A Love Letter to the Nearly Weds
Dear Nearly Weds,
Congratulations on your impending nuptials! I write you today to share with you my thoughts on marriage. Thirty-three years ago, today, he had hair and my cheeks were the size of two Honeycrisp apples. I was 30 to his 28 (!) and we were starting out with three strikes against us:
1. I was previously married (67% of second marriages fail).
2. He was rumored to be a confirmed bachelor (what could possibly go wrong?).
3. Along with me, he was taking on two kiddos “for better or worse” (little did we know that some years would be far worse than we could have imagined).
Statistically, the deck was stacked against us. Only 26.2% of marriages make it to the thirty-year mark. Yet, here we stand today. Arm in arm.
I once thought the three pillars to our (or any) lasting marriage was the alignment of our faith, our mutual respect for the other’s needs, and marrying our intellectual equal (although I’m pretty sure Steve got short-changed). However, over the past five years, especially since we retired, I realize there is another key to making a marriage work over a lifetime and that is to stay mutually interesting (so that the other might stay interested).
Continued growth and learning, initiating adventure, hobbies and friends you share together but also those you exercise and enjoy beyond your mate cannot be underestimated. We often hear the vague explanation, “Our marriage failed because we grew apart”. A more truthful statement is, “My spouse continued to grow and evolve. I didn’t.”
My dearest Nearly Weds, I hope and pray for your continued investment in yourselves for the sake of the other and your union. For long after your hair has receded and your plump pink cheeks have sagged, my wish is that you will find your other if not irresistibly fascinating at least engaging. Though our bodies will decline, our enthusiasm for life should only grow more intense as our days on earth diminish. At least this is what I know to be true today.
The imperatives to get to your Golden Anniversary, I’m not sure. But I’ll let you know when we get there.