20 Years

Twenty years ago today, Krissy and I were married. We stood up in front of friends and family, said our vows (and they were our vows, as we wrote them), and formally begun our time together, making a life between us.

In that twenty years, there has never been a single day where I have not had cause to reflect on how much better my life is because Krissy is with me and is my partner. There has never been a single day where I did not reflect on the ways my life would be different, and a lesser life, without her in it. There has never been a single day where I have not been frankly amazed that a woman so capable, so loving and so gorgeous has chosen to be with me.

There has never been a single day in those twenty years that I have not told her that I love her.

More than a decade ago, I wrote “Marriage is work. It never stops being work. It never should.” I stand by that observation. Krissy and I were in love the day we were married and are in love now, twenty years later. But that love is not a default state of being. It is a choice we make every day, and work follows that choice. Work is the proof of that choice. Love is the result of that work. Love gives us another day together, and the opportunity to make that choice once more.

As we have, day in, day out. Every single day, for twenty years. It is why we said “I do,” when we made our vows. It’s why we say “I do,” symbolically, each day of our lives together. There is no greater work that I have accomplished than this, and is a work that is impossible for me to have done alone. I can only do this work with someone else. With Krissy, in point of fact. It is a life’s work. My life, and hers, and ours.

There has never been a single day that I have had cause to doubt or regret the choice we made, twenty years ago today, to love each other that day and every day since. There has never been a single day that I would not, in front of family and friends and all the world, do it again, all over again. There has never been a single day in those twenty years where I have not. I am every day the groom to her bride. Every day the man who stood with her and said, with her, I do.

I do. Yes. Today and every day.

I love you, Kristine. I do.

134 Comments on “20 Years”

  1. Congrats to you two lovebirds, still crazy about each other after all these years!

    May the rest of us be so lucky to experience a fraction of such lives for ourselves.

  2. Congratulations!! That is so sweet. It is wonderful you feel that way and let her know it.

  3. Congrats! Sounds like you are both very lucky! We will celebrate 31 this year! What a lovely year you are having, here’s to many more!

  4. Congratulations to you both. It isn’t easy being a marriage veteran.

    But it is always worth the effort it takes to make it last.

    Wishing you many more wonderful years to come.


  5. Felicitations to both of you!

    From the vantage point of 35 years of wedded bliss, I heartily endorse your comments about a successful marriage requiring daily nurturing, both of one’s partner and of the relationship itself. A good marriage doesn’t grow itself; it takes an ongoing investment by both spouses to be a success.

    May you both live to enjoy many more anniversaries together!

  6. Happy Anniversary! 34 years and counting, here, and like you, I feel the marriage is my best work.

  7. Happy Anniversary! As I approach my 20th anniversary in a few months, I find your commentary spot-on. It is work, but it is truly a labor of love. Congratulations to you and Kristine!

  8. As an old married lady I totally agree – marriage, and, well, any intimate relationship, requires work. If (generic) you and the other person are changing as people (and you change every day!) the relationship has to keep up with those changes, and that takes work.

    Here’s to many more anniversaries!! *clink*

  9. We’re a few months behind you on the marriage journey. Glad you two are having fun with it. I’m shooting for 50, personally.

  10. That was beautiful. Thanks for saying it. We’re at 14 years and I am still so grateful that we found each other and are both willing to do the work, every day. You signed a book for me, from him, years ago and it was a terrific Christmas present. We wish you and Krissy all good things!

  11. *blurry monitor syndrome* Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! Beautifully said.

  12. It is so pleasing to see happy news on the SF Internet. Congratulations on your day and your success as a couple.

  13. Congratulations on reaching your 20th and still remembering to work and to cherish each other. We just celebrated our 21st last week, and my parents will celebrate their 44th in a month. With all of that combined collective wisdom, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Glad you’re getting time away from the internet to celebrate.

  14. Congratulations! My wife and I will be celebrating our 15th next week and I can’t agree with this post more.

  15. Happy anniversary, Krissy and John!
    I was careful not to read this before I wrote my own post to my wife. We are celebrating our 26th anniversary today, and I really did not want to be influenced by your post. And, as it turns out, I would have borrowed heavily.

  16. Thanks for this John, and congratulations.

    One of the things I like about the traditional wedding vows in the UK is that they start “Will you..”, and the response is “I WILL” not “I DO”. I like the will word better: both for its sense of positive volition and “Willing”, but most of all for the connotation of the future, capturing that sense of forward work and action that you bring out so movingly in your words above.

  17. Warmest congratulations to you and your bride! One measure of your success as a couple and a family is the extraordinary young woman you created and raised between you.

