Today is our 20th wedding anniversary…Photos of us past and present and past anniversaries…

Waiting to board another cruise in January 2013. Look at all those bags and more don’t show in this photo. Thank goodness we’re now down to three suitcases, one duffle bag and one computer bag.

Twenty-four years ago Tom and I met in a bar in Bloomington, Minnesota, marrying 20 years ago today. We were polar opposites, him, a blue-collar railroad guy, and me, a somewhat stuffy white-collar type who lived a “linen napkin lifestyle” (per Tom). We had literally nothing in common other than the fact that we were humans.

“They,” say that opposites attract but, when I immediately noticed his slang language learned in North Minneapolis as a kid, I thought, “This is never going to last.” After all, I was the queen of proper language usage and elocution.

When I invited him to my house for dinner for our first official date and served blackened swordfish, mushroom risotto, baby asparagus and Caesar salad, I noticed a pained look on his face the entire meal as he suffered through his least favorite foods on the planet, included the dry red wine.

Another blurry photo of us aboard the Celebrity Century on January 14, 2013. We’d yet to purchase a real camera at this point.

Tom says, “That’s when I pulled up to her house in my four-wheel drive on a Saturday evening in June and saw the sprawling manicured lawn, blue water on both sides of the house, I thought, we’ve got nothing in common.  I’ll be out of here in no time and head back to that bar where we met to check out my other options.”

Ha!  Eight hours later we were still yakking up at storm finding reasons “why” as opposed to “why not.” Within the first hour, he told me the story about taking his mother on a month-long trip to Ireland and Rome to see the Pope before she went totally blind.” 

It was that story that peaked my interest. Any guy who’d take his entire year’s vacation from work to take his mother on a much dreamed of trip would definitely make a good partner. Either he was a “mama’s boy” or a good man and based on what I’d seen thus far, I had not suspected he was a “mama’s boy” for a moment.

Photo taken of us using my phone on October 28, 2012, the night of Tom’s retirement party.

In a funny way, I fell in love that night. I sensed he hated “hoity-toity” food, a passion of mine. He didn’t care an iota about red wine, another passion of mine at the time, and he rarely used a linen napkin, a must in my household.

It’s ironic that now I rarely eat hoity-toidy food, never drink wine, and mostly use a dishtowel as a linen napkin when there aren’t linen napkins in vacation homes.

It was a difficult courtship filled with doubt and mistrust, as often is the case in many relationships but in time we both came around to love, honor and trust one another when on this date, March 7, 1995 we were married by a judge in with our kids as witnesses at our side in downtown Minneapolis. 

Tom in front of the volcano, Mount Kilauea this December.

In time, the difference between us blended into a workable and agreeable “middle” and getting along beautifully was easy. For us, marriage hasn’t been a lot of work and compromise.  We rarely argue, mostly due to the fact that I don’t engage in arguments. I leave the room or don’t respond to argumentative comments. No one will fight if there’s no opponent in the room. You’ll never see anyone alone in a room yelling and screaming at themselves for too long.

Tom is your cave-dwelling kind of guy. He needs his space, his opinion and doesn’t like to be told what to do. I get this and grant him these needs mostly with my mouth shut. On the other hand, I’m a piece of work in my own right and he’s learned to tolerate me without a lot of fuss. 

Me in front of Mount Kilauea in December this year.

Also, there’s his “overly grumpy” personality at times when basically I ignore him and it passes quickly. And, I’m continually, “overly bubbly” which he tolerates day after day.

If I’m the person that has done these posts every morning to the point of over 900 individual posts. Can you picture the personality that precipitates that kind of commitment…shall we say, “a little obsessive?” 

So, we compromise from of a desire to make the other happy than to meet in the middle. If I want to travel to a location that’s important to me and he doesn’t care for that location, we go and vise versa. But, its more than just going along. It’s done with love, acceptance, and joy for the new experiences we’ll share together. 

In front of the White Mosque in Abu Dhabi in May, 2013.

Today, in the 20th year of marriage, we celebrate without cards, gifts, and hoopla. Tonight, we’re going to the home of new friends for their “movie night” again bringing a pu pu to share. 

