Best Friends

Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts, October 1994
Marry your best friend.

I do not say that lightly.

Really, truly find the strongest,

Happiest friendship

In the person you fall in love with.

Someone who speaks highly of you.

Someone you can laugh with.

The kind of laughs that make

Your belly ache, and your nose snort.

The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs.

Wit is important.

Life is too short not to love someone

Who lets you be a fool with them.

Make sure they are somebody

Who lets you cry, too.

Despair will come.

Find someone that you want

To be there with you

Through those times.

Most importantly,

Marry the one that makes passion,

Love, and madness combine

And course through you.
A love that will never dilute –

Even when the waters get deep, and dark.


For Better or Worse


Oh, those pesky vows. How they can interfere with one’s selfish pursuits.

Shortly before I married my husband, 22 years ago next month, one of my former co-workers stood in front of me. She was middle-aged and divorced. Giving me a smirky smile, she said, ‘Oh, you think he’s so perfect now. Check back in ten years when the magic’s worn off. Believe me, it disappears.’

Thanks for that, I replied. And I’m sorry your marriage didn’t last, but bestowing your bitterness on me didn’t work. I reflected on that exchange this week as I’ve been thinking about marriage. Commitment. Vows.

Jim and I met up with a couple from New York earlier this week. Sometimes we only see them once a year, but it’s always enjoyable. They’ve been married for longer then we have. They’re two pieces of a puzzle, they’re just both.

Then there’s the woman who, after thirty-odd years of marriage. is still gushy over her husband. It’s sweet, yes, and a bit off-putting sometimes. But she can still get corny after thirty years with the same man, so who can find fault, really?

‘In sickness and in health’

The guy who acts like a seven-year-old when he has the flu. The woman who is unbearable once a month. And now, as I see more and more frequently, the partner with a life-threatening illness. Every day can’t be sunshine and flowers. Every relationship is tested during the most difficult times – illness, financial challenges, raising children. That’s also when a marriage can be at its strongest. Stresses are everywhere. Saying “I Do” means saying “I Will.” I will love you even on the days I don’t like you. I will laugh with you, not at you. I will support you and respect you. I will stand by you, no matter what. And I will love growing old with you.


Each Day is Valentine’s Day

My husband and I first met on a blind date.  We were fixed up by a mutual friend (someone who, ironically, is no longer a friend).  He had telephoned me on this day in 1994, and, after the dreaded obligatory small talk, asked if I’d like to have lunch with him.  Lunch is good for a first date, much better than dinner, in my opinion.  Lunch meant I would have to get back to work within the hour.  So I agreed.

“How about Monday then?” he asked.  I didn’t say anything right away.

Then I said, “You’re kidding, right?”  Silence.  “I’m not having our first date on Valentine’s Day!  Too much pressure!”

I laughed it off, but really, I’d experienced plenty of miserable Valentine’s Days in the previous twenty years, and I wasn’t about to risk yet another.  And he didn’t realize it was Valentine’s Day.  So we agreed to meet for lunch in downtown Providence the Friday after Valentine’s Day.  Four months later we were engaged, and four months after that we were married.

Since then, Valentine’s Day has offered us both sweet and heartbreaking memories: violent stomach bugs, flu, a disastrous getaway, a new puppy, miscarriage.   February 14th is really just a day.  Show some love (to anyone: a parent, child, pet, stranger!), try to avoid the nonsense, make dinner reservations for the 13th or the 15th.  Seriously.

Make every day Valentine’s Day.