They Said It Would Never Last

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.

92 responses to “They Said It Would Never Last

  1. Happy first anniversary– plus my parents thought that my marriage wouldn’t last either 😉 They should have been more worried about my sisters.

  2. Happy Anniversary. Today is my parents 32nd anniversary. I hope you and Dan have many, many more.

  3. More proof of the theorem devised by my parents: The length of the marriage is inversely proportional to the cost of the wedding. 😉 Felicitations!

    The National History museum needs to step it up. I’ve been advocating sleepover nights at Powell’s bookstore for years.

  4. Mazel tov! Have a wonderful stay at Undisclosed Location. I’ve heard the views are terrific, for those who bother to look out a window.

  5. Happy anniversary.

  6. Congratulations, my wife and I are now looking forward to our 30th next spring.

  7. Many years ago, some friends told me something that took a few years to understand. “Falling in Love happens in a second. Staying in Love is a daily (or even minute by minute) decision.” Obviously, the two of you, have been making the decision for a long time. Congratulations. Two friends (who will remain nameless, because you know them), were as close as could be to opposites, but perfect or each other. I’m as happy for you, as for them.

    • The wise old fairy tales never were so silly as to say that the prince and the princess lived peacefully ever afterwards. The fairy tales said that the prince and princess lived happily ever afterwards; and so they did. They lived happily, although it is very likely that from time to time they threw the furniture at each other. — G. K. Chesterton

  8. Congratulations,

    I was in a similar situation. My mother firmly believed that the only reason she who would become my wife was interested in me was in getting a “Green Card” (Did I get a chance to introduce you to her at LibertyCon? I don’t remember.)

    My mother made the mistake of forcing a “her or me” choice on me. Don’t ever put me in that position. You won’t like the result. The person who puts me in that position, by doing so, determines what the choice will be. We eventually reconciled, but. . . .

    In any case, that was sixteen years ago. We’re still here and we’re still together. We’ve had our problems. Great Patham, we’ve had our problems. We still have our problems. But we’re still here.

    And so from one “beat the odds” couple to another: ¡salud!

    • Yes, my MIL thought I married for a green card. card. Rolls eyes.

      • Happy civilanniversary!

      • I’m surprised there are so many mothers who think so little of their sons.

      • Happy Anniversary.
        It’s not just sons, you know, my mother (and possibly father, though he had the sense not to say so) thought my husband married me for a green card, too, nearly twelve years ago.
        Not related, but AFGM arrived today from Amazon, and thank you for an excellent read.

      • My wife and I married in Reno, then applied for her green card. The INS employee who interviewed us was convinced it was a sham marriage and forced us to spend an additional 6 months and several thousand dollars before her green card was approved.

        It did give her some interesting mock-threats to use on me:

        “You just wait! As soon as I get my green card I can divorce you”
        “You just wait! As soon as we buy a house I can divorce you!”
        “You just wait! As soon as I get my citizenship I can divorce you!”
        “You just wait! As soon as we have children I can divorce you!”

        Since Thing 1 is 25 and nearly through Drug Dealer Training (AKA Pharmacy school), the last threat is a bit out of date. But she tells me she’s working on it.

        (Yes, we did read a lot of Dr. Seuss with our kids. Why do you ask?)

  9. Done Gone Galt

    “Why did it last?” probably because you made it.

    White Knight and Maiden Fair,
    set out to climb the Happ’ly Ever After stair.
    Strangers Grandiose Chivalry,
    Grinding down with time to courtesy.
    When daily toil and mounting debt,
    obscure the treasured memories kept.
    Then children bring a love renewed;
    a glorious glowing interlude.
    Till rebel furies they become,
    and beat upon their warrior’s drum.

    Then when youth has gone at last.
    An eye towards might have been is cast.
    Some few of Knight’s old friends yet ride.
    With tarnished armor and seedy pride..
    and Maiden knows not just a few
    who couldn’t keep from greener view.
    They look back at all they’ve done together,
    through good and bad and stormy weather
    to find they’ve grown the best of friends.
    As yet greater love and joy have settled in.
    You’d think to come so far, they started wise.
    But you’d be wrong to so surmise.
    They merely sought to keep a vow,
    The wisdom came in learning how.

    Creative commons license 2002

  10. Congratulations. It’s interesting, looking back, how we can change and grow, stay the same, and still make another person a major part of ourselves.

  11. Congratulations!

    Before our wedding my wife’s best friend and her husband took my wife to the florist who had done the flowers for their wedding two years before. The owner called all the employees around to show them the happy couple who were still married TWO YEARS LATER!!!

    It is now over 40 years later and we are still married, as are our friends.

    “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.”

    We were married two months when we moved half way across the USA so I could take a new job. We have now made 5 interstate moves (and I hope never to do that again). Our roughest time was when after my being unemployed 10 months, I took a temporary position half way across the country, and was separated from the family for another 10 months. By God’s grace we are still together :>)

    My you and Dan have many more happy years!

