I can hardly believe it has been 25 years since I walked down the aisle toward my then soon-to-be husband Paul.
We always crack up when we watch the video of our wedding, and Paul can be seen letting out a deep breath as I approach. He had obviously been holding it and then, thankfully, remembered to breathe.
I can’t watch the video without crying, especially seeing my sweet father give me — his only daughter and youngest child — away.
Dad passed away in 2010. Though I am grateful for all of the years we had together, I still miss him so much it hurts.
I remember being a young bride and hearing about people who were married for 20-plus years and thinking, “Lord, how is that possible?”
A young friend of mine recently asked me for the “secret” to a long marriage and a good relationship.
Every couple is different, as is every situation. None of us are perfect, and having a forgiving spirit goes a long way when it comes to marriage. So does apologizing and asking for forgiveness.
That said, having a sense of humor — even when it comes to bad things, which are sure to happen — is paramount when it comes to obstacles in life. I also think telling your spouse you appreciate them and all he does is big.
I just saw a report about a man who wrote a letter to his stay-at-home wife and mother of their young son. He wanted her to know that he had calculated what she should make if she were paid, and the amount was nearly $74,000 a year.
He could have just said there is no amount to say what you’re worth, which is probably closer to the truth. Not that you feel that way when you are a stay-at-home mom in the trenches.
Working moms don’t feel that way either, most of the time. Let’s face it, motherhood is the most difficult and rewarding job on earth.
I remember so many nights when Paul would get home from work, and our children would erupt with shrieks of “Daddy’s home, daddy’s home!”
Before his arrival, I used to try to brush my hair, maybe put on some lip gloss, anything to try to look more appealing than my frazzled self felt and likely looked.
To his credit, Paul never said anything negative to me. Instead, he always hugged me and said he loved me. That small act went a long way in the encouragement department.
I remember how many times he would give all four of our children a bath and supervise nightly activities (which usually involved hide and seek and rock ‘n’ roll shows) while I cleaned the kitchen, folded laundry and made lunches for the next day.
Just having a few minutes to complete those necessary tasks without someone hanging on my leg or whining about a sibling was so therapeutic after a long day of caring for children and the home.
We always tried to put our children to bed early so we could have at least an hour or so of time together before I fell into bed to get some sleep before doing it all again the next day.
So many nights we sat on the deck or even in the garage if it were raining, sharing tales of our days — the good, the bad and the ugly.
While he never told me I should be making a six-figure income, I always knew Paul valued what I did and appreciated my efforts.
Now, it seems, we are entering a new phase of our lives together. With just one child at home — a junior in high school, at that — we have much more time alone.
Our first child was born one year and one week after we married, so ours has been a marriage with babies from the beginning. When you have children so close together, once one leaves the nest, it seems they all fly the coop.
Now, we no longer have to strategically plan when we want to go out to dinner. We can run errands together instead of “tag teaming” our Saturdays.
Having people over no longer revolves around figuring out how to keep our little people occupied and out from under our feet. We have conversations and nobody interrupts us, unless you count a barking dog or two.
All of this to say, I’m not sure I know the secret to a long marriage. But I do know it helps if you marry your best friend.
Here’s hoping to 25 more years or more! I would love to hear from readers on what they feel are some secrets to a long and fulfilling marriage.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.