19 years ago today Joshua and I got married at City Hall. The guy who married us was a judge who looked like Norm from “Cheers”. My friend Anna was our witness. The entire ceremony took less than 2 minutes.
On the day we were married, Joshua and I had known each other almost exactly four months.
Yes, four months.
People often don’t believe me when I tell them that fact now, nineteen years and two kids down the road. And I almost don’t believe it myself. Mostly because I can’t believe I’m old enough to have been married for 19 years…
There were many reasons people thought it wouldn’t work. Joshua is from Israel and people warned me of the massive cultural differences we would have to overcome. He’s Jewish, I’m not. (Although neither of us are religious, so I never gave that one much thought.) He would want to live in Israel. We didn’t really know each other. He was using me for his green card. I was marrying him for his money. (“Money” being a relative term; I had none and he worked 24 hours a day as a locksmith and made what seemed a fortune to me. Nonetheless and despite the rumors, I was not interested in him for the cash.)
I suppose people meant well – don’t they always – but they were all wrong. Oh that’s not to say we haven’t had our ups and at least a couple of pretty severe downs, but the problems didn’t stem from our cultural differences or that we hadn’t known each other long when we married. They came from life and the fact that, as Maggie Smith’s character says on Downton Abbey “Marriage is a long business…”
Marriage isn’t easy. It won’t ever be all “rainbows and unicorns”. The person you marry isn’t perfect and those little nagging habits will not magically evaporate once you are legally joined as a couple. (If anything, they get worse and more annoying). What you need to determine is if you can love the person despite all their personal foibles and annoying habits.
With Joshua, I always knew that I could.
Our anniversaries are typically low key occasions, as was our wedding day. The week before we got married I bought our gold bands at a jewelry bodega on Canal Street for $200. On the day of our wedding my friend Anna picked me up from work (yes, I worked a 1/2 day the day I got married) and we had lunch at Jerry’s Restaurant on Prince Street before heading down to City Hall, where we met Joshua who had also spent the morning working.
Then Norm married us and we went back to Jerry’s for coffee.
Nineteen years later I wouldn’t change a thing. Our life is the best it’s ever been. This morning we woke up to find a card from our kids along with two small heart boxes of chocolate. They’d snuck out to the living room after we were all in bed and set it up.
That’s a party enough for me.
I suppose next year we might actually plan something. After all, 20 years is cause for celebration. But I try to celebrate every day – every small good thing that happens, because those are the really important things and the things people tend to forget amid the bustle of life.
Here’s to my ‘perfect for me’ husband. Looking forward to the next 19 years…