Today is a big day as my wife, Cary and I celebrate 16 years of marriage. That was fast! We're unique in that neither of us had been married before (unlike so many people) and amazingly, it seems that our marriage is getting stronger and stronger. I can honestly say that I get to spend every day with my best friend.
So what has marriage taught me in 16 years of trial and error? Here's at least six lessons that Cary and I both have learned (yes, she checked this post to give it her stamp of approval!):
1. Have a sense of humor. At home, I'm kind of the goofy dad, always bringing levity to tough situations or just everyday "stuff". Sometimes when Cary is having a tough day, I'll say something off the wall as a way of reminding us both that, in the big picture, we're blessed.
2. Be fully present. Technology makes it hard to be fully present to the one you love. There's no substitute for sitting together, having a conversation, asking questions and really making your spouse feel heard and valued.
3. Do the little things. We have a tradition that I always get Cary a new glass of water before bed. I used to find this annoying. Now, 16 years in, I find it to be something I take pride in. After all, it's the smallest act of kindness and it means something to my wife. Why not do it?
4. Don't compare. Everyone's marriage is different. Everyone's spouse is different. When we were first married, I would often play the comparison game and see how we "measured up" to other couples. Don't do it. Find your own way and cherish the person God has given you. Today, we can honestly say that we have a great marriage and I could care less about how it "looks" in comparison with others. It works for us.
5. Talk a lot. We talk all of the time. Cary's a talker and I'm not so often it's about me listening and her talking but sometimes the roles are reversed. We talk to start the day and sometimes will end the day having a deep conversation. I've learned that when Cary wants to talk about something, I should listen and give my full attention to that moment. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter if I "feel" like listening. If it matters to her, it ought to matter to me.
6. See the opportunity. Imagine that God delivered to your door the most amazing package and all you had to do was open it up and appreciate what was inside? To us, that's what marriage is like. We have the opportunity to love one another (and our four kids) unconditionally and that's both a responsibility and privilege.
So there it is- 16 years and counting. Here's to at least another 16 years of learning, living and blessed married life.