01 Jun

Blush and yellow Hibiscus

A glimpse of E. Tomczyk’s garden | photo by “WW” Tomczyk

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  It is just days before my thirty-forth wedding anniversary when I’ll celebrate being married to the most amazing human being I’ve ever met:  WW (a.k.a. “White and Wonderful”).  So it seems like a good time to take a couple of weeks off and hang out with my man and revel in those gorgeous blue eyes—contemplating how blessed I am to know such a man of integrity, strength, and courage.  I want to celebrate love with a man who has spent our entire married life helping to heal all the wounds my childhood haters inflicted.  To do this, I will need to step away from the news (Farewell, M. Bachmann: there is a God and you just got schooled by him), step away from my blog, and tune out all my trolls.   I plan to sit amongst my flowers with my man, read some books, drink lots of wine, thank God I’m alive, and work on my memoir—especially the love story of WW and me which is the book’s last chapter and rivals anything Nicholas Sparks has ever written (yeah, Baby!).  And then I’ll swing back in a couple of weeks to pick up where I’ve left off and see if my readers have kept out of trouble.    In the meantime, here are a few thoughts on marriage.

Anniversary Interracial Marriage

Cartoonist:  Kevin Siers | The Charlotte Observer

What’s your secret?  That is the most commonly asked question I get when people hear that I’ve been over-the-moon, happily hitched for thirty-four years (plus six dating years) to a white dude.   Anyone who knew me in my youth knew that my mantra was that I would never marry someone who was white, because “there was nothin’ no white man could do for me.”  (Good grief—the arrogance of youth still makes me shudder!)  In previous years when asked what I thought made a successful interracial marriage, I’d say all sorts of cliché bullshit that first popped into my mind without giving it much thought:


“Loving God”

“Weekly date nights”

“Great sex”

“Must have things in common”

“Being each other’s best friends”

“Learning how to pick your battles”

“Being a good listener”

Early on there was also the Herculean task of ignoring the racist naysayers when they tried to thwart our marriage by saying stupid shit like:  “A robin can marry a dolphin, but where will they live and what about the children—they won’t be fish or fowl!”

Loving day wedding bands

The children (ages 29 and 30) did just fine—they neither have flippers nor wings—and WW and I didn’t have to summer in a nest at the top of a tall tree or winter beneath the waves of the Caribbean Sea to survive.  While the list above contains some truths about sustaining a marriage, none of them were ever any guarantee that our marriage would form into the rock that it became.  I’ve known Christian couples who claimed Jesus as their Lord and Savior every other breath, could quote the Bible backwards and forwards, went to church whenever the doors were open, were religious about a date night every Friday, preached against Gay marriage as a sin and a detriment to heterosexual marriage, and yet they were the nastiest piece of work toward each other that I’ve ever had the unfortunate opportunity to witness.

Somehow, being at peace with the concept that one has found the right person who aligns with one’s spiritual and aspirational goals is half the battle.  But making damn sure that one is truly in love with the individual and not “in love with being in love” is the hardest plumb line to adjust to—especially for women.  Between our little girl dress-up fantasies, our Cinderella and Prince Charming fairy tales that we’ve grown up with all our lives, and now the “keeping up with the Joneses” Pinterest, women can get pretty screwed up when it comes to what is real or what would make a great “pinned by______” on the photo-sharing website when it comes to getting married and staying married.

Anniversary marriage thelaughinghousewife dot wordpress dot com

Cartoon from:

I am discovering that I do know (after 33 years) what makes a good marriage go the distance—no matter who you are, and even if you’re a robin who married a dolphin:   It is grace, respect, and a sense of humor.

Grace:  to be able to accept the things about each other that drive us nuts without developing a nervous tic whenever our spouse’s peccadillos emerge.  Grace doesn’t work without forgiveness and therein lays the stumbling block to it—grace takes daily exercise.

Respect:  to never, ever, ever cross the line of contempt, disdain, rage, or abuse when it comes to dealing with our lovers.  Those are flesh-eating zombies and very difficult to survive.  But if it should happen, having the grace to immediately, and genuinely, ask forgiveness, along with the grace to do whatever it takes to never cross those boundaries again.  No amount of love can keep a marriage together without an equal amount of respect.

A sense of humor:  the ability not to take oneself too seriously—about anything!  The ability to laugh uproariously—in the moment—about our own imperfect humanity!

