Today is my 25th wedding anniversary.
That is no small accomplishment for either of us. We are incredibly lucky that we found each other, because there is a very good likelihood that no one else would have been able to stand us.
But 25 years ago, we said “I do.” And we do. Stand each other. As a matter of fact we love each other.
Not that there aren’t a gazillion things he does that annoy the crap out of me. And a gazillion and one things that I do that annoy the crap out of him.
But it is my philosophy of marriage ― and probably a good philosophy for all of life ― to try to keep your focus on the good shit. Let the bad shit go ― that’s my motto.
So for 25 years together, here’s a list of 25 things I love about marriage in general, and my husband in particular.
The last six are from my post on our 20th anniversary … they still hold. I’m just expanding the list:
He loves animals. He loves our animals. All animals. He doesn’t mind that the squirrels eat from the bird feeder. Lately he has discovered a new love for horses and he’s learning to ride. And has taken up the cause of horse rescue. It makes me wish that we could own a big farm and we could let all the horses and dogs and squirrels come live with us.
1. He drives me. (And not just crazy.) I love to get in the passenger seat and let him handle the driving and the traffic.
2. And the parking. That man can park! I need to drive a quarter-mile to find four adjacent empty spaces in order to stop the car. He can park his truck in the dark in a snowstorm in a space the size of a bathmat. While holding a cup of coffee.
3. He keeps his friends. He’s still friends with the little girl who lived next door 65 years ago. He’s still friends with the guys from high school. He’s friends with a sweet woman he dated over 50 years ago. He’s still friends with the kid who did chores for us a dozen years ago. And the kid’s mother too. He just went to her birthday party.
4. He makes me eat better. For one thing, being married means that someone else sees what you eat, and I would be humiliated if he knew all the terrible crap I put in my body at ridiculous hours in ridiculous quantities when I lived alone. And on top of that, about six years ago, he had a health crisis (thankfully under control) that made him want to get even healthier, so he consulted a nutritionist. We have both lost a ton of weight, and look and feel better than we did 20 years ago.
5. He appreciates quality. He loves fine china, and crystal and sterling silver. And he doesn’t want cheap clothes for himself ― or costume jewelry for me.
6. Speaking of jewelry ― he’s generous. And to combine generosity with good taste ― Wowsa!
7. He’s kind to strangers. He helps people. It’s in his nature. He was late for dinner recently and I started to get worried, but someone in the supermarket parking lot had a dead battery. “I couldn’t just leave the idiot,” he said.
8. And on the subject of supermarket parking lots – he actually likes to run errands. He goes to the post office, the bank, the grocery store, the pet food place, the drug store. I hate those chores. Whatever he brings home from the supermarket is terrific with me. I’ll cook it. After all, I didn’t have to buy it.
9. Back to another #8 reference: Idiots. My husband attracts crazy people like he’s Xanax or something. Every weird dude or lady or child who’s completely whacky ― that’s who starts up a conversation with my hubby. Maybe you think this is not a good thing, but believe me ― it makes for great stories. And for a lover of stories like me, it’s heaven.
10. I love his family. His mother (who has passed away) was the kind of feisty strong-willed woman that I admire. She always made it plain what she wanted. And expected. I wish I could be more like that. And his brother and cousins and aunts and uncles ― I loved and still love them all.
11. My family. He likes my family. He adored, and just as important, admired my father. And he dotes on my mother. And likes my sisters and my brother and their spouses and their kids and their kids’ kids. And aunts, uncles, cousins. I have a generous helping of relatives. He’s nice to them all.
12. He was a little reckless in his youth. I am very glad he did lots of crazy stuff before he met me. For one thing, he got it all out of his system. And then of course: Stories.
13. He likes man stuff. I am very staunchly feminist, but I am often really glad he is a manly man. He talks to me about head gaskets and amps (whatever those are) and I just nod my head. But it’s kind of cool. I wouldn’t want to be married to someone just like me. How boring.