    • Ray, I was in the Air Force. We moved sixteen times in 26 years, including three trips to Europe (I also made a two-year trip to Panama and a year to Vietnam without her — the accompanied tours were much better). I know what it’s like. Glad it didn’t dent your marriage.

  12. Christopher Chupik

    Very happy to hear that it can last, Sarah. May you have another 28 (at least).:-)

  13. Congratulations!! I hope you have many more together!

  14. Birthday girl

    Happy Anniversary. We also married “too young” and were not expected to last. We have changed over the last 3 decades, but he is still the only person who gets all my jokes, so I have to keep him. Best to both of you.

  15. Happy Anniversary!

  16. Happy Anniversary! May you have many more.

  17. Continuing the oddities, the first thing they did was have dinner with me. I did notice a lot of wink-and-nod connubial conversation at dinner though.

  18. I was 22. He was 21. My father asked me if I knew what I was doing. I said, of course not, how could I? He said, all right then.

    Congratulations, Sarah and Dan.

  19. Happy anniversary.

  20. Happy Anniversary! Always better to have two in a year to celebrate!

  21. Good on you all. You all chose well.

  22. Linda Pierce

    Congratulations to both of you! Continue being good to each other. You both deserve the best and obviously got it!

  23. happy whateverversary. Have fun, write lots.

  24. Happy Anniversary. We have two as well, civil and religious, a couple of months apart. We tend to change how much we celebrate each day each year, depending on what else is going on. The first is conveniently a week after Valentine’s day, so that’s when all the flowers and candy tend to happen. The second seems to work itself out better for weekend vacations without the kids.

  25. Happy Anniversary!

  26. Happy anniversary. 28 is a notable achievement, and says something about both of you (I mean that is a good way.) Charlotte adn I are coming up on 35 in August, because we married when we were both “too young” and no one thought it would last. By two college room mates bet me it wouldn’t last, and paid off on our 20th. Charlotte is my best friend, and the one who I can share everything with. Enjoy your break from keeping all of us happy with your words.

  27. Happy anniversary, Sarah!
    We had a hurried-up courtship and marriage also. We met in November, I proposed New Year’s, and we were married that February. I was 19, and she was 23. We’ve been together 47 years, so we must be doing something right. Hope you join us for the 50-plus club (those married 50 or more years). So few do, unfortunately.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Well, you’re just 15 years behind my parents then, who made it 62 years before mom passed in 2009.

      • We might make it. Mom & Dad were married 44 years when Dad died, but he was 35 before they got married (Mom was 23). Life expectancy has gone up some since then. We’re shooting for 50, anyway. Anything beyond that is pure serendipity.

  28. A good marriage is a great work of art, a collaboration of two souls which is greater than the sum of its parts. It is the hallmark of great artists that their art appears effortless — graceful and natural without thought or hesitation. Sadly, lesser artists (and the naive — but I repeat myself) too often misapprehend the lack of apparent effort for actual lack of effort and thus, attempting to mimic the performance in their own art, fail and grow discouraged of their capability of doing what seems so uncomplicated a work.

    Like most such art, it is easiest done when the materials are still malleable and elastic, able to suffer the wrenching of being forced into unnatural positions and bonded to an unlike material. Yet there is always hope that the artist, given sufficient patience and understanding of His materials, can create a masterpiece of even the most improbable pairs.

    Should I hit it again with the simile stick, or is the metaphor sufficicently beaten into submission?

  29. Happy anniversary, Sarah!

    My wife and I had our civil ceremony in a library. And when I said, “Hey, we can get married in a *library*!” and she thought it was the greatest idea ever, I lost any last doubt she was the right woman for me.

  30. Happy wedding anniversary and congratulations to you both.

    It’s eerie: another thing I share with you. We married in Madison, WI, in a civil ceremony (so our passports would have the right name), and then flew to Mexico a week later for the true wedding (I grew up there, and the family lives there) – the one my mother recognizes.

    This avoided putting him through a Mexican civil ceremony (required by law – they don’t care about the religious one but it has to be afterward) in Spanish (he still doesn’t speak it), and which is very weird.

    But you share the story, and people look at you funny.

    Have a great time. The webs will be here when you get back.

  31. Dorothy Grant

    Congratulations to the two of you! Here’s to at least another 28!

    Man, it’d be so cool to have a sleepover in a museum… though I’d want a better bed than I suspect the kids get. Dear Husband and I only have a handful of years together, but we’re working on making the most of each one.

  32. Doug "daHobbit" Baird

    Happy Anniversary to you guys! I have not done as well, but my parents have coming up on (I think it’s) their 65th in December. And their still going strong…

    Doug “daHobbit” Baird

  33. Happy Anniversary, Sarah. Its always nice to hear about…
    *snicker*
    Odds beating the odds.

  34. Wherever you may be, I hope your celebration lasts for many more years.

    We weren’t young, I was very close to 49, but we’ve managed to last 34 years so far. Our wedding took place on the stump of a giant redwood tree. An actor friend read a poem, and his son shot off a whole string of firecrackers at the beginning of the first married kiss. A grand celebration indeed. The 40 or so guests only drank 2 cases of champagne. We still celebrate daily, just with less champagne. May you have the same good fortune as we!

