Jewish Journal


January 9, 2013

Happy Anniversary, John Barnes



Last week my husband and I reached our 10th wedding anniversary. One might expect me to say we “celebrated” it, but I avoided that word on purpose. We both worked a full day that day, after which I participated in a meeting at the synagogue. I then came home, chatted a bit with my husband, and then went up to bed. Not exactly a celebration.

You see, we don’t make a big deal about our anniversary. It would be a mistake, though, to try to read much of anything into that.

Ten years into our marriage, my husband still brings me flowers on random days. Not because he did anything wrong, or because we had a fight, or anything like that. He does it just because he knows I love flowers. That means a lot more to me than compulsory flowers delivered based on some date on the calendar.

After then years, we still have “slumber parties,” lying in bed at 2 or 3 am on a weeknight, sharing stories, laughing, and saying, “Ok, we have to go to sleep now,” before launching into another round of giggle-filled chatting.

For ten years, we have stuck meticulously to our “honesty policy,” meaning not just that we don’t lie to each other, but that we tell each other what we’re really thinking and feeling, even if we’re concerned the other person may not like it.

A corollary to this is the policy that we never make an offer we don’t want to fulfill. And we don’t say, “Would you like steak or chicken for dinner tonight” if we’d be upset about the other person choosing one over the other. All offers must be genuine, or they aren’t made.

Being married for ten years has given us both the opportunity to demonstrate that, any time the other one needs us, we will drop whatever we’re doing to give the other what s/he needs.

Being married to him means we tell each other, sincerely and often, how much we love each other. It means that when, a couple of years ago, the ER doctor called to tell me he thought my husband was having a heart attack and I thought, “If he dies before I get there, what was the last thing I said to him?” I was able to confidently assure myself it was, “I love you.”

These ten years have flown by so fast that, subjectively, I would have said we couldn’t possibly have been married for more than a year or two. It means I was surprised when someone said, “I guess you got past the seven year itch” and I realized we blew right by that one without a second thought. It feels like we’re just getting started, and, God willing, we are.

Happy anniversary John Barnes, and thanks for the best ten years of my life.

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