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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

16 Years

Tim and I, in London
The Abbey
Last weekend, I celebrated my 16th wedding anniversary with my husband, Tim.  It seems like yesterday when we first met in a dive establishment in my hometown.  I fell in love with Tim so fast and I knew he was the one.  Everyone says, "You just know," and I never understoodthat, until when I felt that with Tim.  "I knew" with Tim, that he was the one.  

Tim proposed to me almost a year after we met, and we were married six months later.  

In the sixteen years we have been  married, we have lived in four states and in a foreign country, we have had 2 children, have been through our share of ups and downs.  And through all the changes, Tim and I have remained committed to one another, even though we have had all these changes.

16 years is a long time.  It's the age of a young adult.  Someone who can drive.  Wow, there's days when I feel like I AM 16 years old!!   Where did all these years go?

I asked Tim on our anniversary, "Why do you love me."  And his answer was simple- "I just like hanging out with you."  I think after 16 years, you HAVE to enjoy hanging out with your spouse, because friendship is the foundation to any marriage.  We love hanging out with each other.  Tim is my best friend.  I would rather hang with him than anybody else, and that's why our marriage works.

This is what else I have learned about marriage:

  • Marriage is about compromising.  Sometimes it's me compromising, and sometimes it's Tim.  
  • Tim and I share the same belief about many things.  We have the same philosophy about parenting, money, and even interior design.  The only things we disagree about our where we want to vacation.  I prefer the beach and ocean, and he likes a quiet lake.  BUT, that's where we have to compromise.
  • We never go to bed mad.  My grandmother gave me that advice, and it's the best advice.  
  • A sense of humor.  Tim and I have lots of fun together.  We like to laugh with each other and with our kids.  
  • Date night.  You really need to have alone time.  Once the kids came, we got so busy with them and their activities.  If you have happy parents, you'll have happy kids.  I have learned to put Tim and I first;  sometimes the kids need to take a backseat.  
  • Marriage is about teamwork.  We both  help out around the house.  "Choreplay."
  • Marriage is not always a fairy tale.  You go through rough times.  We were 26 and 25 when we got married.  We have both changed in those years, and we had to learn to apply our personal changes to our marriage.  Adapting to all the changes, and growing together as a couple is really important.   
  • Kids can change a marriage.  When we had our first child, we had been married for  7 years.  It was a huge adjustment.  Learning our roles as husband-wife, and now as a mother-father to our children and what those new roles were took time.  
  • Communication, communication.  You need to talk to  your spouse about your wants, needs and worries.  Tim is not a mind reader, but he's good at knowing when I am upset or worried about something.  He is a good listener, as I am with him too.  This year has been extremely challenging for us, with both of our work situations;  Tim working long hours, and me at a new school, but we always make it a priority to ask each other about our days.  It sounds so 1950's:  "How was your day, honey?"  But, it's good to talk about your day.  

I feel very lucky to still be in love with my husband.  I know so many people in the last couple of years who have gone through divorces.  Actually, the day of our anniversary, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced they were divorcing!  In my kindergarten classes each year, less than half of my kids live with both parents.  It's a sad reality.

If you were to ask me what my biggest accomplishments are in my life, at 41 years old, I would tell you that it's my family;  my husband of 16 years, and my 9 and 7 year old children.  These are my accomplishments, because marriage is work, and so is raising two children.  

One of my biggest complements I have received have to do with my marriage.    A teacher friend said to me, "I hope my husband and I are like you and Tim as we get older," (she's a younger teacher, and just married). I don't know if there's such a things as a "perfect marriage," because nothing in life is perfect.  I think a great marriage is deciding as a couple, how to deal with life's misfortunes.  

The night of our anniversary, we decided not to get a babysitter.  We celebrated with our children.  We went out to dinner at the restaurant where our wedding reception was.  After dinner, we took them to the upstairs room, where it was empty from any events.  The kids were excited to hear about our wedding stories. They had lots of questions about our big day.

16 years.  Where does the time go?  Here's to many more.

This blog entry is dedicated to my sister, who is getting married in September.  I'm so happy for you during this special time of planning your wedding.  You have found your man of your dreams.  Here's to many years of compromising and communicating!!!