30 years and counting: Surviving the marriage odds

Thirty years ago today Eric and I said “I do” and promised to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others until death do us part. As we stood before family and friends in the church I grew up in, I’m not sure we thought too much about the gravity of what we were saying. Boy, were we in for a reality check.

Marriage is hard work and anyone who tells you otherwise is simply lying. Sure, there are good times, but there is just as much bad and messy. In fact, those wedding vows are a pretty accurate predictor of what marriage is like. There have been times when there was so much anger between us that chucking it all seemed more attractive than forgiveness. We’ve experienced lean years in which we had to pinch pennies and we’ve been blessed with times of no financial worries. We’ve enjoyed the joy of raising our daughter and the heartache of losing all four parents. And we have known the fear and uncertainty that accompany a life-threatening illness.

Our marriage began nine years after we met in a college communications class. We hung out during college, but I wouldn’t really call it dating. That didn’t start until 1985 when Eric reached out to reconnect after hearing me on the radio.

Our first real date couldn’t start until I finished writing the news story about a shooting on a local college campus. Eric waited patiently in the newsroom as I worked. He also had to wait for me to finish work the night he proposed. In fact, when I look back on the date nights, anniversaries, holidays and many other family celebrations of the last 30+ years, it seems as if Eric has always been waiting for me to finish work. He might have asked that I please hurry up, but I don’t ever recall him complaining about it. I didn’t know it at the time, but that first date foretold the kind of partner Eric would be.

Eric says our defiance of the marriage odds is due to perseverance — a commitment to making sure we don’t fail. I credit our survival to Eric. He puts up with all that is me. He forgives quicker. He is better at admitting when he is wrong. And, like that first date, he is always there.

We have created a wonderful life over the last three decades. We have a roof over our heads, a beautiful and smart daughter, our health, supportive family and friends, many happy memories and a whole lot of love. We laugh. We cry. We fight. We make up. It can be messy and maybe even a little weird to those looking in from the outside, but it is our life.

This anniversary is a big one and it deserves to be recognized in a big way. Our original plan was a trip to Italy, but that plan is on the shelf while we make our way through another one of those worse times mentioned in the wedding vows. You see, since April I have been in transition, which is a fluffy way to say I am out of work. Like the rough patches of the past we will get through this. In the meantime, a week in Italy has been replaced with several low and no cost outings throughout August, a weekend in New Orleans and a nice dinner out tonight. This time Eric won’t have to wait for me to finish work.

Janice is a public affairs/public relations strategist. Her most recent position was as chief policy officer/director of communications for the mayor’s office in Houston, Texas. She is actively seeking new opportunities. You can find out more about her at http://www.jevansdavis.com or via her social media links below.