Today my husband and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to imagine so many years have flown by and yet I try to remember when we weren’t together and that time seems impossibly long ago as well. We’ve been best friends all this time, with some bouts of what everyone else experiences along the way – disagreements and misunderstandings, tears, fears, changes in jobs, moving to a new house, loved ones lost, serious illnesses. But what I think about the most is the laughter. We laugh – a lot. Like to the point that people might think we’re idiots sometimes rather than two well-educated people. And that joy in life, and in each other has carried us through the years.
But the biggest thing that has helped us over the years to remain close and to be so happily married is our attitude about marriage in general. Marriage is a journey, not a destination. Every day we travel together, some routes are familiar (Someone jumping out of bed at 9:00 pm to whisper, “Daddy, I’m supposed to bring a snack tomorrow to school!”), some are scary and unknown (getting home from karate one night to discover a very large breast lump), but always – we travel these roads together.
Tim likes to say that “Marriage is a highway that has no exit ramps”. He says as long as both people in a marriage believe that, then there is never any doubt that your journey together will bring you only closer – good times and bad, like the marriage vows state. That’s what we’ve both always adhered to. No matter how bad things get – bald head from chemo or the aches and pains of age making us no longer the fresh, young, super fit couple we were in our wedding photo, we only see the beauty in each other and the things that have gotten better as each year passes (In my head I can hear my husband joking, “Speak for yourself, old woman!” 🤣 )A while back at church, the homily was about how love is a choice. Okay, now that doesn’t sound very romantic, does it? Everyone thinks of love as this grand thing that sweeps over you and whisks you away, something that you can’t control or understand. Sure, that’s romantic, I guess, but that’s not real love. That’s sexual attraction. Sometimes that excited, trembling, over the top feeling you get when you’re around someone may be the beginning of love (it was for Tim and I), but it’s not love itself. See, love is a choice.
Over time, you get to know a person really and truly. Think about the little things day after day after day… like where she leaves her shoes, or whether or not he puts the cap back on the toothpaste tube tightly enough, or if he stacks dirty dishes in the sink until they’re falling out, or how she gets up on the weekend and wears ratty old sweats with mussed up hair until noon, or he gains a few pounds around the middle while losing all that gorgeous hair that you loved running your fingers through, or whether childbirth has added weight that she can’t find the time or the energy to get rid of.
See, now you’ve fast-forwarded 25 years and while there is still that excitement and trembling and over the top feeling when you look at the person you love, those “in-love” feelings are backed up by the years and years of time you’ve spent together, forging a life, raising a family, refusing to give up on each other even when you seem so angry at each other over something that you swear you can’t take another minute. Love is a choice – you choose to continue to love because you know that there are also those moments where you’re laughing together like idiots over something ridiculous, or holding hands while you watch over your sick child who’s finally sleeping peacefully, or those terribly scary moments when your world falls away from underneath you and your husband takes you in his arms and says “No matter what happens, we’ll be okay.” and you believe him and feel like his arms are the only safe place in the world.
We make choices every day, some big, some little, but the most important choice we make is to love someone, for better or worse, richer or poorer, toothpaste cap on or not. Love is a choice.