In just a few days, my husband and I will celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary. And yet, the other day I introduced him as my” current husband”. I have no idea why that term came out of my mouth. We have spent the last 13,870 days stretched between morning coffee and late evening chats, I guess that is a current as it gets. And for the most part, they have been good days. Some have been great days, others, well, not so much.
But I really think it’s being able to embrace the non-eventful days that determines the longevity of a marriage. There are so many more of them. Now, God knows, our marriage is not always perfect. Sometimes, it’s not even always civil. But it’s always, always a constant. A reliable state that we are both very comfortable living in. And for us, that seems to be enough. Recently we were at a wedding where the couple left a questionnaire on each table seeking advice on making marriage last. Oddly enough, after many years, I honestly don’t have an answer that would fit most of the questions. But, that being said, here are a few things I do know:
- - If you don’t marry someone who is also your friend, you’re sunk. It’s the friendship, not the passion that gets you through when the rest of the world seems intolerable.
- - I have learned that when your husband asks “do you want to know what I think?” the question is just a formality, you’re going to hear it whether you want to or not.
- - My husband thinks that everything I've bought in the last 38 years was on sale. If newly married, this is a good strategy to adopt because most men love a “deal”.
- - It is absolutely okay to argue over stupid stuff. They are the best kind of arguments because a lot of venting occurs with no real lasting damage. Years ago, pre-GPS, my husband was on my case about my inability to refold a road map on a car trip. I made several attempts at getting it back to the right position while he was yelling “you’re rendering it useless”. “Useless?”, I asked, “Really?” His voice got louder, “Yes, useless!” At this point, I rolled the window down and threw the map out into a 70 mph wind front. “Now, it’s useless.” I said. Today, we laugh about that argument knowing that somewhere off I95 in the state of Georgia, there is a Rand-McNally map in the woods. And it’s apparently not folded correctly.
- - I have learned that, if on occasion, you want to spice things up in the bedroom, do not mix body oil and satin sheets. It’s a longer drop from the mattress to the floor than you think.
- - I have learned that it is perfectly okay to sit for hours after dinner and not feel the need to make conversation. Everyone needs down time. A space to simply just be. I know he is there if I need to say something.
- - I have learned that after 38 years, I am grateful to have someone to share friendship, quiet times, laughter, and, when necessary, a clear-the-air argument. But most importantly, I am so grateful to be with someone who “gets” me.
So what makes a marriage last? I can honestly say “I don’t know”. I guess if you’re really, really lucky, someone offers their hand and helps you get through each day, one at a time. And then, before you know it, there are more days behind you than in front of you, and your both still standing….holding hands. That is more than enough for me.