Twenty six years ago today, I married my high school sweetheart. At the time, we were young and idealistic. We were fearless, confident, cocky even. Over the years, we have (mostly) raised 4 children, 3 dogs, a cat and countless smaller pets, switched jobs and moved frequently. We bought a house, demolished and rebuilt half of it and are still working on improvements to it, large and small.
We have known each other for most of our lives. Having met as kids, our experience is different from many married couples we know. We share much more history than most. We have no secrets of prior lives. We know just about everything there is to know about each other.
Even so, we have changed. We are not the same people we were then. We have been shaped by our experiences and our reactions to them. We have shared highs and lows, joys and sorrows. But after 30 years together, we still sometimes manage to surprise each other.
How have we done it? Many marriages today don’t make it half this far. The simple answer is that there is no other option. We made a promise and fully plan to honor it. (Maybe that’s what happens when you combine people of Polish and Italian heritage – can you say stubborn?) Has it always been easy? No. Have we always been blissfully happy? No. We are both passionate people, which means we love passionately, we fight passionately. We agree passionately and disagree passionately. We are a lot alike and nothing alike. In some ways, I think we complete each other. Our wedding song, Billy Joel’s You’re My Home, sums things up nicely for us.
Life has sometimes gotten in our way. The busy-ness of kids and household chores, work and extended family has sometimes taken the focus off of each other. We used to have regular weekends away, just the two of us. For a number of reasons, those weekends slipped away over the years, but recently we have been able to carve out some time and we talk about doing it more. Life still has demands, but I think we are starting to get better at countering them with demands of our own.
The idealism has waned. I know the world isn’t perfect and life is not easy (or fair). Marriage is hard work, but like anything else wonderful in life, it is worth putting forth the effort. I’m not going to lie: we have had some tough times, but we never stopped loving each other. Maybe love does conquer all. Despite, or perhaps because of, all the challenges we have faced, I remain confident that my future includes happily ever after, with the wonderful man I have loved for most of my life. Together we can accomplish anything!