Anniversary humor

Cartoonist:  Walt Handelman|Newsday

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”—Friedrich Nietzsche

“Every good relationship, especially marriage, is based on respect. If it’s not based on respect, nothing that appears to be good will last very long.”—Amy Grant

“People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other’s personalities. Who wouldn’t? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this:  Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, ‘I can work around that. I can make something out of it.’? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it’s always going to pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.”—Paul Sweeney


E. and “WW” Tomczyk| Photo: Tomczyk Archives

WW and I:  many anniversary celebrations ago . . . a little more hair, a little less “fluffy-nutter,” but very much in love.

Love Birds

E. and “WW” Tomczyk| Photo: C. Tomczyk

Ebony and Ivory:  34 years and counting . . . a little less hair, a lot more ass, but still very, very much in love.  Thank you Loving v. Virginia (Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man) for paving the way.  WW and I are eternally grateful to you and I know you cheered us on in that great cloud of witnesses!

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on June 1, 2013 in Uncategorized


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19 responses to “I DO, I DO!

  1. talesfromthemotherland

    June 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    LOVE this E!! Such a loving, and beautiful tribute to your man and your marriage. I envy what you have; I admit it. May your life together continue to be wonderful and meaningful. May your days together be long. This is really a special post. We’ll miss you, but enjoy some lovin’!

    “Envy” as in… love what you have, wish you only the best, and think it’s something worth finding/having… not the bad envy. That biblical bad envy… not that. 😉 xox

    • etomczyk

      June 1, 2013 at 2:10 pm


      Thanks for such a lovely, lovely comment. I merged your two comments even though I completely understood. All the best! 🙂

  2. Elyse

    June 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Wishing you both many more happy, hilarious years to come, Eleanor. I love the last quote especially!

    Enjoy your time off!

  3. seniledenial

    June 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Enjoy your time. My husband has kept me laughing and entertained for 34 years this month. I love your story and the two of you look great!

  4. Lisa

    June 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Congratulations to you and WW! I am so very happy for you.
    I can’t tell you how much I look forward to each of your posts and look forward to the day you publish your memoir 🙂

  5. composerinthegarden

    June 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    What a great post, Eleanor – I LOVE the photos of you and WW. And I got a peek of your garden 🙂 Now I can really imagine the two you sitting there with a glass of wine and enjoying the summer and each other’s company – perfecto! Have a wonderful haitus; I will miss you but I’m sure there will be more stories to come. Enjoy!

  6. diane

    June 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Your stories are honest, humorous and have true to life lessons that we all can relate to. I look forward to each new subject.

  7. Valentine Logar

    June 2, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Congratulations, this was such a lovely and loving post it brought tears to my eyes. Enjoy your anniversary and your hiatus.

  8. ppowers59

    June 2, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Your honesty and humor are what give me hope! Thank you for sharing your life and stories! Blessed Be!

  9. becomingcliche

    June 2, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    It touches my heart to read “Loving vs. Virginia.” Because that’s exactly what it is; love vs the rest of the world.

    You kids are adorable!

    Happy anniversary! Mine is coming up really soon, too.

  10. Chrystal Solomon-Bonner

    June 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Congratulations on your 34th Anniversary!! When I see you guys together, all I see is this beautiful couple created by god. Your blog really inspires me with my marriage and what is needed to have a full life together.

  11. sondramsmith

    June 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Happy Anniversary you and WW are two of my favorite people and have been for almost 40 years! Love you both dearly

  12. imagesbytdashfield

    June 6, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Happy anniversary (late) to the two of you. I should’ve dropped you a line when we were sorta close to you last week but…….one day. ps. I’m waiting for you to peel off a post about the Cheerios commercial hot ass mess!

    • etomczyk

      June 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      TD: Definitely connect next time you’re in our area. I would love to meet you. As to the Cheerios commercial, I am so pissed! I wrote a very lovely note to Cheerios, since that little girl is the spitting image of Baby-girl when she was that age. All the best!

      • imagesbytdashfield

        June 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm

        I just KNEW you had to have some words about this totally uncalled for (but not a surprise) mess. Then again if we had met while we were in Philly you would’ve seen me in costume – WOOT!

  13. aFrankAngle

    June 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Don’t worry about Bachmann because God told her to resign so she could make oodles more money as a lobbyist.

    Meanwhile, Happy Anniversary to the Queen of Bling and WW! Because I have some wine in a glass an arm reach away, ….. got it …. I toast the two of us! …. and here’s a treat to 34.

  14. Jonathan Caswell

    June 10, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  15. Kirsten

    June 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Love you both! Happy anniversary and happy birthday to you, ET. Looking forward to a lunch date soon.

  16. Andrew

    June 25, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I hope me and my girlfriend will be as happy as you guys after all those years! Love this.


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