Why Bother Celebrating Anniversaries?

Why Bother Celebrating Anniversaries? 

I think wedding anniversaries are a little more monumental than birthdays. Growing a year older happens to us, while staying married happens because of us. In other words, as long as we are alive, our birthdays automatically mark another year of living. But commemorating a wedding anniversary is dependent upon how well we have done with someone else.  Recognizing wedding anniversaries announces to others that, for another year, we have succeeded as a couple.  Yet, if we do not hold a  high regard for our better half, if we do not accept their idiosyncrasies, or remind ourselves of the important commitment we made on our wedding day, there would be no wedding anniversary to celebrate. 

                                                          Considering Others

There is no other relationship, other than marriage, that requires more of two people. First of all, staying married calls us to practice and eventually develop an attitude of sticking with it. I must confess, I did not begin my marriage that way. It is a little embarrassing to think back to how I started out as a wife. Yes, I fell head over heels for the man who was patient enough to ask me more than once to marry him. And yes, I did say the part in the vows about until death do us part. But, my heart did not match my words. There was a secret and unspoken clause in the back of mind that went like this: lf this does not work out, I can always get a divorce. It was not a good way to begin. But after a few years of being married to a man who was in it for the long haul, no matter what, I realized I needed to seal off my escape hatch. Once I did, our marriage took a turn for the better. 

I can accept another’s idiosyncrasies for a short amount of time. When I go to work, I live with the traits and qualities of my coworkers for the eight hours I spend with them. But I don’t bring them home with me. I get to leave them at work. Not so in a marriage partnership. Since we live with our spouse, we witness one another’s quirky ways day in and day out. Our habits, moods and perspectives along with our point of view, and opinions, most likely differ a bit from each other’s. Yet, it is only in the marriage partnership that necessitates us to admire those differences in our spouse. In doing so, our scope of how we think about things enlarges. Being married has been a good education for me. I am constantly learning how to live harmoniously with someone quite unlike myself. 

Finally, marriage calls us to trust the one we live with. At the altar, no one knows what is up ahead nor can anyone predict future events. More than likely though, there will be financial decisions to talk through, health issues to prepare for, and unrealistic expectations to evaluate. If we rely on our spouse and our spouse relies on us, then the unpredictable, unexpected and future surprises won’t sever the relationship. Those things will only deepen the appreciation for one another. 

Why bother celebrating anniversaries? It is worth acknowledging an anniversary because a job well done deserves some recognition.

Why Bother When You Can’t Always Get What You Want?

Why Bother When You Can’t Always Get What You Want?

It amazes me that I can still remember the important lines to Mick Jagger’s song, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Maybe it’s because Mick repeated those same words over and over searing them into the brain of young teenagers all over America back in the 1970s. “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” 

Recalling those words now, long past my awful teen years, I think they remain in my brain because they ring true. We don’t always get what we think we want, but what we do get, is exactly what we need.

I always wanted a close relationship with my mother; one where I talked and she listened. I yearned for her to understand me, and for our hearts to connect on some deep and emotional level. But it never happened.

 I’d watch with jealousy as Mom laughed and talked with her girlfriends over the phone. Why can’t she do that with me? I’d listen while she and one of my older sisters conversed over a glass of ice tea on the back porch. Why them and not me?

Maybe our mother daughter relationship was less than what I wanted because I was the fourth and final daughter. Maybe because I was the sixth child. Maybe we were too much alike or too different. Maybe Mom was just too damn tired to have any more relationships by the time I was old enough to have one with her.  

Either way, I did not get what I wanted from her. Instead, I got other things. She taught me how to drive even though I tried her patience.

She didn’t exactly instruct me on how to follow a recipe, rather she showed me how to create something edible from what we already had in the refrigerator. She called it improvising. 

She introduced me to the art of sorting a mountain of dirty laundry into smaller piles according to colors and how to set the washer; colors on cold, whites on hot.

Though I showed little interest in how to keep my turtle necks from getting stretched out of shape, she gave me a lesson on how to take them off the hanger so they kept their shape. 

Mom did not communicate directly with me unless I made her mad. Then she’d let me have it, “Don’t you ever….. “ Otherwise, when she wanted to share some philosophical bit of wisdom, she usually found an article in the newspaper to say it for her. She’d clip out the story, write my name at the top in black sharpie and leave it on my dresser. 

I clearly remember the title of one such article, Don’t Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill. She expected me to read it, but she did not expect me to make any comments to her about it afterward. It was her way of letting me know that she noticed me, I guess. 

I put a lot of hope in my relationship with my mom, but then eventually realized that what I’d hoped for just wasn’t going to pan out. It took some time for me to release her from those presumptions I’d held onto, but I finally let her off the hook.  

I guess even though I’d listened to and even sang along to Mick’s song, the true meaning did not sink in until long after I’d grown past those awful teen years. 

Why bother when you can’t always get what you want? Well what you get is worth it if you consider what you have.