Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bumpy ever after - enjoying the differences

       “A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” ― Dave Meurer

Duane and I will have been married 44 years come Friday. It didn’t look, on that hot day, like it was going to be an easy marriage. He was a Vietnam veteran and I was a single mom. We didn’t have any money and had been apart for 19 months of the 24 we’d known each other. Other than core values, we didn’t have much in common. Well, no, we didn’t have anything in common. But we respected each other. We were friends. We both loved my son. We were in love. In just that order.
 
          I will admit that it hasn’t always been an easy marriage. When two people disagree on almost everything, it makes for a bumpy ride. We seldom discuss who we vote for, because it’s not usually the same person. He drives the speed limit in a Ford, while I drive a Chevy a hair faster than I should. He watches TV and I read. He loves hot, sultry days and I like 75 degrees with no humidity. I love to travel and he loves to...not. I am a Pollyanna and he can find the negative in any situation without even trying. He was a city boy who married a country girl.
          Good grief, what were we thinking?
          We bought flowers Sunday. Ones to plant, I mean, not florist ones. He pushed the cart and told me to just get whatever I wanted. Then he said, “Oh, are you going to get those?” on the ones I chose and “Those are nice. What about them?” about the ones I did not. When the cart was full—at two different stores—we came home with plans to plant them on Monday.
          But when I came back from walking (I love walking—he doesn’t) he had the soil prepared. “I thought we’d go ahead and get started tonight.” (I’m a morning person, he’s a night one. I have no energy in the evening, especially if I’ve forced myself to exercise then. He has none before noon.)
          We planted them all. We talked and laughed. He planted carefully so that his flowers will be both colorful and artistic as they grow. I planted quickly. My flowers will be colorful. He suggested that I plant two small corner spots so they would mirror each other—I seem to have broken the mirror.
         
It was a good time. And we know, as those flowers grow (other than the ones I manage to kill), they’ll blend together so that no one will be able to tell where his planting stops and mine begins.
          I love the people I write about—I feel safe in saying all Heartwarming authors do. They are not “characters” to us—they are beloved friends and relatives. We are so lucky that we are able to give them their happily-ever-afters.
          But I hope they don’t always get along. I hope they have differences and slam doors once in a while and roll their eyes behind the other’s back. I hope when they plant their flowers, they each do it their own way. I hope they always have a good time just because they’re together. And I hope they respect and love and are best friends with each other forever and ever, because that’s as good as it gets.
          Happy Anniversary, Duane. I’m in for the next 44 if you are.


32 comments:

  1. Liz, congratulations to you and Duane for your 44th wedding anniversary! Your story is one of the most heartwarming ones I've read! Thank you for sharing it. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Kate. I feel so lucky because our continuing story is still interesting to me.

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  2. Happy Anniversary, Liz and Duane! Please tell me you at least both like to sleep with the curtains open? (I think that would be a relationship breaker for me...!)

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    1. Thanks, Victoria. And...I would open them in a heartbeat, but the city boy needs for the room to be really dark. He also closes all windows at night (no matter how delicious the breeze is) and locks his car even in the driveway.

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  3. What a great love story! Thanks for helping me to see my complete opposite, and soul mate, in a new, rose-colored light (or whatever kind of flowers you planted). We are celebrating 25 years of bumps in the road and laughs along the way this year. Congrats on #44!

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    1. I'm happy for your 25, Cathy. Our oldest and his wife celebrated 25 this year, too.

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  4. I loved your story!! Congratulations on your 44th wedding anniversary!! I often joke with my husband about how different we are. He loves sports, I could take it or leave it. He prefers t.v., I prefer reading. He's reserved, I'm chatty. Etc...etc... I guess opposites do attract. The good thing is although we like different things we are not opposed to getting acquainted with each others preferences. I love birds and now my husband has an appreciation for them because of my interest in them. It's nice when we can learn about new things from each other. Although it's quite annoying when he's hot and I'm cold!! LOL!! Anyway, thanks for the great post. We make 21 years in September and I wouldn't change him out for anybody. ( :

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    1. Congratulations, Laurie, and I think you found the "core" when you said that about learning new things from each other. We're still doing that. Thanks so much for all your support!

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  5. Liz, it's so easy to see why you are such a great writer. You gave us the intimate and emotional with a dash of humor. And that's why you have had 44 years of semi-bliss. (lol)
    I think life would be boring if a couple was too much alike. Have a fab anniversary and I wish for you another 44 as well.

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    1. Thanks, Roz, on all counts. I agree about the possibility of boring, too.

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  6. Oh, my, I see a lot of your marriage in my marriage. Don is a planner and I'm a last minute.
    Don is morning and I'm night.
    Don is the telly and I'm a book.
    I'm laughing.

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  7. Congratulations, Liz! My hubby and I will hit 44 years in September. And yes, the differences between us are what make life interesting--and funny. Loved your blog post sooooo much.

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    1. Oops--I should have typed "45" years. Yikes. Am I that old?

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    2. Congratulations to you, too. It's obvious we were both child brides, right? :-)

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  8. Happy Anniversary! A clear tale of yin and yang completing you!

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    1. Thanks, Mel. I think that's been mentioned before!

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  9. Congratulations, Liz! He's such a cutie, I'd never let him go, either, no matter how different we were. Ron has that negativity magnet, too, but he'll do or try whatever I want just because I want it. Duane's flowers are artistically placed, and yours are just going to ' bloom where they're planted,' but together you created a garden and that's what life should be about. Happy 44 and hope you hit 88.

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    1. Thanks, Muriel. I read him the post this morning and he agreed to another 44, so I guess we're set.

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  10. Love this post, Liz. And congratulations on 44 years! Awesome! I love that you both are so different yet you made it work

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    1. Thanks, Pat. It's been a lot of fun.

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  11. Happy anniversary, Liz! OG and I celebrated our 32nd last Thursday. I wish we lived closer - you and I would get along swimmingly, and OG and Duane sound like soul mates.

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    1. I wish that, too, Alison, although I know the Midwest will never get you back and I doubt we'd ever make it to the West Coast, either. I am so glad to have gotten to know you, though.

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  12. Happy Anniversary! I had to laugh while reading your post because it was so familiar. My husband and I are the same way. He likes tv, I prefer books. I love to travel...him, no so much. And though we haven't been together as long as you two (only 25 for us) I wouldn't trade our rough years for anything in the world...and there were some rough years. I often joke that I have to write romance because it's the only place I would get any romance since he is NOT romantic at all. :)

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    1. I think the rough times are instrumental in making us strong both as a couple and as individuals, so I wouldn't want to trade them, either; however, I wouldn't want to go through them again, either! Thanks for coming by.

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  13. Warm wishes for a happy anniversary and many more years of love.

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  14. Congratulations, Liz, for sticking with it, even when it was tough. And I'll bet every one of your readers thank you for it, because your never-quit attitude gave you insights into the human heart that spill onto every page you write! :-)

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  15. Congratulations, Liz, for sticking with it, even when it was tough. And I'll bet every one of your readers thank you for it, because your never-quit attitude gave you insights into the human heart that spill onto every page you write! :-)

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    1. What a wonderful thing to say! Thank you so much, Loree.

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  16. Beautiful post, Liz, and Happy Anniversary to you both!!!

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