My wife and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. As I jokingly like to tell her, it’s been the best 10 years of my life.
Groucho Marx once said, “Marriage is a wonderful institution. But who wants to live in an institution?” Apparently, not most of America, according to a 2011 Census Bureau report. It finds that only 35% of married couples reach this milestone.
In an age of instant gratification, and with attention spans lasting no more than a few seconds, is it any wonder society doesn’t want to commit to the long haul?
As we prepared for our anniversary getaway, I suggested that we start the festivities with a nice breakfast. She gave me one of those wry grins which meant there was more to the story.
“You don’t mean stopping at McDonald’s, do you?”
“Uh, no. I said a nice breakfast.”
“Ok. Just checking.”
Apparently, the morning after our wedding, as we drove on towards our honeymoon destination and eternal happiness, I stopped for breakfast at the Golden Arches. She was too nice to say anything about it. She was thinking a nice sit-down meal of steak and eggs but what she got was processed meat on an English Muffin. In the car. Better she learned that lesson early, I suppose.
I tell this story in the light of those appalling marriage numbers. There’s sit-down, fancy restaurant kind of people and there’s drive-thru kind of people. And sometimes, they get married. It’s the things you find in common that bind you together. It’s the “I’m happy ‘cause he’s happy” kind of attitude.
I don’t remember much from those days. And I certainly don’t remember stopping at McDonald’s to kick off our years of wedded bliss. But I do know, now after 25 years, that if we had let the small things bother us, if we had not made a commitment to love each other—to cherish each other in good times and in bad, then the Egg McMuffins of the world would have caused us to be part of the 65% that never see their Silver Anniversary. But we’ve worked at it and we’ve compromised and we’ve loved each other for who we are and not for our expectations or who we think the other person should be.
So, when she comes home from a long day of work tonight, I won’t give her a drive-thru meal, but I will take her in my arms and tell her that this has been the best 25 years of my life.