The release of this blog entry happens to fall on my forty-second wedding anniversary. 42 years seems like a long time. I've now been married for more than half my life - sixty percent of it, actually. Not bad for two people who met via computer dating ("Data Mate"), back in the days when our questionnaires were punched onto Hollerith cards (most people called them "IBM cards"), and processed by a large mainframe computer.
Our being matched may have been just good luck, because the processing back then wasn't very sophisticated. Margie always thought we were paired just because we were both short, Jewish, and educated. And I might add, we were willing to pay five dollars to sign up. Or was it only three dollars? I can't remember.
The wedding was at my parents' house, outdoors on a sunny day. We were married under a large wisteria vine supported by a high steel trellis on my parents' back terrace.
Our marriage outlasted the trellis. Quite a few years later, under the ever increasing weight of the vine, and in hurricane winds, it collapsed, and eventually had to be removed. Evidently, our bond is stronger than steel.
In our youth, divorce was rather rare. I don't recall having friends with divorced parents, and both Margie and I come from intact families. That may have had something to do with both of us considering our marriage to be a permanent commitment. When there were difficult times, neither of us gave a thought to separating.
But divorce was already on the rise when we were married in 1970. The graph to the right shows the number of divorces annually per 1000 married women, by year. You can click on it to enlarge it. Note 1
Interestingly, the divorce rate shown on the graph seems to peak in 1979, although other sources say the high point was in 1981. But in any event, after a sharp climb in the seventies, the divorce rate has now been declining for about thirty years (although the graph ends in the year 2000, the downward trend has continued). Nevertheless, many would view our marriage as a success simply because we're still together after 42 years.
Well, just hanging in there is a pretty low bar. I think my marriage is a success not just because we're still together, but because for 42 years, we've been loving partners to each other. While we've had arguments, none have been really important. While we've had good times and bad, we each know the other will always be there, as the marriage vows go, "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health". There's nothing we can't discuss. There's no problem we can't resolve.
What's the "secret"? Beats me. We're both pretty easy-going and tolerant people, and both pretty giving, by nature. We each have traits that annoy the other, but they all seem trivial in the big picture. I'm happier and more relaxed at age 70 than I was when I was younger (if only my body would stop going downhill). My anniversary reminds me how lucky I am to have found Margie.
My sisters gave us a tandem bike as a wedding gift. We still have it. Here's a picture of us after the ceremony, riding off into the sunset:
And today, it's 42 years later. Time sure flies when you're having fun.
The graph is from the "Monthly Vital Statistics Report" of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control ("CDC"). I found it through the magic of the Internet and the Google search engine. [return to text]