Not too long ago my husband and I went to vote at the town hall. On the way home we stopped at the little general store that also serves as our town's post office, deli, ice cream and liquor store. (Gotta love small town living!) There was no one else in the store and while I went over to get a gallon of milk I could hear my husband quip with the cashier. Somehow the subject of our having been married for over 21 years seemed to come up and the cashier asked us how our marriage could survive so long.
Husband, "You should allow your spouse at least three major failings because it's certain that you have at least that many."
Me, "Marriage is a decision that you make every day to work at it. Your marriage may last years after a decision not to work at it but it truly ended the first time you did not feel the need to make it a priority in your life."
Husband, "Don't sweat the small stuff and most of all is the need for a really good sense of humor."
She looked a little dumbfounded at this advice and said that she and her boyfriend had been friends for 10 years before they started dating, been together for 6 years and had a 3 year old child together but that although she lived with him she still wasn't sure about marriage.
When we got back into the truck to go home, I asked my husband if her comments bothered him. I thought it was a rather sad commentary but he said that she was already married by common law whether she accepted it or not. Then he said:
"A marriage is not a piece of paper declaring you to be wed. It is the commitment to another person. It is trying to live that commitment in everything you do. It also only works if both persons are willing to work at it."
The conversation stuck in my mind and I realized that there is probably a few more things that have kept us going. I feel safe being exactly who and what I am with my husband. I don't have to wonder if he will leave when the going gets tough as it inevitably does. I have an unshakable trust in his friendship and love that neither will be withdrawn if I am not perfect. I make sure he knows the same is true for him.
I guess that is our recipe for marriage. As of last August we have been married for twenty one years. I can't imagine anyone else putting up with me for that long... or vice versa. :o)
QOTD: "There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results."