Reflections on Marriage

Ellen and I (and the boys) attended a wedding today for Ellen's god-daughter.  It was a low budget affair on a Sunday afternoon and was actually quite a nice time.  The bride's mother is one of Ellen's childhood friends.  We don't see her often so it was nice to get together and enjoy good company.

I always like watching the new couple at weddings to see how they act together.  Watching a young couple look at each other with that fresh love of beginning a life together is always rather cute and romantic.  Call me an old softie, but that newlywed stage of marriage is quite a fun time.  Ellen and I are WELL past that but it's nice to be reminded of it from time to time.

Weddings eventually get me thinking to how long Ellen and I have been married.  We've been together for around 28 years and married for 22.  That's a long time for any couple.  And I like to think we're still happily married.  At least I can say I'm still happy.  I wonder what advice I'd give a young couple to the secret of a long and successful marriage.  And looking back over these many years, I couldn't tell you what it is.

We've had our ups and downs (some probably chronicled here).  Living with someone for almost 25 years and trying to raise 2 boys makes for an interesting life and constant battles of some sort.  Being around anyone for too long a period of time can make you crazy.  Certainly, in the last year or so, there have been many battles and struggles with the boys and things they have going on.  Not to mention that our schedule (and our lives) essentially revolve around what they're doing.  Sure, I take a little time for the band and Ellen gets in some down time with the girls, but overall we fit in our things in between theirs.

So what's that got to do with a long marriage?  Well, when raising kids, it's so much easier when you have someone you can rely on and support you.  Ellen and I have had many conversations about the kids and we often wonder how the hell single parents do it.  We have a hard enough time with the two of us.  I couldn't imagine doing this on my own.

And perhaps that's the secret.  I couldn't imaging doing any of the things I've done over the last 22 years alone.  Having her with me has made everything so much easier, even in the hard times.  We don't do all of that newlywed kind of stuff any more.  I remember being silly with each other and lots of displays of affection and what not.  But those things aren't really necessary any longer.  We enjoy just sitting out on the porch, reading or talking, or just watching the world go by (or one of us blogging while the other is reading, like right now). 

For myself, I guess the secret to a long marriage is a word that came up in today's ceremony: commitment.  I made a commitment to her 22 years ago and I have no intention on going back on that commitment.  Part of that is our faith.  We both believe it takes three for a successful marriage, the couple and God.  And we've both put a lot of faith and trust in Him over these many years.  But I guess the other thing is that I long ago realized (before we'd married) that other women just didn't interest me any longer.  I'd seriously fallen for this woman and even after all this time, I still don't want to spend my time with anyone else.  Sure, our love has changed over the years, but that's what's SUPPOSED to happen.  There are still mornings where I wake up and look at her sleeping and think how blessed I am to have this beautiful woman lying next to me. 

So maybe in the end, that's what it is.  At the end of the day the secret to a long marriage is to pick a person you're going to love every day no matter what.  And then do that.  Either that or keep praying that the Lord bless you with a long marriage and to never stop loving your spouse.

Or maybe both.


Jude said…
You guys have an awesome relationship, you were both blessed! Like you, I too believe that it takes 3 for a successful marriage. When I remarried (I was widowed) I made the decision to carry only 3 flowers in my bouquet, 3 roses that represented myself, my new husband, and God. He's a huge part of our relationship.

You and Ellen both rock!
sydwynd said…
Jude: No arguments that Ellen rocks! I have no complaints.

I appreciate the kind words. I like the 3 roses idea. That was very cool.
Kate said…
Perfect words! Love this so much! I don't even know where to start. I couldn't agree with you anymore!! I do have to say I think it's telling you have found the secret to the magic phrases "yes, dear" and "I'm sorry dear." I think you are both lucky to have one another and I can only imagine how wonderful Ellen is to have nabbed a great guy like you! I hope Josh and I are as happy as you in 20+ years. It's always inspiring to hear from the experts in marriage. In the end, I think it's about choosing the right person, faith in God, and commitment to staying together through the rough times! Thanks for sharing this.

Oh, and I totally agree about raising kids. We only have just started and only have 1, but I have no clue how people do it by themselves. That's insane.
sydwynd said…
Kate: I definately got the better half of this deal. I get to be married to a smoking hot babe and she get stuck with me. Ha!

It's all about faith and commitment. As you well know, it takes 3 to make a good marriage. Leave God out of the mix and it may not last.

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