How did we celebrate? Well, we went camping. Actually, we went moose hunting and stayed in a tent while we were in the bush. Yes, I am a romantic genius. Actually, it is interesting how this unique anniversary trip happened. (And btw, no moose were harmed in the celebrating of our marriage. Not yet.)
For years I have hunted and Kristin has not. We have always, since our courting days, canoed; more recently we began hiking.
One day this spring we were out hiking along the Peace River and I asked Kristin if she was enjoying herself. She said she certainly was! I pointed out that what we were doing- walking along through the gullies along game trails, looking for signs of animals as well as the animals themselves- was exactly what we would be doing if we were hunting, though in the latter case we would be carrying guns. I said “If you enjoy this you will enjoy hunting.”
Shortly thereafter, of her own volition, Kristin took the CORE course which gave her the right to buy a hunting license. We applied for a shared moose hunt and were drawn; hence the anniversary celebration.
And yes, it was a good time. We saw a timber wolf, lots of grouse, a rabbit, a toad, and millions of blueberries- hundreds of which were eaten. We slept in a tent in the rain, which is one of the best sleeps you will ever have. We saw some beautiful new country, and we spent several days alone, just the two of us, unrushed. And I think it was a good enough time that we will hunt together again.
As the years have gone on, the number of joint pursuits in our relationship has increased: from canoeing to hiking, from reading to prayer, from fishing to hunting, and now, plotting ways to see our granddaughter again soon!
I think back with gratitude to one of two the pieces of advice my mother gave me prior to our marriage: She said “You will have kids, but one day they will leave. When that day comes, make sure you and Kristin still have a relationship with each other.” We do, mom.
On one level 28 years doesn’t seem like a long time, not when I know so many who have cracked 40 or 50 years. Yet it also seems like it is increasingly rare. I don’t think there are any secrets to a long and happy marriage, but there are some keys. And if anyone ever asks me what the key is, I will say “Forgiveness.” In a long term relationship, marriage or otherwise, you will hurt each other. For the relationship to continue you will need to forgive each other. And to truly forgive each other you need to know that you have been forgiven.
What’s your one liner of advice for people who want a long and happy marriage?