Our anniversary photo from March 2013, the night we were injured on the collapsed steps in Belize. Click here for the link showing the steps that resulted in injuries.

Traveling the world and enjoying each other’s companionship, spending 24 hours a day together has proved to be nothing short of pure pleasure. We’ve loved the time together not only in experiencing adventures and also, but also the mundane aspects of everyday life.

Most retires couples occasionally go off on their own to visit with friends, shop, engage in tennis, golf, or walks in the mall. We are seldom apart for more than a few minutes while I work out or go to the grocery store. And yet, each time I walk in the door a warm hello and giggle over missing one another crosses our lips, along with a kiss.

In front of God’s Window in South Africa. Searching for photos of us made us realize that we need to take more photos of us together. We’ll do so going forward.

Happy Anniversary to my dear husband. May we have many more years together as we continue to revel in in this unusual life we’ve chosen. You are dearly loved and so am I.

On our first game drive in South Africa in December, 2013. It was very hot and humid.  We were dressed in our BugsAway clothing, sweating like crazy. By this point in time, we’d learned to tolerate the heat and humidity.

Happy Saturday!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, March 7, 2014:

Us on our anniversary one year ago today in Marrakech, Morocco.  For more photos from that date, please click here.

Comments and responses Today is our 20th wedding anniversary…Photos of us past and present and past anniversaries…

  1. liz

    Congratulations to you both! I agree with many of your comments Jess- the difference in characters in a couple can enhance a marriage. As I was told by my (late) father on my wedding day- 'Today is your wedding day, after today comes the marriage and this you need to work at' Too right! I love my husband dearly, but as you note, a marriage isn't all plain sailing. You learn one another's characters, foibles, habits and how you each accept these to grow in love and understanding. In this day and age I feel truly blessed, but be under no illusion, it is a partnership and we both work at it to bring us closer together- even if we temporarily have 'over bubbly' and 'over grumpy' moments apart!

  2. Jessica

    Liz, thank you so much. We had a wonderful day filled with pleasant surprises. You are so right about the differencing enhancing a marriage. And then, there's the profound joy when we experience an event or situation together that we both find exquisite, which is often the case with us. Last night was no exception which we'll write about today. Thanks for your wise comments. We always love hearing from you.
    Much love,
    Jess & Tom

  3. Janet

    Ms Jess, enjoyed your lovely and thoughtful tribute in honor of your anniversary. My husband and I just celebrated our 33rd anniversary last month and I will second many of your comments! I laughed out loud when reading your anti-arguing tactic of leaving the room. I've used this tactic for years:) Husbands are dear and wonderful but require years of training, whew, a full time job! In the end if both partners are good people and invested in their commitment, it works out fine!

    It's good to learn how you're making it work in your circumstance, as in rarely apart, since we spend most of our working years away from each other. We won't be retired for 8-10 years, and you've thrown another "what if" in to the mix of what retirement might look like. I love being thrown a curve to get the brain thinking. Thanks for the growth!

  4. Jessica

    Ms. Janet, congratulations on your 33rd anniversary! I laughed when I read that you too leave the room when the air gets thick with negativity! Husbands are dear and wonderful as you say and it does take time for them to willingly adapt to the merits of a harmonious relationship.

    Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful comments. Sounds like you have a way to go to retirement but surely by then you'll have it all figured out. As you say, its a work in progress.

    Warmest regards to you both,
    Jess & Tom

  5. Staci Finch Thompson

    I read your post to Glenn the other evening, sorry I'm a bit late with the well-wishes! Loved the story of how you two met, and how you have grown along the way. Thanks for sharing that with your virtual friends!

  6. Jessica

    Staci, thanks for the anniversary wishes. They are never late! The new year of our lives continues every day!
    We all have a good story about how we met. We'd love to hear yours sometime. Maybe when we're on the cruise together next year, we can. It will be such fun to meet you and Glenn and hear about your lives.

    Thanks again for your thoughtfulness.

    Jess & Tom

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