Tomorrow Dan and I will have been married twenty-five years.We look like Kindergartners in the above picture, but when it was taken we'd been married about a year and half, already had our first child (note the white bundle in my hand; it's a diaper) and Dan was graduating with a hard-won and well-earned Masters degree from the University of Denver.
Little did he know his education was only just beginning...
Here are a few things we've learned:
- Sometimes it really is OK to let the sun go down on your anger -- Eight hours can be just the right space of time to cool down and see things more clearly.
- True wealth is not a number on a ledger or a spread of land. Spiritual welfare, physical health and a loving family. THESE represent true wealth.
- In the big picture, dirty laundry left in the bathroom is really not much to complain about.
- It's absolutely key to be on the same page with one another about the children, but the kids shouldn't be the only thing a Momma and Daddy ever talk about.
- Raising children with great rigor does not necessarily produce rigorous adults, but raising children with great love usually produces loving adults.
- A good fight, properly done, can be quite cleansing
- Turn off the television and look into each others' eyes instead. All truth, all love are there in your spouse's perfect eyes.
- The gives and takes in marriage don't usually happen concurrently or balance out immediately; sometimes it takes years for your "gives" to be equaled by your spouse. But, if you're keeping score, you're missing the point.
- Flowers should never be looked at as a peace offering, they're an investment in a husband's future. Invest when times are good.
- God is in the details; a fancy expensive vacation or a diamond doesn't do nearly as much for a marriage as common, daily courtesies and signs of affection.
- The natural inclination of the human heart is toward apathy. Keeping a relationship alive for 25 years take hard work and a commitment of the will.
- In the same way that rivers and hills and cliffs, and even just the curve of the earth can force a curve, a bridge, or a "jog" in the road, a marriage must necessarily go through "corrections" or readjustments, as the seasons of life change, as careers alter, children become adults, or the people in the marriage grow and change. This correction can be bumpy and uncomfortable sometimes, but it's normal and good in the long run.
- Tomorrow is another chance to correct today's mistakes, but today presents an opportunity to get it right.
- Marriage is always hard work, from the first day until the last. If you don't think so, you're probably not holding up your end.
- Back rubs. After twenty years or so of marriage, it's really all about back rubs.
- Children are a part of us. A spouse is exactly half of who we are.
- In the first years of marriage, love is like a red, red rose. As love matures, it's more like ornamental kale: less like a sonnet, more like a super food.
- The way to a man's heart really is through his stomach. But not how you think. A well fed, healthily nourished man, is a happy man. A happy man is a loving man. (Or at least he's not going around grumbling with indigestion.)
- Yes, ma'am.
- Christ is one of the legs of the three-legged stool of marriage.
- Live every day as your last. There's somebody out there who is living their last day today and doesn't know it.
- There's always something new to learn about or with your spouse -- even when you've been together more than half your life.
- My mother's words of wisdom on the eve of our wedding: Always remember this look in his eyes for you today. It's your job to keep that look. Never take it for granted.
- The minute you realize you're not having fun together, do something wildly unexpected and silly to liven things up.
- As parents, what we lack in youth and vitality-- as we get older, we make up for with old age, treachery and a degree of wisdom.
- Die with your boots on. Never give up the highest ideals of marriage you felt on your wedding day. Your life together can be just as romantic, just as much fun, just as full of goose bumps after twenty-five years.
Our heartfelt thanks and prayers to all our loved ones, for all the support from our parents, pastors, friends, and -- yes -- you, too, kids! We'd never have made it this far without you. And definitely wouldn't have been as much fun!
But, our greatest thanks go to Our Lord Jesus, His Mother, and St. Joseph, along with all our other special heavenly friends (you know who you are) for all the help, love and patience through the years. We're totally counting on you all to stick with us for twenty-five years more!
*Did the quote in the title sound familiar or do you just think I'm nuts? It may be possible that I'm nuts -- but just so you know: It's a favorite quote from Princess Bride.
* Dan and I conspired to write these "lessons learned," each doing about half. I bet you kids can figure out who wrote which one, can't you? (Or at least a few of them.)
* Oh, and by the way: I love you, Dan.