Nine days ago, Carolyn and I celebrated our 50th anniversary. The usual question: “How did you guys do it?” The first part of my answer is simple.

You get up each morning. A golden anniversary requires longevity. When we were married, I was 25, Carolyn nearing 22. We maintained healthy lifestyles. My parents made it to almost 47 years; my father died at 80, just weeks before their anniversary. Of note, my sister and brother-in-law celebrate their 60th in March.

Not every 50th anniversary marks success. Old joke: “I’ve had 10 great years of marriage. Ten out of 30 isn’t bad.” Some couples are miserable but stay together because of religious beliefs. Others can’t imagine living separately minus sufficient income, housekeeping and someone to yell at if not converse with.

Here, the second part of my answer comes into play. It’s not enough to love each other. Or to define love solely as physical attraction, which may seem the case initially. Carolyn and I were attracted to each other from the beginning and still are. That helped. Having married a beautiful woman, I never wondered what it would be like to go after other women. Who could match up?

Still, sex isn’t enough. And when you’re bringing up three children (who surely are uncomfortable if they’re reading this; get over it; this is life), there’s not all that much time or energy left for sex. (Thankfully, there’s some.) Moreover, bringing up kids is a tough job—tougher than you ever imagined. Disagreements over what course to take for each child constantly pop up. You talk. You argue. You compromise. Sometimes, you even admit you were wrong. When you’re done with the theatrics, you get over it—or pay a price.

Carolyn and I were fortunate. Our backgrounds were very different, but our values very much aligned. We wanted children. A close family. We were willing to deal with them as individuals who might not fulfill our parental fantasies. We didn’t necessarily fulfill the fantasies of our parents. We had good days. We had bad days. The next morning, we put one foot in front of the other.

Eventually, the kids flew the nest. We raised them to do that. They had their adventures, and we weren’t always thrilled, but we stood behind them. That takes patience and a willingness to set aside your ego. We learned to cast off our last lingering daydreams and see them as they were. We guided them by setting an example of basic values. They learned from us. They learned from life. They’re doing well.

How did we celebrate our anniversary? Carolyn attended Burning Man for the second time—it’s not my thing—so we met in Las Vegas. I surprised her with a suite at Bellagio and a dozen roses. We ate at top restaurants. Saw Penn & Teller and Cirque du Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE.

Next? We know we won’t celebrate a second fifty years. So, as we’ve been doing, we’ll take it one day at a time. Carolyn’s acting and music classes. Auditions. Hopefully, more TV/movie roles. My new novel. New short stories. Another novel.

Fifty years seems hard to comprehend. I understand what went into them. I appreciate the full life we got out.

Big Truth: New and Collected Stories,is available at Amazon and in paper or e-book. Or, ask your favorite bookstore to order a copy. And, please leave a review on either or both sites.

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  1. Ron Laupheimer on September 13, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Congratulations to both of you!!!! You should be mightily proud of your solid relationship and the truly wonderful kids you two raised. Enough said.

    • David on September 13, 2019 at 11:44 pm

      Thanks, Ron. I love adding one more day to the total every day.

  2. Carolyn Power Perlstein on September 13, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    It’s been an amazing journey from San Antonio to San Francisco. And the number: 50 years blows me away. The penthouse suite & roses were a wonderful surprise—but being with you was the best and all I’ve ever wanted. love you and always will.

    • David on September 13, 2019 at 11:43 pm

      I can only say what I’ve always said. I love you!

  3. Zoe on September 14, 2019 at 6:47 am

    Wonderful, David. I loved reading this. Love, Zoe

    • David on September 14, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks, Zoe.

  4. Joan Sutton on September 14, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Great article by a loving husband! Congratulations on 50 years together; you’re a wonderful couple.

    • David on September 14, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks, Joan.

  5. Jerry Hurwitz on September 14, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    Congratulations to both of you!

    • David on September 15, 2019 at 2:28 am

      Thanks, Jerry.

  6. Eileen Kelly on September 17, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    Big, Big congratulations to you and Carolyn! (Tom and I just celebrated 25… can’t imagine 50). You two are a great couple and deserve the GOLD!

    • David on September 17, 2019 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks, Eileen. Next 50 will be more challenging.

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