Sunday, May 1, 2011

Anniversary reflection: A shameless plug for marriage.

Team Manning est. 2004

This time seven years ago, I was shaking a tailfeather at my wedding reception. The bar was open and so was my heart. I'd already said, "I sho' nuff do" to Harry and felt super beautiful in this sleek ivory wedding gown that I couldn't wait to put on. Fortunately, I'd said "yes to the dress" six months earlier after seeing my mama promptly burst into tears the second I emerged from the dressing room. Which reminds me. . .  am I the only one who feels kind of sorry for those girls on that TLC show whose mamas and sisters and homegirls just sit there staring at them when they are really looking for somebody's emotional response to serve as a "oh yeaaaah, girl! that's the one!" co-signature?  Hmmm.

Anyways. It's been nine years since we first met and seven years since Team Manning became legal and official, and you know what? It's been really good. No, more than really good. It's been great.


Now I know that Beyonce told all the single ladies to put their hands up, but seriously? What about the married ladies? We can "Whoa-oh-oh" with the best of 'em.  What I'm saying is. .  . .man, marriage gets a bad rap. Everywhere you go, somebody is badmouthing it. Things like, "You won't ever be a part of one because you're thirty-whatever or divorced or in a socially sucky city or you're too picky or you're too successful or you're too tall or you're too short or you're overweight or . . . ."

Uggh, enough already!

If it isn't that, instead it's "if you do get married it won't last" or "I knew this one couple who seemed so happy but the spouse was a TOTAL scumbag" or "after all that, she left him for a younger guy" or "she never lost that baby weight and you know, it just was never the same." Oh yeah, and my favorite line people use to scare the crap out of the unmarried: "Marriage is so, so, so, so hard."

So, so, so, so? Four so's? Really? Damn.

Okay. Can I please give a plug for marriage?

First of all, like any worthwhile endeavor, it certainly takes some give and take. But so, so, so, so hard?  Call me naive, but I wouldn't describe it that way.  A person having a stroke and learning to walk and talk again is so, so, so, so hard.  Losing a parent and trying to move on with your life is so, so, so, so hard.  But marriage? Come on, man.  Let's call this thing exactly what it is.

Here's my take on marriage after being in the game for seven (I know, I know. . .short) years. (Of note, most of these things, I've learned from talking to the Grady elders--'cause let me tell you--the Grady elders? Oh they know about some marriage.)

What I know for sure about marriage. . . .

Marriage is for grown people. If you aren't mature enough to deny yourself and think of another person more than you and what you want/like/need, then for you, marriage might be kind of hard. So, so, so, so hard even.  Oh, and don't bother with kids if that's where you are. (I'm serious.)

Marriage is not a sport.  In other words, don't keep a scorecard.  I used to count how many times I woke up early on Saturdays with the boys versus Harry. After doing the math I'd promptly roll over and announce that it was "his turn" to get up with the kids since the score was unequally yoked.  But. Turns out that I am totally a morning person. So much so that I'd nudge Harry in the back to wake him up, and then come into the sunroom fifteen minutes later because I can't sleep past 8 a.m. no matter how hard I try. At this point, Harry would growl at me with bloodshot eyes as he cut up Eggo waffles for the kids and say:

"Why are we BOTH awake at 7 a.m.? Somebody needs to go to bed!"  

And I'd say, "But it's just the principle!"  And he'd just glare at me in that way people who love sleep glare at other people after they've been jolted from their slumber.  I had an ah hah moment when one of the Grady elders told me this one day:

"Jest know who you are and accept who he is. If he the cookin' type, let him cook. If you the wakin' up type, go on and get up.  Don't keep score. Tha's when folks get all bent out of shape. The only race y'all need to be havin' is seein' who can show the most concern for the other through yo' actions."

Real talk, man.

Now I get up with our kids on Saturdays because I would have been up anyway. And when I want to leave to go have lunch on a patio somewhere with my girlfriends later that day or piddle through Target and Loehmann's, Harry obliges since he is a "have the kids out in parks all day" kind of person.  See? It works.

So there. Regardless of what you hear, marriage can be pretty damn easy. I'm serious. (Yes. I know that for some, it isn't.) But for a lot of folks, it is. It really is. See? This is why I am giving marriage a plug.  There's too many folks out there hating on marriage, man. Marriage needs to be cut some slack. Oh, and that business about only twenty-six year-old people getting married? Ba-lo-ney.

So . . .all I'm sayin' is, if you are grown enough to be (mostly) unselfish, and you find another person who is too. . .why not give marriage a shot?  I'd highly recommend it.

Oh and all my married ladies?  Please. Put yo' hands up.  I need somebody to cosign with me on this. (And that means you, too, Mrs. Beyonce Z.)

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Manning. I hope we stay this way forever. 

(Now feel free to gag as I shamelessly share what is now playing on my mental iPod. . . .)

