Long-Term Commitments

By Rick Fullerton | Bio


On Thanksgiving weekend (the Canadian version that happens in early
October), my wife and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with
family and friends. Our children—now adults living on their
own—arranged everything so all Phyllis and I had to do was arrive at
the church hall at the appointed time. For those of you with younger
families, there is hope!

In anticipation of this event, we pulled out photographs and other
mementos of our married lives together and recalled our earlier 25-year
milestone celebration. We learned that some of our memorabilia, as well
as an oil painting by our daughter, would be displayed at the
reception. We looked forward to being involved, yet also felt somewhat
out of the loop since others were doing all the preparations.

Phyllis
and I decided we would make our entrance to the festivities wearing our
wedding clothes (as sentimental pack rats we had saved her wedding
dress and my suit all these years). With just a little effort, we were
able to surprise our loved ones and delight the grandchildren by
showing off our fancy outfits. From my perspective, what is most
gratifying about this experience is that neither Phyllis nor I did
anything specific to step into those 40-year-old clothes. There were no
crash diets, no alternations. So how did we do this?

With over
four decades of life experiences—five pregnancies, six geographic
moves, four significant career changes, and a sprinkling of accidents
and illnesses—we have individually and collectively taken care of what
we eat and drink, the way we treat our bodies, and the priority we
assign to a balanced life.

In practice, this means we have
learned a lot about healthy diets and exercise, while also recognizing
that we are quite different in our physiology, our interests and our
needs. I gave up eating meats about 10 years ago, yet Phyllis delights
when she has lamb or beef when eating out or when I am away. Similarly,
I love active exercise that gives me a great cardiovascular workout
(like cycling), while she rarely breaks a sweat doing her regular yoga
routine. Of course, we also do some activities together, like walking
and canoeing.

I believe our ability to maintain reasonable
fitness and weight over 40 years stems from a constancy of
commitment—similar in many ways to the commitment to making a
relationship work for the long-term. At the same time, it is clear to
me that our marriage itself has been a key to keeping each other
healthy and active.

More musings to follow next month…

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