For five years Laurel and I have been building up to our ultimate nyah, nyah, you're so wrong! retort to Dr. Laura Schlesinger, the advice guru who is fond of reducing complex and mysterious human relationships to simplistic sound bites.
Back in 2004 I warmed up with "14th anniversary -- take that Dr. Laura!" I noted that Laurel and I had known each other for about eight months before we got married, and I proposed within four months.
A no-no for Dr. Laura, especially since I'd recently ended an eighteen year marriage. I said:
Ridiculous. A point I repeated last year on St. Patrick's Day in "18th anniversary -- Dr. Laura is even more wrong."
However, my gloating couldn't be complete, because my first marriage lasted a few months longer than 18 years. Thus I had to say:
This anniversary means a lot to me. I was married a bit more than eighteen years in my first martial go-around, which ended in divorce. So Laurel and I soon will be together longer than Sue and I were.
I don't know if there's any generalizable lesson to be drawn from this except: if at first a marriage doesn't succeed, try again.
Second time around, hopefully you'll have learned something about how two people can live together without driving each other crazy.
As Laurel and I have managed to do, against Dr. Laura's odds.
Really do, as of yesterday. Nineteen years! Like I said on my other blog last night...
Growth and increased understanding come with experience. That's why second choices usually turn out better than first choices.
For sure -- here's lovely Laurel (photo taken a few years before I met her, but she still looks remarkably youthful and much the same to my eyes).
You'll note that often those who make so many hard and fast rules about relationships are those who don't have a successful one themselves. I remember being positively attacked by people when I would talk about my plans to marry my husband -- we were both very young and had met even younger. To hear them, we were making the most monumental mistake of our lives.
We're coming up on 20 years together in a few months! 17 of those married. We met when I was just 17, and he 18. It wasn't always easy, but after initial growing pains (which were more about us learning to grow into adults, and not with relating to one another) it's been onward and upward since then, better every year.
Posted by: lavachickie | March 18, 2009 at 03:23 PM
Beautiful photo of Laurel. Congratulations to both of you on making it work
Posted by: Rain | March 19, 2009 at 08:24 AM
I have an aversion to younger chicks grabbing older men-regardless of the 19 years spent with Sue--the best years of Sue's life were devoted to YOU--think on these things--no offense intended.I've done the sant Mat route too-so I can see both sides clearly.I remember at Beas-everyone reading your book-"God's Whisper,Creation's Thunder-I have a copy too-best of luck-vinny152
Posted by: Jennifer Morrison | March 25, 2009 at 08:04 PM
Jennifer, I see nothing wrong with divorcing. Especially when, as in our case, it was a mutual decision; with no affair, abuse, or other nasty contentious situation involved; merely a growing apart of two people who were right for each other at first, and then weren't.
Also, the age difference between Sue and Laurel, wives one and two, is very little -- less than two years. Sue is slightly older than me; Laurel is slightly younger. However, I'm sure Laurel appreciates being called a "younger chick." She does indeed look quite a bit younger than her years.
I do my best to help out by looking gray and grizzled, which makes Laurel appear more youthful when she's next to me, whereas actually we're about the same age.
Posted by: Brian | March 25, 2009 at 09:34 PM