My spouse and I have been through a lot together since that fateful night at Butch McGuire's

You've probably heard that marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you wish you had a club and a spade! Although there is no doubt in my mind that some people would embrace those sentiments, I am not one of them. My hubby and I just celebrated 50 years of marriage and it has been a long and amazing journey. More amazing yet is that we are still friends and still love each other.

We met one fateful night in the spring when we both happened to be at the right place at the right time. That place was Butch McGuire's, a popular pub on the Near North Side of Chicago. I was scheduled to move to California in a few days and was there to meet my roommate for a farewell libation. Problem was, she didn't show up and so I was left to fend for myself. Feeling uncomfortable, I decided to leave. It was crowded at Butch's, so I had to brush by several people on my way out. One of those people was my future husband. Before I made it to the door, he stopped me and hit me with his standard pickup line, "Excuse me, don't you go to Northwestern?" Not a killer opening, you say? Regardless, it was enough to get a conversation started, and after talking for a while we went off to his fraternity party together. Sometime during that night the chemistry kicked in, big-time. It was, as they say, love at first sight. Three days later, we decided to get married. Three months later, we actually did it. I never made it to California.

Understandably, there was major fallout from the parents. Everyone said it wouldn't last. My betrothed was in med school then, which needed to be completed, along with internship and six long years of residency. It seemed daunting to everyone but us. Incidentally, for years my in-laws told people that we had met through a mutual friend whose name was Butch McGuire. When they found out that Butch was a pub, they were nonplussed.

So to what do I attribute our longevity? Well, for one thing, I don't nag! Were I to do so, my husband's response would likely be along the lines of, "No need to repeat yourself, dear. I ignored you completely the first time." So, you know what? I just don't bother. For a long and successful relationship, put the ability to selectively ignore things right up there at the top. Number 2 on the list would be: When things get tough, keep talking and keep your sense of humor. Number 3 would be to always support each other, even against heavy odds. Number 4: Try to put the other person first. Always. Number 5: You each have flaws. Accept them. No one ever changes anyone. I could go on, but I won't or this will start to sound like a self-help book.

My spouse and I have been through a lot together since that fateful night at Butch McGuire's. As those old wedding vows say, "for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health." We certainly were poor during all the years it took my husband to complete his training, and we certainly had some health scares over those years and we also suffered some bitter losses. Both of us lost our parents and, together, we lost a child. As for better or worse, that was the "worse" part, by far. The "better" part of that phrase, however, entails having two beautiful children as well as some beautiful grandchildren, and experiencing many moments of happiness and joy.

Most importantly, over the years I have come to realize that it doesn't matter where life takes you, it's who you have beside you that counts.

Kay can be found looking forward to the next 50 years at [email protected] com

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