When I turned 39, my husband gave me a coffee mug that said, “39 and Holding.” At the time, I couldn’t imagine the day our marriage would reach that magic number, but today is our 39th wedding anniversary.
I feel lucky as hell to be married to a man who makes me laugh every day and who loves me, foibles and all. And to some extent, marrying him, the person I have fallen in love with over and over, is in fact luck. One day, I was having lunch with two women friends, and we got to discussing whom we considered the love of our lives. My friends pointed to long ago romantic loves that for various reasons, had flamed out. Me? No contest. The love of my life is my husband.
It’s not that our lives have gone smoothly. Like everyone else on the planet, we’ve had our share of heartaches—the deaths of loved ones, devastating job losses, family challenges, the list goes on. But somehow, our relationship has grown stronger through the decades. It hasn’t hurt that we’ve both done quite a bit of maturing since our early married days. Arguments have gone from lasting weeks to… oh, I don’t know, thirty seconds?
Occasionally, folks have asked me what I think has contributed to our long and happy marriage. Here are some ingredients that I’ve found helpful:
- Marry someone who is empathetic, thoughtful, and considerate—who doesn’t only think of his needs but who cares about yours as well.
- Take time each day to really listen to one another. We sit and talk each night over a drink before dinner. It’s my favorite part of the day.
- Humor is healing! My husband is hilarious. He helps me take myself and life’s ups and downs a whole lot less seriously.
- Regularly communicate appreciation, love, and gratitude for one another. I thank my husband a lot for all he does for me and for all the ways he shows his love for me, and he reciprocates. Our friends and family have sometimes teased us that we send them into sugar shock, but hey, sugar is a lot more fun and much tastier than vinegar.
Nothing I’ve said is particularly new. But for us, it’s led to a sense of newness and wonder in an old and treasured relationship.
Happy Anniversary to the man who still makes my socks roll up and down after 39 years!