Mike and I will be celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow. WOW! Hard to believe!
Some days it feels we have only known each other a short time and other times it feels we have been together forever. When we got married there were so many hopes and dreams. Most of those came to fruition. I remember one evening sitting in our first apartment, he predicted we would have 3 daughters and a male dog. Guess what? He was almost correct. He forgot to include the female cat!
Those of you who have been married for awhile know that marriage isn’t a piece of cake. It is not easy. There are times when things are very smooth and you sync perfectly. The two of you agree on everything, share goals, political views, decorating choices, etc. THEN, there are THOSE times when a union on anything seems impossible. These are the times when commitment really makes a difference.
I recently read a great piece on marriage. If you have never followed Nina Bazdin I highly encourage it. Nina has an advice column on her website and the questions are really interesting. The latest was submitted by an ambivalent wife who was debating whether or not to leave her marriage. She wasn’t miserable but wondered if she could be happier. Nina and her mother consulted on this answer and I felt their response was spot on.
Some say there is nothing better than “new love”. The love of an early relationship when the butterflies are in your gut due to the excitement. Not knowing the person well, but eager to learn everything, thinking it’s perfect. This feeling doesn’t last forever and it shouldn’t. We start to show our differences, we learn from each other and we get lazy. Life happens. People evolve.
When Mike and I got engaged one of his aunts hosted an engagement party in the Pittsburgh area where a lot of his family lived. He was the first of his three brothers to marry and it was such a wonderful gesture. During this party, a number of women approached me and marveled at the fact that both Mike and I came from homes with parents who were still married. Little did I know then what I would discover later but more about that here The Truth Eventually Reveals Itself. We grew up in the generation that had one of the highest divorce rates and we both had extended family members who had experienced one or more.
During the past twenty-five years, we have had our share of highs and lows and we have witnessed other couples go through their own. What makes our partnership continue and others tumble? I would be a rich woman if I knew the answer to this. One reason I think we continue to grow in our marriage is we have a great deal of respect for each other. Without respect, I don’t think any relationship has a chance. We argue and disagree plenty of times but we try to listen to other, make a decision and move forward.
I have seen plenty of people stick to their opinion and refuse to compromise out of stubbornness. This is not going to help anyone. What transpires is a stalemate and no one is going to win. I have also seen couples undermine the other in front of their children which, again, only causes rifts to the partnership as well to the relationship with the children.
Children bring such a unique element to marriage. The parents each come from unique backgrounds and their respective families most likely handled things differently. Once a partnership is raising their own child there are bound to be conflicts. One was raised by a helicopter parent and the other by a “hands-off” parent and there you have the potential for a huge dispute. How the partnership navigates this can impact their marriage for years to come.
Two people come into their union with unique narratives of their past, including hurts and betrayals and these also can wreak havoc on the relationship. Marriage is not just about love. Yes, there has to be love and affection for one other, at the core, but there is so much more.
We celebrated our anniversary this past weekend with a night away. Mike had done most of the arrangements and we enjoyed Tea at the hotel in the afternoon. My children were getting much laughter about this since he is not a tea person but he arranged it because he knew I liked it. While enjoying the company of each other as well as the scrumptious sandwiches, scones, and treats as well as the champagne, thrown in by the hotel the manager came by to extend his congratulations. He asked us what our secret was to be able to celebrate 25 years of marriage. We both chuckled and said we don’t know what the secret is but one thing that certainly helped was patience.
Thinking about this I would have to say that each marriage is different, but the two things that have been most central to our union is patience and respect.