On August 11, Roy and I will drop everything and set aside our work so we can head off to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It’s not one of the huge, party-worthy ones, but at big number 37, It’s nothing to sneeze at, either. we’ll drive for an hour to a nice restaurant and share a meal with my sister and brother-in-law.
I’m not sure we’ll take time to reflect on what possessed Roy to ask me out when I was 16 and he was a college boy four years my senior. I don’t know if the names Peter (Fonda), Dennis (Hopper), or Jack (Nicholson) will come up, but we may laugh about watching Easy Rider during our first date. We may talk about how getting married at 19 and 23 is practically unheard of now, but was the norm way back then. We may marvel that we are still together while so many other marriages have either imploded because of some deal-breaking issue or shrivelled and died from neglect and inattention rather than from any overt action.
I suppose we could take inventory. Our greatest asset and biggest contribution to the world is, of course, our two kids. Greg and Hilary are a joy and source of pride. A good set of genes, balanced upbringing, and the grace of God are the likely reasons these guys have turned out so well.
Also on the marital balance sheet are blessings of good health, mutual respect and support, an abiding friendship, love, and commitment to each other. What we’ve lacked in money or advantage has been slight in comparison to those things that truly matter. Maybe most importantly, we’ve tried, in a clumsy, mortal way, to model for our children what a good marriage looks like. We’ve provided roots and stability and now watch with anticipation where they go from here.
As a marriage commissioner for the past eight years, I’ve met and married my share of couples. My role ends with the ceremony (with all but the closest couples) so I don’t know the longevity of these unions. I do know that sometimes, during our pre-wedding meeting, I take pause: I see potential trouble spots.
It concerns me when one person does all the talking and decision making. It concerns me when one person is always acquiescing and the other appears to be a bully or a spoiled brat. It concerns me that despite the trial run of living together, some couples seem immature and intolerant of the one they are committing their life to. Sometimes it seems more time is spent choosing the linens or colour schemes than the vows.
But my role is to officiate, not sanction, so I remain silent. Then I return home to the one I said ?I do? to, knowing that I made the right choice for better or worse, from where I sit.