Edmonton, Family | 4 comments
40th Anniversary: 1974 – 2014 (April 27)
By: Zdenko Kahlina
Ruby Wedding Anniversary “Speech”
I’ve volunteered to say ‘a few words’ for this occasion and the only way I know how to do this, was to create a new blog on my web site! However, to cram 40 years into ‘a few words’ proved too much of a tall order and I’m afraid I’ve used a few more than a few in this speech, so please bear with me…
Life is a journey!
How many people can say they have a true partner, friend and lover that they can count on in good times and bad? How many can say their love is even stronger for all they’ve been through together? Only a lucky few… like me… thank you Vera! I love you… and I can’t say this enough times!!
A Definition for Successful marriage
I know the wedding days are extremely stressful occasions and April 27th 1974, was no exception. It had such a profound effect on both of us and we immigrated to Canada soon after!
The answer to successful marriage besides loving each other is ‘TRUST and HONESTY with each other’. We’re not a perfect couple. We’re just a couple. We love each other and we get on each other’s nerves sometimes. But we compromise in equal measures and when it comes to the big decisions both of us put ‘coupledom’ before anything else. This means we can each pursue our own interests, but when push comes to shove we are there for each other.
We always had the same goals and worked as a team to achieve them. Leaving our homeland with two small children is one perfect example. Today, almost 25 years later we are still together and still live in Canada. I love my wife more now than ever before. We trust each other and do everything in life together. We are both unconditionally committed to our relationship and we always somehow make it work. Dave Meurer (award-winning author and writer) once said:
“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”
That’s exactly it! We learnt our differences early on and began our marriage with an understanding, that we both must accommodate each other if the relationship is to last a lifetime. While we were still just going out we would discuss marriage and living a life as a couple, in between the kisses. Most married couples develop a shared understanding of who does what in their relationship. It is sometimes unspoken recognition of an inevitable division of labor and responsibilities. But Vera and I discussed all these things in advance. I remember Vera being totally opposed to cooking and other assigned roles by gender. But I convinced her that I will take equal share of responsibilities on my shoulders, by doing all the men’s share of work in the family. The current, commonly agreed and politically correct plan in our marriage is an equal sharing of chores and other duties in life.
LIFE IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS, NOT ACCOMPLISHMENTS!
A partnership is about communicating the good and the bad to your mate, letting them see who you are, letting them stand beside you, supporting each other in all things, cheering each other on, and encouraging each other. So without ever being told what rules to follow, we tend to know enough to follow an unwritten policy of Joint Agreement, where it was me in every argument who always had the last words: ‘Yes dear!’ … and that’s why our marriage is very successful!
Back in the days – Our marriage story
Vera and I had been dating only for one year and four months. We planned our entire wedding in a few months. We didn’t want to have a huge party or spend a lot of money. The idea was for it to be low-key. We didn’t want to make a huge spectacle, just wanted it to be honest & real. My mother served lunch for all the guests in our family house… all by herself!!
We also wanted to get married in the church. In fact wedding ceremony was in the beautiful cathedral in Zagreb (Croatia). In front of the cathedral my cycling buddies were holding bike wheels in the air and as we were leaving the church we walked through the arch of wheels. It was beautiful…
After the church, the whole wedding party traveled 150km to a small village of Gradina in Slavonija, where Vera was born. Her family arranged a celebration in their house with the local band playing Slavonian Folk music. Later that night as local tradition was dictating, Vera had to dance with all our guests at the wedding party, to get her wedding presents. Those were the days… we can literally say we started our living together from scratch! With no material possessions at all! Everything we gained in life since then, we earned it through honest and hard work together!
Life of traveling
Throughout our life together we traveled a lot. We moved to Canada twice! First time we stayed only for one year. By the end of that year we were both very homesick and we decided to return to Croatia. Immediately upon our return we went to beautiful Dubrovnik for a vacation. Both of our children were born in Croatia few years later. For the next ten years leaving with our children in our home country was the best ten years of our lifes. That’s when they got the travel fever that stays with them to this day. We were traveling and camping all over Croatia and life was very adventurous. I remember one camping trip with our kids through Croatia and Bosnia to Dubrovnik and then followed Adriatic coast all the way north to Istria.
But life was not just traveling. It was hard survival in former Socialist Jugoslavia. We could not earn enough money to live simple life, as economic crisis was spreading and politically country was falling apart. That’s why we moved to Edmonton for the second time. This time it was for good.
We are happy here now, but it wasn’t easy beginning. We survived through difficult times, learned the language, moved into our own house, raised our children the best way we could and we are proud today of ours and their achievements. They are adults now, and we are once again only a couple. We can travel the world again… this time just the two of us.
As kids moved out of our house, we are living ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’, which will soon be followed by our retirement. Life is changing again, but the main thing is, we are going through all this change together. Having a lifelong partner through all this phases in life is priceless. I have countless pictures in our family albums to prove this!
Ruby – A Definition for Married Life
I think that every good speech should have a title and that the title should sum up the content, so I’ve entitled this one “Ruby – A Definition for Married Life!”
“Ruby” – A Definition for Married Life!
Now I know what you are all thinking,
That at some convenient time,
I’ll break from this endless monologue
And recite a wee ditty in rhyme.
Well I’m not much one for surprises
And I don’t like to disappoint,
So I got out my pen and some paper,
And I wrote these words.
Yes, Vera and Zdenko (me), on this Sunday,
Will have been married a whole Forty Years
And if that’s not worth celebrating,
It certainly deserves three cheers! (Hip, Hip, Hip)
Now we all know that this anniversary,
Was named “Ruby” long, long ago.
Just why has been lost down the ages,
So I thought that I’d have a go!
I opened the old diction-ary,
To see if it could help out:
It said things like “rare precious stone”
And “red pimple on face”.
I could see the significance of precious
And even of the word rare.
But not the thing about pimples,
So I scratched my head in despair!
I guess married life can be like that,
But I didn’t think that was just why,
This special day is called “Ruby”
So I put down my pen with a sigh.
Then I wrote the word down the side of the page
And realized almost at once,
Each letter stood for something else!
I felt that I’d been such a dunce.
R is for Resilience and for Resolve,
For Richer and poorer as well.
U ‘s for Understanding each other
And that life’s not always this swell.
B is for Balancing, work, rest and play,
And the Books all these years
Y is for Yoyo, for life’s ups and downs
The good times, the bad and the fears.
So I think I now know what it stands for
And I hope that you’ll all agree,
Vera and Zdenko, over the years
Have got this right off to a “T“!
At the end of my speech I can only conclude: Life is short! Where did all these 40 years go so quickly? It seems like we got married yesterday. But the opposite is true. It’s been 40 years since we both said ‘yes’ for life. We have thousands of pictures in our family albums as a proof of that.
Here is one joke on husbands I see as it applies to my life:
One day a housework-challenged husband decided to wash his Sweat-shirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to his wife, “What setting do I use on the washing machine?”
“It depends,” She replied. “What does it say on your shirt?”
He yelled back, “University of Oklahoma.”
Needless to say I was lucky to meet someone like Vera and spent whole life with her!
Ladies and Gentleman, please raise your glasses
in toast to our Anniversary!
More pictures about our life are available on ‘Zdenko’s Corner’ from photo albums tab (click here).
Follow Zdenko’s Corner on Facebook !