Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Silver Anniversary


25 years ago today, I stood up in front of friends and family, and married the woman I will kiss goodnight this evening. We were 22 years old and one week out of college. Neither of us had a job which would last past mid-August, at which time we would move to a city we had never visited before. We had no car, no savings, and no idea of what the future would hold. All we knew was that I would start law school in the fall, and she would find some sort of job.

It's been a quarter of a century now. We've been married for more than 10% of the time that the United States has been a country. In 1982, Reagan was in the White House, and they broke ground for the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial. Iran was at war with Iraq, and Britain was at war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. I didn't know anyone who owned a CD player, a cell phone, or a personal computer. The Berlin Wall stood, and fears of nuclear war were rising.

You'd think I'd be full of advice on how to make a marriage last, but I'm not. If you're looking for one of those happy marriage recipes, I'm not your guy. In fact, we've probably violated most of them. We've gone to sleep peeved with each other, we've failed to set aside time for each other, and we've never gone to Marriage Encounter. Part of the reason we're still together is good luck and stubbornness.

One of the reasons that it is hard to offer advice is that not only is every couple different - every couple changes, and so does each partner. I've changed physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and just about any other way you might suggest. And she has, too. Some of what was important to us a couple decades ago is less important now, and other things have taken their place. It's been years and years since we spread the Sunday New York Times across the floor and drank coffee while reading it, or paged through a Williams-Somona catalog together. On the other hand, we didn't even want children when we got married, and now our two children are central to who we are.

All that said, there are things that haven't changed. She still makes me smile, and making her smile is one of my favorite things to do. We still listen to each other - not only to what the other is saying, but how we say it. (It is fascinating how many nuances can be conveyed in a word as short as "okay".) We share interests, but we've always had metaphorical rooms of our own - areas or passions we pursue without expecting or even really desiring the other to participate fully.

25 years ago today, we held hands and took off on an uncertain journey. We had no idea what was coming, but we knew we wanted to face whatever it was together. I have no idea what ups and downs will be coming in the next 25 years, but I know I'll be lucky to have her by my side. She makes the joy sweeter, and the sadness easier.

Tonight, we'll eat at a nice restaurant we've never tried for dinner, and then go to a presentation on a book about Einstein she's read. There may be more traditionally romantic ways to spend the evening, but this seems to fit us pretty well. After a quarter century together, we have a pretty good feel of what is better and what is worse for us.

I am an extremely lucky man.

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21 Comments:

Anonymous Keith Sader said...

Congratulations Dan and may you have twenty-five more years of wedded bliss.

6/19/2007 7:42 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Congratulations, Dan. I'm really happy for you.

6/19/2007 7:53 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Congrats Dan! That really is an impressive feat. More so for your wife, but still.

6/19/2007 7:57 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

So do you ever admit that you were wrong to your wife? I'd hope so. If not, the lady is an absolute saint for putting up with the likes of you.

Here's hoping she can put up with it for 25 more and then some.

6/19/2007 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Vox said...

Congrats!

This was a beautiful post.

6/19/2007 8:36 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

Congratulations!

6/19/2007 8:52 AM  
Blogger les said...

Nice job to you both; keep it up. Changed physically, eh? You trying to say you weren't always slow?

6/19/2007 9:21 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan, you may be wrong on a lot of things, but you're correct here.

We can never tell our wives enough that we're the luckiest guys alive to have them in our lives as a source of inspiration, strength, love and humor. And there are few things, if any, more important than doing everything in our power to help make their dreams come true.

Congratulations.

Ok, I'm done being sappy. Pay attention to my posts on the previous thread you started.

6/19/2007 9:32 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Many congrats to you both, and a great post (because vox already used "beautiful," and it is).

Ah, the mark of a great blog: Political discourse one day, posts like this the next. :)

6/19/2007 10:29 AM  
Blogger Spyder said...

Congrats to you both! Great post! Love the picture!

My advice, after 22 years of marriage, is that you make each other laugh laugh and that you respect each other. With all the changes that we go through, and Dan stated them, if you can do that you can make it!

6/19/2007 11:04 AM  
Blogger Captain Spaulding said...

Wonderful post!

All the very best to you two- 25 more at least! bfg

6/19/2007 12:53 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Dan -
I wish many more happy years for the two of you. Congratulations!

6/19/2007 1:24 PM  
Blogger ::Andrew:: said...

congrats! great post.

6/19/2007 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Rhymes With Right said...

Congratulation to you both!

6/19/2007 9:08 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Hate to be sappy, but how sweet is that to post on your blog? Congratulations and I hope to someday be able to work as hard at my relationship as you do at yours.

6/19/2007 9:49 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Congratulations! My advice for keeping it going for another 25 is not to listen to any advice I offer. Ever.

6/19/2007 10:26 PM  
Blogger Johnny Smoke said...

Well written post. Ah... I miss KC. Just when I think I've pulled away... I'm sucked back in. I grew up there and became a Texan in 97.

Congrats on the anniversary and good luck going forward.

I'll be lurking.

Best regards.

6/19/2007 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Jason K said...

Congratulaions, Robin. Oh, and you too, Dan.

6/20/2007 9:21 AM  
Blogger Robbie said...

My wife and I just celebrated our 5th anniversary --- hopefully we'll be as fortunate as you and your wife and make it another 20.

It says a lot about two people who have committed to each other for so long --- congratulations are definitely in order!

6/20/2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger reverse_vampyr said...

Happy anniversary and congratulations! In a nation where 50% of marriages end in divorce, it's nice to see couples who beat the odds. Good on ya for building her up. May sunshine always be your portion.

6/22/2007 1:15 PM  
Blogger Stephen Bough said...

Dan - this says alot about you and your wife. More about her, really, but . . . Two great kids that are well rounded and well educated, nice house in Brookside, you work everyday to help kids get a decent education. I think I hate you. Congrats

6/27/2007 1:34 PM  

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