FORTY. FIVE. YEARS. I know a lot of people who haven’t been alive that long, let alone slept with the same person. I always have to smile when someone asks me what the secret to a long marriage is. There IS no big secret. You do it the same way you do everything else in life—one day at a time.
What? You think the luminous bride and groom have any idea of the things they’ll face in the future? Not a chance. If so, they’d be racing each other to be the first through the exit. I reckon it’s a good thing none of us know what life will bring. Otherwise, most wouldn’t dare to get married to begin with.
But with surprising frequency we marry, and remarry, and marry again, regardless of our past mistakes and failures. The longevity issue is mostly a matter of timing and mule-headed stubbornness with a tad of poverty thrown in.
I’m often asked if I ever thought of leaving the hunk. Of course. Any spouse who says otherwise is fibbing. Everyone has a day or twenty when they search their deepest, most secret heart and wonder if they could get away with walking out the door. There are days when the kids are all sick and the sink is overflowing with dishes and the bill collectors are calling and the simplest solution would be to go. Some people do just that.
The rest of us pull up our socks and wade back into the fray because we know something the quitters don’t know. Nothing lasts forever. Not the best days. Nor the worst days. Overall, life is an undulating mass of good, bad, and yes, even the mediocre. There will be days when there’s enough money to go to McDonalds or Burger King and we’ll feel positively euphoric and victorious. And there will be days when we have enough money to go on a cruise and we’ll wallow in the depths of depression and defeat.
There will be nights when our erotic fantasies are left unfulfilled and others when our spouses delight and surprise us beyond all expectations or dreams. Some youngsters think married sex must be incredibly boring after the first few years. Well…no. I expect that all depends on whether the two people involved are small-minded. True lovers delight in exploring multiple avenues of pleasure, whether it’s the simple comfort of cuddling in a warm bed or trying out the strange possibilities of Shibari.
As in all of life, there will be disasters and triumphs. The deciding factor is whether you pull together or pull apart. Pulling together is harder sometimes. Maybe it means one of you has to surrender control for awhile. That’s okay. We learn a lot when we place our lives in someone else’s hands. Everyone should have the experience of being the giver and being the receiver. There’s nothing wrong with learning humility and acceptance. Because you never know what life will hand you down the road.
Faith. Hope. Love. If you’re really fortunate, Love.
The pics: Top--our wedding picture (that dress cost me $10!) Middle--The summer before we married (I was seventeen.) Bottom--The year we were married twenty-five years, with our four children, also the year I graduated from college.