We made a decision early in our marriage that divorce would not be an option. We both agreed and knew that we would be staying together, no matter what. We made it our passion to learn about good relationships, deep friendships, positive parenting, and keeping things fresh.
When we reached the age where both our parents divorced, it was a scary time. Again we reminded ourselves that murder might be an option, but divorce was not. It felt awkward to have a marriage that lasted longer than all our parents. The parents were bitter and we struggled wtih feeling guilty. That took a while to work through.
We've now been married for 33 years. And this is what no one told us. The kids are settled into their families and they are now raising their children. Our focus is now on us. That's a little scary after spending the first 30 years concentrating on raising the kids.
Things are calmer and slower these days. That's really nice. What's even nicer is that, after 33 years, we are more in touch with each other. I can tell you how many times I'll go to call Kevin and a call from Kevin rings just then. Because of our decades of shared life, we often need only say a few words to know exactly what we want to say. Kevin knows what I like and I know what Kevin likes. We know what makes the other person ticked off and we've learned how to best respond when the other is upset.
Big things aren't so big anymore. Nothing feels impossible or insurmountable anymore. Add to that a wonderful sense of peace and contentment that permeates into all the corners of our life.
I never knew how true Robert Browning's quote is: "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be." Nobody told us that the longer you're married, the better it gets. I think I always pictured raising children and then getting old and infirm so that those twilight years would be taking care of each other's health problems, and then we die.
I was so wrong. I still like being with Kevin more than anyone else! Kevin can make me laugh until I cry. We truly have meshed into contentment. The power struggles are behind us. I'm happy if Kevin gets what he wants and he's happy if I get what I want. So many things just don't matter in the big picture.
I hope our lives will give younger couples hope and encouragement that it is worth working through conflict. That it's worth really getting to know each other more and more.
And it gets easier, it really does. Because you know each other well, frustration and tension and tempers are much less and feeling like you're on the same page becomes the norm.
I know that marriage can be really hard work. No one thought Kevin and I were going to be able to stay together and folks told us that very openly. But God is bigger than our circumstances and His love is extravagant enough to fill us and teach us how to love and live together. We aren't the exception - God is.
As we come up to our 34th anniversary, I am just excited to be loving, living and laughing with the husband of my youth. It has been worth all the hard times.