Wendyl Nissen

Wendyl Nissen on being 'The Supportive Wife'

Wendyl Nissen: Record-breaking marriage

Add a comment
Paul Little and Wendyl Nissen celebrated their 12th anniversary with a cuppa and a lie down. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Paul Little and Wendyl Nissen celebrated their 12th anniversary with a cuppa and a lie down. Photo / Herald on Sunday

There are two occasions when a wedding anniversary seems like a great idea.

The first is when you've made it to your seventh year, which means you have survived the itch. The second is when you've been married for 50 years, because that shows patience and determination and I'm always fascinated by the looks on the faces of those celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. They're both smiling, but in a thin-lipped way, as they attempt to hide the truth behind the 50 years. That time he didn't come home for three nights, that other time when she refused to talk to him for a month and how at their 48th wedding anniversary they'd just about called it quits but didn't want to disappoint their 47-year-old son.

I was never that fussed about wedding anniversaries because I was never that fussed about weddings. Just ask both my husbands.

I never hankered for that faux virginity with the white dress. In fact, I wore black at my first wedding and was pregnant at my second.

I saw marriage as an antiquated institution designed in old times to ensure masculine property rights.

So it was unlikely that I would place much importance on the wedding anniversary and would listen in wonder as other women every year played the "I bet he won't remember" game with their husbands. And every year he didn't. It all seemed rather pathetic.

But that was until I got married for the second time and my competitive streak set in. It became very important to me that this marriage lasted longer than my first, and his first.

"Looks like you've lasted longer married to me," I announced after seven years, having done the calculations.

"Oh no, few more years to go yet," he responded smugly.

"Years apart before getting back together in the same marriage don't count," I said.

"Yes they do."

"No they don't."

"It was my marriage, I think I know how long it lasted."

This required a quick recalculation of my own first marriage to include "breaks" and "time apart".

"Looks like you've got a couple of years to go before you break my record," I announced.

"I'm not counting. Marriage is not a competitive sport."

Finally, last week on October 4 we reached year 12 and broke the record of his first marriage. We had broken mine a few years previously.

"Looks like we made it," I declared, quoting Barry Manilow, triumphant at last.

To celebrate we had a nana nap together on the bed in the afternoon. We were tired. We are tired every year because for some reason we decided it would be a great idea to get married the day after my father's birthday, which is the day after one of our daughter's birthday. So, after two birthday celebrations we get to our anniversary and need a cup of tea and a lie down.

The next day our youngest daughter insisted that we do something. As the only child of the second marriage she holds it dear and likes to have it acknowledged for her sake if nothing else. And besides, it was school holidays.

And so we went out to breakfast. The three of us to celebrate a wedding anniversary. I sat facing the wall while they faced the cafe clientele and gossiped.

"Is that who I think it is?" he said.

"Well, if it is she's really let herself go," she said.

I stole food from their plates while they tried to remember the name of an actor from Shortland Street who was eating porridge.

"That's it," I interrupted the celebrity spotters. "We're going out to dinner. Just you and me. The married couple. We should celebrate properly, without children."

"Fine by me," he said.

"About time," she said, before noticing that half her scrambled eggs had disappeared.

"You really ought to get out more Mum."

- Herald on Sunday

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 02 Sep 2014 09:06:59 Processing Time: 715ms