My husband and I just had the pleasure of attending the wedding of a very special couple, the groom being our younger son's best friend since the age of four. Our son, the best man, gave a speech at the reception that had us all laughing and, for me, nearly crying at the same time. Such pure joy!
Now isn't that what weddings are supposed to be? A wonderful way to set the stage for what comes after. That 'after' is the true test of those vows.
All of you married people out there may be a bit nervous as to what I'm going to say next, aren't you?
That's because you know the amount of work it takes to create a successful marriage. Those of you that haven't had to experience that hard work to keep it all balanced and flowing, well, aren't you the lucky ones? I am a tidge jealous, but on the other hand, it sounds boring. And honestly, I don't believe there is any couple out there that hasn't had a bit of adjustment as times goes on.
In our house, our heated discussions no longer focus on finances or the kids (the big ticket items) to the more mundane that we didn't have the time or energy before to bicker about. Such as: replacing the roll of toilet paper (not me), whether to cover the tomato plants if the evening is too chilly (this one is me — I get lazy), cleaning up the heap of newspapers and magazines in the living room (really not me), and the big one — the thermostat in the car (this one is an equal opportunity beef). I am not even going to delve into what happens if we get lost while traveling. The disagreements we have these days generally end in a “let's start over” or a breakdown in laughter. Neither of us has the gumption to even slam the door anymore.
Years ago Huey Lewis came out with a song “So Happy to be Stuck With You.” I used to sing along at the top of my lungs. I thought it was hilarious. 'Someone' didn't see the humor.
Marriage is a journey to be sure. We all change as life goes on and as we experience our bumps along the way, it shapes who we are and how we perceive life, just as our childhood did. Our partners are along for the ride, just as we hitch a ride along with them. With a little luck we will arrive at the nursing home, hand in hand, intact and liking each other. Yes, liking each other. There is a difference between love and like, and when the two conjoin, it's a beautiful thing.
On those days when you may have not always liked each other, your underlying love will throw you a life vest and pull you to shore. And during those times when love is tested, a genuine like for the person that is your partner, can create a sturdy bridge to the re-emergence of love. After all, a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Wow, I sound like I know it all, don't I? Actually, I saw that saying on an oven mitt once.
I certainly don't know it all, but there is a wisdom that comes from being married a long time. And, it's on-going. Just when you think you've got it figured out, WHAM! Hold on to your hat. And hold on to your partner. All you newly and about-to-be marrieds out there, patience. Your reward will be a beautiful tapestry of a life full of wonderful color and artistry, amid the pulled threads and mistakes. Congratulations!