“Will you take a picture?” I asked the young hotel clerk. “We’re celebrating our 42nd anniversary.”
Summoning a be-nice-to-the-old-people smile, he took one shot before escaping.
My husband is photogenic, but saying “cheese” automatically signals my eyes to close and my teeth to grin like a horse’s.
Had this clerk captured a decent image?
Well, put up a plaque! My eyes were open. Natural smiles lit our faces. The lobby’s glowing fireplace behind us exuded a lovely halo effect.
My middle looked as if I’d swallowed the pool’s life preserver. “I must have put on a little weight this Christmas.”
My husband glanced at the photo and said …
This was the mark of a long-married man. A husband who answered, “Well, 30 dozen Christmas cookies will do it to ya,” would have died young.
From the beginning, Steve has proved exceptionally wise. As a newlywed, only once did he say, “Where’s the five dollars we had yesterday?”, “My mother doesn’t do it that way,” and “You know I don’t like my underwear dyed pink, right?”
However, I deserve credit, too. When he wanted his brown and black socks placed in separate drawers, toes pointing the same direction, I considered dyeing them all pink. Color problem solved, and they would match the underwear.
But I didn’t.
When he tap-tap-tappity-tapped research papers all night on his manual typewriter in our one-room apartment, I didn’t sign him up for a semester overseas. Or on Mars.
Instead, we learned together.
We discovered that no couple with a six-inch difference in leg length should ever, ever attempt couples’ jogging. That if one partner is lugging groceries to a third-story apartment, the other shouldn’t drop onto a sofa for a nap. That peanut butter and love sandwiches taste really good.
We learned that people could stay married.
Even if one partner orders healthy fish at a restaurant, and the other craves fried chicken.
Even if spouses share identical body temperatures only when one wears a space suit.
Even if one scrapes every ice crystal from the car (including tires), while the other thinks driving an igloo is fun.
People can stay married.
Even if their children take after the other’s side of the family … and produce flocks of grandchildren who do likewise.
Complications? Sure, but dozens of peanut butter and love sandwiches, eaten together, taste better than ever. And steak with candlelight, just he and me, isn’t bad, either.
Steve and I should have shared a few seasoned insights with that young clerk. Because he may someday learn—the oh-so-hard way—that his wife prefers her photos taken from the neck up.
What helpful, hard-earned hint can you share that helped you stay married?