Secrets Of A Lasting Marriage

I hated my husband when I first met him.  As a college girl in constant search for love, my reaction to our introduction was, ‘I could never marry someone like him.’  Twenty-five years later we’re still together. Life has a sense of humor that way.

As we celebrate our silver anniversary, and people teasingly ask us our secret to a lasting marriage, we answer sarcastically, “We still have no idea.  We’re making it up as we go.”

Marriage doesn’t come with a GPS.  And the tour guides that one could consult are limited by the simple fact that they aren’t living your relationship.  The reality of partnership is that it requires Work and no one can do it for you.  As Friend likes to say: “Marriage, not as advertised.”

If I were to renew my marriage vows from the perspective of a seasoned wife, they would sound very different from the original version.  In truth, I had no idea what I was promising when I said ‘I do’ in my relative infancy. 

How could I know what it meant to love through bad times when life hadn’t taken me down yet? 

How could I understand the level of courage, stamina, and flexibility that marriage requires when love was fresh and new?

Instead of promising to ‘honor and cherish all the days of my life’ (which is a cruel set-up for failure if you ask me) I’d say something more realistic like this:

I promise to learn about love with you and do my best to rise to its challenges.

Love is an everyday choice, a deliberate effort – like making a meal. Some days I eat junk food and my body suffers. Some days I offer more attention to my social media page than I do my beloved and our love suffers. Choices.

I’d wager that at some point in every marriage, a couple wakes up to the reality that, for better or for worse, love changes. What was once simple becomes more complicated. This isn’t bad news. Weathered love has character. Its scars tell stories of both tough times and triumphs that render it more durable and perhaps less pretty from the process.  But then, marriage isn’t a beauty pageant.

Dave Willis said, ‘Couples who last aren’t the ones who never had a reason to divorce.” 

I’m no expert on sustainable relationships but this sounds accurate to me.  It isn’t the absence of struggle that leads to happy ever after.  It’s the idea that there’s something beyond the struggle that’s worth finding.

In my experience, love has to be just a bit stronger than fear.  Compassion, a little bigger than judgment.  Patience, a little deeper than frustration. And forgiveness, a little freer than resentment.  Marriage doesn’t require perfection to thrive.  It just needs a slight edge above the alternatives.

Husband and I aren’t a model couple.  Our relationship can be fierce by comparison.  We are loud with each other, raw, and often careless with words.  But after all this time, we know that this too is love.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. heather manolian
    Jul 06, 2020 @ 11:15:00

    This really touches the core of relationships. Should be a must read for stargazed Young lovers!!

    Reply

  2. E
    Jul 06, 2020 @ 12:51:05

    Accurate portrayal. “Something beyond the struggle worth finding” ❤️

    Reply

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