On this day, thirty-eight years ago, Clif and I were married. Who plans a wedding in March, Maine’s most unlovely month? We did. We were both students, and we decided to get married during spring break.
To be honest, I don’t remember much about the wedding except that it was unconventional—I wore a red velvet dress made by a friend, and Clif wore a gold velvet tunic that he sewed himself. My father and brother also wore gold tunics, and my mom dubbed them the “Star Trek” crew. (She had a point. Those tunics did have a Captain Kirk look.) I was also very nervous, as most brides are, and I was glad when the whole thing was over.
Every year on this date, I muse about marriage and divorce. How in the world have Clif and I managed to stay married for so long? I don’t think it can simply be chalked up to love because I believe most couples really do love each other when they get married. But for some people, over time, love fades. The reasons can be varied, but I suspect a prime reason is that when the heat dims, as it must, many couples realize that they really don’t have much in common, that they are no longer a team.
I know. This sounds about as romantic as a pair of walking shoes. Nevertheless, I believe common interests, common goals, and the sense of being a team can form the basis for an enduring relationship that leads to friendship, another unromantic concept. To all of this, a very liberal dose of devotion should be added.
My recipe for a long marriage is not the only recipe—there is no one way to do anything, especially marriage—but I do believe it is a good one. It has worked for Clif and me, and it has worked for a lot of our friends, who have also been married for many years.
Do we get on each other’s nerves, from time to time? Of course we do. We have even been known to bicker. But we get over it and usually fairly quickly. Then, we move on to the things we like to do—bike, read, watch movies, get together with family and friends, and cook. (Clif makes the best pancakes and waffles. Ever. And his grilled bread is legendary.)
Tonight, I’m going to cook a homely but special meal of baked chicken, potatoes, and some kind of vegetable. (Because we infrequently eat chicken, it falls under the heading of a treat for us.) For dessert, Haaggen-Dazs ice cream and cookies with Belgian chocolate. I’ll light candles on the table, and we might even have a glass or two of wine.
It will be a cozy and very happy anniversary meal.