The old adage “show don’t tell” is true about more than just writing books. In the crumbling basilicas that constitute modern marriage, it feels a bit counter intuitive to husband-brag since it’s no indication of merit or happiness...and in fact tends to be evidence towards the opposite.
But if there is one day of the year you’re allowed to be sappy, it’s your anniversary, right? So here’s me putting it out there: Jim is my rock, the better half and if I’m the family’s entertainment, he’s the king smiling benevolently from the head table. I know they say not to get married as young as we did (19 and 22), and perhaps our pocketbooks would be a bit more lined if we had taken the more culturally normal route, but from the comfortable perch of my 30’s I can’t help but think we really lucked out.
I also hope we’re less than a quarter of the way through our total number of anniversaries, but since 13 is such a nice unpropitious number… here are my unconventional top tips. Ask me again in 13 years and I’ll probably be advocating striped socks knit from horny goat weed, and marriage counseling from a Jedi.
1. Get your husband a motorcycle.
On a scale between Pararescue Officer in Afghanistan and Midwestern Dental Hygienist, motorcycles are just enough over on the dangerous side to be provocative. Every time Jim is more than ten minutes late, I’m sure he’s dead on the side of the road somewhere. It makes for some very heartfelt homecomings in what could otherwise be your standard corporate guy coming home to his stressed out wife. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to be swept off your feet every day by a bearded man wearing black leather and big boots.
2. Go to bed angry
I’m pretty sure the whole “Never Go To Bed Angry” marriage advice was made up by a vindictive woman as a way of tormenting worn out men. By all means “don’t let the sun go down on your wrath” but take that to mean, “deal with thyself” instead of dredging up every little thing wrong with your marriage at 11 pm. Take a chill pill, realize you may in fact be perpetuating the problem and deal with it the next day if it’s still bothering you in the morning.
3. Don’t go on dates
...Or “date” your spouse or have weekly “date nights” or whatever the new soup du jour is (unless it’s one of those pay by the hour motels which would be far more worthwhile for the parents of small lock picking experts). Jim would probably disagree with me on this one, as he’s a big fan of dragging me out of the house for some one on one time, and maybe he’s right...but honestly the best “dates” are mindset adjustments and you can be anywhere for those. Be fun, be attractive. Live, laugh and tease. If however you find yourself on a date in a semi comatose state of exhaustion, I like The Book Of Questions or Battle of the Sexes as a way to resist the urge to full phone zombie.
Do those three things and I promise you’ll have a long and fortuitous marriage….no money back guarantee. ;-)
As I sit here though and reminisce about what we were doing 13 years ago (me chasing coyotes at 6am, Jim sleeping in and eating omelettes), I realize I made a huge mistake. At 19 I was too young and ignorant to realize what monumental amounts of work and effort go into weddings. For awhile I went through a stage of thinking weddings with all the foppery and accoutrements were a bunch of materialistic ridiculousness, but I’ve come full circle. It’s not only beautiful and timeless, it’s also a testament to the sheer magnitude of biological and sociological proof of the importance of marriage.
So thank you to the people who spent hours moving chairs, setting up tables and navigating logistics, and to the friends and sisters who stayed up into the wee hours weaving hemp necklaces and folding programs. Gratefulness to the mothers who coordinated vast amounts of family and food, and to cousins who captured visions and turned water, shears and stems into creations of beauty. It makes me catch my breath to think how much work, love, time and sacrifice went into this day 13 years ago, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Truly. Thank you. Hopefully I’ve returned the favor or will return the favor someday. :) Cheers!