Today’s our 28th wedding anniversary! We’ve left the kids, the dog (and the rest of the menagerie) and have chosen to celebrate this special occasion by ourselves. Alone. Just the two of us. While we won’t be taking that cruise we’d been so looking forward to, we decided a weekend getaway was definitely in order.
Back in 2014, we celebrated our 25th anniversary at Disney World and wore our celebration buttons for a couple of days. The reaction from other park guests and some cast members was both hilarious and sometimes a bit alarming. Quite a few people were amazed that we’d managed to stay married to each other for so long. One guy commented, “I’ve been married three times and added together I haven’t been married 25 years!”. Several folks asked us for the secret to staying happily married. I would share the secret with you now if I had one. Jokingly, I usually claim our relationship success is based on two rules: Don’t share money and don’t share a bathroom. In reality, there is no secret.
I’ve often worried that Raymond and I have given Megan and Joseph unrealistic expectations about marriage. We know that not all marriages are as harmonious as ours. We honestly enjoy each other’s company and being together at the end of the day makes our home our happiest place on earth. It also makes “home” wherever we are. We rarely disagree, although we do get on each others’ nerves from time to time. We’re in sync with each other in a way I cannot describe and after all these years, it’s taught me one important lesson that we’ve tried to pass on to our children. I have this theory…
There’s only one reason to get married and love is (mostly) not it. Alone, love is not enough. The best and most important reason to get married and stay married is that together you are better than you could ever be individually. You bring out the best in each other. You are each other’s biggest fan. Together you are a super-power that minimizes individual weaknesses and vulnerabilities while maximizing strengths. You not only compliment each other, you make each other want to be the best versions of yourselves in order to achieve dreams, reach goals (individually and together), and be happy.
We’ve stressed to Megan and Joseph that while Raymond and I are very happy together, it is never up to any other person in the world to make you happy. YOU are responsible for your own happiness. I absolutely do not mean in a selfish way, but I believe you must love yourself in order to be lovable. There’s no place in a healthy relationship for pettiness, insecurity, or jealousy. In the long-term, it’s not up to another human being to fix you or prop you up or compensate for your personal issues (no matter how much they love you and want to help). That’s too big a burden to place on anyone and is completely unfair to that person.
When the person you love makes you want to constantly grow, learn, strive, and reach for the very best YOU – and is there to cheer you on along the way – that, I think is the best way for me to describe what it’s like to be married to the same person for 28 years.
I love you, Raymond. Thank you for being with me for each and every one of the past 10,227 days. Happy Anniversary.