Jerry and Bonnie Lane, friends of ours, and frequent commenters on this blog, celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary this month. Can you imagine being married that long? Unless you have already celebrated at least 25 years, no, you cannot.
For two people to coexist for 51 years without challenging each other to a steel-cage grudge match is a marvel unto itself, much less staying—and growing—in love for over half a century. You understand, of course, that I couldn’t swear in a court of law that they have never challenged each other to a steel-cage grudge match, but I would be willing to bet heavily on it.
Martha and I are approaching 42 years; our friends Al and Margo will mark their 42nd anniversary 13 days before we do, and I know that there are other readers who are hovering around a similar number of years. One hears a great many maxims about what makes a successful marriage, but I’m here to leaven three of them with a spoonful of experience:
Communication is important. Yes, it is. So is knowing when to not talk to one another. This is why there are multiple rooms in a house. Spouses can be annoying, and—since they’re human beings—you’re not going to “fix” them, no matter what you think. Therefore, go someplace where they aren’t, and you won’t be annoyed.
Marriage is a 50-50 proposition. Yes, it is. On the whole. But at any moment, it may be 50-50 or it may be 75-25. Or 90-10. Or 100-0. Developing a successful marriage involves knowing when to play the odds, and knowing when to bet on yourself when the odds are 3-1 against. Generally speaking, play the odds.
Love conquers all. No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t even conquer the urge to annoy your spouse. (See above, as sometimes it’s intentional.) If you stick with it, though, and stay at it, you realize that love is part dedication, part stubbornness, part affection, and part familiarity. A good, warm, solid familiarity.
Now, some of you know Bonnie and Jerry, and some of you don’t, but 51 years of love and dedication is be celebrated by all! It should make everyone feel better knowing that there’s a little corner of the world where love has blossomed for all this time.
Congratulations! And may today be a day full of love. (I say this rather than “Here’s to another 51,” because that’s not how it works. How it works is based on a formula: 51 years = 18, 628 days, spent one day at a time.)
We met Bonnie and Jerry through dance, and knowing how much they love the smooth dances, here’s a special waltz for them.