Today is our twentieth wedding anniversary; twenty-five if you count those “trying on the shoe” years. We had dinner last night at a nice restaurant to celebrate, and our conversation was about our luck, our grit, and all of our friends who lacked one or the other. When looking over the wedding photos (all just snapshots), roughly half of the attendees (and there were over a hundred stuffed into our little house that day) have since divorced. Some have remarried. Some have even died. But few are in the same situation today that they were back then.
Is it just time marching on, or is it something different? I wondered about my own parents and their marriage. Would I have stayed in such a patriarchal union? I doubt it. I think women were different back then.
Now two incomes are necessary, and because of this I think the mechanics of marriage have changed. How do women have children without husbands? I can’t fathom it, unless they’re supremely rich, monumentally smarter, and certainly stronger, than I was. I raised one child, and it was all I could do while working three (sometimes four) 12-hour nursing shifts a week. I needed every bit of husbandly help. And I was fortunate that the one who moved on, and the other who moved in, were both incredibly supportive.
I am happily married now, and I am grateful to be so. I have several girlfriends who say they’ll never remarry; that living alone is easier than “putting up with” a man. While I agree no one should marry someone they feel needs to be “put up with,” I am glad that I listened to at least one of my mother’s dictums:
“Marriage doesn’t have good days and bad days. It doesn’t have good weeks and bad weeks. Nor does it have good months and bad months. Instead, it has good YEARS and bad YEARS.” And I am here to say that hanging in there during rough times is well worth it if you loved someone when you married them. Patience is the key. You will love them again. Or, you can get lucky, and your love never weakens in the face of adversity.
I guess I just got lucky. And I am very grateful. This, my dear husband, is your anniversary card. “You’re the Greatest.”