Yesterday was our 21st wedding anniversary. Because of our schedules and a prevailing sadness at the loss of a dear friend, we haven't done much celebrating.
Our invitations were composed from a poem that I had written called; "There will be Joy in the Journey" Looking back, our wedding was filled with hope and a great respect and love for each other.
Our journey together has not been without trials or tribulations. But the greatest gift that we gave each other was a commitment that has endured all of these years.
Marriages fall apart for many reasons. But the biggest reason is when you forget why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place.
Some of the most obvious reasons to forget your love for each other is infidelity, money problems, and a failure to pay attention to each other's emotional needs.
Life gets so complicated and busy that most couples forget to have fun and enjoy each others company.
I think that my joy is the fact that David and I like each other after all of these years. We are still delighted that we can make each other laugh and think the same thoughts or enjoy the same books or interests.
Nothing is more peaceful than to reach out and hold your spouse's hand and feel that answering squeeze back.
Respect and care for each others feelings go a long way to have longevity in a marriage. It also helps if one of you is an accomplished diplomat.
It is just amazing to me that people take care to make everything perfect for their wedding day. They spend endless hours choosing colors, food, music, locations and guest lists. Yet they do not prepare for the seamier side of marriage.
We all experience those days when you are not at your best physically or mentally. You might wake up cranky and stay that way for next few years. And there will be times when everything that your spouse does irritates the heck out of you.
When your children arrive, everything changes drastically. It's McDonald's for you for the next 5 years or so. Clean furniture, white pants and two-door sports cars become a distant memory.
David and I did not have the luxury of being alone together for a couple years. He married a ready-made family.
A confirmed bachelor, having kids and sharing bathrooms was foreign to him to say the least.
He learned that kids will put tortillas in a toaster and yell fire when they get stuck. It is a rude way to wake up when all that you can think of is to get everyone out of the house. That things disappear and are never seen again. Spanking a child is a lot harder than you think.
We all experience a type of happiness on our wedding day. But life intervenes with some rude interruptions and realities. Jobs can be lost, bills have to be paid. Illness and other stressful situations can crop up when you are already overloaded with the minutia of every day living.
How we choose to weather the storms of marriage depends on where you started out with your spouse. And the joyful expectations of a great future can be clouded if the commitment is not there after the honeymoon.
Learning to have joy in each other is something that should improve with age. There are many stages in a marriage and not a one of them should be missed. Good or Bad, they define your strengths and weaknesses as a couple.
We should always be as careful with our words and attitudes as we were on the day that we marry. That is the hard part, but the most essential step in longevity of your relationship.
Marriage should grow like a tree. You have to carefully water and care for it, EVERY DAY! If you allow pestilence to creep in unchecked, the roots can be compromised. The first great storm that comes along can topple your tree and cause great damage.
I hope that we will continue to have Joy in our Journey for many years to come. We are so grateful for the blessings that we have received.