My Dear Readers,
I know you have been waiting a year for my new list. I toyed with the idea of simply adding #25 to last year’s list of 24 things I’ve learned during 24 years of marriage, but I didn’t feel like it. I didn’t look at last year’s list. I’m just sitting here across the desk from my groom (Bahahahahahaha! No, I don’t ever call him that. He was my groom 25 years ago. Today he is my husband, spouse, +1. We put a ring on it so no more bride and groom unless we are referring to the Church and Jesus or we are around white Christians.)
Peter and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage with a day off. We might even go buy some towels because we still have towels from our wedding shower. They are thinner, unlike the two of us, but just like us they have absorbed so much in the past 25 years. We also took a cooking class together on Sunday where he learned to separate a yolk from the egg white and practice/learn knife skills. I learned you don’t always have to stir the pot because sometimes too much stirring ends up steaming the food instead of browning it. That is definitely something I need to do some more thinking about…
We met in November 1992. We got engaged on December 26, 1992 with about 100 friends and family exchanging gifts in the Korean tradition. We then got married in front of a gathering 10x that size. From the time we met to the time we were married was just over six months. I’ve learned so much.
- Sometimes you have to go to bed angry because you have to go to bed and go to work the next day.
- Commitment is a lot harder when neither of you are changing in the same way at the same time.
- It’s easy to criticize the parents-in-law when neither of you are a parent-in-law.
- You learn a lot about yourself and about your spouse when you take on DIY home improvements.
- Our taste buds change as we get older, and for us that has meant he has always liked beer and I now like red wine, bourbon and whiskey.
- Our sex drives change as we get older. I’m premenopausal and have barely any sex drive. He is not premenopausal.
- Despite changing sex drives, the most difficult thing about having sex is working around the schedule of teenage children. They stay up so late!
- Your spouse doesn’t have to be your best friend. If your spouse is your best friend, lucky you. I mean that. But that won’t make or break your marriage.
- Try to find things you enjoy together and bless the differences. I just don’t see the point in paying to run, but I make awesome signs and ring a mad cowbell. I also don’t see why you need multiple bowling balls but he also doesn’t share my desire to overcome my fear of being upside down and learning to handstand. Mutual respect.
- Even after 25 years we can’t read each other’s minds. Instead, we try to practice over- communication: I dramatically unplug the little fragrance things in his car vents because they give me a headache.
- Work on your own shit. Seriously. Marriage won’t fix you, and you can’t fix someone else.
- Sometimes I actually can read his mind. It freaks him out every time, and I revel in it.
- Be playful. A friend gifted me a life-size Rose Tico cut out and I put her by the kitchen light switch in hopes it would scare the bejesus out of Peter. It did. For several days. This morning I came down and he moved Rose, but it did not scare me. I’m moving her tonight. He is going to pee in his pants!
- Maintain your friendships. My best friend from college and I used to joke that we would outlive our husbands and move into a retirement community together like a Korean American Golden Girls. We are serious. I love Peter but it is special to have friends I’ve known longer than Peter and I have been married.
- Maintain good couple friendships. We are truly blessed to have neighborhood friends where the husbands genuinely like each other and no longer need the wives to set up daddy playdates. We also learned that none of our husbands went to prom and all of the women did so there’s that.
- If you’re the praying type pray for each other. I grew up in a culture that encouraged singles to pray for their future spouses with little instruction on how prayer would change, let alone last 25 years. Yes, there can be things you are praying about for 25 years and celebrating answers to prayers of 25 years!
- If you have children and are hoping things will get easier in marriage as the children get older or, in our case, start leaving the nest. The problems you don’t address in your marriage don’t leave with your children. They stay. Across the table at breakfast or dinner when it’s just the two of you.
- Have each other’s back and dreams. He wanted to run a half marathon, and then a couple more, and then a marathon, and now maybe back to a 10k. YES! Run! Stay healthy because I selfishly don’t want to be a widow. Me? I want to write and speak at events across the country AND go prepare for my midlife crisis by wanting to get certified as a yoga teacher. He says, YES! buys me coconut water so I stay hydrated during training at a hot yoga studio, rubs my feet after I get home from the airport with puffy feet.
- There is no perfect marriage. Even the bible is lacking in perfect examples. So don’t beat yourself over the head if you don’t cook meals together. We have done just fine with divide and conquer. I cook. He cleans. I wash. He folds and irons. He puts away the towels, I rearrange them the right way.
- Buy a king-size bed as soon as you can afford to or have space for.
- If your spouse tells you that you snore, you snore. Get checked for sleep apnea because snoring can be a strain on your marriage and on your heart.
- Just like with anything, learn to ask for help – help from each other or for your marriage.
- Look into each other’s eyes and tell each other, “I love you.” Emojis and texts are cute. Handwritten notes are lovely, even with horrible handwriting (his). Eye contact is severely underrated.
- Learn to apologize.
- Love is a verb. (It’s also a four-letter word in the very best way.)
Happy anniversary to us. Peter, I love you. Here’s to the next 25.