Some of you know that my husband and I have two wedding anniversaries. This is not because we got divorced in between, but because we have a civil and a religious anniversary.
Being, for some unfathomable reason, somewhat disinclined to trust bureaucracies, we decided that we’d get married here and wait for my green card before we went over for the “real wedding.” That I was — at the time — friends with the American consul to my city (A gentleman from Texas — if I remember correctly — who was a Reagan appointee) and he’d told me if we got married in Portugal and waited for my green card there it could take up to two years for a “bride visa” made it sure that we’d not go that channel.
We were twenty two, had been long distance dating for a year, and at that age the prospect of two more years of wait was daunting and a little impossible.
So I came over and we got married in the courthouse in Rock Hill South Carolina. Because it wasn’t our “real wedding” I didn’t even buy a dress and was married in a white summer dress with crochet panels that I’d had since the age of fifteen.
I’m fairly sure the judge marrying us — a lady probably the age I’m now — thought it was the most ill advised ceremony she ever performed. She gave us a long speech about how marriage wasn’t a joke, about how these things shouldn’t be undertaken lightly, about how we should think before we made a mistake. At the time I would have been offended, except that in this the lady joined the opinion of all our friends and acquaintances, who were convinced we were marrying on a sort of a lark and would be divorced within the year.
Given that both Dan and I have on occasion (more or less constantly) been accused of thinking too much, at the time this general opinion seemed baffling. Now–
Now the very fact that two people, generally cautious, had decided to get married not having seen each other for four years and never having dated before, looks like the sort of change that prophesies even crazier behavior. Also, atop my ancient history (shuddup you!) bookcase, there’s a picture of us on our civil ceremony day.
We looked about seventeen. And we looked so totally unafraid on such an occasion that no one could suspect us of knowing what we were doing.
And yet it lasted. Why did it last? Oh, by being as odd as its beginning. We are, objectively, completely different people than when we got married. The simple process of marrying outside one’s culture and changing states three times will do so. But we have made a concerted effort — sometimes in difficult circumstances, such as when Dan had a traveling job for two years — to grow together.
It helps that we genuinely enjoy each other’s company and can talk about practically everything…
So to celebrate the fact that this marriage has now lasted 28 years (about twenty seven and a half more than anyone expected) even though this is not our “real” anniversary, we ran away from the kids and are enjoying each other’s company (and doing some writing — yes, I know sick, but doing some uninterrupted writing IS a rare pleasure) at an undisclosed location (no, weirdly it is not the Natural History museum. they have no rooms to rent, would you believe it?) Later there will be a trip to the real life alternate of the George.
I will answer comments when I feel like turning on the kindle fire — and autocorrect might make my answers very funny.