Thirty years ago today OG and I were married in an intimate ceremony in my parents’ living room. It was the second marriage for us both, but in truth we were babes in the woods. Our short, early marriages had left us largely unscathed and without much emotional baggage. We’d barely dipped our toes in the tempestuous sea of marriage. We were wildly in love and married because we couldn’t imagine not being married.
But that wasn’t always the case.
I met OG on my first day at a new job in 1977. The supervisor was late, and OG was sitting in her chair with his feet on her desk flipping paper clips into her coffee cup. It was a very revealing introduction but certainly didn’t engender love at first sight. In fact, I thought he was a goofball. Within a few weeks, we discovered we had quite a bit in common: we’d both left Kansas City for colleges on the East Coast and had even visited each other’s alma maters. We became friends and saw each other socially, along with a group of other employees about the same age. Eventually we both found ourselves single, began dating, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The first half of our life together was a roller coaster ride marked by multiple job changes and losses, infertility, eventual parenthood, out of state moves, health challenges, and loss of a parent. In other words, the sort of things that happen to most people. However, that’s small consolation when it’s happening to you. The drama has eased during recent years, but we’ll both carry the battle scars of those early years for the rest of our lives.
Sometimes, when things were at their worst, I would ask myself the ultimate Ann Landers question: Are you better off with him or without him? The answer always came back the same. OG and I are a team; the whole is greater than the parts. His love and unwavering support have
allowed me to become more than I ever would have otherwise.
So what’s my advice for a lasting marriage?
- Remember what drew you to your partner in the first place. I was initially attracted to OG’s keen sense of humor and mordant wit, and he still keeps me laughing after all these years.
- Cultivate shared interests. You don’t want to spend every free minute together, but it’s important to have things you enjoy doing together.
- Don’t hold grudges. Face it—you’re going to wound each other. We’re all human, and we make mistakes. Forgive what you can and move on.
The past thirty years haven’t always been easy, but they have been rich and deeply rewarding. Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!