On March 1, my wife and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. A decade of domestic tranquility has me thinking about marriage and milestones, and what we have learned over the last ten years.
We were “late bloomers.” Once, when I was about 27, my grandmother paused during a Sunday visit at her house in East Pascagoula and looked at me broken hearted, almost mournfully. “Cory, why is it that you never did get married?”
If you are Southern and you were (or are) single over age 25, you can hear her saying it, because you have probably heard it, too. She passed away in 2001, so she was not in Hattiesburg in March 2003 to see the ceremony. At least not physically present. I have a feeling that she nonetheless knows that even 32-year-olds are not too old to find true love.
We have had some richer, and some poorer (particularly in Obama’s economy). We have had some sickness and some health. A lot of life happens over ten years. They go fast.
Places and people stand out. We got engaged inside Rocky Springs Church, down the Natchez Trace. The Christmas before we married, I had our friend Miriam Weems paint her a scene from USM, featuring the Ogletree House and the rose garden in front of campus. We celebrated our first anniversary about a month late, with the arrival of our son. In 2005, we celebrated our second anniversary at a bed and breakfast in Bay St. Louis.
And so it has gone, with markers every year. Some things are just memories now. That B&B was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, six months after we stayed there. Sparkling Miriam passed away in 2011, way too soon. And the Ogletree House at USM was destroyed by the Hattiesburg tornado this month. Campus will come back, but not after a long recovery.
Still, we carry those connections forward. Collectively, the experiences become wisdom, even if that means we merely know that there is a lot we do not know.
We have balanced our budget ten years straight, and avoided deficit spending. Several years, we have had to get by with a lot less “revenue.” Rather than borrow to spend more, we’ve cut spending. It has not always been easy, but we survived. Maybe even thrived.
The national debt in March 2003 was just under $6.5 trillion dollars. Today it has passed $16.5 trillion, and rising. That’s a trillion of new debt for every year of our marriage.
President Obama, the Sequester Jester, is traveling the country (when not playing golf with Tiger Woods) making preposterous claims about what will happen if the government has to cut 2.3 percent of its spending. Homes will burn, children will have no teachers, planes will not take off.
Really? Here’s the Sequester in a nutshell: Imagine a grocery bill of $100 (remember when groceries cost only $100?). Now, imagine cutting $2.30 out of the shopping list. Obama’s argument is that your family will starve. Anyone who’s run a family knows better, and has cut back a lot more.
Indeed, Obama just signed a payroll tax increase that takes 2 percent more income from 77 percent of America’s workers. Families are supposed to just suck that up as our “fair share.” But for government to cut spending by a similar amount is “devastating.” It’s really not that hard, Mr. President, if you’d lead.
Suffice it to say that no marriage could survive budgeting and spending like Washington, or with the dishonest scare tactics Obama is employing to try to destroy the other side.
We might do better as a country if we took to heart some other things marriage has taught us. One is that we are in this together. The challenges of marriage become easier once both sides unite to work through them. In America, the same thing is true.
Another is to listen to the other side. (I am not always good at this one.) Running things by consensus is harder than acting solo, but results are often better by hearing another perspective. (Hers is usually right.)
It’s okay to reach out after an argument. The things that divide us are far less than the things we have in common. Constantly trying to defeat the other party is not a recipe for long term success. It’s okay, even advisable, to let the other side get credit. Laugh a little, or even a lot.
I could go on, but I will save the rest, Lord willing, for our 20th. Happy Anniversary, Princess!
Cory T. Wilson is an attorney with Heidelberg Steinberger Colmer & Burrow, P.A. Follow Cory on Twitter, @CoryWilsonMS, or email email@example.com.