by Dave Markwell

Well, Feel Good Friday, March 23rd, 2012, is mine and my wife’s nine year wedding anniversary. I thought this event worthy of some note. As I reflect upon the life we have shared these years…oh boy…much water has passed beneath our respective bridges. New kids and careers and successes and failures have shaped a different world for both of us. Some is good and some is ok, but all is life.

Marriage is a hard business. Add a couple of kids and the challenges compound exponentially. What “was” is changed. Not necessarily for the worse, but changed. All change involves a certain amount of accommodation and concession….and HOW!!! But, this is good.

All evolution involves some struggle and this struggle and survival makes us better. A marriage is a dynamic and elusive search for balance. It is giving and taking and trying and holding fast. We change what we can and hope the spouse can forgive the stuff we can’t. We are what we are, but a spouse reveals what we can be. While this endeavor is not painless, it is worth it and I have gained much. I am better for my nine years married to my wife. I am not so sure she is, but I am. My laundry list of “necessary upgrades” is longer than hers, which may make it easier for me to define the ways I am better. I probably needed improvement more than she did.

The most grizzled burro has nothing on me when it comes to stubbornness, but even the burro understands when he is over-matched. I am over-matched. Through simple and mindful attrition, my wife was able to maintain a steady line leading me in the direction she wanted me to go. Don’t be confused, this line is still attached and very much still pulling, but only occasionally does it choke me anymore. This is good. I have learned and she has learned and we are both still learning.

Nine years is not very long, but it is a lifetime when I think back to life before it. It is a life I can’t believe existed. What did I do with all that free time?! Nothing good, I’m sure and, gratefully, I don’t ponder, with any real intent on those things. I am happy with the present. A rich and interesting chess match unfolds each day as we try to figure each other out. It is an impossible game, but it is played fairly, at least by me, and is always enlightening.

All futures are uncertain, but with nine years under my belt, I live with a hope that our struggle will continue: that we can survive this world’s bullets and live happily ever after. I live with the hope of a beach and a knowing smile that says “we made it”; a hope for a future being brightened by the love and understanding that only belongs to old married people. My wife is about the best thing there is. While imperfect, she is still all the things that make life perfect: beautiful, kind, intelligent, thoughtful, giving and tolerant…mostly. I could not and would not ask for more.

So, this year, I will raise my hand and high-five my terrific wife and say, “Damn, girl, another one down.” She will smile and touch my hand, then shake her head in mild disbelief and say, “Don’t count your chickens on number ten, sucker.” And I won’t. But such is the life of a marriage. It is a living mystery and maybe that’s what makes it such a compelling story.

While this message may lack some of “The Notebook’s” romance, I contend that the truth is more romantic and that genuine beauty exists in the ugly that is more honest and meaningful than a fable. The story of a real marriage is written in the mud. Tears of frustration and tears of joy are its ink. And I, just like every other married guy, hate that stupid movie. Thanks for nothing, Hollywood.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his new exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]


4 Responses to “FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Nine.”
  1. Tam Glass says:

    That’s AWESOME!! Well said!! Happy anniversary!!

  2. Catherine says:

    Congrats, Dave and Gene! Here’s to the journey and many happy miles ahead!

  3. Wendy says:

    Happy Aniversery 🙂 love to you both 🙂

  4. Teryl says:

    Congrats to you both on your nine years of marriage! In today’s years, that’s like dog years, so enjoy your 63 years of marriage! I know others married multiple times in that time, so it says something about you both that you’ve stuck together! You’ve both made Des Moines a better place to live because of it! Congrats!

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!