Through the magic of the interwebs: Yesterday's newspaper column, today! You can read the whole thing -- about my long marriage to a publicity-shy person -- after the jump.
No Scenes from a Marriage
By Edward Cone
News & Record
Chances are that my wife and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary last week.
Don’t get me wrong, I know the date. And even if I didn’t have it etched in my heart, I have it etched inside my wedding band.
True story: Once I was invited to speak to a local Rotary club, which as part of its regular program allows members to stand up and announce good news. One guy reported that it was his wedding anniversary, whereupon I saw another guy slip off his ring and squint at the tiny writing inside to make sure he wasn’t forgetting something important.
So, anyway, I know the date on which Lisa and I were married in 1989, and even if I forgot it and the finger with the crib-sheet ring on it was, say, bitten off as I wrestled Gollum at the edge of a volcano, there would still be a spate of stories in The New York Times each year about the upcoming anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square, the news of which we awoke to on our wedding day, and so I would get a heads-up no matter what.
Not that I in any way equate marriage with the bloody suppression of democracy. Or that I mean endorse the old sit-com dad stereotype of a guy who forgets his anniversary, when in fact I am a fairly sentimental sort who remembers stuff like that with no problem.
I’m just being cautious when I say “chances are” the anniversary was celebrated, because I file this column on Tuesday and the anniversary was not until Thursday, and journalists are supposed to be careful about assuming things will happen as scheduled. Remember when Mitch Albom wrote that column about seeing some guys at the Final Four, and then it turned out those guys never made it to Final Four? That’s the kind of situation I’m trying to finesse here.
Look, the odds are pretty good that we celebrated our anniversary on Thursday. You have to think that if Lisa has stuck with me this long, she stuck with me at least to the big Two-Oh. But I can’t tell you about it, because of the whole linear nature of time thing, and, to be frank, I can’t tell you that much about the twenty years of marriage, either.
Not that I haven’t been paying attention. But remember the first rule of Fight Club? You don’t talk about Fight Club. Well, the first rule of being married to Lisa is that you don’t talk about being married to Lisa. Yes, I just compared my marriage to Fight Club. After the Tiananmen Square thing, what did I have to lose?
Anyway, despite the semi-exhibitionist nature of columnizing and blogging, I do maintain a private life, and Lisa is a lot happier being a part of that private life than being a character in someone else’s work. She lets me publish her photographs at my blog and she’s okay with the occasional cameo in a column about the kids or the dog, and she once wrote down a family recipe for spaghetti sauce that I included in a column, but that’s about it. I can tell you that we laugh a lot, but not what we laugh about.
Here’s the thing, though – Lisa is an invisible hand behind this column, and the column itself, when it works, is a reflection of our family values. There’s a basic conservatism to my worldview that’s rooted in and reinforced by the success of our marriage, and the long marriages of which we both are products: I believe, based on first-hand experience, that strong families give people their best shot at happiness and success, and also knit the fabric of a healthy society. (Like Dick Cheney, who spoke out last week in favor of gay marriage, we don’t think these family values are exclusive to heterosexuals.)
So that’s what I’ve got for you, after what is almost certainly at this point twenty years and three days of marriage: find someone special and work hard at your relationship, and with some luck you’ll be able to say, year after year, Happy Anniversary.
© News & Record 2009