Fifteen years ago today, I hit the lifetime lottery. Hopefully, Budge feels the same way even if she’s had less of a reason to rejoice than I have all these years. We celebrate our 15th Anniversary today. The traditional gift for the fifteenth anniversary is crystal. I’ve thought about that some lately and I’ve come up with some thoughts about the Crystal Anniversary.
Crystal is fragile — just like a marriage. Now by that I don’t mean marriages (especially Budge and I) are about to fall apart anymore than I mean an expensive crystal vase is going to shatter just by sitting it on a table. When I say fragile, I’m talking about easy to break. No matter how good a marriage is, it’s easy to break. Break trust, break hearts, break a whole lot of things. Just like crystal, you can glue it back together but it won’t ever be the same. No, it’s much easier to keep things together in the first place rather than having to try fixing it. Thankfully . . . VERY thankfully, Budge and I haven’t had to reach for the glue.
Crystal comes in all shapes and sizes and crystal is useful for a plethora of different things. HOWEVER, crystal isn’t meant to do everything. Some jobs need steel. Some need paper. The important thing to remember is not to try forcing something onto an object that isn’t meant to take the stress. A marriage is wonderful. It’s an opportunity for love and warmth and intimacy that cannot be found ANYWHERE else. HOWEVER, a marriage isn’t meant to take the place of everything in the couple’s life.
Way too often, people marry and expect their spouse will NEVER change and will ALWAYS provide EVERYTHING necessary for happiness. Going into a marriage like that is begging for trouble and ultimately a divorce. Marriage isn’t the be all and end all. Couples need each other but they need friends and family too. Most of all, they need God. Remember, I’m a Christian and make no apologies for it so all my atheist friends will just have to skip this part. Trying to make a marriage fulfill a role in life that only God can fill is a disaster waiting to happen. Budge has told me more than once that she loves me, but she’s known all along that I can’t make her happy. It took me a few years before I understood what she meant.
Crystal has to be cared for to look its best. Put a crystal plate on the mantle and leave it. It’ll sparkle for a long time. It’ll look good even longer, but if you walk up to the mantle and look closely, you’ll see dust and dirt. Marriage is just like that. Leave it unattended too long and the dust and dirt start to accumulate. It’s much better to take the plate down and rinse it off with clear water and maybe a spritz of cleaner to keep the plate shiny. To keep a marriage shining, it takes regular cleaning and care.
Speaking of cleaning, here’s a little known and somewhat unpleasant fact. Vinegar is a great cleaner for fine crystal but it has a harsh smell and isn’t really fun and pleasant to work with. Marriages do better if they have a little “vinegar” every now and then. When everything is sugar and teacakes, you don’t really know what your spouse can handle. A good dose of vinegar sets your teeth on edge and shows the true mettle of the matter. My Budge and I have drunk our fair share of vinegar . . . and part of some other couple’s allotment as well — I’ve BEEN the vinegar in Budge’s glass more than once. Thankfully, the sour times have made the sweeter times just that much sweeter.
Finally, remember this if you remember nothing else. Someone will ALWAYS want your crystal. That vase you were once so proud of? Now it just doesn’t sparkle and you’ve gotten tired of it. SOMEONE WILL TAKE IT IF YOU LEAVE IT OUT. What you may be tired of is exactly what someone else is searching high and low to find. Something else I’ve figured out along the road . . . the BEST way to DESPERATELY need something is to get rid of it and see it in someone else’s possession. Hopefully, we’re all adults here and I don’t need to draw you a picture. Keep your crystal safe and clean and shining. Don’t start yearning for other vases and glasses and knickknacks. Yes, the grass does always look greener on the other side of the fence but that’s because it’s got more cowsh- well, you know what I mean. If you want a good marriage, work at it. Be where you are and quit wishing to be somewhere else.
When Budge and I started dating, our relationship was very complicated for a multitude of reasons. I can’t tell you how many people, including members of our families, didn’t give us a chance. A good many people claimed we’d never make it. In fact, within 18 months of our wedding, eight other couples in our church at the time married. Of the nine total couples, only four of us are still married to the same spouse. Budge and I are one of them 🙂
No matter what people said, we’re still here. Still standing. Still together.
Still crazy after all these years.
Happy Anniversary to my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, and my favorite snugglebunny.
I love you, Budge.