Thursday, April 9, 2015, Marge and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. Where has the time gone? We have aged, our children have grown and our lives have gone through major changes since that day in 1965. Recalling that day, I can still remember how nervous I was. Marriage had always been very important to me, and I had a tremendous desire to make my marriage work. Looking back, the last 50 years have been the best of my life. Marge and I have shared laughter and tears, good times and bad, joys and sorrows; but more than that, we have shared our dreams, our innermost thoughts, our strength and frailties, and we have shared our love. Marge has always been there when I have needed support. Things that happen to me when we are apart are not complete until I share them with her. Only with Marge can I truly be myself and completely relax.
Our marriage suffered a severe challenge in1999 when an accident in the US Virgin Islands left me a quadriplegic. While this accident happened to both of us it affected us and our relationship in extremely different ways. While I struggled to adjust to and overcome the paralysis which impacted 80% of my body Marge’s struggles were centered on keeping our family afloat and adjusting to becoming the alpha individual responsible for the family. The first 34 years had been relatively stable. Not that we didn’t have challenges and setbacks, but we always seemed to persevere through them. I use to tell my students, in my Preparation for Marriage class, successful marriages were the result of two, four letter words that both ended in “k”. After the snickering died down I told them the words were “work” and “talk” and I still believe that today. However, our relationship had been rocked to the core, especially after we returned home from the rehabilitation hospital and I began getting stronger. I wanted to reclaim what independence I could and that conflicted with Marge’s concerned about my safety. It took our dogs a couple weeks to realize what it took me years to understand and that was that Marge was now the alpha person in the relationship. I also had a terrible time reconciling my desire for independence with my almost total dependency on Marge and others. Depression became an issue. Some of these issues have been dealt with, others we still struggle with.
As the result of work and talk our marriage has become strong and stable again. Gone is most of the spontaneity, most everything we do requires planning and forethought. Gone too is the physical intimacy we enjoyed, that’s been the toughest of all the changes, but we have and continue to adjust and our love blossoms again.
Our day was made much more special being able to celebrate it with so many of our friends.