however, we’ve been married 42!

  1. Lynette d'Arty-Cross
    January 2, 2013

    Congratulations, Sage! You are giving some very sound advice here.

    • One Old Sage
      January 2, 2013

      Thank you. Also thank you for being such a consistent follower of my blog. I appreciate it.

  2. renée a. schuls-jacobson
    January 3, 2013

    Nelson! This is spectacular! I wish our marriage was as smooth as yours. My husband could learn a lot from you. *wink* Mazel tov to both of you. May you celebrate many more happy years together!

    • One Old Sage
      January 3, 2013

      Thank you very much. We’re aiming for 42 at 50. 🙂

  3. renée a. schuls-jacobson
    January 3, 2013

    Nelson: Congratulations to you and your wife on your anniversary. My husband could learn much from you. *wink* Mazel tov. May you celebrate many more anniversaries in good health and good spirits.

  4. Val
    January 4, 2013

    Good advice, particularly not trying to change your partner. Me and mine live by that.

    • One Old Sage
      January 4, 2013

      Thank you. Considering that we are both so pig headed, I mean strong willed, that would have been a challenge regardless.

  5. Rivki Silver
    January 8, 2013

    Mazel tov! This is a wonderful post, and great advice! I think some other words that would be useful for #6 are “here’s some chocolate.” 😉

    • One Old Sage
      January 8, 2013

      Thanks! Your suggestion on the chocolate might actually work. 😉

  6. Gina
    January 9, 2013

    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!

    • One Old Sage
      January 9, 2013

      What a nice surprise! So glad you found me. L sends a big hello and hugs. I hope you continue to follow along.

  7. Billi Jean Miller
    July 23, 2013

    Ah, haha! I hadn’t read this one, Nelson. I’m glad I came across it tonight! Loved hearing you and Linda’s pointers in this 🙂

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      July 29, 2013

      I’m glad you liked it. With the right person, it may not always be easy but it is worth the effort…most of the time. 🙂

  8. gingerfightback
    August 25, 2013

    Hello Nelson – found you at susie’s party – loved the post. Congratulations!

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      August 26, 2013

      Thank you very much. I’m still working through the list. I’ve been away for a few days and it’s catch up time. Drop by anytime. 🙂

  9. susielindau
    August 25, 2013

    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!

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      August 26, 2013

      Thanks for reading and setting up the party. I’m just working my way through the list. 🙂

  10. Julie Gardner
    August 17, 2017

    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.


    • admin
      August 17, 2017

      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.

  11. Carrie Rubin
    January 2, 2018

    Happy Anniversary! 42 years is so impressive. I agree that respect is key. And a good sense of humor.

    • Nelson
      January 2, 2018

      Actually it’s 47 today. I wrote that post 5 years ago.

      • Carrie Rubin
        January 2, 2018

        Oh wow, even more impressive! And clearly, I’m not on the ball because I missed that.

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