One of my very favorite months of the year. Love the fall color and the crisp, fresh air. We have had way too much rain this month for our own good, and my thoughts go out to those people with flooded basements and fields. Hopefully the sun will shine again soon and stay shining for a while.
Today is my 33rd wedding anniversary, and as I walked this morning I thought about the things that keep a marriage strong and healthy. Our marriage has had its ups and downs, but, because of our personalities, the highs haven’t been extremely high and the lows not extremely low.
Important to a marriage, I believe, are kindness, courtesy, respect, communication, humility, and time. Shared values and at least one common goal or purpose are high on the list too. The love you feel at the beginning of the relationship hopefully grows, matures, and becomes less selfish, and while romance and loving gestures are always important, so are commitment and going the distance even when you’d rather become a hermit in the woods or run off and join the circus than stay married. (except, of course, in extreme circumstances of abuse or addiction, etc.)
Sometimes I dwell on the fact that Steve and I are so different from one another. He loves sports; I couldn’t care less about any of them except for the fact that they affect him. I love walking in nature and a Pilates DVD; he prefers the fitness club. I am sort of an ex-hippie who still believes world peace is possible; he is a proud ex-Marine who volunteered to go to Viet Nam. He likes putting anything and everything on top of his food (especially barbecue sauce, sour cream, cheese, ketchup, mayonnaise, cranberry sauce, etc.); I like my food pretty pure and plain. He loves his class reunions and oldies music; I have never attended my class reunions and try to avoid anything that reminds me of high school. He likes to plan and prepare; I procrastinate.
Okay, but I can’t stop there. I have to remind myself that we both love good food and eating outdoors. We like watching movies together and usually agree on what we like to watch. We love and adore our kids and grandchildren, and our greatest joy is seeing them happy. We both like to entertain and make a good team when getting ready for dinner guests or for hosting an event. Autumn is our favorite season and spring our second favorite. God is very important in our lives, and even when we have been on different stages in our spiritual journey, we have given each other space. (unless I’m in my preaching mode)
Steve has stuck with me during a tentative MS diagnosis and resulting anxiety attacks, and we endured together several stressful weeks between the time he was told he probably had lung cancer (he has never been a smoker) and the time when we found out it was a fungal lung infection.
We have usually been fairly quick to apologize, he always remembers my birthday and our anniversary, and compromising and deferring to one another come pretty easily for us.
Looking back, I only wish I could have kept the big picture in mind more often, tried to have a little more fun, and not sweat the small stuff. If two very different human beings can build a life together and live in relative peace and love, I will still hold out for world peace. . .