“We know that love is not enough, but mutual respect and communication are mandatory.”
If anyone has ever told you that marriage was easy, they lied! It’s the eve of my twentieth wedding anniversary and if you hear me say that it’s all been peaches and cream, just know that I’m lying too. But thankfully I can honestly say that there have been more peaches and cream moments than there have been sour milk ones.
Twenty years ago when me and hubby said “I Do” we didn’t expect half of what the years have brought us. We expected that we would give each other everything. All the joy, encouragement, fulfillment, and pats on the back that we’d ever need. Weren’t we young and dumb! We looked past the fact that we were both happy, whole, and fulfilled individuals and that marriage was meant to add to, not complete, each other. Thank God we learned that lesson. Yes, there were still times that we had unreasonable expectations of one another, but we’re human and the lessons continue.
So much has happened in twenty years. We’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, the birth of our son, and our career successes, both big and small. Unfortunately, twenty years also brings the heartache of losing loved ones and battling illness. We’ve all heard that you have to take the good with the bad and it’s true. It’s easy to celebrate, but what means more is knowing that there’s someone who’s going to stick by your side when the storms come. Sadly, we created some of the storms that shook our little boat. Our unwillingness to bend when we thought we were right. Our failure to see things from the others perspective rendered us temporarily stupid. But we’ve matured over the years and have learned to listen, not just hear. We’ve learned to be quiet and let the other have their say, and most importantly, we learned to agree to disagree on the trivial crap. And funny thing is, in the grand scheme of things, it’s all trivial crap.
In all fairness, we can’t take all the credit for learning to work through our issues and staying focused on having a successful marriage. Both of us grew up in two parent homes and had parents that stayed together until death did they part. My parents were married for twenty-seven years and my mom was at my dad’s side when he drew his last breath. I grew up watching them argue like cats and dogs, and laugh like a couple of hyenas. They taught me what I did and did not want in a husband and a marriage. My mom demonstrated every single day what it meant to be committed to family. My husband’s parents were married a whopping seventy-one years! Who does that? They met and married as teenagers, raised their family and had the love and respect of their entire community. I have no idea of the struggles they endured, all I know of is the beauty of their spirits, their unconditional love for family and each other. After seventy-one years together, they recently died only six months apart. To not be able to live without the other, now that’s love.
We’ve learned so much over the years. We know that long term marriages are quite possible. We know that love is not enough, but mutual respect and communication are mandatory. We know that we are not responsible for each other’s happiness, but putting each other first is a sure fire way to keep the home fires burning. So yes, I’ll go to bed with my husband tonight, fall asleep to the sound of his snoring, and be grateful when I wake in the morning to the smell his bad breath blowing in my face and mine in his. I’ll be grateful because I know that despite all of our ups and downs, he loves me, he’s always going to protect me and make sure that I have all I need. And yes, I have and will continue to do the same for him. I’ll be grateful that the good has always outweighed the bad and for the happy years that still lay before us. We’ll celebrate this anniversary at home with a quiet dinner and our son sitting at the table being silly. But don’t worry, the trip comes later (wink).
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