Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Feeling thankful for the gift of marriage

Last year my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Over the years, we have thought about grand plans to have a big party and recreate our wedding date with family and friends. I thought about different trips we might take in celebration. But, 20 years and 5 kids in, there's just not piles of cash laying around for big parties or luxurious trips. We had a quiet dinner together at an elegant restaurant and I was delighted to have his company and think back on all the years we've been together and all we've been through in those years. We dated for a little over four years before we were married, too.

Although a more elaborate celebration would have been wonderful, I felt so grateful that I was together with the man I love after two decades of marriage. In the past five years or so, there have been so many couples that I've known that have divorced. Most of them had kids. Some have been marriages that have lasted over three decades that were coming to and end. The shortest one unraveled after less than six months. Some ended with bitter fighting others just kind of faded as the couples grew apart. For the most part, those I know and have talked to who have gone through it have come out of it better off or happier, although getting though it didn't seem bearable. When there have been kids involved, it's been extremely difficult  and heartbreaking all around. And if you ask any kid whose parents divorced, they'll tell you that the divorce had a major impact on their life.

Over the years, I've realized how much work it is. How much dedication it requires. How much sacrifice it entails. I've made mistakes. I've learned. I've grown. I've matured. We both have. We met very young. We were still in high school. We married when I was still in my teens. The odds of such a marriage lasting very long aren't very good. And we've had our share of challenges as every marriage has. We've had good times and bad times. And it's from the bad times that you learn and adapt and appreciate the good times that much more. And it's the good times that make you want to go to sleep each night beside each other and wake up to each other each morning. I'm so happy that after all these years, I still have him as my companion. I'm glad that we still enjoy each other's company. I'm glad he was my first love and I was his. I'm glad that we still make each other laugh. I'm glad that we still feel so much passion for one another. I'm glad we're still friends. And I look foward to another twenty years and beyond as his wife.

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