Saturday, 9/11/2021, is our 56th wedding anniversary. Tomorrow we’re taking off for Longwood Gardens to celebrate. Most of the news will be focused on what happened 20 years ago, and the way our nation has changed since then.
So what about 56 years of marriage? When D and I married in 1965, we inherited challenges we didn’t see coming. For my part, I thought all my problems, if I had any, would magically fade away. Instead, it took years to recognize how handicapped I was on our wedding day. Here’s a look at some of what it took for me to address habits and assumptions I brought into our marriage.
- Admitting I needed help with depression, and connecting with trustworthy people such as Al-Anon friends and my psychotherapist, beginning in my mid to late 40s
- Telling D things I didn’t want to talk about because I felt embarrassment, shame or humiliation
- Listening to D without jumping in to have my say before he finishes what he has to say
- Overcoming my fear of being female in a male-dominated world–without making D the enemy
- Talking about painful mistakes and starting over with small steps, one at a time
- Learning to accept and live with health issues I didn’t see coming
- Letting D sometimes do things I’ve usually done for myself, but don’t now have energy to accomplish
- Accepting less than perfection in housecleaning and keeping to a schedule
- Taking time to get away from our house via walks in the neighborhood, visits to Longwood Gardens, church as we’re able, and back yard conversations with neighbors
- Spending time together each evening with Smudge snoozing on our laps
Today my bottom line is still the same as ever: Marriage takes hard work and willingness to die. Not physical death, but dying to my dreams for us, my way of seeing D’s world, my brilliant ideas….and finding there’s hope in creatively rethinking together our daily or long-term challenges. Especially now, 20 years after the 9/11 attack, and just 2 years into Covid nightmares, weather-related upheavals, and a breakdown of goodwill.
Thanks for your visit today! Each moment of today is a precious opportunity to reach out to those we love.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 September 2021
Photo of two lovely couples taken 11 September 1965 in the church basement following our double wedding ceremony in Savannah, Georgia. Sister #2 is on the left with her husband (now deceased).