July 4, 2013

How To Stay Married For 44 Years

Mikki and Joe

Mikki and Joe

July 4th is our anniversary, so I’m dedicating this post to my lovely wife.

How To Stay Married For 44 Years

This is my wife (she’s the one holding the brush). Her name is Michele, but I have known her as Mikki since I was 13 years old.

We got married a few months after I turned 17. No one thought it would last. No one except us. Somehow, we knew it would.

The road wasn’t easy. It’s always tough when you start out in a deep hole—like having to quit high school in order to support the baby due in a few months. And growing up, growing apart, and then back together again over many years of trials and tribulations.

When people learn we were married so young, the inevitable question always comes up. “How did you make it work?”

Someone asked me that a few months ago. I give a quick, canned response: hard work. Or something to that effect.

Later that night I thought about what I said, and I was disappointed. It was a young person who had asked the question, and he seemed to be sincere. He might have been looking for an answer, and I should have taken more time to respond. After pondering the question, I arrived at the answer.

It’s All About Forgetting…

…is what I should have said.

“Forgetting?” he might have asked.

“Forgetting,” I’d have said.

  • It’s about forgetting I see the wrinkles around her eyes, or the deep, tired furrows in her brow.
  • It’s about forgetting I hear the worry in her voice with each new ache and pain either one of us have.
  • It’s about forgetting her skin is rough and weathered from tending to the animals and working the farm in the Texas heat.
  • It’s about forgetting I hear the raspy voice when she sings to our grandkids.
  • It’s about forgetting I see the hurt in her eyes, put there by too much life.
  • It’s about forgetting why she gets afraid if I fall, instead of laughing like she used to.

It isn’t all about forgetting, though. It’s also about…


  • It’s about remembering how her eyes sparkled when she laughed, and that those wrinkles used to be laugh lines.
  • It’s about remembering that worry in her voice grew out of 44 years of love.
  • It’s remembering how excited I got touching her silky skin for the very first time.
  • It’s remembering how thrilling it was to hear her voice on the phone.
  • It’s remembering the innocence in her eyes that only years of life can take away.
  • It’s remembering all the laughter, all the fun, and all the love that 44 years can bring.

So when I look at my wife, after 44 years…

This Is What I See

Just Married

It’s Official

Legal Kiss

Legal Kiss

Leaving Church

Leaving Church

Having Fun

Having Fun








PS: If this gets enough shares and likes, I’ll probably get something special tonight. So, come on, help an old guy out. 

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of MURDER TAKES TIME, MURDER HAS CONSEQUENCES, and A BULLET FOR CARLOS and No Mistakes Resumes. He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”



12 Responses to “How To Stay Married For 44 Years”

  1. Lovely! My daughter got married on June 22 to a young man she’s known for 8 years, since she was 13. She just turned 21. People who don’t know them often say, “How can you let them get married so young??” Well, they’ve known each other 8 years, dated 5, and are still head over heels… How long should they wait?! Congrats on your 44 years! Well done. :o)

  2. Thanks, Jennings. I know that getting married young doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does. Congrats to your daughter and her husband.

  3. Jimmy, what a beautiful emotion-filled post. It brought tears to my eyes. Ray and I have been married 47 years and your words hit home. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth it! I was only 19 when we married……Ray was 21 and just starting as a Cadet on Wilmington Police. Congratulations to you and your beautiful wife……loved the old pictures. That’s the Jimmy I remembered so well from our Cleland Heights days. Hope you “enjoy your evening”…….I’m doing my part for you!!! Brenda Ferrier Scott

  4. Brenda, thanks so much for stopping by (and for ‘doing your part’). And you’re so right, it’s never easy, but thankfully, it’s worth it. As to the pics, I had so much fun digging through old boxes just trying to find some. What memories it brought! Ciao, and say hi to everyone.

  5. Excellent advice. But your more succinct answer works too.

    Perhaps the most important thing is that both people in the marriage have to put in the effort. It can’t work with just one person carrying the load.

    Happy anniversary!

  6. You’re right about that, Maria. Mikki does the heavy lifting around here.

  7. Happy (belated) Anniversary!! Such a beautiful post. And such great advice. My youngest son is getting married in 4 months and I plan on sharing this post with him. Thank you!!

  8. Thanks, Cheryl. Tell your son, congratulations.

  9. Congratulations! Always great to hear how people work through life to achieve your success in a long marriage connection.
    I enjoy your books and admire your dedication to animals, and wish you much more success and marital bliss:)

  10. Thanks, Dan. Maybe I should have given the animals more credit. They’re a great common interest.

  11. Giacomo, congratulations. I loved this post, what a tribute to your love story. Whatever the reward it was well deserved.

  12. Thanks, Deb. I appreciate you stopping by and glad you liked the post. Our “reward” that night was we got to watch our granddaughter. A true pleasure.

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