I vividly remember when Walter and I were first married. While we loved each other, boy we certainly had quite the time adjusting to this whole “togetherness” thing. While we “dated” for over two years much of that time was spent apart, Walter was in Vietnam fighting for our Country.
Walter is an only child and I am the oldest of three. So, neither of us were “shrinking violets.” After we were married, there were debates on everything from spending money, to where we would live, to what school our son Jamie would attend. Needless to say, we both truly believed we were right. And if you are thinking it was because we were young and stubborn, it was not. We both had a strong conviction in our beliefs.
As the years went by, being right was not quite as important. Compromise became more of a rule rather than the exception. Accepting things at face value and not taking everything personally also helped our love grow. Last but not least, humor became a very important part of our day to day relationship.
Let me tell you just what I mean with a little story:
Several months ago, Walter and I were headed to Vegas for 5 days. I am NOT an efficient packer. When I say I am NOT an efficient packer I mean, I always bring way too many clothes, shoes and whatever else I can fit into my luggage. And I start packing days if not weeks beforehand depending on where we are going and how long we are staying. For our 5 ½ months cruise, I literally started packing a year in advance. Yes, 45 boxes were lined up in our disco for months.
But let me bring you back to Vegas. Although I only had two suitcases, one was large and the other was very large. Walter looked at the luggage and said to me, “Honey, how can you possibly be taking two suitcases to Vegas for only five days?”
Of course, I had a perfectly logical explanation: “One suitcase has my clothes, lingerie, shoes, belts and purses. The other has all my skin care items, my hair products, my electric rollers, and all my cosmetics.”
Without skipping a beat, Walter replied, “Hmm you need one large suitcase for all your beauty stuff –I really didn’t know you were that ugly.” Years ago, I’m sure I would have found no humor in that. I would have taken it as a personal insult OR I would have felt guilty that I was packing so much and made changes. Yet today, I thought that was hysterically funny. I laughed so hard, I had tears rolling down my eyes.
Of course, in my younger days, I also would not have even needed that second suitcase with “cosmetics.” In my 20’s and 30”s my beauty routine was simple, wash face, put on La Mer Cream and put on a bit of makeup. Now, there is so much more time and effort needed to look good, not overdone, but age appropriately attractive. As I continue to laugh just thinking about it, I can say, “Yes, wonderful Walter, evidently I am that ugly.” Or as Coco Chanel said, “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.”
Like things change in marriage, over time they also change in the way we live our lives. Embracing every day with a sense of gratitude, love and humor is the key to enjoying a joy filled life.