Fifty years ago today, I made the most important promise of my life when I married my husband. We were both young. I was 19; he was 22. I was in my junior year at university and he was in his first year of grad school. We had no idea what we were in for, no idea of the demands that marriage and family and just surviving in the world would make on us. We were in love and ready to commit ourselves to each other in the blindly passionate way of the young and naïve.
And we’re still together today. We’ve had our ups and downs. We have our disagreements. We see some things very differently and there are things we just don’t discuss. We’ve fought, compromised, sulked, and cried. We started out poor, struggling to make ends meet, and stayed that way for many years. We’ve had our share of (mostly) minor health crises, come through the occasional household disaster, and survived a major, eight-month-long home renovation project.
We raised three children who have all turned out very well (if I do say so myself). Each of them has made us proud in a variety of ways, including the eight beautiful grandchildren they’ve produced among them.
What has kept us together all these years is, at heart, the fact that in addition to being in love, we like each other. Without doubt, he is my best friend. We have a few shared interests and enjoy doing things together. We laugh together frequently. And we have some deeply rooted shared values. Religious faith, though we approach it in different ways, integrity, loyalty, and honesty are the foundation our relationship is built on. We help each other, support each other, and try to act as a team in all important matters.
Before we married, someone (I wish I could remember who) told me that, despite what everyone said, marriage was not a 50-50 proposition. It was more like 80-20, with each person feeling like they were giving the 80 percent. In fact, there have been times when each of us has felt we were giving 120 percent. We’ve each made sacrifices and sometimes held on by our fingertips.
But here we are, with fifty years of marriage behind us and I hope many more years to come. He is still my one and only true love.