What Makes a Marriage Last

Marriage is not merely sharing the fettucini, but sharing the burden of finding the fettucini restaurant in the first place.
– Calvin Trillin –

The Car Guy and I recently celebrated our 41st Wedding Anniversary. Arriving shortly after Christmas, and just before New Years, our Anniversary is easily overlooked by all… even the small delegation that wished us well on our wedding day, while shaking their heads at the naive young couple who were starting life together with a single asset –  a 1958 Chev Bel Aire 4 door sedan that cost $150.

Forty one years later, the Car Guy has seen many vehicles pass through the garage doors. He remembers the significant events of our life together by what he was driving at the time. The big New Yorker hauled the 16 foot Shasta trailer with wings on family camping trips. The Dodge MaxiVan ferried the family around Texas during our year of residence there. The Fargo truck still makes runs to the dump, a reminder of the days when it hauled grain from the family farm. A sleek BMW was the week-end warrior that accompanied us all around England. And today a nice little diesel Jeep ploughs through Canadian snowdrifts with impunity. There have been, are, and will be other vehicles in his life. But there is only one wife.

I remember the significant events of our life together by the house we lived in at the time. Each child was a baby in a particular house, and none of them were babies in the same house. Friends were found, trees were planted and groups were joined everywhere we moved.  The Car Guy came close to “checking out” when we lived in a compound house in the Middle East. A child was very sick here at the Red House. There have been so many houses, there will possibly be other houses. But there is only one husband.

What sticks two people together for 41 years? I wish I could say there is some magical ingredient that keeps two people bonded. But I don’t think there is. Each couple is different. For the Car Guy, maybe I am the engine that he knows he can always depend on to keep running. For me, maybe the Car Guy is the roof over my head – a roof that never blows off in a storm.  Or maybe we just signed a paper 41 years ago that said “till death us do part” and we’re both determined to outlast the other…

4 thoughts on “What Makes a Marriage Last

  1. Love this one. My wife is in your age bracket and I’m 18 years her junior. 2011 marks 13 years married and 17 years together. We hope to move on to our second house this year, too. We’ve co-owned 4 vehicles, 2 of which are still with us.

    Wishing you many more happy years together.


    1. If the Car Guy and I live to the same age as our fathers are now, then we should see our 64th Wedding Anniversary. I can’t even begin to guess how many more vehicles will pass through the garage doors, nor how many more houses we will live in!

      Wishing you and your wife many happy years together too!


  2. I think it is wonderful that you and your husband have been together for 41 years! At times I am not certain as to what the glue is that holds my marriage together other than to say that we are both bound and determined to make it work no matter what. I hope that in 36 years I can be writing about my own 41 years. This is a great post. It makes me smile to know that there are people who do in fact make it work by allowing the engine to never die and leaving the roof securely in place.


    1. Hi FR – I think the key words in your comment are ‘make it work’! Relationships aren’t always smooth sailing and it is the efforts of both parties that get the marriage through the rough waters!


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