Monday, May 23, 2022

On A 29th Wedding Anniversary

 This weekend we celebrated our 29th year of marriage.

Or sort of celebrated. During my absence at The Ranch, The Ravishing Mrs. TB came down with a (thankfully) mild version of The Plague, so I was picked up with and have spent time with her at home masked up (and sleeping in separate areas as well).  As she is not feeling well, the anniversary consisted of a card exchange - we debated going out but between her health right now and her managed food program, dining choices are somewhat limited.

Out of a sort of morbid curiosity, I wondered what the statistics are on marriage longevity.  Turns out getting "current" data is sort of difficult if you just do a web search, as you can pull data from 1996 to 2018.  And things are fairly muddled in all of that.  I did learn, for example, that "gray divorce" - couples getting divorced in their 50's after their children are out of the house and they realize their marriage is unsatisfactory - is a thing; and that divorces are trending down (so are first time marriages, for that matter; and the current average age of a man for first time marriage at 30 and a woman at 28).    I found one number that said it was about 45% of marriages that reach 30 years or more.  

So I guess that (almost) makes us part of a fairly large minority (honestly, I was surprised at that percentage).

It is odd when I think about it that it sounds like a lot of time, but it does not feel like a lot of time.  Yet in that period we have moved 8 times (once halfway across the country), bought 3 houses and sold 2 had 8 cars, 4 cats, 2 dogs, 4 guinea pigs, 5 rabbits, 6 quail, 1 parakeet, and innumerable fish.  And 3 children.

We have gone to faraway lands and stayed close to home.  We have had two job losses, one self inflicted (mine, The Firm) and one that was unanticipated, both of which changed our lives in significant ways.  

We have had success and failures - more successes than failures overall, I suppose.  Had you asked me 29 years ago if I thought I would have been married this long, I probably would have shrugged my shoulders and not really had any idea - which was about the same way I entered the marriage, I suppose.  I am still somewhat in awe that it has lasted this long.

I am sure at some point The Ravishing Mrs. TB will feel better and we will go out to do something, although likely not associated with gifts per se - at this point all the smaller items we could buy for each other we generally buy for ourselves, and the much more expensive items require consultation and are never a surprise anyway.  Which is fine of course - the 29th traditional anniversary gift is apparently "furniture", which is hardly the sort of thing that says "I Love You".

But perhaps a quiet anniversary is best anyway - after all, it is not as if doing something flamboyant says "I love you" any more than a simple meal and simple words meaningfully exchanged. Or, perhaps, reflecting on why furniture is the way to celebrate 29 years of marriage.

20 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:47 AM

    Congratulations ! That is an achievement. A lot of good and bad times and events have transpired during your marriage. I'm not surprised to see that reference to gray divorce mentioned. Many couples feel they stuck around for the kids only, and that once out of the house, it was better to split up. Only I wonder how many of these couples later realize that decision was wrong. Long marriages build up trust, watching each others backs during bad times like health incapacitation. Or losing a job. Or losing a parent or sibling. Needing someone who KNOWS you and you can trust to take care of you. Or you take care of them. Empty nest syndrome is more work, reconnecting with spouse now that it is back to the two of you.

    I wonder how many couple separations have the couples reunite before their split becomes permanent. My wife and I have been married since March '96 and there have been a few times when anger toward one another gave us thoughts of divorce. But when we calm down, we realize what a mistake it would be.

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    1. Thank you very much. The gray divorce was very much a surprise to me as well. As to wrong - I imagine it is more than care to admit it. And given my own experience with my parents and my in-laws, I cannot imagine restarting at a time where health issues are more likely to appear.

      I would not be honest if I did not admit that we have gone through the same things. It is at moments like that the nature of marriage works for us: by the very fact it takes so much effort to get it out it, it (at least for me) calms me down until I am thinking straight again.

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  2. Nylon124:09 AM

    Congrats to the Ravishing Mrs. TB and you, 29 years is a good run, now don't let it go to your head............:)

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    1. Thanks Nylon12! I will try to do as you suggest - honestly, probably the best thing for everyone involved is just if I go back to my semi-somnolent state of day to day living. Seems to involve less risk overall...

