Today John and I celebrate wedding anniversary No. 9. I say “celebrate” it because we had two weddings. I always have to look up the dates to get it right, but we were married here legally in a small, short ceremony on Feb. 19, flew to Costa Rica with our sisters and their hubbies on the 20th, and had a sunset beach ceremony outside our cabanas at El Sano Banano in Montezuma, Costa Rica, on Feb. 21, which was an auspicious day on the Tibetan calendar that year.
We wrote our beach vows and brother-in-law Paul wrote and read a poem. Brother-in-law Norm shot photos nonstop. Sisters Kitty and Cathy cried.
This July 21, on what would be my father’s 80th birthday, we’ll celebrate 11 years since we met. That’s an important date too. And if memory holds, John proposed on Nov. 17, 2003.
Next year, for our 10th anniversary, we plan to do something fab – maybe Italy again, from Rome to points south, or India, or who knows where – but this year we’re celebrating in our own neighborhood, at Ciao. That will be fab enough.
Because we’ve got each other and we’re happy about it.
When my kids met John years ago, they said, “Mom is dating Mr. Rogers!” They were happy about it and that was a compliment – we watched and loved dear Fred. And just like Mr. Rogers, John loves unconditionally. That’s too rare a trait.
Ben said just the other day that he and Liz hit the stepdad jackpot with John. You can imagine how happy that made me and how humbled and thrilled John felt to hear it (later, from me).
After surviving a bad one and living a good one, here’s what I know about landing in and maintaining a happy marriage:
Know each other well BEFORE you get married. That takes time. You’ll still get surprises but maybe no shocks.
Take the person you marry as he/she is. Spouses are not home-improvement projects, and if you marry someone thinking you’ll change him, you are doing yourself and your loved one a major disservice. And you really don’t love him if you don’t love him as he is.
But know that people change over time and that you’d better be able to roll with it.
Talk things out. Speak up if something’s troubling you. Nothing’s worse than letting a problem fester. Yuck. You’ll just get a marital boil.
But let the little things go. You’ll drive each other crazy at times. That’s normal.
And, if you get married as an older couple, as we did (48 and 52), don’t assume you’ll get a 25th anniversary – use every opportunity to make a date special.
That’s about all I know to say.