When you are married 30 years, people clamor for the secret. That’s not true. No one’s asked. You have to be a 115-year Russian guy living in a sod hut on the windblown steppes to make folks curious about your claim to longevity. Yogurt, the man says, his lips barely moving. It’s all about the yogurt. And the vodka. The old man, maybe the oldest man in the world, will claim that a glass of vodka is part of his regimen. But the real truth is that he is pickled in it. Preserved.
The segue to my long marriage might seem awkward here. In what are we pickled, you ask?
To answer that requires a level of analysis that would be completely foreign to our marriage. Except for possibly the first six months of married life when I woke up every morning in renewed shock about what I had done, a groundhog day experience in which I replayed our hurried courthouse wedding searching the picture of my own face for clues to what I was thinking, our marriage has been almost totally a matter of reflex and comfort.
I am shamed by famous people who insist that marriage is work, thinking that I haven’t worked hard enough, that most days, my marriage seems like a vacation from the work in the rest of my life, a refuge from everything that is annoying or scratchy or causes me self-doubt. Thinking back on it, especially during times of career troubles, I think how awful it would have been if my marriage had also been difficult, if I hadn’t been able to completely relax in it.
This morning, thinking that I would write a blog about our marriage because today is our 30th anniversary, I asked my husband what he thought the reason was for our long marriage. “I don’t know,” he said, barely looking up from his cellphone, “we like each other?”
It would be a better blog if I had a more complex explanation for our marriage’s longevity. Then I could create a list of ten ways to have a 30-year marriage and get re-posted from here to next week. I don’t have a list or an explanation.
I just got lucky.