Today my husband and I celebrate the Pearl Anniversary, or thirty years together. Someone said to me once that if they made it to thirty years with their
spouse it would be an accomplishment. I guess in some ways it is, but for me, it is more about sticking to a promise to tough it out in good times and bad.
Leading up to this day for the past week, I have thought about advice I'd give a couple just starting out. There are so many important things I could tell a young couple about all the good things that will come their way. And marriage is just that and more, as it is full of many good things and good times. It is full of great accomplishments, goals met, job promotions, new houses purchased, families being started and all the joys life can bring your way with your life partner. These truly are the best of times in a married couples life and they shine like the stars in your bank of memories of years together. I think every one expects that it is in these moments that will keep their married life fresh and together for the long haul. But just how true is that statement?
While marriage is a wonderful thing between two people, it is also not easy to say the least. Couples grow together when the tough times creep into their lives. It is in the not so pretty times that you know what your relationship is made of when you can weather the storm with a person and still like them on the other side. There may be periods that you might not even like the other person very much, but underneath all of that, there is a mutual love that you know you can not live without. It is in the hard to get through, toughest moments in a couples life that cements their relationship and once they see past all the hard, there is an easy, comfortable existence that compares to none.
I myself, could not have read how each chapter in our lives would have turned out all those years ago. I certainly like most, expected rainbows and flowers for the rest of my days and forgot to even think about the storms that would surely come before all the beautiful days. I have learned that to have one, you certainly have to have the other. I don't think thirty years ago, I truly had an appreciation of the character of the man I promised to love forever and always. It took all of those not so easy times to see and appreciate all the qualities that I would admire in the years to come. It is in the middle of the hard and difficult days that come into your life that you realize who you want by your side, who you want to hold you up when you can't hold yourself up any longer, who you can trust to always catch you when you fall.
Is it easy? No...it is not. I don't believe there is ever a perfect anything, and if you want to strive for perfect it takes so much work, so much forgiveness, so much turning the other cheek, so much giving in to things when you want to hold on to resistance, so much letting go of how you think things should be and accept how they actually are and finding your happiness in the middle of all of that.
A little over thirty years ago, I happened to find myself in front of the most incredible man, and at the time, I could not even imagine how that chance meeting would have been the one thing my heart was searching for. Thirty years ago today, in front of a hand full of people, we promised to love each other in the good and the bad, we promised to not give up and keep loving each other and to stick it out. A simple promise.....but it takes a lot of commitment to keep it.
It's hard to believe where thirty years have taken us, we have had so many wonderful times and celebrations in our lives as well as so many brokenhearted and sad times. Have things always gone the way we thought they would? I'd have to surely say, no they have not. But I can't think of where my life would be or what road I would have taken had it not been for the one I chose all those years ago with my husband. In the last thirty years, we have lived life...just the way it is intended to be lived, with in your face moments of grief and also over the top joys of the heart. I find it hard to believe it has only been thirty years. Where has the time gone? It seems it has slipped away in a blink of an eye.
Steve and I have built a life for ourselves in the midst of the hard, the not so pretty and maybe in the middle of not liking each other at times. That is the normal things the pick at the heartstrings of couples, it is in the wading through all of that when you can appreciate that there is something more deeper and meaningful than all the hard times that come. It is in knowing that plans change, people change and sometimes lives change but when you have the one person who is your best friend, it lightens the load and calms your spirit.
Thank you Steve for thirty years of your life! We have a great life, great family and we have worked ever so hard to be where we are today. We have made it through tough times that we thought we surely would not walk away from. Together we follow the road of life's journey and hold each other up if need be. I consider it an honor to be by your side each and every day. Where one might be weak, the other is strong, and where one might not be wanting to start something, the other is there to give a nudge.....firmly if need be. Thank you for putting up with all my insecurities, frustrations and trying to keep quiet when I drag stuff home you think I don't need. Thanks for being my partner, today and always.
........and if your reading this and you are looking for the perfect partner in life, I am not sure there is a perfect one out there. You can try and find them, but truthfully, no one is perfect all the time. You have to make up your mind that working hard, loving when it is hard, and moving forward on days you feel like giving up will all be worth it down the road. Life is intended to be lived with someone by your side, someone you can trust, and someone who makes each day a little bit better. Thankfully, I happened to find myself in front of that very person all those years ago, and to this day, am incredibly thankful and happy I had the good since to grab hold tight and not let them go. Happy Anniversary, Steve. Thank you for thirty incredible years....I expect thirty more, so get ready!
I told Steve I wanted to plant a tree for our celebration of thirty years. We are planting a pine tree at our new home. I think about what that tree will be like thirty years from now, how large it will have grown, and what we will be like if we are able to stand under the canopy of that very tree in thirty years. It makes my heart smile thinking of this day thirty years from now, and what the days in between now and then will hold.
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