I am just back from a family trip to Costa Rica; thus the two weeks without a post. An amazing place and a great trip. If you haven’t been exposed to Pura Vida yet I recommend looking it up. It’s a pretty fantastic approach to life.
This post however, is not about Costa Rica nor travels per se, but it is about a journey. It is a post to acknowledge, and express gratitude as my wife and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. My intent here is to show appreciation, and share my admiration and love for my wife; and acknowledge 20+ years of strength, love, friendship and, really, just putting up with me. She has been the bedrock for the family, and our relationship.
Army wives have to sacrifice a lot: they experience stunted career progression from the frequent moves, they suspend or drop hobbies in order to care for kids while soldiers are away on exercise and deployment, and of course they aren’t always near family when these periods of absence render them ‘single parents’. It is not easy.
I acknowledge there are other careers and life circumstances that create similar challenges for spouses not tied to the military. Few, however, come with the burden of unlimited liability that comes with a military life. I won’t exaggerate my role as a soldier, nor claim the stresses of a bona fide combat deployment, but I was deployed while in the infantry and later drove through Kandahar enough to have a few sphincter-tightening moments. The point I am trying to make here is that regardless the reality, back on the home front, the stresses and fears of those with loved ones serving in a war zone carries, I can only imagine, all kinds of worst case contemplation. There is no end to speculation in the absence of information, especially when something has happened in the news and/or a necessary period without contact provokes imagination.
All this is to suggest that I know I am lucky to have had this beautiful women marry me, and willingly embark upon a path she knew wouldn’t be easy. Likely, in many ways, her challenges were greater than mine. Where I came and went, and had the luxury of singular focus at times, she had always to be the bedrock of the relationship, and for the kids and family.
Gratitude – and LOVE.
I take notes from what I read and listen to. For this post I dug into some of these notes from a podcast I drew benefit from back in 2018. I think it holds sage advice, and also sheds a positive light on relationships that last. It suggests that finding the right attitude (in spite of atmospheric conditions) is key; you need to adjust to things beyond your control.
It also offers that EVERY marriage bumps into something bad. Period.
We’ve weathered these.
Most important though, it states, and I admit I need to work at this, that one needs to cherish one’s wife. It is the little things that matter the most. I will get better. In fact, much of the Happiness Project I have been working on through 2019 is a deliberate effort to be a better person; a better father, a better husband.
That same podcast also detailed this interesting (and encouraging) lifespan of love: (I paraphrase)
You start as newlyweds and then enjoy the Honeymoon phase. After 5 years it lessens. By 18 years, with the kids and the rigors of life, career, ageing, the love seems gone. But, after 25 years it gets so much better.There is a depth to the relationship that only comes with this kind of commitment.
Not without work, for certain. Positive nonetheless.
I love you E. Thank you. I know I don’t say it enough. You’ve been the bedrock that has held steadfast against the atmospheric conditions that beat against a family, a relationship, and love. Gratitude. We have been through a lot, and there is so much to look forward to. With you as the bedrock it is sure to be a nurturing growth and a stable journey.
‘Marriage was never designed to make a person happy; you make your marriage happy.’