Many years ago, a dear friend of the husband's announced that he was to be married. Now, the interesting thing about this announcement was that he had only known his intended for a little more than a month, she had a ten year old daughter (when we were in our twenties this was a huge deal) and his planned nuptials would take place two weeks hence. We figured that we would be joining the happy couple in a small, but intimate ceremony in the judge's chambers at city hall. So when the wedding invitation arrived complete with return card, we were a bit stunned. We proceeded to attend a wedding with all of the trimmings, from gown to cake and everything in between. There were even printed matchbooks and kippot bearing the bridal couple's names and wedding date. The groom's mother would not be denied the wedding that she had always envisioned for her son, and thus managed to throw together the affair in short order. She ought not to have bothered. The wedding and honeymoon lasted longer than the actual marriage! Within two weeks (I kid you not!!) they were seeking annulment.
Now, I share this story because on June 9th, the husband and I will celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary. No applause please! Standing ovations will suffice nicely!! I have been married for more than half of my life. I have been with this one man longer than I was without him! In an era when more than half of all marriages don't go the distance, let alone two weeks, I suppose we can look upon our longevity with a certain amount of smug satisfaction and battle fatigue. We certainly have the scars to prove it. We have learned a great deal throughout our wedded blisters. We have learned how to compromise, (ok, he has learned how to compromise--I still need help!!) we have learned how to argue with purpose and fairness, (ok, he has learned how to fight fair--I still need help!!) and above all, we have learned the art of mutual respect. People will often ask if there is a secret to a long and happy marriage. Common pain? Common aggravation? Common experience? All of the above and so much more. The idea that we are always better together than apart. The idea that there is very little that we cannot face up to as long as we face it together. The idea that no matter how alone we might feel, we never feel lonely. I am not naive. I know that this doesn't work for everybody, but it works for us. That said, I would like to acknowledge that 23 years is a long time and that I feel that we both deserve something for hanging in this long. Unlike the first anniversary which is paper or the 25th which is silver, there doesn't seem to be any special observance for 23. I would like to offer some suggestions.
1. Brick and mortar. Along with the obvious, hit you over the head with the image and metaphor, I think that we should exchange brick and mortar this year. We are currently missing at least 200 bricks at the front of the house. The gaping holes bring to mind poor dental work. Not to mention the crumbling chimney and the newly constructed kitchen wall. We have become experts at masonry.
2. Electronics. The husband loves toys. He believes that he who collects the most toys in one's lifetime, WINS!! As a result everything in this house is hooked up in such a way that I cannot figure out how to even turn it on. We are the proud owners of at least 9 different remote control units and none of them operate everything or anything. I cannot even reset the internet without performing acts of contortion. I would like to suggest a universal remote with one switch and a mute button that controls everything without having to consult the manuals.
3. Pepcid AC. Since we both suffer from various stomach ailments and we often have issues agreeing on restaurants, I figure that if we exchange a year's supply of Pepcid and Gasex we should be ok. I can tolerate anything as long as I have my Pepcid and Gasex!! (Oh-Don't forget the Lactaid and the Tums!)
4. New Passport pictures. As both of our passports come due this January, I feel that it is finally time to have new pictures taken. Mine is a living disaster. I have actually had customs agents and airlines clerks (people that I normally would pay very little attention to!) laugh at my passport picture. Understandable. It looks like a cross between Quasi Moto and Molly Picon! (Look her up. She played Yenta in Fiddler!!) I think that the sooner we throw my passport into the sea, the sooner I can travel without night sweats.
5. New linens. Actually, I just want these, but I figured that anything that might help both of us sleep a full 8 hours without waking in the middle of the night, is a good idea.
6. Massage chair. I am dying for a back rub without someone (?) complaining that his hands hurt or that his arms are tired, or something else. (I will leave that to the imagination!) Poor baby. Farm it out to technology and we are all set.
7. Our own closets and bathrooms. I am tired of sharing. I need space! With the boys venturing out on there own, I am seriously considering farming the husband out to the other bathroom and one of the alternate closets. Trust me! If we do this we will make 50 years in a snap!!
These are just a few ideas. I am sure that you all may have more. For now I will simply say, Happy Anniversary to me and the husband. May we see many more good days than bad. May there be more pain-free times than painful and may we continue to know the love and caring of family and good friends. Trust me on this, though. If we get to 25, there will be a party for sure!!