This will be today’s only post, as we are beginning a long weekend to celebrate our 22nd anniversary, an occasion for which, I believe, the gift is irony, though this says copper.
We got married in the backyard of a house we’d just bought together in 1993, on a beautiful September day. The clouds parted, the family gathered, and we stood in the backyard after five years of dating and said, “Sure! Why not? We’ll get married!”
I knew I wanted to live with this man. I wasn’t so sure about marrying him and so this has been an interesting partnership, to say the least. Most people who know us say we probably shouldn’t (or couldn’t) be married to too many people, yet they always remark how cool is it that we managed to find one another.
They only say that about me. But whatever.
We’ve spent 22 years arguing (that would be me). We’ve roared off in cars in anger (me, again), stopped talking for days (him), yet — inexplicably — we’ve mostly managed to get over ourselves and come back together.
Marriage is hard and if any one tells you otherwise, they’re lying. Marriage is compromise, it’s two steps forward/one step back, it’s giving over a piece of yourself that you may not get back, and if you’re not in the habit of giving much away, that sucks.
But somehow? If it’s right? The part that you give away comes back a hundredfold. I do not know how that works. I know it defies all laws of physics — but then, so do we. We have no business attempting compromise. We are too convinced of our own righteousness. We once spent a weekend arguing over who was smarter. I don’t remember who won that argument, but I do remember being fully engaged.
Once, years ago during a particularly rough patch, I gave him my speech about why we’d made a tragic error getting married. I’d crashed one marriage, and was preparing to crash this one and for ever and ever throw in the towel on the whole husband/wife thing. That seemed the easiest way. Some people are not meant for matrimony and I had always suspected I fell in that category.
Exhausted from the discussion, we were sitting on our bed, and the phone rang. It was the oil company, and they wanted to know if we wanted a six-month contract for delivery, or a contract that ran in perpetuity. I do not remember the actual phrase, but that was what I heard when my husband turned to me and said in a voice I’d never heard before: “So. Do we want a six-month contract, or do we want the lifetime one?” In a flash, I saw what life could be like with him. I was only guessing, but I already knew what life was like without him. Life with seemed far preferable. So I answered, “Lifetime.”
They don’t throw you parties for 22. You have to throw one yourself, and to be honest, if any one tries to throw us one for 25, I won’t go and I doubt he will, either. We do not cheapen this with words. We show, don’t tell. He still signs his occasional cards with his full name, including his middle initial. I still flip him the bird when he does that. We exist in a state of imperfection, all while being kind of perfect for each other. I’m not exultant over that. I’m more relieved.
So go out and celebrate as you see fit. I know I intend to.
Why don’t they put that on a Hallmark card? It’s so real. I love you guys! Happy anniversary!
Thank you. They don’t put that on a Hallmark card because who wants to celebrate the fact that marriage is hard and some of us struggle?
I would. I am! (More Coffee…and Bacon! I found Bacon in the fridge! And I’m gonna eat your share.)
I’ve never married, so I’m no expert, but don’t all marriages involve some struggle? Equity in relationships doesn’t just happen. Commitment is never passive.
Back in the day, after listening to me whine about love, My grandmother patted me on the shoulder and said, “When the wind blows…sometimes…you have to hold on to your hat. If you want to keep it.”
So…you know…22 years? That’s some serious wind-surfing. So Party On!
I had no hope we’d make it this far because I — and I think I have a former husband and a host of former acquaintances to back me up on this — am a mixed bag.
Wouldn’t that be a great name for a boat? Mixed Bag.
Ha! More coffee!
Congratulations you two. Have a super weekend!
LOTS more coffee. Thank you, my friend.
I’d be crying if I weren’t – y’know – such a mature person, and cynical too.
All best wishes to you two.
Thank you, my friend. We’ll take those best wishes and squander them wisely.
And I’ll be forwarding this to my engaged daughter.
Good. I mean to burst no bubbles, but I learned to get really clear-eyed about this. Congrats to your daughter!
Happy anniversary! I celebrated 11 years …. and it sure has been a ride! But I am on this till death do us apart! :)
First time on your blog because I couldn’t sleep and I loved this post! Thank you for your honesty and it reminded me of the times when my husband and I argued about whether the foliage, on our way to dropping our daughter off at her small college in NH, was peak or post peak. This was a four year exercise and we survived it. We’re going on 33 years now and I couldn’t imagine my life without him but we’ve had to work on it. Some people make it seem easy but your post hit home for me.
Happy anniversary and many, many more.
Thirty years and she still leaves the kitchen drawers open. I used to close them with a bang. Now I do it quietly, shake my head and smile. It’s thousands of little things and if you’re lucky, they are like riches. Even the tough stuff.
Congratulations. Enjoy each other.
Happy anniversary and enjoy each other. You always say the correct things and are so wise.
May God Bless you both. 😘
Congratulations, and YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES! I’m only at 17, but Hubs & I, while feeling like we “fit” each other, have definitely struggled & fought for this relationship.
Tonight, I shall have a glass of wine in honor of your anniversary…and then I will promptly fall asleep. ;)
HAVE A GREAT DAY
What a nice sentiment, and congratulations for finding the right sparring partner. May you live and laugh long together.
I love you. :D
Susan, thanks for this and for your abject honesty and candor. For us, it has been over 30 years now, and rarely does a day go by that I don’t tell him that I want a divorce, hope he dies soon, and/or how much better my next spouse will be. Fortunately, after 30+ years his hearing is now failing. Also fortunately, he never says any of that back to me. If he did, I would kill him. And get a divorce and go find a better spouse. Not necessarily in that order.
Leave a comment