Yesterday was our 38th wedding anniversary. 38 years sounds like a really long time. Doesn't seem like we have been together that long. And then you add in the 3 years we went together before we got married. Wow. 41 years!
We have been through so much in those years. Hard to believe that we raised 2 kids and now they are grown and both married themselves. How many cats have we had? How many jobs? How many clogged toilets and roof leaks? They all blur into a hazy memory. Each experience seemed so important and urgent at the time. Each high school football game and swim meet so real. How did we survive the death of our parents and grandparents and cancer? It is difficult to think while you are having the experience, just how forgettable most of the details will become. They morph into a cloud of other memories and are softened out of urgency and tragedy.
So, what is still real and up front and personal? What has stayed consistent all these years? Love; of course. But almost more importantly: friendship and laughter. You just can't have a true relationship without those two things. Friendship is so important. One must never say anything hurtful to a spouse you wouldn't say to a best friend. And the laughter. How many times at the end of the day did we come together and laugh about a stupid social mistake or something the kids had gotten in trouble for? Don't get me wrong; marriage is a serious business. It's all about hard work and giving, on both sides. But sometimes you just have to laugh. Especially if you have children. they take themselves way too seriously. They don't know that in the big scheme of things, breaking a window or not keeping curfew is not a life-or-death situation.
I knew going into this marriage that this was going to be my only marriage. I said the vows: "Till death do us part." But even if my husband dies before me (he says statistically, the odds are not on his side) I know I will never have another marriage. I will not even want to look for another relationship. I will want this one to be ever most present in my mind until I die. It has been too good. Too much fun. And I will not want to lose it into a hazy memory. It will comfort me, and sustain me and when I end my days it will make me laugh.