Today is my anniversary.
My wife and I have been married ten years.
No, that’s not very long, but it’s still an important milestone. After a decade you should know whether you are well-matched or hopelessly incompatible.
I believe my wife and I get along extremely well, though, in fairness you’re only getting my side of the story. She is a very private person, so good luck getting her to dish on us or me.
Good sense should dictate that I make no public declaration about the success of our marriage so far. It’s a jinx. I may as well get a tattoo with her name inside of a heart.
But I’m feeling optimistic.
I’ve actually been married for 19 years, counting my first marriage. I didn’t make it to the ten-year mark the first time.
Divorce, as half of America can attest to, is devastating. It’s like taking everything you think you know about love and family and relationships, shaking it up, tossing it in a pile and setting it on fire.
Divorce causes you to question your ability to sustain a relationship as well as the viability of the lifetime commitment of marriage.
But eventually you get through it, and maybe you try again.
Today, my ex is happily remarried to a great guy. In fact—and this will creep out some of you—my wife and I have even stayed at their house while visiting my son.
You may not be married for life, but you’re divorced for life, so you better figure out a way to get along.
I’m pretty sure I’m a better husband the second time around. Maybe the nine years of my first marriage were an expensive training ground. Maybe I’m just older and more mature.
Or maybe I just met the right person.
I feel about her the way I think you’re supposed to feel about your wife… like destiny brought you together and you can’t imagine not being with one another.
I’d really like to tell you more about her, but again, she’s a private person. Also, I believe that what she gives me is meant for me alone.
But many of you, if you are blessed with a healthy relationship, know what I’m talking about. There are things that exist only between the two of you that make each marriage special.nbsp;
Much is written and said about how marriage is challenged by time and fading passions. Eyes start to wander. Wedding vows are forgotten. Living longer, no-fault divorce and financial independence all make it easier to change partners. The divorce rate among those 50 and older has doubled in the last 20 years to one in four.
I’m not judging. I started over. But as a result, I now believe more than ever in the strength and grace of marriage.
Writer Mignon McLaughlin said, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
I like the sentiment, even though I’m not, by nature, a romantic. It suggests that you don’t grow stale in a marriage, so that on anniversaries you remember not only why you fell in love to begin with, but celebrate the continuing and cherished journey together.