That phrase, “staying married is its own reward” was told to me almost 26 years ago. I think that until someone has been married for 15 or 20 years, they cannot fully understand how meaningful and true that statement is. It is for me and I should know. Today is my 32nd wedding anniversary.
There is an intimacy that comes with the knowledge and comfort of another person that comes with time. You know how they think, feel and breathe. You can hand them things before they ask, or know what is needed before they do. You can finish sentences for each other, help remember names, watch their diets, remind them to make calls, and let it be okay if they fall asleep watching TV. You might have disagreements, but then you go on. They may be less than perfect (not me, but other people) and that is okay, it is part of who they are. That is how it is for us.
There is a tremendous feeling that comes with just knowing that they are there. They could be in the next room or laying next to you in bed, but the certainty that they are there is more than comforting. It is an assurance that all is right in the world. That is how it is for us.
Ask couples who have been married for quite a while what it takes to succeed and you will get a lot of different answers. “Don't go to bed angry.” “Always show respect to one another.” “Laugh at his jokes even if you have heard them 100 times.” I have an answer that I believe trumps all of that and I can tell it to you in a single word: gratitude….at least that is how it is for us.
Gratitude is the key to happiness in all areas of life and relationships are no different. Gratitude must be felt and expressed, it must be shared or it is of no use. It must be genuine and never forgotten. At least that is how it is for us.
On the day we were married we were so grateful to have found one another. What we did not know then is that the expression of gratitude must be done regularly or it will be forgotten. Once forgotten, a partner can be taken for granted and when that happens there can be troubles in the relationship.
Today our relationship is better and stronger than ever. Why is that? Because we have learned about gratitude, feel grateful and constantly express our gratitude to one another.
Today I am very grateful. Grateful to have found someone to share my life with. Grateful to have found someone to build a life with. Grateful to have a partner that is loving, kind, affectionate and so much more.
Happy anniversary, Gail. I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.
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