Forty-two years ago today, with stars in my eyes and no inkling of what lie ahead, I married my husband, Mr. Smith. Under a flowered arbor and wearing a crown of stephanotis and gypsophila and a flowing white dress, I said “I do.”
Some statistics suggest the average American marriage lasts eight years. With my 42 years of experience, I feel entitled to pontificate away on what keeps the magic alive, or at least what keeps a marriage intact. At the very least, at some point to be able to post Stormy’s Top Ten Tips for Staying Married. What I have learned over time is that what is right for one couple, may not be right for another. Many, many people say it’s important to marry your best friend. Interestingly, I have never thought of Mr. Smith as my best friend. In fact, the concept of marrying your best friend always seemed a little disconcerting to me.
On our morning walk yesterday, I inquired of Mr. Smith if we were friends, if he thought of me as his best friend. He said “Well, we like spending time together and if that is the benchmark of being friends, I’d say we are friends.” When I pushed him as to whether he considers me his “best friend”, he acknowledged that we both need others in our lives to add dimension and depth, but I am his primary person.
This gave me much to ponder. I didn’t marry Mr. Smith thinking of him as a best friend, I thought he was hot and interesting. Perhaps over the years we have grown into friends. He certainly embodies many of the characteristics of a best friend. He admires how much I love being a mother and grandmother. He accepts me with my flaws but encourages me to be my best. He has loyally stood by me during my biggest challenges and most painful failures. He listens to me when I need him to but backs off when I need him to. And he still thinks I’m pretty!
We have certainly had our ups and downs during our 42 years. Fortunately, we have been able to deal with the tough times as a team. Sometimes one of is captain of that team, and sometimes the other steps up. There are times I have to filter the stars in my eyes with rose-colored glasses and I have no doubt Mr. Smith has his own coping mechanisms. Yet I know for sure we have made a life together that combines romance and friendship.
Forty-two years later, he’s still the one.
C’est la vie