by Suzanne Sparrow Watson
“I now pronounce you husband and wife.” There are few phrases as sobering, with the possible exceptions of ”We have lift-off” and ”This country is at war.” Erma Bombeck
Yesterday my husband and I celebrated 33 years of marriage. Or as my dad used to say, “Thirty-three years of indentured servitude”. He was joking, of course. I think. In any event, I was thinking about marriage last week as we prepared to observe our special day. We have remarked several times over the past few months that we are very fortunate that we’re so compatible because it seems like we’ve spent 25 hours a day together since March. And like many others, there have been a few challenges. In addition to dealing with soaring COVID numbers in Arizona, I had some minor surgery in May, my husband underwent nine weeks of radiation therapy for prostate cancer and even Dash the Wonder Dog joined in with the diagnosis of a heart murmur. Add in the hottest summer on record and it seemed like the fun just never stopped.
“People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you’ll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.” Erma Bombeck
Now that we’re almost to fall with its sub-100 temperatures and the COVID numbers are abating, I’ve had some time to reflect on how we’ve changed. At first I mused that the only “growth” we’ve seen is in our girth. But in fact, we have gained renewed appreciation for each other and our home. Not necessarily always in that order. I love our house and am giving it full credit for getting us through this. A few years ago we contemplated selling our home and moving into one of those slick retirement communities. I think we have commented 1,000 times this summer that we’re grateful we saved ourselves from that fate. Our friends who live in said communities have spent months cooped up in their apartments with meals being delivered to them. It’s like prison only with better food and nicer guards. The advantage of our house is that we have plenty of room to spread out. Like fighters between rounds, we are able to go to our separate corners to gain space and sustenance. In actuality, we seldom even argue. Still, spending 24/7 together is like the ultimate game of “Survivor”… just hoping one of us doesn’t get voted off.
“Marriage has no guarantees. If that’s what you’re looking for go live with a car battery.” Erma Bombeck
As I was researching articles about marriage in the time of COVID I found several about the increase in marital discord. Apparently lots of people are being voted off their marriage island. All over the world couples are struggling with lockdown, from mental health issues to realizing you’ve married someone who, in fact, is very annoying in a 24/7 world. The pandemic has caused higher divorce rates and it’s anticipated the rate will only increase once everyone is fully out of lockdown or back to work. I know that we’ve had it easy and have thought often about families where the parents are working from home AND trying to instruct their children on the higher principles of algebra or the periodic table. There are many parents who have lost their jobs and are juggling a job search and childcare/home schooling at the same time. It’s a lot to ask of a marriage to hold up amidst all that stress. On a brighter note, I also read many articles about people reconnecting, both with their spouse and their children. It seems being locked up together has caused people to talk more about their frustrations, desires and needs. It’s also caused a boom in real estate and remodeling as people “nest” as they did right after 9/11.
Well heck, I don’t want to be left behind the current trends so I’ve decided to undertake a bit of a home facelift next month. We’ve been through remodels before so I realize that COVID may be a cakewalk compared to demolishing tile floors. In fact, under no circumstances should “remodel” and “marital bliss” be uttered in the same sentence. They start next week so I’ll keep you posted. We may have to place bets on whether we make it to year 34.