First, can we all believe this is Happy Couple Blog Post number 250? Happy birthday or anniversary or milestonersary -- or whatever you call it - to the WHCD blogspot! Big. Yay!!! That's huge. I know, right?
And how perfectly appropriate to honor our 250th post with what I (Carol here) think is one of the best stories - surely ever on this blog - about the hard work of creating ourselves as happy couples.
Here's the story:
It's about a gal name Bridget and a guy named Jim. They met, married, and struggled. They fought, laughed and loved. They enjoyed life and toiled away. They had three healthy and gorgeous kids, worked hard on their careers and worked even harder on being a happy couple. They compromised, insisted and opined. They moved half way and then all the way across the country … and even out of the country … then back … and moved again (even when one wanted to stay and the other said "get me out of this place!") They donated their time and talents, all over the globe. They put the time into each other. And tons into their kids and friendship. They argued some more. They were happy, mad, grateful, and irked. Sometimes all at once. But they continued to work HARD - with the help of friends, family and inspiration grabbed wherever it was readily available - at staying married and being happy.
And guess what? Were they always successful at the happy part? Nope. But are they continuing to work on it? Yep! And what did they decide to do to do a few weeks ago to acknowledge and shine a big, bright light on their 20 years of full, hard, wonderful, crazy, awesome, difficult marriage and family work? THROW A BIGGGGG PARTY (I want to say big ass party, but is that appropriate for a professor type like me to say that? Oops. Just did.)
They threw the most lovely, joy-filled, lift-your-spirits, make you cry, dance-all-night, give you goosebumps because they gathered all of their closest friends and family -- everyone who has helped them get to this point in their coupleness -- PARTY. They dusted off their two-decade-ago wedding attire and put it on! They hired a photographer. Set up tents. Sent out brilliant invitations. Assigned us all seats so we could get to know the other special people in their current/past/future lives. And set the scene for a river-side evening of lights, music, the most delicious food, friends, laughter, drink, dancing, more laughing, fireworks (for real), skylanterns (oh so very awesome-a-sight), and, well, celebrating the 20-year-marriage of one very cool couple.
How absolutely inspiring is that?
And from their choice to celebrate comes key lessons:
In the words of my dear friend Bridget when I asked her if I could tell her story and blog about their anniversary celebration: "As long as you somehow include that we have worked hard and struggled mightily for this marriage and family and that every bit of it has been worth it but NOT easy! I feel so much that we are not told how hard it is going to be to be married to someone - even when you LOVE them. And I really wanted to have this party because we seem to "celebrate" the sad stuff far to often lately and sometimes you need to combat the sad with a crazy big LOVE party!"
Jim and Bridget, if you're reading or even if you're not, I personally and professionally must thank you for sharing your story with couples everywhere (the not-so-happy/happy/very happy/sorta happy ... all of us and everything in between). For our challenge is to know and be taught and re-taught that being a happy couple is about DOing what it takes to make it that way. Every day. You two represent the best and greatest of What Happy Couples Do because you keep at it. Make adjustments. Tweak. Cherish. Enjoy. And are willing to embrace the struggle. AND say it out loud, so others in the middle of it know they're not weird or alone. You've stayed the course. You've been a model. And you're in it for the long, long haul.
Great work, you two.
And thanks for the LOVE party! It was, in every way, the most lovely evening of the summer.
Oh, and here's a great P.S. to the story; there's so much to tell!
The image at the top of this entry is greeting card given long ago (age properly noted by the many pinholes, one sign of how far this little dose of wisdom has traveled and hung and re-hung). Yes, it was from lovely Jim to his lovely bride Bridget. And guess where it is now? Indeed, front and center on their kitchen's bulletin board, an ongoing aide-mémoire of all that is and shall be. And soooo true, Shakespeare. So true.
[All party photos by the fabulous Katie Worple. Check out her incredible work ... and hire her! ... at www.katieworple.com]