This week my parents will celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary. Anyone that has ever met them can tell you they’re the epitome of polar opposites, but somehow they’ve managed to make it work and build a life together. My mother is a woman of many (many, many) words and although my father does not speak much, when he does, his statements are packed with wit and entertainment. It’s no secret that marriage is challenging – so I thought I’d share my parents’ love story and relationship insight as an example to those seeking a lifetime of happiness:
Q: In one sentence, describe how you met.
A – Mom: He approached me and said, “Did you call me?” I said, “No I didn’t call you and I would never call you.” Then he proceeded to say, “Well I hear you’re a kindergarten teacher and I bet you need a lot of books for your classroom. Just so happens that I work in the publishing industry and sell children’s books.” I went to his apartment to look at the books and 8 months later we moved the books into our apartment. (She can’t sum up anything in just one sentence.)
A – Dad: I worked in the publishing business, so I just went up and “booked” a date with her.
Q: What was your first impression of him/her?
A – Mom: Oh, he thought he was something else. Cocky is the best word I can use to describe my first impression. He had this fancy little pipe sticking out of his pocket and thought he was higher than mighty.
A – Dad: I have no idea. She was pretty, but she wasn’t very smart because she didn’t want to talk to me.
Q: How did you know he/she was the one you were going to marry?
A – Mom: I had no choice. He scared everyone else I was dating away by threatening to throw them off the third story balcony of my apartment. (Then she launches into a 10-minute example of when this really did happen, ending with “I should have married that guy instead.”)
A – Dad: She told me I had to.
Q: What’s your sweetest, fondest memory of him/her? (Now for this one, I thought maybe, just maybe, they would finally show their romantic side and share a sentimental moment).
A – Mom: When he ran after the moped. Me: Were you going too fast on the moped and he was running after it trying to rescue you? Mom: Oh no. He forgot to turn the moped off so it just kept going all on its own and he was running around in circles trying to catch it. Then he ripped his pants!
A – Dad: Oh, the time I took a picture of Baby Carol because it reminded me of her. Me: Who was Baby Carol? Dad: An elephant at a zoo in California. (At the time this picture was taken, my mom weighed a whopping 90 lbs.)
Q: OK – those responses weren’t exactly what I was looking for. Maybe this question will help you show some emotion. When do you love him/her the most?
A – Mom: Hmm. This question is really tough. I’m not sure I have an answer to this question. If I do, I’m going to need more time to think about it. Can I make it up? (You have to make this up, mom?)
A – Dad: When she’s asleep and can’t talk.
Q: What keeps you together after all these years?
A – Mom: He smiles that smile every day. But then again, he doesn’t do much else after that.
A – Dad: That’s because I’m a survivalist, Carol. I only need to do the bare minimum to survive.
Q: Reflecting on your 43 years together, what advice do you have for young couples who are just starting to embark on their journey together?
A – Mom: If he doesn’t help in the kitchen, then don’t marry him.
A – Dad: First of all, don’t have kids who will grow up to write stupid things about you on Facebook. Secondly, in a marriage, a man must always remember to let his wife have the last words in an argument. Let her say she’s sorry.
And there you have it – 43 years of pure wedding bliss, proving that marriage takes patience and compromise and that true love is not attainable without a sense of humor.