Monday, September 27, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Reflects on Marriage

Today is my 2nd wedding anniversary. 'Well whoop-dee-do,' I can hear some of you out there saying. 'Two WHOLE years? I have shampoo in my shower older than that.' Fine-- I am hardly an authority on making marriage work. But a woman in her thirties knows a thing or two about a thing or two, so here's my thing. Or two.

In my twenties I worked at a bank to get my butt through college, and met a wonderful customer named Mr. T. (Many readers of this blog will remember him.) Mr. T was pretty much the kindest, most patient man in the world. Even after decades of marriage, he spoke about his wife as though they were teenagers who just met at the high school prom.

One day we tellers asked him the secret to a happy marriage. I was particularly interested in his response, as I was watching my own unhealthy relationship at the time crash and burn around me.

'People say marriage is 50/50,' he began. 'But that's not true. Marriage isn't 50/50. It's 100/100. Each person needs to give 100% all the time, otherwise you're in trouble.'

My first decade on this planet I don't think I knew of a single divorced couple. The only blended family I knew was The Brady Bunch. I thought marriage was one of those things that happened naturally for women, like growing boobs. Then my teens came, then my twenties, and with those two decades a realization that the Beaver Cleaver idea of marriage that I had in my youth was far from reality. I could wish it and hope for it, and I could judge the hell out of other people for the decisions they made in their relationships, but in the end no one owed me the life I saw on Growing Pains.

Damn you, Jason and Maggie Seaver.

While L and I have only been married two years, we've been together for almost eight. (Yes, I can still hear some of you groaning and moaning. 'Eight? I have jeans older than...') Regardless, I still think Mr. T's advice is the best I've heard. Marriage is 100% effort, on both people's part. Sometimes, some days, that's been easy to do. Sleeping-in-on-Saturday easy. But sometimes, and I'm sure I can speak for L when I say this, too, it's been hard. Really hard. Root-canal-while-watching-Jersey-Shore hard.

My point is that a woman in her thirties celebrates anniversaries. Not with gifts (though those are nice), and sometimes not even with physical presence (L is currently out of town on business). She celebrates them because she knows how wonderful and how difficult marriage can be. She celebrates them because, once a year, she and her partner can look at each other, and say, 'Phew. We made it one more year. Let's kiss real quick before we get to talking about replacing the water heater.'

Anniversaries are achievements, and we've achieved one more year. MP, L. Now about that honeymoon...

5 comments:

  1. What did I TELL you about the Honeymoon??!!

    Happy Anniversary!

    So happy to be a part of day one...so happy to be a part of many days to come.

    Love you both. So much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. All of this, so TRUE! I remember your wedding day like it was yesterday (though I also remember the first time you told me about L like it was yesterday) but look at everything that has happened since then. CRAZY. Happy Anniversary!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it takes a woman in her thirties to truly appreciate Mr. T's words of wisdom. As a woman in my twenties, it sounded nice, but was difficult to put into practice. Here's to two years (technically 8) and many, many more. Congratulations and I love you both!

    P.S. That photo? Something out of a magazine. So beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know I'm a day late and a dollar short... but Happy Wonderful Married Life. From someone in her 40s who questions my own ability to sustain a marriage more than 8 minutes, I say, BRAVISSIMO!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Happy Anniversary! I, too remember your wedding like it was yesterday. Thanks for sitting me next to Kim! Tiffany's mom told me in high school that it is important for both people in a marriage to feel really, really lucky to have found each other. I always liked that.

    ReplyDelete