"Living with you in my life. . . .

. . .is like feeling the whole world's on my side. . . .

 . . .putting a smile in the place. . .

. . . .where a tear used to run down my face. . . .

 . . .feeling the sun on my head. . . .

 . . .where a cloud used to follow instead. . .

. . .singing a song in my heart. . . 
 in  a place where all my troubles depart.

If our dreams fall back on the ground
then we make 'em fly. . . 

 Let the rain keep falling on down
'cause baby I'm high. . .

Our dreams will fly 
now that we're together
Love is so high

Stay this way forever . . . . ."

~ The Brand New Heavies "Stay This Way"

What I've been hearing in my head all day. . . sigh. 
Absolutely love this song by the Brand New Heavies. It's like it was written for me to sing in the shower.


Hey, people. . . what's on your mental iPod these days?


  1. Beautiful. It's definitely a love thing. :)

  2. beautiful. hopefully i'll be able to write a post similar to this one day...far, far away. lol. happy anniversary! :)

  3. Three cheers for marriage!! And good ones, at that! I, too, LOVE my marriage. I like how you wrote about not keeping score. Very good! Happy Anniversary to you and your husband!!

  4. Very timely. My parents are celebrating their 41st anniversary today!

  5. Your Top Ten Yays had me all chocked up, so I had to save my Yay for when I was less horm.. err... emotional.

    Yay! Yay! Yay! Yay!

    (To counter all those "so, so, so, so"s!)

  6. Hand in the air, waving like I don't care. Yay!!

  7. I'm putting my hands up! Love this post on marriage. I actually grudgingly got up this morning with the kids when it was not my 'turn', and this post has encouraged me to NOT throw it in my husband's face :). As an aside, my 4 year old listens to your sons' James Taylor/Justin Bieber mash up over and over and it cracks him up--the kind of belly laughs that only children can make. I heard him reenacting it in his room yesterday!

  8. lucy--it so is.

    elle--things far,far away are often closer than they appear in the mirror.

    sarahd--knew i could count on your cosignature, sista!

    nicole--ask your mom and dad the secret for me.

    anush--yay, indeed.

    blacklit--that's what's up!

    senior--yes! this comment 100% made my day since the bieber-bomb is the funniest thing i've ever heard.

    senior--this has 100% made my day. the bieber-bomb is a classic in this house, so glad it is now a classic in yours too!

  9. Thanksgiving weekend will mark 25 years of marriage for me and my husband. We married at 21, senior year of college; granted, we were both pretty mature and independent by that point in time (i.e. we were pretty danged grown up). We've made and been blessed by happiness, love, success, and friendship. He's the most wonderful and most important everything in my life. Together, we chose to not have kids, and that's been great for us. I agree, hands in the air for happy married women... I'm tickled to be me at 46 and thrilled to be a happy married lady. I agree, it ain't THAT hard, it's being a grown up :)

  10. Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Manning! But, the Whitney and Bobby shirts totally cracked me up.

  11. Now you KNOW I've got my hands up! Happy Anniversary!

  12. Beautiful tribute! Happy Anniversary! Here's to another (seventy) seven more!!!

  13. Thanks for the cosignature, Nora and Michele! P, glad you dug our Halloween costumes! Cali, 'preciate ya!

  14. Hey. I'm here with you. Twenty seven years in October Mr. Moon and I will have been married. And yes, sometimes it HAS been hard and I'm here to tell that if you and Harry don't have at least a month or two somewhere in your lifetime together where one of you or both of you aren't despairing, then it'll be a miracle.
    But- if your foundation is solid (and I sense it truly is) then you'll get through those times and it'll be better. BETTER!
    I read your entire story of how you two met and it reminds me a great deal of how I met my man. I knew by the second date that yeah, he was going to ask me to marry him at some point. And I am so grateful he did.
    If I have one bit of advice, it's this- take the time to have fun together. Just the two of you. Do naughty things that married people aren't "supposed" to do.
    Aw, I'll bet you do that anyway.
    I send you huge congratulations and I'm here in the choir, singing the hymn to marriage. When it's sweet, there is nothing better on this earth.

  15. Sister Moon- 27 years? That rocks, man. Yep, we have definitely had our despair moments but fortunately they've been fleeting. As for those naughty things, I will be sure to remember that great advice! ;) Thanks for putting yo' hands up!

  16. Putting my hand in the air! 10 1/2 years and 3 kids later. I can totally relate to the love you have for your husband. I love mine the same way too! I think my husband (I may be a bit biased) is the best husband and father in the world!

  17. Me too waving at 23 and so very very happy. Kids now "grown" (is any male grown at 20?), have much more time together and it is bliss! This "empty nest" is loving life with career flying and my super great man by my side and the kids finding their own way forward in life. We committed to at least 32 more!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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