Jim and I are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary today. It’s hard to believe I’m old enough for that! It’s a lot of time spent with one person, but worth the effort to stick it out when things get tough. I’ve just heard of two more celebrities who are splitting up and it makes me wonder why they even bother with saying vows. The “for better or for worse” part seems to go right over their heads, I think. I realize celebrities have their own set of stressors in a marriage, but not MORE stressors than average couples, just DIFFERENT ones. Maybe they should just sign some sort of contract when they decide to have children together and forget the romantic “wedding” ritual altogether.
Anyhow, it isn’t always easy, but staying married to the same person certainly has rich rewards that only come many years into it. When the kids are grown, you find out you still have a friend (or not…if you’re not so lucky) that will be your companion for the long haul into old age. Just like any best friend, you can bicker and have all sorts of uncomfortable times, but you know nobody’s leaving and so you just get real about how to make it work. And then, how to make it fun. Because laughing with someone is really the only way to stay close. If you can laugh at the same things and make each other giggle, that’s a closeness to treasure.
I am lucky to be married to a man who probably seems like an “average Joe” to the outsider, but is really special. He is my biggest supporter, defender and encourager. He never, EVER complained about time I spent taking care of my mom and dad in their last years, because that’s what families do. He will turn heaven and earth to get me something he thinks will make me happy (I have to be very careful what I ask for, because he will sacrifice something he wants to make sure I have it!) So far, in 40 years, the only thing I’ve asked for that he said an absolute NO to was a goat. I was never really serious about wanting one, but he didn’t know that for quite some time. Besides, his reasons were solid and logical. Now it’s a joke between us that gives me a laugh whenever I choose to toss it out there. There WILL be chickens in my future, however, and he’s going to build me a nice coop for them.
When I wanted to learn to play the fiddle on my own, he was not only all for it, he encouraged me by always wanting to be around when I practice (it was truly awful in the early months, believe me.) When I said I wanted lessons, he said, great, go find a teacher. When I said I wanted to learn the piano (we have one at home), but I needed an electric one to take to the camper so I don’t have to stop practicing while away….he just jumped in and helped me pick out a good one.
He helps me when I want a new area torn up for a garden patch, takes care of all the vehicle maintenance and will make/build anything I ask for in the carpentry arena.
He always appreciates my domestic efforts, whether it’s a special meal or dessert, canned peach jam or homemade curtains….when I make our home (or camper) a better place….and especially when it saves us money…he’s a true admirer. I made alot of clothing for myself and our girls when they were younger and he was always appreciative of my skill and my frugality.
When I made dolls for sale, he encouraged that, too, and our plan for when I retire in a couple of years is to make some things together. Rocking horses are a major part of the plan, with him doing the woodwork and me doing the faces, tails and manes. We plan to call them “Charlie Horses” after my dad. He will do some other wood projects (probably small toys and such) and I will do some sewing and hand-made dolls again. I really look forward to those times and doing craft shows together with my co-creator, husband, friend….and lover (I think I left that part out before 😉