Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday's Words for July 14, 2010

Thirty-eight years ago today, Mr. Ashbury and I were married. I was one week to the day shy of my 18th birthday, and my beloved was an older man of 19 and a half.

We were married on a Friday evening in the small Anglican Church I’d attended all my life. David wore a brown suit, and I a mauve dress. My mother, you see, forbade me to wear white as I was expecting our first child at the time.

We have no special plans for today; we’re going out to dinner on Saturday instead. Sometimes we get each other cards and gifts, but usually not. That’s a holdover from the days when every penny went to seeing to the kids.

We’ve had our share of hard times, and tragedy and we’re still together. I’m not sure if that fact is a testament to our devotion to each other, or our individual stubbornness.

We’ve had people from time to time ask us what the secret is to a long and happy marriage. And, from time to time, depending upon our mood, that answer may vary. But at the base of it, at the core, we both agree that we have stayed married to each other, because we chose to.

Ah yes, Morgan is fond of saying that everything in life is a choice. It really is!

Staying together as husband and wife is a choice. Our marriage isn’t perfect. We’ve both made mistakes and said things that we shouldn’t have said. We’ve each been furious with the other. And yet, here we are, still a couple when no one we knew on our wedding day believed we would last.

Marriage after thirty-eight years is as much a habit, I suppose, as anything else. Of everyone I know in the world, my beloved is the person with whom I’m most comfortable. I know he feels the same about me. After all these years, we accept each other, warts and all. We can sit around in our sketchiest clothing, and not worry what the other thinks.

Everything in life, over time, changes. Relationships are no exception. I suppose there are some for whom, after an equal number of years together, passion still burns hotly. If you and your mate are among that breed, then you’re my new heroes. For the Ashburys, passion has given way to comfort. That sounds staid, and boring, but it isn’t, really.

As you get older your capacity for excitement diminishes – at least ours has. Now we treasure time together in different ways than we did in our youth. Our amusements are gentler, but I believe we get more out of every moment now than ever we did.

There are fewer things these days either of us considers important enough to squabble over. We’ve learned that our best happiness is built on compromise. Neither of us needs to have our way even half of the time, and we are comfortable enough within ourselves to know that it’s all right to disagree about things—even important things.

One of the habits we have that we believe has contributed to our staying together is that we talk to each other every day. He tells me that when he talks to the men he works with who are married, none of them spend time talking with their wives.

We discuss things, be it items on the news or things we’ve read. We share new discoveries, and old memories. We communicate, and for the most part, we listen—although I do tease Mr. Ashbury that he really needs more than one t-shirt that reads “My wife says I don’t listen to her or something like that.”

Mostly, we let each other be individual people, and don’t think of each other as extensions of ourselves. And we do kind things for each other. Most days I make Mr. Ashbury’s favourite meals even when I don’t feel like cooking; he rubs my feet, even when he’s not in the mood.

In the eyes of this old married lady and her beloved, meals and foot rubs are a pretty good deal.


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