"It's a good thing you two married each other,

and didn't ruin two other families....."

-a kind gentle innkeeper on Cape Cod during a summer vacation trip (in 1986)



"I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." -speech at end of When Harry Met Sally given by Billy Crystal on how he knew, finally, that he was truly and honestly in love.


A Few Words About the Event

Annette and I got married in a lovely stone Presbyterian church in Scarsdale New York, on October 19, 1985. It was a momentous day in many ways. Annette took my name after we wed despite us discussing such horrors as hyphenating names and various other modern bridal identity issues, and her choice instead was to drop her middle name and retain her maiden name as her middle name. So she went from being Annette Louise Bavry to Annette Bavry Christiansen in a series of sentences uttered by one of the kindest and most gentle souls on the face of the Earth, a man who was one of the ministers for this church named Don Theil.


We'd gone to one of his sermons to learn what the man was like, having felt uncomfortable with the other minister. The other minister left me feeling like we were going to be forced to participate in a revival meeting in the middle of our wedding, which we know wasn't suitable, but still... that edge of discomfort was there. Don's sermon was very good and wholesome until he worked himself into a rather humorous logic circle which could have been used to justify suicide... er, not his intent, but just his writing needed work.


We wanted to know this man who would perform the ceremony of commitment that starts wedded life, the person who signs the paper that says, hey, you, yer now in for it cause you're stuck with each other unless you really want to go through the hideous pain of dealing with lawyers, judges, signing papers you never wanted to see in your life and having to somehow sort out whose utensils those were that were found under the couch at the end. It just seemed like a good thing to start such an endeavor off on the right foot with the best possible omens so as not to somehow invite the little gremlins that squeak in your ear about getting to the shared bank accounts first. With the country proudly sporting a supposed 50% divorce rate, you know every little superstitious tidbit will come into play the minute someone starts having the tiniest doubts, right? Well they will, you betcha.


So we sat down with him and talked about religion, the high cost of housing, where he parked his car, why we wanted to get married, how his own life affected his duties and a few things as he saw them as acts of God. Of course, what had me delighted right away was his honest open comment, "hey, I'm in sales. The miracles department is beyond my duties." It didn't hurt that he had his own real world problems he admitted to that made him one of us, a human being, not a Godly immortal beyond the ken of mortal man. We liked him. He was the guy we had to have.


The one really big piece of good advice he had, we already knew... and it's worth repeating. Marriage takes work. Once you're married the relationship building isn't over, you still have to work at it every day all the time, to make sure the relationship is healthy, solid, and real. If you take it for granted or neglect working to sustain the connection, the bond between the two of you, it simply fails. That kind of holds true for any relationship, but is especially important with marriage since the wedding itself seems like the end goal to so many people.


Weddings themselves are a nightmare. Take my advice if you get the chance. Elope. Save the money. We were having our wedding in the Church to honor my parents. I felt this was important and for that reason alone, I am very glad we did it there. 

None the less, if you can work up a plan to dash off to the justice of the peace in Jackson's Whole, beat a path and don't look back. The circus is quite something when family and friends start gathering. I suspect the reason for the actual wedding process is to terrify you enough about doing it in the first place to keep you from divorcing and ever trying it again. There's something particularly horrible about trying to organize and gather all those people in one place, pay for it, and still know that the next day you're off on some junket to heaven knows where while your home is in the questionable care of some dear friend who is jealous you now have someone to share your life with. Um... about the honeymoon.... naw...


Among other things that happened back on that day in October 1985 was a 4.6 Richter scale earthquake... in Westchester NY fer cryin' out loud. It wasn't a simple little quake either, it rumbled a bit then rumbled solidly again just to make sure everyone knew it happened. Unless someone says it was October 19, 1985 when they felt a quake in NY, you should question them seriously. It's not a common practice for the world to give a shock in there. But it does give Annette and I the unique advantage of pointing out on the day of our wedding, the Earth moved for us. We did make it through a slightly rainy day wedding, enjoying our friends and the food, and finally escaping to the airport at some odd hour with all our things for a week long honeymoon which... well, let's just say late October is not the time to visit Aruba.


A Few Words of Advice


There are things to be said for what got you together and going in the first place of course. I mean in addition to the sex. Oh, sex is important. Annette calls it an "important relationship glue in marriage", which amuses me because it is sweet to me how she puts it but to others it may seem a bit impersonal and analytically cold. What she's expressing is the importance of continued and effective intimacy. Oh geeze, now I sound like a lousy how-to author in one of those woman's monthly magazines where they tell you the 10 best ways to keep your man. Yuck. 


No matter how I say it, it's gonna come out somewhat the same though.... intimacy, that 'tender dalliance' (thank you James H Schmitz for that phrase).... is critical for knowing that the health of the relationship is sound. Without a regular intimacy you both are comfortable with, you've just got a bunk mate. That's fine for when the weather is below freezing, but it won't help much when you stub your toe on the carefully placed cinderblock you left in your living room with the deliberate care of Bonko the school practical joker. 


