Today is my husband's and my 24th wedding anniversary. As he is Japanese, and I am American, we are veterans in the world of international marriage. Considering how very different our native cultures are (opposite, in fact), it is more than a little amazing we have stayed together this long and are in as healthy a place as a couple as we are today.
Any marriage involves compromise, but international marriage requires an incredible amount of it--on both sides. My husband is a very tolerant person and puts up with a fussy, demanding wife, just as I am an extremely dedicated communicator with a spouse who rarely puts his thoughts into words. We both have to try very hard and we both go the extra mile. I could never continue on without my faith, just as my husband could never continue on without a beer at the end of the day!
Today, he was out of town, arriving home around 8 p.m. Today I was busy out all day; at church with worship, choir practice and a women's group mtg, and after that, at a class before heading home by 7 p.m. My husband said around 8:20, 'Oh today is our anniversary, isn't it?' and I said, 'Yes, that's right.' Neither one of us said, "Happy Anniversary!" but I don't mind. It's taken a lot of years of compromise for me to be able to say that honestly. My own parents celebrated their anniversary with great traditions eating out, always with a mystery couple my father arranged beforehand, and presents exchanged. My father inevitably bought flowers for her every year. I went into my marriage expecting my husband to act in a similar way. When he didn't I had a hard time accepting that. But I've changed a lot. And he has, too.
My Christmas, birthday and anniversary gifts from my husband are a willingness to work hard to support our family 24/7, and to cook for me when I don't want to face my kitchen, even after a hard day's work. He does laundry (though far below my standards...) and even vacuums sometimes. I cannot complain. He shows me love in his actions every day, although never with fanfare or expecting thanks or praise.
You can't wrap that with a ribbon, now, can you??