Forty-four Years

Forty-four years of marriage has its own rhythm.

It’s seeing your husband and thinking, I know you.

It’s finding value—lots of it—in difference.

It’s laughing the easiest and the longest together.

It’s knowing the ways that marriage is both less and more than you thought it was:

less score-keeping, less candlelight, less drama;

more small acts of kindness, more true.

It’s looking at your husband with the same kind of how lucky am I awe.

It’s holding hands, quick apologies, and forgotten compromises.

It’s more listening and less talking.

It’s feeling secure and sated in your marriage.

You realize there are more years behind you than there are ahead.

You accept certain vices—talking to yourself, that chocolate addiction, your stubborn

streak—as intractable.

You face the frailty of family and friends and come to terms with the truism that every

day on earth is a gift.

Forty-four years of marriage is:

well-worn routines,

remembering when,

balancing comfort with skating on the edge,

having no more parents,

going to more funerals than weddings,

confidence in the Way You Do Things

yet aware how much is uncertain;

content with uncertainties,

comfortable letting it all hang out,

and forty-four years of marriage is a long pour of red wine after sundown.

It’s waking at four a.m. to the contemplative quiet of early morning, before anyone.

It’s imagining one more grandbaby, one more warm, soft baby against your slackening

skin—and it’s knowing that most things aren’t about you.

Forty-four years of marriage is its own ephemeral incandescence, achingly bittersweet,

and vanishingly transient.

It is something to celebrate.


Note—A “found” poem: inspired by, and with thanks to Galit Breen’s This Is 39, Lindsey Mead’s This is 38, and Dina L. Relles’ This is 35.