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Affirmation:  The best is yet to come.

My husband, Sandy and I have been married for almost 43 years.  I teasingly tell people I was a child bride, maybe 15.  But, while we were young, right out of college, we were a “reasonable” age.  Looking back, I don’t think I had a clue what I was committing to.  I’d like to think the young people marrying today have more knowledge about relationships and what saying “I do” represents than I did.  I think they might have an advantage over me because of all the information available in the media.  I know all of it isn’t good, but at least they are exposed to a great deal of different situations. 

I came from a very small family and unless I learned from their example, there wasn’t much more information available.  I was lucky because both my husband and I came from stable, loving families.  I’m sure that’s one of the reason two naïve kids like us have made it this far.
We went to dinner with a newlywed couple one evening.  They were young but they already had a lot of schooling under their belts and were looking at additional degrees.  They were considerate of each other and had a maturity about them that belied their years.  It was a pleasure to be with them.  I found myself offering my perspective on marriage.  I find myself sharing this information more and more often.  It’s usually because I am so surprised at where I’m at in my relationship with my husband and that no one ever told me about this stage of marriage.  In fact, even with today’s information overload, I haven’t seen this anywhere and it’s really important for couples to know this, especially young couples.

After 43 years, we still love one another.  We have raised three children, moved seven times, and been through illness and deaths.  We have struggled financially and psychologically.  We have played together and we have shared the most intimate of experiences.  One, for example, is when Sandy shaved my head before my hair fell out from chemo.  There are almost no words to say what that was like.  It’s been good and it’s been tough.  It’s been life and I’m so very grateful I’ve gotten to share it all with him.

And, what is it I want couples to know?  I want them to know that marriage is difficult but if there are no irreconcilable differences, no overwhelming obstacles to staying together, marriage gets better and better.  It can become one of the richest experiences of your life if you have the fortitude to hang in there so you can share your later years with that person with whom you became of age.  For us, this is the best our marriage has ever been and it’s a great joy.  Would you agree that’s what can happen?  Many many years ago I had an “older” woman tell me her time as an empty nester was the sexiest time of her marriage.  It’s true.  It’s worth it.  Don’t give up.

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