August 25, 1974 – David and I got married on Long Island, under a tree. We wrote our own vows, put real flowers on top of the cake, and instructed the official to lose the “obey” and just go with “honor.” Sounds like a hippie wedding, but it was real. At least, I think so. Being the 70’s, reality was up for grabs.
Anyway, it’s 40 years today and if someone asked me “Why did you marry David, a guy that you’d only recently met on vacation?” I would say, because David saw wonderful things in me that I didn’t know were there. I saw what he saw in the video tape he made of our first days together and it blew me away. I figured “If he sees that in me, then I’ve gotta stay with this man so I can become those things.” So I did. And I did.
If someone asked David, “Why’d you marry Annie?” He’d say… Wait a minute. I don’t actually know what he’d say. Let me go ask. (Short commute to David’s office next door….. )
Here’s what he said: “I married you because you are those wonderful things…. and because it was so natural being with you. When people saw us in those first few days they were amazed we’d just met. They thought we’d been together for years. We had been together for years… in other lifetimes. You are my soulmate.”
How can you not love a guy who is so awesome that he still says stuff like that after forty years?
So you want to know the secret of being happy for the long-haul? Here you go:
• Be nice. You’re not going to feel like it all the time, but when things are just fine, think of ways to show that you really are your partner’s best friend.
• Do fun stuff. You don’t need to be inseparable, but you’ve gotta find a least one thing (outside of sex) that you both enjoy doing together and do it, often.
• Laugh. Together. A lot. Life is funny. Even when it’s frustrating and crazy. So you’ve gotta laugh. As my dad used to say, “What else ya’ gonna do?” Good point.
• Share the chores. At best, housework is boring, but it really sucks when it’s marinated in resentment. Share the recycling, vacuuming, laundry, shopping, etc. Your home will stay cleaner and you’ll have more time for the fun stuff.
• Eat. Food is life. If you really get into it, you can extract endless joy from cooking and baking. And then there’s growing what you eat. But even if none of that is your thing, make the time to sit down for meals together. Savor the food. Savor the company. Enjoy.
• Show appreciation. Everyone likes having their efforts noticed. Whether it’s filling up the car, appearing at your desk with a snack, or massaging your feet…. “Thank you!” says “I love you and appreciate this kindness.”
• Talk it out. Stress, anger, resentment, worry gets in the way of feeling close. Some is directed at your partner, some isn’t. Whenever you feel your Monkey Mind careening into dark corners, put on the brakes, toss that chimp aside and talk to your partner. The goal isn’t to dump your load, the goal is to share it and lighten it.
• Listen to each other. Our emotions and life experiences make us all so fragile. In your partnership, make it safe to talk by being the kind of partner who knows how to listen with an open heart, an open mind, and open arms. This is truly the secret of a healthy marriage.
• Unplug. If it feels like you and/or your partner spend too much time looking at a screen, you probably do. Talk about that and how you can get back in balance so the relationship gets more of the attention it deserves.
• Have adventures. We love to hike and we don’t always know where we are or if we’re headed in the right direction. Adventures require a willingness to wander and that’s sure to bring you to unheard of places. Some will be scary. Some, just freakin’ weird. But the juice of a great partnership is trusting that the two of you can figure anything out together.
Okay, it’s 9:28. Time for this anniversary party to get started. Enjoy your day. David and I wish you and your sweetie lots of love and laughter.