Two Simple Rules for Staying Married for 32 Years

Today, I celebrate my thirty-second wedding anniversary. It’s crazy to think that I’ve spent more than half my life with the lovely Deb Dagenais.

Where did the time go?

Thirty-two years… How does one stay married for so long? It’s simple — not easy, mind you — just simple. Follow these two rules…

Rule #1: You have to pick the right dance partner

The most important factor is picking the right person. My friend Al likes to say that 90% of the success of a play is casting the right people for the roles. And the same holds true in picking a partner to spend the rest of your life with. You have to pick the right person. For you.

I frequently remind myself how lucky I am to be married to Deb. She is loving and caring. She’s funny and sexy. She is the woman of my dreams made physical.

Deb and I met while rehearsing a play. We were cast as husband and wife. Initially, I was attracted to her but then I got annoyed with her and lost interest.  Then slowly, I became friends with her. And as I got to know her better, I fell in love with her; which was a different feeling than my initial attraction to her. By the time the play was finished, I was smitten.

It took a bit of effort on my part to convince Deb that she was smitten too. To be honest, I think of all the things I’ve done in my life, I put the most work into presenting my best qualities and getting to know Deb better. It wasn’t difficult, but I don’t think I have put as much effort into anything else since then. Fortunately, after a few months of dating, Deb succumbed to my charms. And within two years, life imitated art and we got married. The actors who played husband and wife on stage, became husband and wife off stage.

Rule #2: Love is an action, not a feeling

That glorious feeling of “being in love” when you first start going out doesn’t last forever. It’s intoxicating and wonderful. But it isn’t meant to last. It’s to get you together and build a bond. Love is something stronger and more fulfilling. Love is about giving, not taking.

The initial infatuation is something that happens to you and you have little control over it. But when you truly love someone, you realize you express it in the actions you take. The things you do for that other person.

Obviously, this shouldn’t only be one-sided. If it is, go back to Rule Number 1.

Deb and I wrote our own wedding vows and I review mine regularly. For a few years, I would review them every single week. I’m getting back into the habit of reviewing them weekly. It’s a good reminder to think of the commitments I made. And not to take things for granted.

Love is a funny thing. The more you give, the more you get. But you have to give it to get it. And I find that when I do loving things (like watching a TV show that she likes but I’m not crazy about or making her breakfast in bed), it not only makes Deb feel loved, but it makes me feel good, too.

If I’m lucky, I’ll get another thirty-two years to keep putting love into action.

I’ll end this with my wedding vows.  They are as relevant and meaningful today as when I first said them thirty-two years ago…

I love Deb more with each passing day,
and so I make these pledges to her:

I promise to be true to her alone,
to love and honour her for the rest of my life,
to help her realize her potential,
to stand by her in her joys and sorrows,
and to continually reaffirm my love for her by constant communication.

Happy Anniversary, Deb! ❤


© 2020 Peter Gruner

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