This photo was taken June 24, 1989, at The Church of the Incarnation, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Marcia and I had just said “I do” and “I do,” been pronounced man and wife, I’d gotten to kiss the bride — and then we stepped off down the aisle together, arm in arm, for whatever life was going to throw our way, with smiles on our faces.
30 years later to the day, we still walk arm and arm, with smiles on our faces. We’ve moved around the country numerous times over the past three decades, bought and sold several houses, earned a couple of degrees, lost many of the dear people who were with us on our wedding day, raised an incredibly interesting and accomplished young woman to independent adulthood, worked really hard in multiple jobs, celebrated victories and joys, and endured struggles and hardships, together.
We still go to bed every night holding hands and saying “I love you,” and we mean it.
The ancient Greeks had different words for different types of love: eros, philia, ludus, agape, philautia, storge, and pragma. The last one of the seven is described thusly:
The everlasting love between a married couple which develops over a long period of time. Pragma is the highest form of love; the true commitment that comes from understanding, compromise and tolerance. It is pragmatic, which is why it is referred to as “standing in love” rather than “falling in love,” because it grows over time and requires profound understanding between lovers who have been together for many years.
I could not have understood that concept as a 20-something young Naval Officer in 1989, but today, that concept resonates with me to my core, and I can’t really imagine aspiring to many things more desirable than living in that state, every day. Which I do, and which blows my mind each and every time I pause to think about it. I am so very fortunate to have walked a life path with Marcia on the road to pragma (among other loves), and I am so very excited by the prospect of doing so for the next 30 years and beyond.
It seems fitting, as I think about these ancient and profound Greek concepts of love, that Marcia and I are actually in Greece this week to celebrate our 30th Anniverary, with visits to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos on the itinerary. Lots of history, lots of walks, lots of culture, lots of time together, just the way we like it. Happy Anniversary to We!
I know that there are new changes coming in the next few years in how we live our lives, and what we do with them, and where we do it — and those changes are exciting and scary in equal measure, as I consider them. But whatever may come to pass, I know that Marcia and I will be doing it together, arm in arm, with smiles on our faces, and love in our hearts. What an incredible gift it is to spend a life-time with my best friend, and to still wake every morning excited about what the day may bring, because I know she will be a part of it.