Something About Annette


Annette has become one of three people who are my life. My family from growing up still is a huge part of everything, mind. Yet to date, after 20 years she keeps me running. Without her, I would certainly be a lost button for quite some time. It's not like I'd die or fall apart completely without her at this point though I cannot imagine not having her around to share the successes and failures, the joys and fears, the dreams and a few other things that are no one else's business. 

Annette is my nurturer. And I believe she feels the same about me. Without her healing touch sometimes I would not settle after a hard day, a bad incident, a troublesome problem, or a number of other events that eat at the psyche. It's important to me she can do that. It's not something just anyone can do, and even if someone else could, she has shared close to half my life now, a full 21-22 years which we've been connected and lived together.

We argue sometimes with the heat of a blast furnace. The fact I am important enough to her she'll argue so heatedly with me even in the presence of strangers is an indication of the value she places on what I think. I'm not saying arguing in public is a good sign of healthy relationships, but the meaning is serious and real when the issues resolve themselves. After all, you don't argue much more than a couple times with someone who has no meaning and importance to you. Think about it.


We have a couple argument policies we've developed over the years, no one walks out in a huff to avoid the other, and we strive to resolve arguments before bedtime. Sleeping with anger is very unhealthy, and it really makes sleeping so it isn't very re-energizing. Sleep should help you revitalize for the next day, and often if you go to bed angry you simply let your subconscious eat at the problem. So that's been a very important policy for us.


Annette is in some ways a muse to me, inspiring me to work at things. And in other ways it is simply very critical to me she approve of the things I do. So her support of my gaming hobby, her pushing me to get my camera, the way she encourages me to enjoy the films I enjoy, the fact she has read (and found she loves) books I recommend, as well as the way she so lightly encourages my lighter computer fetish is like having an additional set of girders and superstructures under a bridge to support the weight of all the traffic crossing it. (terrible analogy, perhaps, but heck, she bridges so much for me)


Annette's creative talents sometimes bemuse me, but she is the seamstress & clothing designer she wanted to be, even if she only practices it at home with me and the kids. She's made shirts for me, which is a non-trivial task, that are every bit as good as any high quality made to fit tailored shirt. She makes costumes for the children for Halloween. She makes all manner of costumes for plays, and has done skirts and costumes for the Balletmet productions. She's extraordinary in her range of talent with cloth obviously.

Her creative talents do not end there. She also does artwork. Her drawings may not hang at the greater art museums, but she has a hand and eye for capturing interesting subjects when she cares to work on those things. She's done all manner of artwork in a wide range of mediums, from watercolor to oils, working clay, and doing those lovely little egg decorations that look so beautiful (stunning in fact). She sketches endlessly on some days, and on others she is working at selecting cloth for various things. It's kind of a shame she never did make a career of fashion design, but her judgment that the industry was way too nutso is not unreasoned. Some of her greatest artwork is for eating, and the birthday cakes around here can be glorious little displays we have to photograph before turning loose the hordes with forks.

She also works on keeping a number of other household things cared for here. It's not the housecleaning. We have a saying in our home, that a clean house is a sign of a life wasted. Well, our lives aren't wasted, even if there are occasional cleaning binges. But she does enjoy cooking. We do have an ongoing project of painting the kids' rooms, but that may yet not be completed until just after they go off to school. Er, um.


She takes care of one of the critical family bookkeeping items around here that would drive me nuts. Actually, it did drive me nuts. Annette's the one with the MBA in finance, btw. I'm the utterly uneducated dude in the house (can you say High School degree only?). She caught me pouting and waving goodbye to the money as I was doing the bills one day and since then, she took over as the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


She also likes those damn green things that grow out there, beyond the walls of the house, in the dirt. Okay, I actually love trees myself, and a nice green lawn is wonderful. But dammit, she likes them things with colorful ends that open up in the sunlight... flowers? And she' tends to like the yard to look tended instead of wild. Oh well, one must suffer a few little quirks with the one you love, right?


Oh yeah, those other two people who are the centers of my life... that would be Danny and Kira, the children Annette blessed me with. She did so much work going through the ever so infamous nine months, and raising them, and just plain loving them... Her fear when we went to the hospital the first time for Danny's birth that she wouldn't love the little child she was bringing into the world was utterly unfounded, and she is filled with unbridled love for the two little monsters angels.


One Last Neat Thing About Annette!


An immense treasure to how we get along, to what makes us a great couple together is she shares my somewhat whacked out sense of humor. I know from experience my sense of humor doesn't strike a lot of people very well, and confuses quite a few. To try to explain humor to someone is to completely ruin it of course, so forget it if you think I can explain myself to you here in any number of words put to paper. There is nothing I can say that would make you understand the twisted way I view certain things, even if I point you to the influences of my youth, the ways I react to things, and the bizarre way in which I see every day events.


But Annette sees most such things the same way.


That should scare most folk, really.

A Final Word


I love Annette dearly and need her in my life where she is, married to me. We have our 20th Anniversary on October 19th, 2005. We have no special plans for this day, specifically. But everyday with Annette is a special day, and every day with my children, her gift to me, is a special day. She deserves no less than a long valentine (out of season) such as this one. I hope she finds it comforting too somehow.