18 Years: Secret Revealed

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I have been married almost 18 years. By celebrity standards it’s about six marriages combined. By divorce standards, we’ve “beat the odds” and by my standards it still feels like we both learn something new all the time.

Longevity seekers all want to know, the secret. Well, come close my dear, I am about to give you the big reveal:

Marriage is damn, freakin’ hard. But, the secret is we don’t give up.

Yep. There it is. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. Marriage is called a Labor of Love. I stress the labor part. Yes, when I’m sad, he’ll make me laugh. Sick? He’ll take over. Bored? He’ll entertain. Kvetch session? He’s all ears. But, easy? HA…

When the shiznitch piles up and his imperfections air their stinky socks on my bedroom floor, we talk it out. We yell. We scream. We even have been known to do the silent treatment. But, we always, always stick it out. No matter how ugly it gets. Oh, and it gets ugly sometimes.

In Hollywood or entertainment magazines you often read the term, “We just fell out of love”. Sorry, I’m not buying it. You don’t just ‘fall’ out of love if you were deep in it the first time. You gave up on the love. Someone stopped trying to rekindle the dulling flame. Someone let interests, a roving eye or anger get the best of the marriage. So,  like any plant in my care – it just shriveled up and died.

That is not to say every marriage that ends can be saved. I get it. Some are meant to fail or not meant to have been to begin with. Some hurts can’t be fixed. The commitment has to be two-sided and wanted by both partners.

Long-lasting, loving relationships have to accept the idea that romantic love full of fun-lusting, passion is just not going to be a mainstay on a daily basis. No french maid outfits, no weekly steak dinners after Year One and the cholesterol kicks in and certainly no candlelit bubble bath waiting at the end of a hard day (usually)…

Marriage is work. Hard work. You gotta give it your all and you will reap the rewards of romance and passion some of the time. Which is awesome. But, constant fun? Nope. Constant lust? Nu-uh. Perfection? Puleez.

So, what could a long-lasting marriage look like? Two people that remember to do their work, put in their giving and loving and appreciate the fact that you have a partner who will do the same for you. A marriage that supports not only the highs but helps with the lows. Learning how to fight fair and really forgive. Walking out is easy (in that moment. Not suggesting leaving afterwards is any easy walk in the park either…). Sticking it out when its tough and extra labor is required is the hard part. As novelist Ivan Turgenev once said,  If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.” So stop waiting for perfection and start living an awesome married life. Now, you know the secret. Go forth and endure…

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