Today is my parents' wedding anniversary.
I'm a really bad daughter, so I'm not exactly sure if they've been married 35 or 36 years.
Either way that's a long time!
That's 35+ years of dealing with another person's funny habits and idiosyncrasies. Of learning how to handle their mood swings, figuring out what things you like to do together and things you'd rather do apart. Learning when to give each other space and when to hold on tight. Figuring out how to keep things "exciting" and "interesting". That's a long time.
Growing up I asked my parents why they got married several times. I got different answers. Here are the top three reasons why my parents got married (from what I remember as a kid):
1) For a ride to work.
My parents worked at the same place when they met. Once Mama told me that the reason she married my dad was to get a ride to work. Now, back when we lived in Oklahoma this didn't seem like a good reason. But now that I'm in Los Angeles I could totally see this being a legitimate reason for a union. You save on gas. Less wear and tear to your own car. Plus: you always roll in the carpool lane. Sign me up.
Most likely this was just something they told me because six year olds aren't really ready to understand love and marriage. I'm calling bullshit on this reason.
2) Because she asked.
Allegedly Mama asked Daddy to marry her. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but if it is: go Mama, go! She knew what she had and went for it. Men are fickle, indecisive, slow-moving creatures. So I'm super impressed.
3) Because he was a man with values.
Immediately when they started dating, Daddy laid out the fact that he had a daughter (my sister) and that she was the most important thing in his life. That she came first, and everything he did was for her. He made it a point to make that very clear before diving into a relationship. The man had his priorities straight. Family always comes first.
Recently I asked how they've made it so long. What is the secret to 35+ years together?
Daddy says: "Follow directions from the War department."
Mama says: "Commitment to God." She also said "I love your father (because) his values haven't changed much over time and because he believes in God."
There you have it, folks. The secrets to a successful marriage. How do I know it's successful? Because I am a living, breathing product of their union. And i'm pretty awesome.
All jokes aside: I am so blessed to have a thriving, lasting example of love and marriage; a model to aspire to. I love watching my parents work together. I love looking back on my life and seeing how they held each other through tough times and celebrated great ones. They are my best portrait of a relationship and I love them dearly. They're adorable.
And I hope I get it right like they did.