What have I learned in 36 years of Marriage
Yesterday was 9/11, a day that will live in infamy due to the attacks that took place in several areas of our country. Many lost their lives and our way of live has been forever changed due to the impact of that day in 2001.
9/11 has been a significant day for my wife and I since 1982 because that was the day we spoke our nuptial vows. If your math is decent, you will know that we have made it through 36 trips around the sun as man and wife. During this journey many things have changed, but throughout the process I have learned a great deal. I'll share some of those things below.
1. Marriage is a dynamic journey, not a static destination. Being married to someone is a process that has both ups and downs. Anyone who chooses to marry with the intent of only having good or great days needs to readjust their thinking. On the other hand, anyone who is afraid of the commitment that marriage brings needs to reflect about what they would want to achieve that does not involve commitment. In our 36 years the highs have greatly outnumbered the lows. You cannot enjoy the high points without having low points to compare them to.
2. Marriage is more than one man-one woman. While some of you will take this in an unintended direction, let me share what I really mean. Marriage involves families and the roots are much deeper and branch out much wider than just the two people getting married. When you marry, you inherit the families of your spouse, for better and for worse, and they inherit the same from you. If you have big secrets you wish to keep from your spouse, forget it.
3. Marry someone for who they are, not who you want them to be. My wife and I joke that we each thought the other had money. For some couples this is no joke. I married my wife for several reasons, but the main ones were that she was cute, smart, she challenged me (and still does) and she is trustworthy. I am not sure why she married me since most of those in her college sorority warned her, but it seems to have worked out. Go into marriage with realistic expectations. If you don't love the person you are pledging yourself to, don't marry them.
4. Commitment means work. When I read the statistics on marriage it makes me sad. I have seen couples choose to marry and I wondered if they would ever make it. Some do, some do not, but those who do are typically successful because they work hard at their marriage. As I start my 60th revolution around the sun I have learned that anything worth having involves lots of hard work. Marriage is at the top of that list, not because of all of the work, but because it is such an integral part to my life and to society in general.
36 years of marriage is an accomplishment that I am proud of, but I know that the hard work is not over, but neither are the good times over. The products of our marriage, two grown sons who both have wonderful wives, is a sight that makes me smile.
The journey continues and I hope to come back soon, perhaps next year, and write more about the marriage journey and other things I have learned.