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  3. Congratulations! Last week we celebrated our 18th and compared to many of our peers, I feel we’ve beaten the odds already. I think part of our success is we both got married really late to our peers so they are in the gray divorce stage while we still have both kids at home and probably will for another decade.

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    1. Thanks Ed. And congratulations to you as well.

      It is odd. The little bit I read suggested that marrying later tended to help preserve the marriage, but not as much as one might think. And even for us - realistically speaking - we are looking at another 3-4 years of having some level of children at home. That will probably push us into the 35 year mark by the time we are done.

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  4. Anonymous6:09 AM

    The day does not matter, does it,TB? Wait until the old lady is back on her feet, and then treat her for a day. I think any marriage that lasts in times like these is something special.

    Don’t let the monkey pox get ya. ;)

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    1. It does not - actually, it works out better to work on our schedule, not the day.

      I never know whether marriage is more difficult now than before. I suspect it has always been so.

      Sigh. Monkey Pox. Plague 2.0.

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  5. Congratulations! Furniture? Really? I guess that beats a mop bucket by a mile! 29 years is a good start! May you two continue to grow in one-ness. And may happiness, joy and fulfillment be yours until your graduation to eternity. Or like Paul Harvey used to say, "...on the way to forever together."

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    1. Thanks STxAR! Furniture surprised me too - maybe because once upon a time, this was considered the "durable" anniversary? After 30, apparently, there are no more "yearly" gift suggestions, just every 5 five years.

      Betwixt you and I, I am hoping for a rather long deferred Graduation Ceremony...

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  6. Anonymous9:05 AM

    Happy Anniversary! I consider each year to be a milestone. We'll mark 37 years in a few months. (first marriage for me, second for him) May you have many more years together! Also hope Mrs.TB is feeling better soon. -Kelly

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    1. Thank you Kelly! And congratulations in advance to you as well! She is feeling better already, so hopefully things will be back to normal in a few days.

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  7. Happy Anniversary! We will be celebrating 33 years next week. (third marriage for both of us). We have beat the odds, and so did you. Congratulations! In sickness and health, eh? Get well soon, Mrs. TB

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    1. Thank you Tewshooz and congratulations on your anniversary as well. The Ravishing Mrs. TB seems to be feeling better now (although to be fair I was out of town then the worst of it hit.

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  8. First, Congratulations! May God bless you both with many more happy years, TB. :)

    Second, Given as the "gifts" for anniversaries were written a long time ago (?) By the 29th year you probably needed new furniture? Certainly a new bed. ;-)

    Third, so many people get married on a whim, I think your statistics don't surprise me. People don't realize a marriage is work.

    Fourth, in July, God willing, hubby and I will celebrate our 48th. And you are right, we can't believe it has been that long. It seems like just yesterday, really.
    And after all this time, we don't really do anything in particular either.

    Oh. Monkey pox is nothing new, btw. It has been around since 1958.

    Be safe and God bless you all.

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    1. Thank you Linda! Agreed that marriage is a lot of work that most people do not realize (and entertainment does a great job of hiding). In terms of furniture, I suppose the number one selling point now is more room to spread out.

      And congratulations on the upcoming 48th!

      Yes, I see Monkey pox show up every few years as a "thing". In a black humor sort of way, I am "amused" this is what is being proposed to replace The Plague.

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  9. Congrats, TB! We will hit 38 years in August. My parents were married for 50 years (my mother died two weeks after their 50th anniversary) and my in-laws for 72, so I have a heritage of marriage longevity. My late brother and his wife divorced after 20-ish years, but remarried within a couple of years, and had reached 45 years of togetherness when he died. We have had our ups and downs, and still do, but I couldn't imagine life without her. Our three children are all married now, and I hope the legacy of long marriage is passed on to them. Best wishes to you and Mrs. T. B.

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    1. Thank you Bob. My parents are going on 63 now and my in-laws just hit around 60 (I believe), so we have the heritage as well.

      It strikes me as odd that among my friends and even among the parents of my children's friends, we are something of an anomaly.

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  10. Congratulations! I wonder if the furniture motif is an invention of the furniture manufacturers, because the origin items are most probably in need of replacement. Furniture, not spouses.

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    1. Thank you!

      You may very well be right - or maybe the thought was by 29 years of marriage, most couples would have enough disposable income to afford another round of furniture.

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