Monday, June 20, 2011

In for the Long Haul

Kennebec County’s recent divorces appeared in the newspaper last week.

Among the names in the long listing were a half dozen couples I knew from work, my children’s activities and my community. Some were married for 10 years or less, others for more than two decades.

Also included were many couples married less than two years ago.

Early yesterday evening, my wife Missy and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a quiet walk up the long country road across from our house in Chelsea.

It was just the two of us – taking a moment during a very busy weekend to talk and share each other’s company.

The setting was tranquil and much appreciated.

It stood in contrast from the one 18 years earlier, when we took a much shorter walk down a church aisle, surrounded by hundreds of exuberant family members and friends who gathered to celebrate our day and offer best wishes for the start of our married life.

On the return home, I noted the somewhat parallel contrast between our two strolls and that of the newspaper listing and our anniversary.

We have survived another year – one full of both happy moments and challenges – and continue along the path of those who are in marriages “for the long haul.” Sadly, many others have not.

Are we to be congratulated for reaching this milestone? Yes…and no.

Yes because we have worked to make our marriage last, bridging the difficult times when it would have been easy for us, like others, to dissolve our union and take separate life paths.

For this, I am truly grateful to my wife, whose love and patience have allowed our marriage to thrive.

And I have tried, each day, to live up to the wonderful qualities she possesses.

Together, we have shared more than two decades of our lives, starting with a late summer romance that began at Pine Tree Camp in 1990.

As for the “no” part of the above statement, I say it without reservation because such congratulations easily can lead to complacency.

In the hectic pace of life with three active children, we can ignore the need to continually work at our marriage, to carve out “couple time” and make an investment of time and emotional energy in each other.

Time has a tendency to slip by quickly. Children grow up and embark on their own adult lives.

And when they do, the couple that started out alone is, again, alone.

Only with the investment in each other will they reach this point with their marriage strong and intact.

I intend to reach this stage of my life with the woman I fell in love with in 1990 still at my side.

Until then, save your well wishes for the next 18 years, when we stroll down the same country road…older, a bit slower but still in love.

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