14. On the other hand, he’s sensitive and sentimental. He treasures the possessions we inherited from family. He still grieves over the cat babies we’ve lost over the years. When we moved, he dug up those little caskets (which he made himself) and re-buried them in our new yard. “I couldn’t just leave them,” he said.
15. He respects me. Not just loves me. Respects. He’s proud that I am smart and successful. He values my opinion. I can’t imagine living in a house with someone who doesn’t.
16. He likes chocolate and ice cream. Because too much healthy eating might make us sad.
17. We’re not inseparable. I like that he can go out with his buddies or go to the gym or the shooting range or take riding lessons. And I can go to Zumba or yoga or write my book. I can have dinner with friends or take a basket weaving class. Even on vacation a few years back, he went on one leg of a tour, and I went on another. We had lots to talk about afterward. Having your own lives gives you lots to talk about. That’s nice.
18. He’s loyal. I cannot even count the number of times I’ve been angry about something ― work or politics or some stupid thing that won’t work. And he always ― ALWAYS ― takes my side. I can only try to be that loyal back. And he listens. To me go on and on about something he has no interest in. Or he pretends to listen. For a successful marriage, that’s important. (So you young people…yes, my advice really is to pretend to listen more.)
And here’s the seven from five years ago:
19. He’s a genius. (and not just because he can see how awesome I am.) He can fix anything -– furnaces, cars, computers. He can put a clasp on a bracelet and an axle on a trailer. He can look at the innards of stuff and figure out what each gizmo should or should not be doing, and then he can get them to behave.He built our house. It’s fabulous. And he installed a generator. It comes on automatically when we lose power. That was very handy a few weeks ago. And although it doesn’t provide power to every outlet in the house, my husband made sure that there is power to the outlet where I plug in my hairdryer.
20. He’s protective. I’d taken care of myself for a very long time before I met him. It’s nice to relinquish some of that. I have a champion. He offered to beat up a boss who was mean to me, and although I declined, I did enjoy envisioning it.
21. When we first got married, we lived in a quiet neighborhood. But my husband still worried about me crossing our mostly deserted road to go to our mailbox. “How did I ever cross the street before I met you?” I asked jokingly. “I don’t know. It’s a miracle you’re alive,” he answered solemnly.
22. He likes bad music. When we take a long car trip, he makes sure to pack all his Gene Autry CDs. If, after several hours, I politely request something more modern, he’s ready with The Beach Boys. “The Beatles ruined everything,” he often states, knowing full well that I adore The Beatles. He doesn’t want music that will change the world. He wants a dude singing about his car. But if he’s stuck in time musically, he’s also stuck in a very appealing way. To him, I’m still young, and pretty … and thin.
23. He’s a very serious guy. He worries. He’s not lighthearted. He’s never silly. He’s a built-in challenge that sharpens my wit. It thrills me to get him to laugh. Of course, if I can’t, I can always turn on “World’s Dumbest.” There’s nothing like a teenager smacking himself in the head with his own skateboard to make my husband roar.
24. He can find common ground with anyone. While I sometimes don’t know what to say to a stranger, my husband possesses an incredible talent for making everyone comfortable. Shy people confide in him. Sad people feel comforted. Shrewd salesmen give him a deal. He creates an immediate rapport. Getting ready for a big event one evening, I looked out the window and saw him having a friendly chat with the garbage man. One hour later he was having a friendly chat with the CEO of a television network.
25. He married me. This sounds like a pathetic, needy gratitude. But hell, it’s true. I met him when I was 38. We married when I was 40. My life up until then was full of men, each briefly, with long stretches of solitude in between. I wasn’t unhappy being single; as a matter of fact, the older I got, the more I liked it. But at 40, I did begin to wonder if, just maybe, I might be the teensiest bit unlovable. But I’m not. One crazy, but very smart, guy loves me.