Friday, June 09, 2006


My wife and I celebrated our anniversary this past week by taking some time off and going to a hotel for a few nights. We went away from work, away from our house, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. While my wife spent a few hours at the spa I lay out by the pool and read books and magazines that I had been pushing back for lack of time. Outside of that couple of hours we spend the two days together. We simply spent time together. I found out that my wife is a pretty competitive go-cart racer and cut me off as I tried to pass countless times and put me into the rail. I smile now as I think about it.

These yearly events fascinate me. I am an amateur etymologist, which means that I am fascinated with the origins of words. Anniversary is an interesting word combination. The first part is “annus” from the Latin meaning “year” and most of us recognize that from other similar words: annual, Anno Domini, annals. But the second part of the word Anniversary makes for some interesting discussion. In Latin the word is “versus” which means “to turn.” Based on it’s usage in the word or phrase it can mean, “to return to” as in Anniversary, or “to turn against” as in Michigan vs. Indiana. I wonder if the Romans, who came up with the word, knew the possible variations when used in a WEDDING Anniversary. Every year the bride and the groom “return to” their wedding day or “turn against” each other.

Sometimes it seems as if we are against each other in our marriage but I will always return to that day in celebration. I am asked once a week if I feel people should live together before they are married. My answer depends. If they are religious then living together is wrong based on scripture. But most people aren’t looking for the religious answer so I give them the practical one. Living together BEFORE you are married is the surest way to make sure you get divorced later. It is also a way to guarantee any children you might have will get divorced and have many social ills to boot. Why do I say that? Statistics from the last 40 years of liberal marriage and divorce laws, as well as 40 years of the “sexual revolution” show that people who live together before they get married are THREE TIMES more likely to get divorced as those who do not live together before marriage. Three time more likely! So if you want to triple your odds of getting divorced, live together before you get married.

In fact, I think living together before may be the difference in the etymology of the word Anniversary. Yearly do you “return to” in celebration or do you “turn against” each other in guilt?

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