Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Lasting Love - Part 1

On Saturday night, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our good friends, Ron and Julie. We celebrated our own last September. Several others were married the same year, and still others will celebrate their milestone anniversaries this year and next.

Often people ask us how we managed to make it this long. With all the golden wedding anniversary parties we have attended and expect to attend, I’ve given quite a bit of thought to the question. So, for the next few weeks, I’ll share some of the reasons I believe we’ve managed to stay together—and in love for all this time.

  1.   Marry Your Best Friend


Before we were married, I asked my future mother-in-love, who had just celebrated her twenty-sixth wedding anniversary, now she and Dad had managed to remain happily married for so long. Her immediate answer was, “Because I married my best friend.”

Larry and I have known each other so long, we can’t really remember when we first met, except it must have been in grammar school. I remember when I first noticed him and began my lifelong crush. I was about ten years old when I saw him walk across the grammar school campus. I thought he was the cutest guy I’d ever seen.

I’ve told the actual story over the years, and Larry repeated it in his short story, “Tiffany,” in his collection, LakeviewPark. (He used the real story. All writers steal ideas.)
 Lakeview Park

We grew up in the same neighborhood, and our mothers were friends. We’ve often joked that if there were still arranged marriages, we’d have married each other—and we still don’t know how our moms pulled it off.

We first dated when I was fourteen, and Larry was sixteen. I had gone to a football game with my best friend, who was two years older and dating a guy who didn’t drive. I felt like a real outsider during the first half while they held hands and cuddled. Then at halftime, Larry joined us. My hands were frozen, so he put them in his jacket pocket. I have no idea who won the game. I was just thrilled to be holding his hand.

Afterward, the other guy suggested we go out for a coke. I was too young to date, but since my girlfriend was along and since Larry would be driving, my mother let me go. (Did I mention that Mom adored him until the day she died?)

We dated a few more times, then Larry went back to his old girlfriend. I was heartbroken. Just seeing him during the next few months caused me real pain. But I finally reached the place where I wanted his happiness more than my own. Really. I wanted him to be happy, even if it wasn’t with me.

We both dated other people for a couple of years. By the time we ran into each other again, Larry was in college, and we both knew what we didn’t want. (This was valuable information.)

We talked on the phone for hours about everything and nothing. We felt comfortable with each other from the start.

Two and a half years later, we were married the week after my nineteenth birthday. Strangely, no one but my grandmother thought we were too young. (Times have changed since then.)

I have many girlfriends with whom I share a lot, but Larry is the only one who hears my real fears, joys, and concerns.

Like his parents before us, who were happily married for sixty-seven years before his mother died, we married our best friends. I’ll always be grateful for his mother’s answer when I asked the question.

Next week, and for the next few, I’ll talk about other reasons I think we’ve managed to last for this long.


What would you say? Any tips?

8 comments:

  1. What a sweet and unusual story. It's awesome that you were each other's first loves and didn't have to deal with step-kids and exes and all the stress that brings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were certainly blessed with the place we grew up and having families who liked each other. I was Larry's mother's favorite, and he was my mother's It all helped to eliminate many of the issues others face. I knew early on that he was the one for me. It took him a little longer--but he eventually got the message!

      Delete
  2. Couldn't agree more with marrying your best friend. It's how we spend 8-day vacations "attached at the hip" and then miss each other when we go back to work :) We're lucky couples.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, we are. One of the benefits of retirement is that we get to spend time together. However, we also worked together several times, and those were among our favorite jobs.

      Delete
  3. Paul and I met shortly after I graduated from high school. He was my first and only boyfriend and we are, to this day, each other's best friends. Thanks for sharing! As Nancy said, we miss each other when we're not together!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The longer we're married, the more important this becomes--and the more blessed we feel.

      Delete
  4. Debi, only ONE of your biggest fans!March 1, 2016 at 8:49 PM

    I couldn't imagine one of you without the other.

    We are shooting for that forever marriage too...37 years and counting.

    Keep it up, kids.

    ReplyDelete