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Published on May 10th, 2014 | by Richard Black


The Ten Year Anniversary, a Slightly More Solemn Take on Marriage, and the Next Decade

In the spirit of openness, and with regard to my last post, I should mention that I do not drug my wife.

There was a brief period of time when we were dating and I attempted to replace her birth control pills with blanks but that’s another story. You can Dremel a Tic Tac to look like a birth control pill but it will still taste like a Tic Tac. There’s also no good way to get the foil to look like it hasn’t lost its tamper proof seal but, as I mentioned, that’s another story.

I could blather on about what it takes to stay married after ten years. I could write about mutual respect and communication all of which are necessary. I could even get a bit more specific about advice and note that you should never go to bed angry or argue about money which is all well and good and true but somewhat lacking in my own opinion.

“Marriage isn’t for pussies,” was my late father-in-laws advice and one I’ve taken to heart. In all fairness he also said the same thing about Korea and cancer which gave the phrase a bit more weight in my opinion if not one that made for the happiest analogy. The two people who Laura and I are today are not the same ones who stood up in front of God and our friends and family and vowed to stay together and I’m generally happy with the arrangement 10 years later.

People change. They’d be pretty boring if they didn’t. When I married Laura I knew this (although it was one of the few things I knew). Marriage doesn’t mean that the two people involved (or three or four for those member’s of certain faiths) put a coat of shellac on their personality or interests and call it quits.

When it all comes down to the brass tacks of the matter It’s really all about trust ; trust that neither one of you will end up banging the cabin boy on the family cruise but, more importantly, the faith that those two (or three or four) people have in each other not to become a complete and utter asshole in the future. When I took my vows I made this leap of faith and Laura did as well.

That said I’m not certain how or why we’ve stuck it out for the past ten years but I can hazard a few guesses. We love each other certainly. We both try to give each other the benefit of the doubt (thank you Laura for always giving me the benefit of the doubt) and more often that not we still enjoy each others’ company. We talk, sometimes more often than I’d like, but enough to get the dirt out and most issues settled.

To be honest I was plagued with these questions as we celebrated ten years of marriage with some close friends in New Orleans. Laura and I had an evening out, we stayed at one of the finer hotels in the Quarter and ate at one of the finer restaurants and all of it was lovely. The nuances of lamb tartar ,or really any tartar, will generally be lost upon me but we had a good time.

Every so often however I would ask Laura about what she wanted in the next ten years. I’m a planner and I should mention that Laura is too but she was oddly cryptic about her responses and generally said something like “I just want us to be happy” when I pressed her on the subject.

I can’t say I was profoundly irritated by my wife’s response but I would be untruthful if I didn’t mention that I was a bit put off. In retrospect I can see that Laura simply wanted to enjoy the evening, the celebration, and felt reasonably happy with the relationship and where it was headed.

It wasn’t until a few days later that I finally caught a glimpse of…well something similar.

My wife’s friend Michelle has three children, a son and two twin girls six months younger than my daughter Darcy. In addition to her children Michelle also lives with her parents, two of the most remarkable people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. It is an understatement of the highest degree to say that it is a pleasure be a part of their household for any stretch of time. Laura and I love them all unconditionally and I believe they feel the same.

I was sprawled on a couch as Darcy and the twins jumped aboard to play hide and seek. Michelle’s father was in his overstuffed leather chair, ostensibly watching ESPN while the girls treated me like a jungle gym and hid under my legs, behind my back or dove over my arms and stomped on my balls a few times for good measure. Michelle’s old man chuckled a few times while his wife and daughter and Laura fussed over dinner in the kitchen and I realized that I wanted this, all of it, some fifty years hence.

I can think of no better yardstick for success in any regard than watching one’s grandchildren play in my home fifty years from now with one of my daughter’s best friends and sharing that moment with my wife as we both tool around the kitchen.

It was, in summary, a very happy anniversary.


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