My wife and I just returned from New York City where we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful time without the kids – staying at a cozy vintage hotel, sitting in the audience of three different television shows, catching a Broadway play while it was still in previews and eating out at some fabulous restaurants. It was a joy to be with Jeanine and experience new things as a couple, including Peruvian food and the Central Park Carousel. Whether we were walking through Times Square or taking the subway to 96th Street, we were together. It was a great few days.
Being in New York has reminded me of some of the lessons I’ve learned though a quarter-century of marriage.
- Perception is not reality. In New York, we saw four stages and all of them were dressed to trick the eyes: we were not really in a producer’s bedroom, a friend’s kitchen, a host’s living room or a large open brick meeting hall. In marriage, the perception of the wedding – a princess and her groom being pampered in every conceivable manner – quickly fades and the reality of two intensely individual people sharing life and space just as quickly emerges. The hope is that we hold onto what is real and not what we imagine.
- Small pleasures are often the sweetest. In New York, some of the most pleasant moments were not extravagant or expensive, whether it be walking above the traffic in the High Line Park or sampling blueberry balsamic in Chelsea Markets. In marriage, there are little joys just about every day, like wildflowers blooming through the cracks of the sidewalk, and the sum total of these tiny delights far outweigh the seldom but more spectacular celebrations a couple may enjoy. Savor the small things and your heart will always have joy.
- Life is not a vacation. In New York, we stayed in a hotel and ate out for every meal; there were no concerns for dirty laundry, dirty dishes or dirty floors. In marriage, all these things are present in abundance. Vacations are important, but few have the resources to maintain that lifestyle. In long-haul marriages, the couple expects to work and struggle for a majority of the time, and in the mundane things appreciate the efforts of the other.
- If it is important, it is worth planning. Weeks before our trip, we made arrangements for the tickets, the trains and the accommodations that made the time away a blessing. In marriage, a modicum of thought and effort goes a long way; with a little planning, couples build memories and lives of love and commitment.
We had such a good time spending 3 days in the Big Apple, but we’ve had an even better time celebrating love and married life for the previous 9,130 days. Thank you, Jeanine, for sharing this wonderful, trying and strange life with me.
“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you….” Ecclesiastes 9:9
“May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Proverbs 5:18