  35. You may not be able to get much privacy in a nook behind the allosaurus, but there are plenty of historical places fairly close to naturey things that have rooms to let (but not *too* close- two words: “sand fleas”). At least there are here in the south. *grin*

    Glad you were able to sneak away, alone time with the Significant Other is not to be scorned. Hope all goes well for you and yours, and happy anniversary!

  36. Happy anniversary! May you have many, many more happy years together. ❤

  37. Happy Anniversary. Nothing wise or clever to say: just felicitatiousness.

    M

  38. We tied the knot three times…the first, we “eloped” to Lost Wages from L.A. due to my bride’s fear of her tyrannical mother
    (she used to say that I kidnapped her, but she drove).
    The second time was religious, and for a third we “got hitched” at Knott’s Berry Farm–this one was just in fun. Unfortunately, it only lasted 22 years…

  39. Congrats to you both. Me, I seem to have a great talent for not finding Ms. Right. (Or, most of the time, even a Ms. Right-Now. Joys of being illiterate when it comes to reading between the lines.) Perhaps things will work out better with the current Ms. !Ludite, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  40. marycatelli

    Many happy returns of the day!

  41. Wayne Blackburn

    Happy Anniversary! The way it sounds, you should be good for plenty more. Cheers!

  42. Were I one of those annoying numbers geeks, I would be compelled to point out that since your circumstances have yielded two wedding anniversaries per year, we should all be wishing you and the Don Dan a Wonderfully Happy Fifty Fifth Anniversary.

    But I’m not that annoying, so I won’t.

    Happy Anniversary Dona Sara and Don Dan.

  43. Happy civil anniversary.

  44. My son has two weddings, the 2nd one at the Colorado Renaissance Festival. But what was better was someone I knew in the Air Force, who was doing temporary duty in Korea while stationed in Hawaii. He got married by radio, getting an increase in his pay, and allowing his bride to move into married quarters – then all their relatives showed up later for their church wedding. Remember Korea is on the other side of the International Date line. Every year they celebrated his, hers, and their anniversaries. I remember his wife made him a steak dinner on his anniversary when I knew him.

  45. Happy Anniversary!

    My grandparents had two anniversaries, but that was because the first time they got married my grandfather hadn’t bothered to get divorced from his first wife. She showed up at the front door a couple years later, first my grandmother (who was raising three stepsons by the woman) knew that her husband was still married to his previous wife. I gather things were rough for a while, but she stuck with him (probably because her mother had told her she was making a mistake and it would never last, and my grandma can be just a wee bit stubborn) and they were happily married over forty years when he passed away.

  46. Meredith Dixon

    Congratulations! May you both have many more of both anniversaries!

    My husband and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary last January. At the time of our marriage we had never lived within 200 miles of one another, though we’d been friends for seven years and courting for five. This was in the ’80’s, before the Internet, so we made the fortune of MCI and did our bit to keep down the price of first-class stamps by increasing postal volume.

  47. I’m a bit late with this because of being asleep when you posted (time zones, etc.), but happy anniversary to both of you!

  48. Happy ann-

    You get the other half when the next one comes around….

  49. Happy anniversary from Barbs and I. We planned to send ‘fooled you’ cards to a lot of people 9 months after ours (we had our first child 7 years later) but never got around to it. A lot of people thought Barbs had lost her mind. This is true, or at least the relavant bit of it. I found it, and have kept it safe place ever since. (you know about ‘I put it in a safe place’, don’t you?

    • The Safe Place must have an awful lot of stuff, because I put a lot of things there that I’ve never seen again. Multiply that by every one else….

  50. Congratulations, and many years!

  51. Congrats you two. One of the great love stories that will stand the test of time and eternity.

  52. Congratulations!

    We celebrated our 40th last month. Any time we start feeling smug (or old), we see our friends who are currently 85, and recently celebrated their 62nd.

    Something to aim for.

  53. I was 23, my wife 21. We met in January, got married jp style in August on the left coast, then before a priest in November back east. 18 months later, after the worlds longest pregnancy, because everyone just knew I wouldn’t get married unless the girl was pregnant, we had the first of five. It’s been 35 years now. And I should mention that no one but us thought it would last.

    From the comments here I can see that two wedding anniversaries isn’t all that unusual- at least amongst your readers.

    Congratualtions to you and Dan.

    • Ah! No. OURS was the world’s longest pregnancy. EVERYONE knew I was pregnant (compounded by a mistake in my gown, where the seamstress decided I COULDN’T be that tall, cut it too short, then had to pad with lace, not heavy enough so it PUFFED.) Then Robert made himself waited for six years. Eh.