I feel like I fell asleep for 30 years and just woke up. How did 30 years go by so quickly? We sat and talked about options for celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. I asked him randomly, “Now what?” He looked puzzled at my question. I said it again, “Now what?” It is a simple question, right?
We raised two daughters, purchased homes, built careers, parented numerous pets and now the house is empty as we embark upon one of the biggest milestones of our life. I wish we were one of those couples that says, “It has been heavenly bliss.” I very lovingly and non-judgmentally ask, "Who are these people? What planet did they come from?" I love my husband and I know he loves me and would gladly take the ride again. However, it has been nothing close to "heavenly bliss". We are the couple that loves deeply, but have not been completely satisfied in our marriage? Oddly enough we have always celebrated as if we were.
Image: hydropeek via Flickr
I often wonder why we didn’t throw in the towel. We struggled to adjust to our newly-merged life. We married young and were just beginning to know ourselves as individuals. We were first time homeowners and parents within three years of marriage. We are total opposites of each other. Our communication is a C- at best. He watches sports. I like the OWN Network. He likes liver smothered in gravy with onions. I can’t stand the sight of it. He loves golf. I love riding in the golf cart with snacks and a glass of wine. He has the patience of Job. I am inpatient and short tempered. He’s in government and I am a corporate girl. He’s an extrovert. I am an introvert. He loves to be surrounded by people and I enjoy being alone. How in God’s name did we make it this far?
I don’t know – actually I take that back. It was all God. We have been blessed beyond measure. God undoubtedly ordained this marriage. We are grateful! With each anniversary we thought it would be the last and here’s why:
- We focused on negative aspects of our marriage. Nothing seemed to work. We chose to focus on everything except that which was good and perfect.
- We didn’t make our marriage a priority. I chose to place the kids front and center and he chose career. We neglected our marriage - with justifiable reasons.
- We refused to take accountability for our dysfunction. We finger pointed. It was easier.
- We surrendered to silence instead of voicing our values, opinions and expectations.
Nevertheless, we made it. But, what was the destination? We are older, wiser, more mature and yet still dysfunctional. Despite it all, we love each other and are committed to each other for life. There has always been something within that has held us together like glue. Is that a characteristic of soul mates? No matter how hard we tried to fight it, we are meant to be together.
With that realization, I celebrate and rejoice in our accomplishment. We never quit. We didn’t give up. I have the answer to my question, “So, now what?” We made it because of unconditional and undeniable love. So now I want a do-over. I want 30 more years to have the marriage of my dreams. I want to atone for all that I didn’t know, understand or comprehend about the complexity of marriage. So does he.
This time the mission for the next phase of this journey is clear. Our intentions are set. Our expectations are reasonable. The goals are attainable. Our new mission for navigating this journey is to:
- Appreciate our gifts of imperfection – they are the reason we are celebrating 30 years.
- Remember that love is a verb and requires action – it must be demonstrated every day. It’s the little things that make a big difference.
- Find a common interest and enjoy it often – I am learning to play golf.
- Laugh until our stomach hurts – no need to take our selves so serious any more.
- Soul gaze – the body is changing, but the soul is flawless and our true beauty.
- Dance like no one is watching – who cares if we are off beat, we’ve danced to our own tune for 30 years.
- Continue to spoon in bed – it is spiritual and comforting.
- Celebrate each other for no reason at all – we deserve it and are totally worth it.
- Treat each other with tenderness – our new marriage mantra is to “Handle With Care.”
- Hold hands a lot – we have never let go and that is our legacy for our daughters.
Happy Anniversary to us! As my hubby would say, “It’s been one hell of a ride!”. I enthusiastically anticipate that the best is yet to come.