40th Wedding Anniversary Songs

My wife and I on August 9, 1980

Today is my wife Jane and my 40th wedding anniversary. And while I’ve written over a million words on this blog, I can’t seem to find the ones to describe a lifetime of living and loving together. The best words I’ve ever found to describe the beauty of mature love were penned by one of my intellectual heroes, Will Durant:

Do not be so ungrateful about love … to the attachment of friends and mates who have gone hand in hand through much hell, some purgatory, and a little heaven, and have been soldered into unity by being burned together in the flame of life. I know such mates or comrades quarrel regularly, and get upon each other’s nerves; but there is ample recompense for that in the unconscious consciousness that someone is interested in you, depends upon you, exaggerates you, and is waiting to meet you at the station.[i]

And the best advice I’ve ever received about love came from a short book I read in my early twenties—the first book I ever gave to my wife—Erich Fromm’s, The Art of Loving. It begins:

Is love an art? Then it requires knowledge and effort. Or is love a pleasant sensation, which to experience is a matter of chance, something one “falls into” if one is lucky? This little book is based on the former premise …

Yet perhaps music best expresses our love. With this in mind, I dedicate a few songs from different times and diverse musical genres to Jane:

And finally, the one we danced to at our wedding, forty years ago. It contains the best lyrics describing mature love that I’ve ever heard:

Through the years, as the fire starts to mellow
Burning lines in the book of our lives
Though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow
I’ll be in love with you


[i] Durant, On the meaning of life, 125-26.

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7 thoughts on “40th Wedding Anniversary Songs

  1. Well, happy (past) anniversary! 🙂

    John, this is the full Schopenhauer quote that I previously hacked into my own abominable monstrosity! I had to find it and write it for you to do it some justice.

    ‘Philosophy is an alpine road, and the precipitous path which leads to it is strewn with stones and thorns. The higher you climb, the lonelier, the more desolate grows the way; but he who threads it must know no fear; he must leave everything behind him; he will at last have to cut his own path through the ice. His road will often bring him to the edge of a chasm, whence it can look into the green valley beneath. Giddiness will overcome him, and strive to draw him down, but he must resist and hold himself back. In return, the world will soon lie beneath him; its deserts and bogs will disappear from view; its irregularities grow indistinguishable; its discords cannot pierce so high; its roundness become discernible. The climber stands amid clear fresh air, and can behold the sun when all beneath is still shrouded in the blackness of the night.’

  2. and yes, I agree about what Fromm said about “love”. In truth, I think that the Schopenhauer quote is more suited to hermits like him and me. I think that I am more similar to him than to someone else, in that I have always been awkward in society….somehow I have never been fitting anywhere. We die alone. (but we also learn to manage this…way of life?)

    ‘ its discords cannot pierce so high’

    But then there are people like you, who have found their way in society. This is preferable. Less “society savvy” people like me or Schopenhauer would never completely turn away a more preferable way of life, that would be stupid. I am always impressed when I see an old couple still caring for each other, and that is the way it should be. It means they learned to be more tolerant, and accept each other’s ‘quirks’.

    I think the mistake to really avoid, is to be attracted to someone on the sole basis of looks, or other external factors. I think it is a really great thing to travel the journey of life with someone you care for, and also cares about you. We often wonder about the “meaning of life” but really, in the end, if you have someone you can share your life with, and are a philosopher, then there is hardly a better meaning than this 🙂

    For a few of us, it was never meant to be, ha ha. But it’s ok. Sort of 🙂
    I am just deliberating about it all, not at all whining about myself. I guess it’s a quasi-philosophical deliberation, that is all. I always feel good to see other people who feel good. 🙂

  3. great quote. I think i know Schopenhauer’s mind, at least somewhat, thru this quote.

  4. Happy belated anniversary! I’m up to 18 years now and can see the forging growing all the time. Lucky you to have made it to 40. Hope you enjoy many more too!

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