I was surprised today when one of the First Graders greeted me with, “Happy Birthday, Mrs. Frisch!” I told him that my birthday is in October and then shared with the class that tomorrow is, indeed, a special day for me. On March 2, Mr. Frisch and I will have been married for 34 years. Mouths dropped open and the teacher began to applaud. That’s a long time.
As I begin writing, it occurs to me that I’ve not purchased a gift or card for Dave. I don’t think he’ll mind. We began celebrating last Friday when we had dinner at an out-of-town restaurant after meeting with a contractor about a new roof and house siding. We continued celebrating in Columbus on Sunday, seeing Beauty and the Beast at the Palace theater while son Eric played drums in the orchestra, remembering how much he loved the movie as a child, anticipating taking son Kyle to the airport on Monday for his flight to Orlando and Disney World. Since then, many Facebook friends have responded to my posted photo from our wedding day in 1984. Today, we were blessed by two anniversary cards in the mailbox. Our special plans for tomorrow? Head back to Columbus to clean and pack son Kyle’s kitchen up in preparation for his upcoming move, perhaps taking time to enjoy breakfast at a favorite restaurant on Saturday morning.
Over the years, we have celebrated in more extravagant ways, a train ride to Canada to see the Phantom of the Opera (15th), a flight to Minot, North Dakota, to attend a military ball with friends (20th), a drive to Washington D.C. during the Cherry Blossom Festival (25th), and our own trip to Florida and Disney World (30th). Pretty romantic!
While we were living in Minot, though, I spent our 10th anniversary alone while he was in New York for business. This was not what I would have preferred, and I made that known to him. But, while he was gone, I made up a beautiful shadowbox with photos from our first ten years and little dried flowers and bits of ribbon from our wedding. For him. Well, mostly for me.
Each time our anniversary rolls around, we reminisce a bit about the wedding. He recalls Ohio’s late February ice storm that threatened to keep the pastor, the tuxedos, and even the groom from showing up. I remember smiling through the whole ceremony, dancing a solo routine to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” in my wedding dress, and the fact that the DJ didn’t bring the song I requested for our first dance. (Fortunately, he did have something we could waltz to.)
Two years ago, Dave and I led a group of couples through a Love & Respect course called, “The Way to Make That Special Day Special.” Participants ranged from engaged to married for over 55 years. Together we acknowledged that sometimes anticipated special days, days such as Valentine’s Day or a wedding anniversary, turn out to be disappointing for couples, often because one or both end up with unmet expectations. Why is that so common? Dr. Eggerichs points out that men and women are different, not wrong, but different. We ladies are sentimental, loving to have a great answer for friends who ask, “What did he get you for Valentine’s Day?” or “How did you spend your anniversary?” (Here’s where I insert that Dave was genuinely surprised and excited to receive the Northern Exposure DVDs from me on February 14. In full disclosure, there have been times when I’ve been a bit disappointed when he hasn’t reacted as enthusiastically as I would like to my gifts.)
Back to “The Way to Make That Special Day Special.” Wives learn that husbands are less responsive to the flowery expressions of love found in most greeting cards, but can be very sentimental when given a note that conveys honor and respect for the man he is. Another difference between male and female that can make things touchy is that while she may enjoy lots of talking and sharing of feelings, he often anticipates physical closeness. Understanding these things goes a long way in staying happily married. Oh, how I admire my husband for his patience with me and my moods through all of these years!
OK, back to that class again. During the weeks we met with those precious couples, Dave and I experienced increased closeness. As we approached Valentine’s Day, we decided to have an anniversary band customized to include my engagement diamond, making our 32nd anniversary a very special day. (Ladies, this was my idea. Sure, it would have been great if he would have thought of it. But, when I suggested the ring upgrade and gave him a bit of time to think about it, he insisted that I find a ring that I would love.) And I Do!
Another photo collage, this one done with son Kyle’s help.
Our annual special days are special because we have lived each day together throughout the year. The ordinary, day-in-day-out ways in which we speak to each other, listen to each other, forgive each other, and enjoy each other, some days memorable because of difficulty, others because of great joy, but many rather forgettable, make up each year of marriage. He tells me I’m beautiful and that he loves me. I meet him at the door after a day’s work, keep his clothes clean, and fix dinner. We both try to think of the other’s needs and realize that our differences are by God’s design. By His grace, we are experiencing the fruit of a long marriage and are looking forward to the years to come.
I close with a Bible verse written inside the anniversary card we received from the couple that will be celebrating their 60th anniversary this summer.
“Love is what holds you all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:14