A few minutes before our wedding ceremony (one year and two weeks ago), Joe called his brother Nick, who had married his partner Caroline a couple months earlier, and asked if he had any last-minute advice.
“Marry the right girl,” Nick said, “and it’s easy.”
I imagine that people who have been married for decades, or even just a few years (versus a couple of months) would perhaps chuckle to themselves at the thought of anything making marriage “easy”. Our culture is bursting with reasons to believe that staying committed to—and happy with—one person is hard: movies, books, and TV shows that show couples arguing or barely communicating, complaining about each other to their friends, and/or growing apart; articles offering advice to “save” your relationship; bleak statistics in both the US and Canada revealing that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. (Surprisingly, the divorce rate is higher in second and third marriages—60-73% in the US—than in first ones. So much for learning from our mistakes!)
My own parents divorced when I was two, and while that didn’t oppose me to the notion of getting married myself, it did make me realistic about the challenges a long-term relationship (married or not) can present, and wary of going down that path unless I felt very, very sure that the person I committed to shared the same values and vision for the future. (And, above all, was able to communicate effectively.)
Joe and I celebrated our one-year anniversary on Sept. 28th, and in the days surrounding the milestone I have reflected on what, so far, is helping keep us genuinely happy, communicating, and in love. Continue reading