Here's How We've Made it to a 35-Year Marriage

Tomorrow, my partner and I will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe we've been married for so long, but we did the math just to be sure. While I may have...

The Shermans becoming the Shermans, 35 years ago.

Tomorrow, my partner and I will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe we've been married for so long, but we did the math just to be sure. While I may have lost track of the years, my husband was quick to point out this significant milestone. As we reflect on our journey, countless memories come rushing back, but there are also those "forgotten years" that remain blurry in our minds. These moments seem to vanish amidst the hustle and bustle of life, leaving us pondering what exactly happened during those times.

Take 2006, for instance. It's a year that seemingly doesn't exist in our memory banks. It's like the elusive 13th floor in a hotel, mysteriously missing. Though I'm certain I lived through that year, recalling the specific events becomes a challenge. Strangely enough, this selective amnesia has its advantages, especially for our marriage. Petty arguments and disagreements are easily forgotten, like they never even occurred. Even the big conflicts fade away when an entire year remains a blank slate. Perhaps those forgotten years were simply unremarkable, like movie extras in the grand production of our lives. They played a role, but they just weren't the stars of the show.

Pam Sherman

Traditionally, wedding anniversaries were associated with specific stones, which couples would exchange as gifts. However, my husband never received the memo on anniversary presents, so all I get is his love and devotion. But that's more than enough for me because, for our 35th anniversary, we've reached the coral milestone. Coral may be visually stunning from a distance, but up close, it's just a sharp-edged rock that can cause harm if you're not careful. And in many ways, that perfectly encapsulates the essence of a long-lasting marriage.

Whenever I proudly proclaim that we've been married for 35 years (with an emphasis on each word, as if announcing a remarkable achievement), people respond with smiles, congratulations, and even applause. It seems that regardless of the length of one's marriage, applause should be in order. Let's celebrate not just the longevity of our unions but also the small, everyday moments that compose those forgotten years. These moments include navigating through Mondays, coordinating calendars, grocery shopping together, and simply sharing a bed — despite the snoring, teeth gnashing, and all the other human quirks that emerge over time.

In the grand scheme of things, a marriage encompasses both the rough edges and the breathtaking beauty. It encompasses those moments when we raise our voices in anger and those when we find solace in each other's arms, tears streaming down our faces. And, of course, there are those moments of uncontrollable laughter shared between two people deeply in love.

People often ask me for the "secret" to our long-lasting marriage. Honestly, there is no secret formula — it's simply a choice. The choice to stay committed because we made the initial choice to start. The choice to support and understand each other, not unconditionally, but with generosity, patience, and a good sense of humor. Most importantly, it's the choice to fall in love over and over again throughout our lifetime together.

Of course, I jokingly remind my husband that my job is to keep him on his toes, while his role is to sweep me off my feet — even if that means enduring a few coral-induced cuts along the way.

Wishing everyone happy holidays!

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Image Sources:

  1. The Shermans becoming the Shermans, 35 years ago.
  2. Pam Sherman