  18. Very well said. Congrats to you both, and best of luck for the next twenty years!

  19. Having somewhere to go is Home. Having someone to love is Family.. Having both is a Blessing

  20. This is a beautiful piece of writing – I got very teary reading it. Congratulations to you both, you excellent people.

  21. My tab for this blog entry is “Whatever | All Cake and Hand Grenades.” Strangely appropriate.

    Congrats you crazy lovebirds!

  22. Happy anniversary and thank you for proving my usual, cynical, knee-jerk reaction to wedding photos wrong – at least with this one. It makes me happy to see some people doing this thing right, after 20 years.

  23. Getting a little choked up here, too. We will celebrate 33 years in December, and what you wrote speaks to our experience still. I personally fail some days on some of those “every day” bits, but only because you and Krissy are both nicer people than I am. But not nicer than my Beloved, thank goodness (very very few people are), so he fills in the gaps for me. I declare now in front of these witnesses: I love him more today than the day I married him, and I loved him with all of my heart and soul on that day.

  24. Amen, brother.

    We are coming up on 25 years, with a fantastic 23 yo son.

    I must admit I have two “auto answers”: “Yes, Dear”, and “I love you too”. And the latter works for everything (well, both do :^), even if her question/statement has nothing to do with it.

    Your point about it being work is spot-on. But such glorious work!

    Part of marriage is also business related, because money is involved. Doesn’t matter who makes the money, or who pays the bills. Just need a method that works for both. I advise young couples to do their bills together.

    Do something wild involving shower curtains, a tub, and Crisco Oil. Just lock the dogs up first ….. (I DO NOT want to see it on File 770!!!)

  25. Dave and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary last week. Someone posted on my fb page, that we’ve been lucky. I responded it’s not luck, it’s a lot of hard work. It’s worth every bit of energy we put into it.

    Congrats to both of you. Keep up the hard work. May you love as long as you live and live as long as you love.

  26. Congratulations to both of you. We celebrated 26 years in Ma. Hope it’s been a great day for you.

  27. Hey, it’s my anniversary, too (June 17, 1981). Many happy years to the two sets of us!

  28. Congratulations! My spouse and I feel similarly about each other and our marriage (going for 23 years). It’s a blessing to us and worth the effort.

  29. That’s beautiful, John. Congratulations, and Bright Blessings (an it be your own will) for many, many more.

  30. Congratulations to one of my favorite authors and to the wife of one of my favorite authors! As a old married lady (38 years) I’m with you on the worthwhile work of marriage. And also Mazeltov to your daughter on completing 10th grade, my youngest just finished 9th.

  31. Great post about an awesome couple! Congratulations on your anniversary and may you have many more decades together!

  32. Congratulations, both on the anniversary and on Really Getting marriage. It’s all very well to say you are lucky to have each other, but in a marriage, you make your own luck to an extent.

  33. This is such a beautiful statement. Thank you for sharing it. Happy Anniversary.

  34. Congrats you two!

    I am in total agreement with your quote. I had a coworker tell me when I got married to my wife (a little over ten years ago) that, “Marriage is not a fifty-fifty thing. It’s a 100-100 thing.” And I have lived by that motto every single day.

    Here’s to a many, many more!!!

  35. Congratulations! And I hope that you make it another 40 years at least!

    Happy anniversary!

  36. Congratulations. And I was delighted to hear your take on “love,” because it matches what I’ve said for years. Love isn’t a feeling, although it certainly feels good. But feelings are based on chemical reactions in the body and they can change. LOVE IS A VERB. Love is an action, something you choose to do every day. It’s a conscious choice. I make a distinction, perhaps artificial, but real to me, between “being in love” and “loving.” Being in love is about feelings and depends on the object of that feeling for its validation. Loving is something you do regardless of how you feel or how the recipient feels.

  37. Yay, congratulations and happy anniversary (belated)! Our tenth is next week. Hard to believe and… not hard. :)

  38. This was beautiful and thoughtful– a wonderful way to think about marriage. I hope you had a lovely anniversary, and wish you many, many more.

  39. We are strangers to one another and yet it makes me weepingly glad that you and your wife are happily wed. Congratulations, sir; may you be blessed with many more years together.

  40. Awwwwww. We are close to 20, the Brom and I, and wish you and your dear one every joy.

  41. That is so sweet and wonderful and true. Marriage is not always a fairytale but when it is its amazing. Its refreshing to see that there are still people that appreciate and value marriage. Thank you for reminding me that marriage can be good with a person that works with you.

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