Aug 17, 2011

Some things I know for sure

"I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you and comfort you. 
I promise to stand by you faithfully when life is easy and when it is hard,
when our love is effortless and when it is trying. 
I will trust you and respect you. 
I will be patient with you and support you. 
To my love and my best friend, these things I give you today and all the days of our lives."

Two years ago, Keane and I spoke these words to each other on our wedding day. We wrote them together, thoughtfully and honestly, making promises to work at our relationship every day.

Today, I'll be the first to admit that a successful marriage requires a lot of work. The fantasy of falling in love and effortlessly moving through life together, happily ever after, is all too common. Unfortunately, Keane and I have witnessed many marriages close to us unravel over the years and have taken away some valuable lessons to apply to our own relationship.

The fact of the matter is, love is a choice. Sometimes it's easy to love your partner, other times it requires a bit of effort. Even during times of frustration, anger, irritability and impatience, we must make the choice to respect and love one another.

Communication will make or break a marriage. Two people may have totally different expectations of parenting, money management or sex but if they don't discuss things openly, it's impossible to find middle ground. Before you know it, you find yourself in a cold, empty marriage and the damage can be irreparable. Tell your spouse when something upsets you. People aren't mind readers.

Find common interests. I can assure you it is a lot easier to like being around your partner if you are doing things you both enjoy. Alone time is just as important in order to remain centered and happy.

Laugh a lot. Find joy in things together. Be silly. You'll discover it's pretty tough to be upset with each other when you do this.

Give your partner grace. Be forgiving and choose to trust.

Finally, nurture your relationship before anything else. We aren't parents yet, but I can already see this requiring a conscious effort when we have children. Things get more complicated, time becomes limited, and sleep is a thing of the past. Despite all of these obstacles, put your relationship first. Prioritize date nights, set aside money in the budget for babysitters, plan a vacation. Your children will thank you later for your example of a committed, loving marriage.

So today, I recommit all of these things to you, Keane Ray. I will work each and every day to practice what I've just preached. I will fail, sometimes miserably, but I will try again the next day.
And every day after.

I love you forever and always.


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