Sunday, October 9, 2022
43 Years and You're Still the One
This week my Best Half and I will celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary. It is so hard to believe that we have been together over 4 decades. We have gone through so much of life together, it is actually hard to remember life before we were together.
Many people have asked us what is the secret to our marriage success and continuing to enjoy each other’s presence after all these years of living up close and personal. I can’t say for sure as I am no expert on marriage and relationships, but I do have a few tips that have helped us over the years. They seem to boil down to about 4 really basic tasks that we have tended to live by over the years. And I think they have helped us.
The first one that I learned early on in our marriage was to have way more underwear than my Best Half. Splitting household chores was never an easy thing for us as I am a little more picky about how to clean the house and keep things in order. I think I can do a better job than my Best Half. That isn’t true, it is just that I am more, let’s say efficient in getting it done. Some people call it organized and a little detail oriented. My Best Half would say it is more like OCD and obsessed with a clean house. We have learned to agree to disagree on this one.
But back to having more underwear than he has. I did let go of me doing the laundry years ago when I realized he always ran out of underwear before I did. That caused him to have to do the laundry and keep up with all the laundry messes from 4 little kids and us two adults. I eventually turned over the laundry detail to him early on in our marriage. It freed up lots of my time to do other things around the house like, clean toilets and vacuum up massive amounts of dog hair (and Legos) throughout the house. Just a few of the things that were always needing attention. The trade off came when I realized I would never have white underwear again, or any white clothes or sheets or towels for that matter. Luckily, being a nurse, I was mostly in the RN colors of navy blue scrubs and I just bought things that weren’t white for around the house. Problem solved.
The absolute other thing that we both have held onto for the past 43 years is the concept that divorce is not an option. At least in our relationship. There are many people who have had to use that option in relationships due to possibly physical violence, verbal assault or infidelity. But fortunately, neither of us have ever experienced that. We have had our shares of good old shouting matches and disagreements, but it has never come to acts of verbal or physical violence.
I have always had this vision of our marriage as a table set for the two of us. Kind of like a candlelight Thanksgiving dinner of all the foods imaginable. But instead of the turkey and stuffing and delicious side dishes, there are the daily things that married couples go through. There are your vows from the wedding day, the happy things like having kids and maybe some side dishes of new jobs and stuff. And then there are the typical marriage “problem dishes” out on this Marriage table…like too many bills, not enough paycheck, being in a job that maybe isn’t satisfying anymore. Just those typical life things that can get the best of you. And each thing set out on the table gets passed around and one by one these ”side dishes” in a marriage can get set down in the middle of the table and become the centerpiece between the lit candles for that moment. It will become the main focus of the set table, while all the other dishes are set to the side of the table. And it will stay there until another dish is passed around.
For us the Divorce Dish has never been set out onto the table. Because it was never set on the marriage table, it never was a dish passed between us. It was never allowed on the table,so it never became the centerpiece between the glowing candles. Since it wasn’t on our marriage table, it was never the focus of our lives. Which has always meant we would need to find other options to take from the table.
That may be a simplistic view of our marriage considering all of the things a couple will go through in 4 decades together, but for the past 43 years that analogy has worked for us and kept divorce off the table for us, even if I can never have white underwear again. Even if we have to get a big heaping side dish of something we don’t want to stomach. We both have survived eating liver in our lives, I think we can survive a dish of dividing up the household chores or figuring out how we are going to manage paying the bills as the grocery and gas bills rise. Or how we are going to deal with one another as we physically age and can’t do things as we used to be able to do. You know those “dishes of life” that are bound to be put on the table.
Through it all, I would have to say that learning to laugh at ourselves and laugh with each other has kept our marriage in perspective. Keeping things simple and trying not to complicate the “side dishes” on the Marriage table hopefully will keep us going for many more years. And having a Best Half in my corner all these years…well that is just the icing on the wedding cake.