My cup runneth over.

Today, August 20 2018, is our wedding anniversary. We have been married for 42 years.

When one looks back from the vantage point of a long marriage on your thoughts as you started out it’s rather alarming how blithely you set off on that perilous journey; how little you really knew your partner, and how lucky you were that it turned out well.

There’s a kind of instinct about your choice. You know when you meet the man that you will marry that he is indeed the one, and you realise that you never felt this before. I had no doubts that he was the man for me and I consulted no-one in deciding this. From time to time people have asked me, Should I marry so-and-so, and I’ve always said, No, not if you have to ask other people. The Irish poem quoted below, Bridthat individual determination to have this wife and no other and to disregard all opposition.

There are many roles enacted by marriage partners – lover, parent, colleague, fellow traveller, social partner, business associate etc and these make a rich relationship, but I think the most important and lasting one is that of friend. It’s important that you like and value your spouse as well as love them. I’m interested in John’s opinion on all matters. We agree broadly on most things. I used to think that differences of political opinion did not matter, but I came to see that they do (to me anyway). But although it is good to be of the same outlook in life, there has to be room for differences of opinion and the tolerance to get along regardless. It would be very boring if your views were exactly the same.

You have to want the same kind of life too. It’s no good if one of you wants a smallholding with chickens and goats and the other wants a city apartment with no kitchen. It helps if you establish this early in the relationship!

The other thing you should recognise is that every marriage is completely different (although they all have things in common) and it is almost impossible to understand how other people’s marriages actually work. You look at the wife and you think, what on earth does he see in her? Probably she’s looking at you and wondering exactly the same.

In the beginning you perhaps idealise your partner, but as you mature you come to recognise that he/she is not perfect (and that you may have one or two minor failings!) but you can forgive them their weaknesses and trust that they will overlook yours.

All that matters in the end is that your partner in life treats you with affection and respect, and that you honour the promises you made.

We went to Brighton Marina and had lunch, accompanied by our lovely grandson, Ewan.

My cup runneth over.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Bridin Vesey (translated by Donagh Macdonagh.)

This is the opening verse. I can provide the other two should anyone wish them.

I would marry Bridin Vesey
Without a shoe or petticoat
A comb, a cloak or dowry
Or even one clean shift..
And I would make novena
Or imitate the hermits
Who spend their lives in fasting
All for a Christmas gift.
Oh cheek like dogwood fruiting
O cuckoo of the mountain,
I would send the darkness packing
If you would rise and go
Against the ban of clergy
And the sour lips of your parents
And take me at an altar stone
In spite of all Mayo.