(This is a picture of a picture and it's wonky. We look like bobble-heads on doll-bodies. Maybe we really were, actually. And yeah, that's a white tux. Don't ask me. No idea.)
Twenty-six years ago this very day, I was married to the man of my hopes, dreams, hormones, irritation, and fascination. Plus breakfast. Dude makes a wicked awesome breakfast.
In the course of that time we have been well-off, unemployed, medium-off, wimperingly-off, well-enough-off, healthy, swine-flu'ed, Shanghai-flu'ed, scared, thrilled, worried, hilarious, joyful, irritated, sweet, murderous, kind, selfish, ridiculous, embarrassing, funny, silly, on the edge, off the charts, completely out of our depth, parents, stupid parents, smart parents, and in case I forgot–stupid parents, marathoners, 100-milers (him, not me. what am I, crazy?), creative, and in love. We still got that in-love part. Even though sometimes we are not perfectly in-like. But the in-love-ness? Yeah, it's still there. A whole lot more wrinkly and crow's feety, but there.
Now in this world some might be tempted to ask, "How did you do that? For twenty-six years?" Because in this world everything has become a.d.d. and throw-away and temporary. So to find a marriage that seems to still be lasting and going strong after more than two and a half decades is like finding . . . well, anything that still works the way it was originally intended to.
I'm not saying we're FABulous and all of y'all should do your best to copy us. I can't say that. Because we're dorks, my huz and me. GIANT, insecurity-riddled, stubborn, maturity-of-a-twelve-year-old dorks. But we do have one thing going for us. And that is this: A) we're both determined to never give up, and 2) We both keep hold of the things we fundamentally respect about each other. Which is more like two things, if you look at it that way.
Divorce has never been an option for either of us. We agreed on that at the beginning. Both of us came from broken homes and it stank. Stunk. Stinked. All three. We weren't going to do that to our kids. So it was do or die, my friends. Which has meant that sometimes it's been a summer picnic, and sometimes the frost on our silences could have winter-killed 50 acres of tomato plants.
I don't pretend to have the wisdom of someone who has made it through 30 or 40 or 50 years of marriage. I just know this: If you respect each other enough to stop talking when you're mad, and respect each other enough to not have to agree, and respect each other enough to put the things you don't understand on a proverbial shelf and just DO the thing the other person needs right then–you'll be fine.
And it is mui mucho sehr trés worth it.
(Personal shout-out to my little AngelDimplesPuppyKnees: Dude. Can't wait for you to get back. I actually remembered our anniversary this year and you're in China. But that's okay. I respect your choice of employment, and we'll partay heartay this weekend.) (DID YOU HEAR THAT? I SAID I RESPECT YOU! HAPPY NOW?)