Notes from the Nest
“I now pronounce you man and wife,” were the sweet words uttered by the minister to Randy and I 30 years ago this week. My goodness, where has the time gone?
It was a traditional Anglican ceremony with the perfect balance of solemnity, sentiment, endearment and humour. Particularly while reciting his vows my soon-to-be husband unintentionally pledged to “own her” instead of “honour,” which elicited chuckles and lightened the staid tone of the ceremony.
According to folklore, “If you marry when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you’ll know.” I’d say that’s about right for most couples, regardless of the month you marry. As young adults in our mid-20s a social get-together was planned by our friends for us to meet and we hit it off right away. We began dating shortly thereafter, once Randy had secured a new vehicle to take me out for a date in.
Gallant, romantic, charming and funny, he wooed me for six months before popping the question on a moonlit night with the waves crashing on the rocks around us. We married a year and a day from our first date. According to Canadian statistics marriage is on the decline. Sixty-five per cent of Canadian families are headed by married couples, down from 70.5 percent in 2000. The world’s longest married couple as of June 2015 is Karam and Kartari Chand, from England, who were married an astounding 90 years, 291 days! Only 60 more years for us to beat the record!
Celebrating long-lived marriages dates back to the Holy Roman Empire, when on their 25th anniversary husbands would crown their wives with silver wreaths and gold ones for hitting 50. With the rise of commercialism in the 20th Century, more anniversaries were celebrated with named gifts. Pearls, which are symbols of wisdom, purity, honesty and integrity represent the milestone we are hitting. Hmm!
In the 1565 weeks since we were married a lot has happened. We bought a home, which we still live in and raised three marvelous children who all grew into terrific adults. We’ve loved, cared for and shared our home with five dogs and 11 cats. We’ve travelled our country east to west and top to bottom. Dealt with flooded basements, leaky roofs, car accidents, serious illnesses, heartbreaks and heartaches. Over the course of this time we’ve combined to take 441,584,640 breaths, 2,271,006,720 heartbeats and passed gas approximately 306,656 times! (mostly Randy!)
Were we living on Mercury we would be celebrating our 124th anniversary, but on Mars only our 16th. Some of the secrets to enduring marriages are, honesty, good communication, making time for each other, being affectionate and getting enough sleep. Together we’ve slept about 22 years, (mostly me!) Somewhat alarmingly we’ve eaten about 60 tons of food and spent 456 days in the bathroom, sometimes difficult since we only have one.
In 1989 when we married, the world population was 5.1 billion people, George H.W. Bush was President of the U.S., and Brian Mulroney was our prime minister. It was also a significant year as the Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall came down. Apartheid was beginning to be dismantled in South Africa but there were also deadly protests in Tiananmen Square in China. The Montreal Protocol, to curb ozone emissions was signed but sadly it was also the year of the catastrophic Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.
Popular at the movies were Dead Poet’s Society, Batman, The Little Mermaid and Driving Miss Daisy. Some of our favourite CDs were by Tom Cochrane, Blue Rodeo, Neil Young, Pursuit of Happiness and The Cowboy Junkies. When we’d cuddle on the couch together to watch TV, some of our favored choices were Seinfeld, Coach, Cheers and William Shatner’s Rescue 911. Well, we were both involved in emergency medicine!
After spending three decades together we’ve discovered that it isn’t the big things in life that make a marriage flourish but indeed the seemingly trivial, simple, commonplace moments.
Some of our greatest gifts are having someone to share the minutiae of our day with, difficult moments, accomplishments and even the humdrum, run-of-the-mill ones. Holding hands, snuggling on the couch eating popcorn and watching a movie, warming up cold feet in bed, knowing how I like my eggs, saving dinner if he’s home late all contribute to making our marriage rich and satisfying.
Over the past 30 years, we’ve joined together in laughter approximately 219,040 times. I believe we may have even surpassed that. Most definitely there have been tough times but laughing has been the sunshine that has carried us out of some of our darker moments. As we reflect on this milestone anniversary, we’re fairly certain as long as we keep that up, we’re well on our way to at least 30 more.