My wife (Nita) and I recently celebrated a milestone anniversary—our silver 25th. I know that many of my fellow boomers have long passed this signpost of life, but that doesn’t detract from spending a quarter of a century with Nita. More appropriately, I should submit she’s put up with me for this long!
When you live with someone for so many years, you tend to reflect on how much you learned about this person, and, more importantly, from this person. I’d like to share a few of these items with you. Speaking from the male point of view, I’m sure many of my male counterparts will affirm these random musings.
1. I always knew that women had “that look,” the one where you know you stand zero chance of changing their mind—twenty-five years of marriage have slightly amended my definition of “the look.” What is really means is: We’re going to do this, so “JUST DO IT…NOW!”
2. Many men think they’re capable partners in keeping a home clean. Guys, forget this notion—you may be neat, but a woman is the true arbiter of “clean.” I have a habit of always letting Nita know what I’ve done that day in the housekeeping arena, so she knows I’m trying to share in the chores. I’ll always receive a “thanks hon” for my efforts, but they barely scratch the surface of my wife’s cleaning energy.
3. When many women go through menopause, their bodies begin to change—in their view , not for the better. This is the marital stage when guys begin to hear weekly utterances from their spouse that they are beginning to look like their mother. My mother-in-law, recently deceased, was one tough cookie—so I’ve learned the best response for when Nita complains about how much she’s now looking like her mother: “Honey, as long as you share you mother’s looks, but not her attitude, I’m a happy camper.”
4. A bylaw of this “change of life” chapter is the proportionate increase in the amount of times husbands are asked: “Does this dress make me look fat.” Guys, you’re on your own here, but the first word out of your mouth better be “no.”
5. We’ve been fortunate enough to have paid-off our mortgage (about thirteen months ago)—I always thought this would be a moment of joy—wrong again; it’s actually just the beginning of wives’ laundry list of home improvements that basically constitute re-doing your entire home. Can’t we guys have a respite of peace over no more mortgage payments instead of thinking about home equity loans?
6. There have been myriad instances that have taught me that most wives have memories like an elephant; most husbands have memories like a sieve.
7. I’ve come to the gradual realization that when Nita is out of town on business, I have no trouble going to bed alone…it’s waking-up alone that’s hell. This is a moment that defines the difference between “alone” and “lonely.” Twenty-five years of sharing my wife’s bed has never been boring.
8. Finally, and most notably, is the absolute truth that women actually have another “that look.” It’s that soft doe-eyed turn-of-the-head look that can make an iceberg melt—the one that professes “I love you more now than ever”—after twenty-five years it can still get me teary-eyed, and that’s when I realize that silver is actually golden.