Friday, June 12, 2015

Half as Long; More Than Half

Sound like a contradiction?  Half as long; more than half. . .  It's a riddle, but I'll gladly tell you the answer.

Today DH and I have been married twenty-two years.  A hair over two weeks ago, my parents celebrated their forty-fourth wedding anniversary.  22 years is a long time, a real feat for my generation it seems.  44 years is really a long time, a feat for even my parents' generation.

And you know what?  22 is exactly half of 44.  A little math nerdiness for you.

My parents have been a huge influence in my marriage.  Indirectly, of course, as my Mom still has times when she tries to convince me that maybe there's more out there for me than being DH's wife. . . But I think that's pretty typical of mothers (and something I try real hard not to think/feel/say to my own children about their significant others--I want to be a nice mother-in-law not an adversarial one).

As their eldest child, I observed a lot growing up.  Their struggles financially, their determination to bear some hard times in order for the long run to be mostly good times.  My mom working full time while my father finished college (after returning home from military service in Vietnam) and then went on to law school.  Dad working hard after he had his Juris Doctor so that Mom could stay home for a while with my younger brother and I.  How they worked as a team.  How they avoided fighting in front of us kids.  How they occasionally pawned us off on our grandparents so they could have a night (or a string of days and nights, in the summer) for some alone time.  How they did not put each other down to others, no matter how angry they might be with each other.

Things I have brought into my own marriage.  It's not all sunshine and roses, sure, but there's a whole lot more sunshine and roses when we work together (and don't hold grudges for the times we have to work alone) than if we run away from each other whenever things get tough. Than if we talk trash about each other to our children or friends when we are angry.  The things I learned have taken DH and I through 22 years so far, and we fully expect to get through another 22 to get to our own 44.

I am 43 years old.  I got married at 21; twenty-two years ago.  I've been Mrs. DH more than half my life now.  That's a long time.  I honestly have a really hard time remembering what it was like to be single.  I met DH shortly after my 19th birthday, so I stop my 'single life' counting at that point.  Because from practically the night we met, life stopped being 'him' and 'me' and became 'us'.  I can't adequately describe it, but I still remember how comfortable and wonderful it felt to realize that he was different, that he just seemed to naturally be part of my life.

Maybe that is why we've been together for so long: he compliments my life and I compliment his.  Where he is weak (um, spiders, needles, writing papers) I am strong (hi spider let me catch you and put you back outside, I'll gladly donate blood or give shots, and I love to write. . .).  Where I am weak (spatial math computations, social skills, computer savvy) he is strong (hello, he's an engineer--math and computers! and despite being an engineer he's more socially outgoing than I am).

We're a team.  Together we can accomplish just about anything.  Fighting against each other we not only accomplish nothing, we lose some of what we have.  In twenty-two years, you amass a lot.  Not just material things, but memories and love too.

22 years.  Half as long; more than half.

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