Okay, I really don’t remember any of those things, though I’m sure they were all true. I was aware only of the tall, handsome man in front of me with the incredible smile.
We stood on the cobblestoned marina, between the picnic tables where we had met one year earlier. I wore a 1920’s style off white, calf length lace dress with a dropped waist, and a satin bow on my hip. He wore a ridiculously formal, light blue cut away tuxedo, with a bow tie, which he would later exchange for a pair of Levi’s and a t-shirt with burn marks that posed the question “who farted?”. This was the man that I married. I don’t think anyone thought our marriage would last. And at least a couple of people hoped that it wouldn’t.
But we’d said our vows, kissed, and signed our marriage certificate. And if they were betting against us, we didn’t care. We were mad crazy in love, and we believed we could conquer anything.
We went home to have a party with friends and family, to begin our new life and hopefully grow old together.
So thirty years later, I feel like I should have some wise advice to give on having a long and mostly happy marriage. I’d like to say always happy, but this isn’t a fairy tale.
The best advice I ever received about marriage was from a Catholic priest, a man who had never experienced a day of marriage in his life. He said, “There will be days when you wake up in the morning and it’s easy to love him, and there will be days when you wake up and you have to make a decision to love him”.
The days when he showers you with attention, when both Caddy Shack and The Wizard of Oz are on television at the same time, and you know he’d rather crack open a beer and watch Caddy Shack, but instead he pops a bowl of popcorn, pours two glasses of cola- fills yours with extra ice because that’s the way you like it, and clicks on the Wizard of Oz… the evening when he comes home exhausted from work, and you’re waiting at home no make-up on, still haven’t had a shower, and visibly frazzled because you’ve been chasing three little boys and you haven’t had a break, and instead of asking what’s for dinner, he puts his things down at the door, sends you off to take a hot shower, and orders a pizza… these are the times when it’s easy to be in love.
But then, there are the days when you’re on a tight budget and he decides to use the money for the garbage bill to buy tickets to Pink Floyd, or it’s Thanksgiving and he’s glued to the football game while you are trying to keep track of the kids, clean the house and put together dinner for fourteen people…these are the times when you have to make a decision to love. And, you can be sure that he has a list of occasions when he has had to make a decision to love in return.
So, after thirty years, the budget is more comfortable, the kids are all raised, we’ve gotten through some tough times and major challenges, our marriage is solid and all is secure…right?
When I was a little girl I believed that once you met your prince, a fairy tale ending was guaranteed. But I’m all grown up now, and I know there are no guarantees. My parents marriage dissolved after nearly twenty-five years, and my in laws made it to thirty-three before they split.
Does that mean I’m jaded and no longer believe in Happily Ever After? Absolutely not. I believe, I just don’t believe that you should take it for granted.
So I’ll get up every day for another thirty, forty or however many years that I’m given… and make a decision to love him, on the days that it’s easy, and the days that it’s hard. And every night when I close my eyes to go to sleep, I’ll pray that tomorrow he gets up and makes the decision to love me, on the easy days and the hard.
And if we both can make that same decision…every day for as many days as we’re given, then we may just get to live
Happily Ever After…
Happy Thirtieth Anniversary to the love of my life, Paul Jewett aka Hunky Hubby.
In loving memory to my maid of honor, and our dear friends Marie and Kenny Van Hove. Wish you were here to celebrate with us, but I know that you’re toasting from above.
And a special thank you to Shoreline Village for being part of our story from the day we met in August 1987, and allowing us to get married one year later, between those same picnic tables. And for all of the surprises on our wedding day, steam cleaning the cobblestone, the flowers, coffee and pastries, gifts from the cookie cart, artist and Parker’s Lighthouse restaurant, and for opening the carousel, early on August 20, 1988 just for our wedding party. Thank you for all of the memories since and those to come…