Monday Smiles – 8/11/1968
Yes, for this week’s Monday Smiles I’m taking you back to the year 1968 through the magic of blogging. The Number One song was The Doors, Hello, I Love You. A gallon of gas cost 34 cents and a postage stamp cost a nickel. The median income in the U.S.was $7,743 but that was OK because the average cost of a new home was $26,600. My first car, a brand new Alfa Romeo Spyder, cost $2,995. That is pertinent to the main subject of this post because a lot of courtship (and other stuff, too) went on in that little car. In the Sunday Funnies on August 11, Lucy was making Charlie Brown’s life miserable with her nickel store-front psychology.
In Stamford, CT, my wife-to-be and I stood on the bema at Temple Sinai and took the wedding vows. I remember two moments … some confusion when Muri tried to put the ring on the wrong finger … and breaking the glass in the traditional Mazel Tov. The rest is a blur. We had a small family and friends reception dinner, then friends drove us to New York City where we spent the night before flying to Bermuda for our honeymoon.
If you’d asked me on that long-ago Sunday if I thought we’d make it to our 46th wedding anniversary I’d probably have laughed. Of course, we’ll make it, I’d have said. We love each other. And here we are, 46 years later, so I’d have been right, right? Except that at seventy I know that love isn’t enough. It takes a commitment and a belief in marriage itself. It really helps to have common values and if that’s not possible, to at least respect each other’s values. It helps to be partners, to see things, both the good and bad, as ours, not mine or yours. Being happily married for 46 years means riding out some not-so-happy times together with the knowledge that in the long run, it makes a marriage stronger. It means trying to find agreement and when you can’t, agreeing to disagree. It means accepting each other’s peccadilloes, a process that often leads to loving them. For us, it has meant, as Kahlil Gibran says in the Prophet, letting there be spaces in our togetherness, and letting the winds of the heavens dance between us. The time we spend with ourselves makes us a better couple when we are together.
In the card I gave Muri today, it said we were soulmates. It is a very nice card but that would not be my choice of words. Too often popular culture paints a soulmate as someone with whom whom everything is easy. Muri is my soulmate because as souls, we have navigated this sometimes difficult life together and emerged better for the experience. I am a lucky man, and as I told my son the other day, I am satisfied with the life I’ve had. But nothing makes me happier … or prouder … than my forty-six years with Muri. There is only one way to have the joy of almost fifty years of shared life, Younger Eyes. As my good friends Don and Evie say about their fifty-five year marriage, If you want to have what we have, you have to go through what we’ve been through.
Thank you for going through this life with me, Muri. Happy Anniversary.