couples

'We've been married for 45 years. This is the biggest lesson I've learned.'

Q: What are the most important things to frequently communicate in a marriage?

My husband and I just celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary. Strangely enough, both of us forgot the actual day which might have passed unnoticed had I not been in a room with a person who asked what the date was. I called him immediately to tell him about this, and we both had a good laugh.

What does this say, if anything, about the state of communication in our marriage? It says to me that dates don’t count, actual days aren’t important, saying “Happy Anniversary” in the afternoon rather than the morning is just fine, because we tell each other every day, most of the time without words, how much love, trust and respect exists between us.

I did mention to him that we couldn’t forget our 50th, and in our defence, we’d gone away that weekend to celebrate the event. The actual day was the Monday after the weekend. Enough with the celebrating already.

My husband is having his knee replaced tomorrow morning. We’re both concerned about the operation, the success of it, and how the recovery will go.

What does this have to do with the question?

It’s simple, really. He’s worried and a little scared. We’ve been lucky. We’ve been relatively healthy with only the normal aches and pains that come with growing older. He asked me to be there for him, and I’ve spent the whole last week showing, telling and demonstrating, both in words and deeds, how much I love him, how I’ll always be there for him, and that he’s safe with me, because, to paraphrase Louann Touhey In The Blindside, “You hurt my husband, you hurt me.”

Ellen Vrana Is a wonderful writer. I tell her this all the time, so it won’t be a surprise when she hears it again.

After all this time with this man, I do tell him how much I love him, but I know his lips, I still crave his touch, and there isn’t anywhere, behind the ears, in front of the ears, in the ears, where I haven’t touched him.

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I woke him up at 2am last night to tell him that he didn’t need to worry, that I would always be there for him and that I would make sure that he would get the best care. I told him that everyone who is coming to the house will be gentle and careful with him. Did this dissolve into mad sex where our lips met, opened a bit, explored each other’s mouths and let our hands wander? I wish.

His eyes filled up with tears, he hugged me, as much as he could with Callie in between us, thanked me, turned over, started snoring and went back to sleep.

He has my back, and he knows that I have his. We joke that after all this time we’ve run out of conversation and only need numbers. It’s an old joke.

We know each other so well, that sometimes all it takes is a look, a glance, a wink or the secret sign of the “poopies.” I can’t tell you what that secret sign is because if I did, I might have to eliminate you. It’s enough that we know.

I’m the luckiest woman in the world. He is my soulmate, whatever the heck that means.

He sent me lovely flowers the day we forgot our anniversary, and I went out and bought him some new handkerchiefs that he needed. Does that sound mundane? Do you feel pity for us because we didn’t swing from the chandeliers? Don’t.

He looked at me one night and out of the blue said, “You are my soul, you are my heart, you are the best part of me. What’s for dinner?” When I said hot dogs, I had the happiest husband in the world.

We celebrated our 44th in Paris.

These are the flowers he sent me.

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These are the cards I had waiting for him when he got home. Which one do you think he liked the best?

Communication in a long-term relationship isn’t always words, isn’t always sensual, and it isn’t always fireworks and explosions.

Sometimes, it’s sitting on a couch with him watching one more WWII movie, because he’s a history buff, and I’ll even watch Hitler in Colour yet again if it makes him happy.

This post originally appeared on Quora and has been republished here with full permission.

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