I have to admit, it shook me when it happened. You see it from the outside a lot, but to see it happen up close was unnerving. Scary even. They were supposed to be together forever. That is what they promised on their special day. I guess 9 years felt like longer than forever for her. Maybe that is why she walked out. In the end, I think it worked out well. They are both married again and seem very happy. Could it have been avoided?

What I described above is extremely common, but is still cause for introspection and has led me to a few things I’d like to share from my 21 years of being married to my best friend.

1. If you don’t plan on living your life as partners from the beginning, it is much harder to do when you are down the road a ways. I talked to a guy once who admitted that his wife had been as low as fourth on his priority list for a long time. Treat your mate like that for long enough and they may not be there to listen when you finally come to your senses. I love the partnership I have built with my bride. We are in this thing together all the way.

2. Be the first to tell your spouse when you have made a mistake and don’t let it come from someone else. Take responsibility for it when it happened. Own it. Repent. Don’t let too much time lapse or it will fester and grow. Attend to it now and it won’t have a chance to swallow you later.

3. I read one time that you should never air your dirty laundry about your spouse to your parents. I would add to that, don’t air dirty laundry to anyone. If there are things you need to work on do it together. If you need to confide in someone at your church, or a counselor do that. Get help from someone who won’t hold on to something about your spouse. You will forgive them long before anyone else will.

4. Remember you have something that is worth fighting for. Marriage isn’t easy. Nothing truly rewarding is. It is worth the blood, sweat, and tears you put into it. With every year that goes by I grow more and more in love with this beautiful woman. She is my best friend and the love of my life. She is my home. I will fight for her and for us with every breath that is in me.

Marriage is the union of two imperfect people, who through a lifetime get to help each other work through the imperfections and create beauty. For the folks I wrote about in the first paragraph, they are working on it now in their new lives. In that, I am happy for them. There is beauty that has risen from the ashes. For me, I am so thankful that over 21 years ago I asked this amazing woman to be my partner. She is the best and this journey has been out of this world. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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