Today, this enterprise Beth and I entered into on July 28, 1984, turns 30. That is to say, it’s our 30th wedding anniversary.
I’m not sure what to say about that. That’s partly because lately, as I gain in years, I’m having a hard time calibrating time spans. Some stuff that happened 20 years ago seems like it happened yesterday, and stuff that happened last year seems like it was 20 years ago.
Plus, Beth has this mind-warping exercise she runs through from time to time. It goes like this: We’ll hear a song, a familiar song, something like, oh, Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.” And she’ll say, “You know that was 38 years ago.”
As if that’ s not enough to take in, she goes on.
“So, when you were 12, in 1969, that’s what it was like if your dad heard a song from 1931. “
Like I said, mind warping.
But back to marriage and anniversaries. I’d like to come on all sage-like about what makes for a lasting marriage. But, you know, I got nothing. For one, I think it’s perfectly fine to not be married, and it’s not for everyone. (I can tell you that Beth and I each at various times have thought single life would be just fine.)
And I don’t think of reaching 30 as an accomplishment per se, but I am proud of us.
I can think of a couple things that probably have helped. When Beth and I began our relationship, we were both at the point where we’d concluded, well, if we don’t meet our soul mates, that’s just fine. We entered with no agendas or plan or particular expectations. So our relationship was allowed to take its own organic path.
The other thing: we had to have a very serious talk before we thought about getting hitched. In the course of seeing each other, I learned a lot about how her Type 1 diabetes affected her daily routines—as we saw more of each other, they were affecting our routines.
But I didn’t know everything about Type 1. And Beth, to her immense credit and integrity, believed I needed to know before we thought about something long term. So one evening, after a dinner I cooked for us, she laid it out. She probably shouldn’t have kids. She could go blind. Her kidneys could go. And on and on.
She gave me time to think about it. And I did. And we talked about it and the rest is history, as they say.
Having that kind of communication and honesty gave us a model. And as I think back, the times our relationship was in peril were times we had forgotten how to be that honest. And when we got back to that honesty, things healed, and we went on.
Not having a boilerplate, and being able to level with one another about the most difficult things have allowed us to change individually, grow apart, and grow back together without breaking apart.
We certainly are not the same people we were on a beautiful, sun-drenched Saturday in July in 1984. But we are still together.
Here’s to us.