Monday, September 3, 2012

Renewing the Contract

On September 4, Larry and I will renew our contract for the forty-seventh time. We decided quite a few years ago to treat our marriage as renewable annually on our anniversary. Why? Because we never want to become complacent about our relationship.

In reality, both parties to a contract, including marriage, could opt out at any time. We just recognize the reality and recommit each year for another.

Larry and I have known each other practically forever. We went to the same grammar school and high school. We had the same friends and lived in the same neighborhood. No one seemed particularly surprised when we decided to get married, even though we were both very young.

Our parents were good friends, and they were happy for us. In fact, I’ve always said if there had been arranged marriages, we’d still have married each other—and we don’t know how they pulled it off!

Having lost my own father at such a young age (he was thirty-seven), I learned early never to take anything or anyone for granted. One day, without warning, they could be gone. So we thought it made sense to remind ourselves of how special our marriage was on a regular basis.

We never part without a kiss and the words “I love you.” We don’t go to sleep at night without the same. And we mean it.

In 1978, while on a couples’ retreat, we were challenged to rewrite our marriage vows. We were married at a time when the service was read from a little booklet. Few changes were allowed, although, as you might guess, we removed the word ‘obey’ from my vow. The pastor suggested it.

This is the new vow we wrote on November 5, 1978, and we still like it.

We consciously choose:
To share today, the problems and joys
To delight in our uniqueness and similarities
To listen for the feelings behind the words
To look for the gift of humor in times of stress
To respond with love
To risk vulnerability in the security of acceptance
To rejoice in the spaces in our togetherness

We reread this every couple of years, and, so far, still choose to renew the contract. We’re at forty-seven years and counting. In Larry’s family, fifty years or more is the norm. And we intend to keep the tradition going.


  1. You two are a terrific couple. Love you both.


  2. An inspiration to all married couples--never take your relationship for granted. Congratulations and may you have many happy days ahead!

  3. Congrats on your anniversary! Love and miss you guys.