Please allow me to flaunt my amazing, remarkable, delightful, unbelievable and super-duper good fortune!
Thirty-five years ago tonight, the handsomest, smartest, wittiest, sweetest, hardest-working and most scrumptidelicious man in the world married me…
And we’re still together!
We beat the odds.
People at our reception wondered how long it would last. My own mother (who adored him) put money down on thirty days.
After all, he was a gorgeous, boisterous, fun-seeking, bar-fighting, country-playing, good lovin’ veteran just back from California and the Far East, and I was a shy, bookish, conservative, Sondheimophilic Anglophile who latched on to scintillating people so no one would notice I was a bore.
We came from different ethnic backgrounds, different religions, and different social circles.
He liked physical work; I liked mind-games.
He liked sunny beaches; I liked Gothic cathedrals.
He liked dogs and I liked cats.
It didn’t look like it would last.
But it did… and it does.
Do I know why?
Not really… but I can make a few guesses.
First and foremost, we made a very simple pledge to each other right at the beginning: there’s no exit here.
The rabbi who married us very sensibly asked to meet with us before the wedding, to see if we were compatible. After a number of easy, non-controversial questions, he turned to me and asked, “You’re Catholic, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” I answered.
“And Catholics don’t believe in divorce.”
“No. No, we don’t.”
“But what if the marriage doesn’t work out?”
“It will,” I replied.
“Yes,” he said, condescendingly. “Everyone believes it will. But statistics will show you that many, many marriages fail. What if yours does? Would you consider divorce?”
“No,” I replied.
“Then what would you do? Would you stay in an unhappy marriage?”
“No,” I answered.
“I don’t understand.”
“I don’t believe in divorce. I have no problem with murder.”
He married us anyway… but word on the street had it that he would have married a dog to a cat for $300.
What else has kept us together?
We can’t keep our hands off each other. I think he’s as gorgeous as he was the day I met him, and he is obviously blind as a bat, because he doesn’t complain about the fact that I’m twice the woman he married. Of course, his curvy little bride didn’t know how to cook, raise kids, put down linoleum, or rob Peter to pay Paul… and frankly, she was much more inhibited than the disreputable old bat with whom he shares his bed in the present.
We’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff.
We’ve also learned that it’s ALL small stuff. Is the laundry piling up? Okay. That has two solutions: wash it or buy new clothes. Is the grass going uncut? Okay. Hire a lawn service or plant ivy. Do we have more bills than money? Let’s determine who can foreclose, repossess, lapse, or cut services… everyone else can wait.
Those decisions are made together, because we’re a team… and what’s more, we are each other’s favorite people.
Nothing in my life is real until I’ve shared it with him. Work has no value until I’ve told him about it. Experiences aren’t meaningful until he has weighed in on them. Jokes aren’t funny until they’ve made him laugh.
Amazingly, he feels the same way about me. He’s always telling people about his wife, and exulting in the fact that I’m his best friend.
That’s so important!
And best of all, we make each other laugh.
At the beginning, we laughed most often at the silly things we discovered about each other. In time, we laughed about the exploits of our children, the vagaries of our jobs, the eccentricities of our friends. Now, we laugh in amazement at how much we’ve survived, how similar we’ve grown, how our minds have melded into one.
We laugh at our good fortune, and that’s what I’m flaunting today.
I’ve been damned lucky in this life… and I owe all my joy to my husband, Jeff Pikarsky.
Happy anniversary, Sweetheart!