Happy anniversary

It’s our wedding anniversary today – 26 years. And, because we started dating sometime between May and June 1989 we also celebrate this day as being our together-since-anniversary – 31 years.

That’s why today I thought I’d write a post about how to have a successful marriage. Jokes. I have no idea how we’ve managed to do it, let alone presume to tell anyone else how to. What works for us works for us.  We laugh that he’s so change-resistant that he could never be bothered to find someone else and I don’t have the focus required to remember to. Seriously though, I think it comes down to two pretty simple things:

  • We still like each other
  • We’re far better together than we are not together

It’s true. We were friends before we started dating and somehow gravitated together before we even noticed that we’d got together – or maybe that should read before I noticed. That doesn’t mean a lot though – he’d been living with me for a few months before I noticed and asked how long it had been since he’d been home. 

In any case, we’re still friends and still have plenty to talk about. He is, and this is the biggest compliment I could ever give anyone so an awed intake of breath is required here, still the person I want to travel with. I know, it’s a big call, but I’ve said it.

While we do, as every couple does, annoy each other from time to time, the sum of our two parts is greater than the whole…or something like that. We are, in simple terms, good for each other. And while that doesn’t sound at all romantic, it is practical, and it is one of the reasons we’ve not just survived together but thrived together. I make the distinction because a good marriage is not just about staying the distance; it truly is about dealing with all the merde (see Mum, I didn’t use the word I was going to use – I said it in French instead) that life throws at you and coming out the end of it having grown – hopefully together rather than apart…although I’ve grown in width too – I’m not really sure what that says, but let’s not talk about that.

I’d like to say that philosophically we’re compatible – and we are to an extent. We’re both very much about enjoying the ride and we do live for now. We are, however, politically very different. Politically, he’s a conservative voter and I’m a green-liberal as in small “l” liberal, not Liberal Party – which is the conservative party here in Australia. No, I don’t understand it either. We’ve had plenty of arguments over the years as a result of this. We are, however, both moderating somewhat as we’re getting older – he’s moved a little further to the left and I’ve moved a teeny tiny bit towards the right, but just a teeny bit.

We met when we were both working for a bank in Canberra. It was 1988 and while there was none of that first sight stuff, I recall thinking that this person was going to be important. Have you ever had that feeling about anyone? Anyways, we were both with other people at that point. A few months later I was transferred to the branch he worked at and we became friends and the following year, we drifted into dating. The bank had a no fraternisation policy so we had to keep it quiet until I was transferred to a different branch.

Our wedding day in Canberra was perfect and one we both remember as being exactly as it should be. It was the sort of May day that Canberra does so well – the temperature was mild, the sky was blue, and the autumn colours were fabulous. 

Even though we were, by this time, living in Sydney we’d chosen Canberra as it was where most of our friends still were and was halfway from Tumbarumba (for my father’s family) and halfway from Sydney (for my mother’s family).

We’d organised the wedding quickly, taking a few days in November to book everything from the church to the reception to the cake, photographer, DJ, flowers, and even my dress.

Not that everything went to plan. The Thai silk for my wedding dress got stuck on the wharves during the wharfies strike. The fitting I had two days before we got married was the first and only fitting. The baker we’d hired to do the wedding cake went broke a month before the wedding and we had to quickly find someone else who could make a cake in that time frame. When, on the night before the wedding, we followed a tow truck with a white Jaguar on it up the Tuggeranong Parkway we guessed that it was the car we’d booked and laughed. (It was our car but thankfully was repaired in time.)

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing over the years, but, to be honest, just how boring would that be? Looking back, I have no idea where the years in between have gone; and I almost don’t recognise the couple in the photos above. For a start, I’m thirty kilos heavier now and my hair colour back then was my natural colour. 

We’re parents now, with Sarah turning 22 this year. We’re both very different, but in many other important ways, we haven’t changed a bit. Most importantly, we still intend spending the rest of our lives together – and after all this time, I’m thinking that we’re doing alright.

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Author: Jo

I write, I bake, I chase sunrises.

30 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo –
    Your wedding photos are gorgeous!
    I recently saw an (old) interview with Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. The interviewer asked them what they believed to be the secret to a good marriage. Their #1 reply was the ability to travel well together. Looks like you two have that nailed!
    Happy Anniversary!!!

    1. We’ve certainly been practising the travelling together thing over the years, but yes, it’s the practicalities that seem important when it comes to longevity.

  2. Happy anniversary, Jo! Love your wedding photos and you two still have the same happy smiles. Congratulations! #lovin’lifelinky

  3. Happy anniversary! Those photos of you and your hubby are so good! Congratulations on 26 (or 31) years. If you are like me, you wonder where the time went. I love your description – your hubby is the one you want to travel with. Mine is that for me too!

    1. I have no idea where the time has gone. It feels as though it was always us. I guess that’s a good thing.

  4. Wow! What a stunning wedding dress Jo. And I agree being good travel companions is a huge box tick. It works for us too. Enjoy your day xx

  5. What a lovely post! Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! It is so strange seeing you with dark hair. Love the full & bouncy 80’s hair style. You looked beautiful on your wedding day and you still look beautiful now. It’s so lovely you still like each other and are such good friends. xo

    1. Awww thanks. I find it strange looking at pics from back then with my hair colour so different. And yes, we do still like each other.

    1. Thanks! I really didn’t want anything white and long and veilly but there you go and I loved it.

    1. I also find it interesting the comfortable pragmatism in a long marriage that you mention- Alain De Botton talked about it in a podcast I listened to this week.

  6. Happy Anniversary!! I think that any marriage that’s gone the distance must have weathered a few storms along the way. Some might have hit bigger storms (although a select few have clear sailing all the way – lucky ducks!) but we all push through and it deepens the relationship. My husband and I are very different, but we have the same base values and an abiding love and respect for each other, and also I think we’re getting too old to be bothered arguing over the petty stuff these days! AND who wants to start looking for a replacement at our age??!

  7. Happy Anniversary, Joanne! Your smiles warm my heart.

    I do wonder about the whole marriage thing, especially with all of this togetherness these past two months. I love and concur with your two points. Another great point, being able to travel with someone. Your quote about eating was truly a laugh out loud.

    Joanne, did you know my husband and I met working in a bank in the Yukon. Twenty minutes later we were sharing a house together. Separate story.

    Exceptionally beautiful photos!

    Everything sounds nicer in French. xx

    1. Now that’s a story I’d love to hear – twenty minutes later! And yes, everything sounds better in french.

  8. Happy anniversary! Always a good thing when the one you pick ends up an excellent choice. May in Canberra for a wedding – you are a risk taker. Glad you got a nice sunny day.

  9. Happy anniversary, you love birds. Gosh, you have both aged well and gracefully. Your wedding dress was so elegant and looks like the perfect fit despite only one rushed fitting. You have probably lasted this long, in part because you were friends first. You genuinely liked each other. And then all the other stuff came long. Wishing you many more years of friendship and love.

    1. Awww thanks. I got pretty lucky with the fit, although was determined that if it wasn’t finished I was just going to go into the department store and buy a nice suit – something my husband was not impressed about. He wanted me to look like a bride – even if it was just for one day. Seriously though, friendship is such an important part of the equation.

  10. Happy anniversary!!!!!! 26 years. Amazing
    I love your two dot points about your marriage:
    We still like each other
    We’re far better together than we are not together

    That right there is words to live by. I think you’ve found the secret.

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