You may not recognize the couple in this photo—but it’s our engagement picture taken in 1973 just a few months before Dave and I were married. Today, August 17th is our 38th anniversary. We look awfully young in this photo—and we were young, just nineteen and twenty, way too young and immature to get married, but somehow we managed to grow up together and have made a meaningful life together, even though we started our marriage before we had money, or university degrees, or jobs or a home of our own.
Not every couple makes it to their 38th anniversary—40% of Canadian marriages end in divorce— and I’ve been thinking this past week about why we have stayed together. It is certainly not because we were ‘made for each other.’ In fact people who get to know either Dave or me first, and then meet our spouse, often remark on how very different we are and even say they are surprised to find out we are married. But perhaps that is one of the reasons we have stayed together, because we are so different. Maybe because of that we compliment each other and balance one another with our different temperaments and interests.
I know without a doubt that one of the reasons our marriage has lasted is because of our supportive families. Our parents have been such good role models when it comes to demonstrating the kind of love, sacrifice and loyalty that is required to keep a marriage and a family together. Our parents have supported us in so many different ways during our married life with babysitting help, financial gifts, wise advice, a listening ear, their prayers, their interest and their affirmation. We have also been blessed to have good relationships with our brothers and sisters and they have supported us in many ways as well. Going through some old memorabilia from our wedding I found this note my brother Mark wrote to me after our engagement was announced. He was nine years old.
I am so happy that you are going to get married to that handsome boy David. I hope that you are glad that I am candle-lighter, because I am glad. Hope your weddings a smash.
I think another reason our marriage has lasted is because of our two terrific sons. Our children inspired us to work hard at our marriage, because we wanted them to have a secure and happy home. Our sons drew us together as a family and they have each in their own way enriched our lives immeasurably as has our daughter-in-law.
I can honestly say our marriage has gotten better every year. Living far away from our families in Hong Kong for the last six years we have had to depend on one another much more than we ever did before, and this has been very good for our relationship. What’s next? We will see how retirement effects our life together. I know for some couples it is a very traumatic time as they adjust to a life that is not as focused around their careers. Since Dave has already been semi-retired for the last two years perhaps our transistion will be a little easier. The longer I’m married the more I realize what a ‘roll of the dice’ it is when we choose our life partner. You really don’t ‘know’ your spouse when you marry. Throughout your life together you continually learn new things about one another, some good and some hard. You certainly have no idea when you get married what kind of difficulties and challenges life may call upon you to face as a couple. I know how fortunate I have been to have landed up with a partner who has a sense of humor, is intelligent, wins friends easily, is active and interested in so many different things, relishes new experiences and has made my life anything but boring.
Other anniversary posts…….
Forty One Years
A Controversial Wedding Photo