Tuesday, March 26, 2019

T Plus 30 and Counting

Photo Credit: Marisabel Caballero de Ramirez 

Once upon a time, a young man walked into a political campaign office to inquire about a yard sign. Upon entering the office, he noticed a young woman working there.

"Wow! She's pretty!" the young man thought to himself.

In order to spend more time with the young woman, the young man signed up to volunteer
Wouldn't you know? The only person working in the office the day he came to help was the
same young woman he had seen the first time.

The young man sat beside the young woman at a table full of envelopes and print-outs. After
she had explained what they were working on, the young man began to make smalltalk. He will
never forget the next words the young woman spoke to him, "You're a real smartass, aren't you?"

The rest, as they say, is history.

That really is how my husband and I met in the fall of 1988. We knew each other a full five months
before getting married. That isn’t very long, but so far, it’s worked out for us. This week we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.  

We often get the question, “What’s your secret?” I will honestly tell you there is no “secret.” For us,
there have been a lot of arguments, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings between two hard-headed
people. We were young when we got married and we spent a lot of time growing up and maturing
together. We made mistakes and sometimes we made very selfish decisions which hurt the other.
But we stuck it out. We persevered. And, sometimes, perseverance is all we had going for us. Our
individual hard-headedness may have been all that kept us together at times.

Staying married isn’t easy. It is a choice each of us has had to make over and over again. We each
had to choose to work out our problems and not run away from them. Now, while it still isn’t always
easy, it is easier. We have learned to communicate with each other. We can talk to each other without
our defenses going up (usually). However, one piece of advise that has made the biggest difference
in our relationship came from our friend, Kevin Thompson. He once said that he and his wife agreed
years ago to always speak honestly with each other and to accept the other at his/her word. For
example, if Kevin asks his wife if she minds if he plays golf on their anniversary and she says she
does not mind, he takes her at her word. They don’t second-guess each other. Once my husband and
I implemented this philosophy, everything changed for the better.

I did not realize how much we second-guessed each other until we decided to stop doing it. It is
liberating to not have to wonder if he/she really meant it when they said they were okay with . . .
whatever. If my husband asks me if I’m okay with X and I tell him I am, but find myself getting
upset about it, I have only myself to blame. He is not a mind reader and it’s wrong of me to expect
him to be. And vice versa.

My husband is my best friend. We have grown up together. We enjoy spending time together and
planning faraway trips together. I miss him when he has to be gone for days at a time. And I’m thankful
his job is not one that puts him in harms way or takes him away from home for months at a time.
When he has been gone, I look forward to him being back home.

I am excited about what the next 30 years hold for us. We are going to have a lot of fun and I’m sure
we are still going to have our share of misunderstandings. And that’s okay. We are so much stronger
because of them.

How long have you been married and what is your "secret"? Are you about to get married and have
questions? Please share them in the comments!

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