I started this series after our 37th wedding anniversary, and I began it with the best marriage advice I could offer. In part two, I discussed the need to show love and respect in marriage. Yesterday, I wrote about being your spouse’s cheerleader. This brings me to my last rule.
Part 4: Look for things to celebrate
Long before MP3 downloads, CDs, or even cassette tapes, we bought our music on vinyl records. (This is a bit of nostalgia for many readers and a lesson in nearly ancient history for others.) Vinyl records came in 2 primary forms. They were 45s and LPs.
In their heyday, 45s, also known as singles, were played on a record player turning at 45 rotations per minute. LPs (short for long-playing) were full albums and played at 33 1/3 RPM.
In our 33rd year of marriage, it occurred to me one day that we were approaching 1/3 (33 1/3%) of a century of marriage. In considering this, I knew two things:
First, Becky would have no clue of this unusual anniversary, and second, this was a good reason to celebrate.
I believe that one key to the success of our marriage is that we look for things to celebrate. Birthdays, holidays, and vacations are great occasions for celebration, but I find them too few and far between in the course of a long year.
One of the biggest problems of life is that it is so daily. In life, it’s easy to get into a rut, and that can be especially true in marriage too. I believe frequent celebrations prevent those ruts from becoming too long and deep.
Our celebrations are simple. Sometimes it’s a big dinner out when the entire family is in town. As our kids have married and moved away or had children of their own, it gets tougher to get the whole brood in one location. When we do, we celebrate.
Most of our celebrations include just the two of us. Sometimes we’ll get in the car and drive to a special location like the beach, but other times we might be 10 minutes from home. While a change in scenery is nice, the real change in a celebration is the changing of our mindsets.
When we are celebrating some occasion, our conversation shifts from the mundane, “Oh, I forgot to tell you that I used the last Q-tip,” to something from our shared past or our future plans together. That kind of celebration renews our marriage and reminds us why we still like each other after so many years.
What We Celebrate
Here is a list of some of the things we’ve celebrated in the last few years:
- Great AP test scores by my students
- Henry’s baby dedication
- the beginning of summer (watching the sunrise from a Galveston beach)
- making it through the fall semester
- our 12,000th day as husband and wife
- Black Friday (the crazy habit of getting up at 3:30 to shop and concluding with a traditional Cracker Barrel breakfast)
- the first Texans game of the year
- the arrival of cooler weather
- our daughter-in-law’s citizenship ceremony
- a one-time boost in income from an extra job
- a rare 3-day weekend
- an even rarer tax refund
- the anniversary of the day Becky came to see me in the hospital
Whether a big reason to celebrate (like a new baby) or something less majestic (US farmers report record okra harvest), get out and celebrate.
For our 33 1/3 anniversary, I surprised Becky with a special dinner out and a gold album charm on a chain. I told her we had officially become a long-playing marriage. Who knows, maybe in 8 years, I’ll look to see if I can find a gold 45.