16 years already? Well, actually its been more than that. It seems like it went by in the blink of an eye, and it also seems like a lifetime ago. I have changed so much as a human being since this magic carpet ride all began, and have learned so much about life. Hell, if you go all the way back to the beginning, I grew up since then.
THE POINT IS?
Oh, sorry. 16 years ago today, I married my best friend. It was a cool, sunny day and St. Mary’s Church in Port Washington, WI, seemed to sparkle in the sunlight. That was the day we made it official and pledged an oath to each other and God. But, that’s not when it all started. We started dating when we were 16 — started at 16, been 16 years, there’s some kind of symmetry there if you’re a numbers person. Yes, we were high school sweethearts. I know what you’re thinking, “16 years of marriage, started dating when you were 16, but, Jeff, you’re 40 years old? Where’d the other 8 years go?”
Simple, 2 more years to finish high school. Then I went to college in Madison and she went to college in Stevens Point. She buckled down, studied and finished school in 4 years. I, on the other hand…well, let’s just say I spent a lot of time enjoying some of the other things life in Madison had to offer and took much longer to get my degree, 5 1/2 years. Plus, my wife really wanted to get married in her childhood church, so despite getting engaged in 1995, the church wasn’t available until September of 1996. And there’s your other 8 years.
THAT’S A LONG TIME, ISN’T IT?
Not really. Like I said, it has flown by. Besides, some people we know just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last weekend, so by comparison it hasn’t been long at all. Sure, it hasn’t always been easy. Not even close. But, that’s why I married my best friend. Best friends stand by you when it feels like no one else will. And, they call you on your BS when you need a wake call. She has done both and I’m a better person because of it. She has more than anything, been there “in good times and in bad.”
It may sound a little cliché, but your highs end up being a lot higher after you’ve struggled through the lows. You can truly appreciate the hill you’ve climbed together and what you’ve accomplished through all your hard work. We have a plaque hanging in our foyer and it’s one of the first things you see entering our house. It simply says:
Faith makes all things possible, not easy.
I believe in her and in our marriage. I believe she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to, and she’s kind enough to take me along for the ride and inspire me to do the same. I don’t believe it will always be easy. But, it will happen.
MARRIAGE IS A GOOD THING
I know, when — what’s the latest number? more than 50 percent? — most marriages don’t last until “death do us part”, many people are asking, “what’s the point?” I’ll give you the simplest answer I can — it makes life worth living.
Marriage has given my life meaning. It has given me a family. I get to see my wife and myself reflected in our children. I get to go to sleep each night knowing someone always has my back. I get to start each day knowing my cheerleader is there in my corner. I get to start each day knowing that I get to experience 2 days, mine and the one she shares with me at night. I get to watch this amazing woman instill values we believe could change the world into our children.
But, more than anything, I get to start each day knowing that I’m not going through this alone. It’s not just having a good friend to talk to or lean on. It’s having a true connection with that person, like they are part of me and I’m part of them — a symbiosis of the spirit if you will. It’s something that’s hard to describe, but you know it when you have it.
Still don’t believe me? Or, maybe you do but don’t know how to get there? Alright, it’s shameless plug time. We volunteer for a wonderful organization that is dedicated to making marriage great. If you want your marriage to feel great, or you just want some quality time for the two of you away from everything else, take a weekend just for yourselves. Go on a marriage retreat by WWME.
WHY PUT ALL THIS ON A BLOG POST?
Let’s see, where was I. Oh yes, why don’t I just tell me wife this instead of posting it in a blog? A couple of reasons.
- It’s what I believe and how I feel. Isn’t that supposed to be what a blog is about?
- It’s the internet. The internet is forever. If you felt this way, wouldn’t you want it recorded forever?
- I want the world to know that marriage is not a bad thing. It can be the greatest thing in your life if your willing to work at it.
MANY MORE YEARS
I can’t imagine having gone through this with anyone else. And as I look to the future, I can’t imagine going down this road with anyone else. Whether that future is one more day (Yikes! Let’s hope not! Darn Mayans trying to freak everyone out.), or another 50 years (Whew! That sounds a lot better.), I know I have been blessed beyond measure to be married to my wife.
Glenda, Happy Anniversary! And to many more years!
You are the love of my life,