The traditional gift for a 20th wedding anniversary is China. As I sit here on the eve of my 20th wedding anniversary, I imagine the reason China is the traditional gift is because by 20 years, all you have left in your China cabinet is two chipped plates, one intact cereal bowl, three tea cups, and two saucers from the China you got as a wedding gift 20 years before. At least, that’s what I have left. Note to self – don’t rely on China from Big Lots to last as long as your marriage.
But who knew that my marriage would last 20 years? I mean, of course, you don’t go into marriage thinking of it as a 90 day probationary period, after which you decide if it’s going to work out. You don’t go up to the altar after the wedding and sign papers indicating if he snores, farts, or belches more than 10 times in the first month, you get a “Get Out of Jail Free” card to run the hell out and start over.
I think 20 years is a big deal. My parents were married nine years, and when I got married, as much as I wanted it to last forever, I thought if I got past nine years, I’d be happy, no matter what happened. I would have given it the Old College Try.
There is a lot of life that happens in 20 years.
We’ve survived unemployment.
We’ve survived bankruptcy.
We’ve survived the loss of both of our fathers.
We’ve survived the loss of my sister.
We’ve survived the loss of five babies to miscarriage.
We’ve survived having a baby prematurely.
We’ve survived having a child move out on her own.
We’ve survived job transfers.
We’ve survived moves.
We’ve survived medical crises – for both of us.
We’ve survived each other. Because you know, no matter how in love you are, there are things about each other you aren’t going to like. And somehow, if you want things to work, you learn to live with the things you don’t like, get over the things you hate, and remember the things that made you fall in love in the first place.
And here I am, 20 years after the most wonderful day of my life – a day that truly feels like it could have occurred yesterday – and I know in my heart that 20 years is only the beginning. There is not even the slightest kink in the bond that holds us together, and even on the days when I wish he’d find a very short pier upon which he should take a very long walk, I love That Guy.
Life has changed many times for us in 20 years, but it’s the things that stayed the same that keep us together. I still get butterflies when I see him; quivery when I kiss him; and smiley when I hold his hand.
For better, for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health. We’ve faced it all; we’ve survived it all; and we’ve made it here at our 20th anniversary to celebrate it all.
Happy Anniversary, Jim. You are now and always will be the one and only true love of my life.