Brett and I just celebrated 25 years of marriage…25 years!…A quarter of a century! That’s nothing to be taken lightly. We’ve certainly come a long way since that second day of college when I was introduced to him through a mutual friend. First thoughts on my end, “what a dork”. The second time I saw him, he brazenly told me he was going to marry me someday. “Ha!”, I thought to myself. “That will never happen”. Fast forward 25 years, 4 kids, 6 moves, and many adventures later I suppose it’s safe to say he knew what he was talking about.
Practically every couple has “their song”. Brett and I actually have two. Shortly after Brett and I got married Shania Twain’s “Still the One” was released. We knew it was one of our songs and I looked forward to the day when I could listen to it and be able to say, yes we’ve made it.
Looks like we made it
Look how far we’ve come, my baby
We mighta took the long way
We knew we’d get there someday
They said, “I bet they’ll never make it.”
But just look at us holding on
We’re still together, still going strong
You’re still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You’re still the one I want for life
You’re still the one that I love
The only one I dream of
You’re still the one I kiss good night
Ain’t nothing better
We beat the odds together
I’m glad we didn’t listen
Look at what we would be missing
The reason why this song was so important was because we knew when we got married we were up against huge odds. As you may know, not long after we met, Brett grew on me a bit and we ended up dating. After all, he was persistent and just wouldn’t go away. 😉 Well, I ended up getting pregnant out of wedlock and many, many tears passed before we decided to get married. “I’ll give it a shot for the sake of the baby”, I thought. But honestly, I wasn’t all in, and neither was Brett. Honorable, yes, but we were just kids and had a lot of growing up to do. My stepdad at the time told me that Brett was just going to leave me as soon as I “got fat” and I could just see others shake their heads behind our backs, perhaps making bets on how long our union would last.
And you know what? They were right to do so. We didn’t like each other for many years. Everything he did annoyed me, and he secretly resented me for taking away his fun college experience. We held on by a very thin string but always kept God and our children’s welfare first in our hearts. It was hard. It was really hard. Finally, about 6 years and two kids in, we took a long hard look at each other and decided we needed to do more than just get by. Call it maturity, or just the fact that we got past the idealism of romantic love, I don’t know. But at that time God really moved in us and it was a turning point in our relationship.
It took another few years to learn how to make our new “mature” relationship work. However, we were determined not to give up and fought fiercely for what we were trying to build. That’s when it began to get good. We began to get to know each other as adults, and mutual respect grew. To be perfectly honest, it was a bumpy road and we had a lot to learn about what true love was supposed to look like.
But now here we are. It’s taken a long time but we’ve built a solid foundation, and have become best friends. It’s wonderful to be able to say that there is no one else I would rather spend time with than Brett. Does that mean our lives are now all wine and roses? Goodness no! Marriage is a constant state of ebb and flow, of learning, adapting and growing. We still argue and don’t see eye to eye at times but know in the end we will always come back together and work it out. We have learned to give unselfishly to one another (most of the time). I now see Brett as a loyal, hard working man who would do practically anything to make me happy. He constantly pushes me to be a better person, and I him. We are still very different in many ways, but have learned to meet in the middle and this is incredibly character building for each of us.
So what can I say after 25 years of marriage?
- It’s not easy. You have to be willing to adapt, become unselfish, and love unconditionally.
- If you put in the effort, It’s the most rewarding thing you can do aside from raising children.
- Love is not a fairytale. It takes loyalty, commitment, hard work, and lots of prayer. But it’s better than a fairytale because it will fill your life with a rich, deep, committed love that lasts.
- Always try to put your spouse’s needs first. The more you give and show love to them without expecting anything in return, the more they will love you back.
- It’s ok to have up’s and down’s as long as you are both committed to making it work in the long run.
- Faith in God is the essential component in making a marriage work. He has been our rock and I can tell you 100% we would not have made it without our commitment to our vow we made before Him.
- Make your spouse your best friend. Do things together. Spend time together. Dream together. Brett and I never run out of things to talk about. We have coffee, go on walks, out to dinner, to the movies, etc. We just truly enjoy each other’s company and I don’t take that blessing lightly.
- Remember that one day the kids will be gone and all you’ll have is each other. For some people this is a terrifying thought. Take time early on to invest in each other so when that day comes you won’t be strangers.
And finally, here’s our second song. I’m sure after all I’ve said you can see why. It’s by Alan Jackson and still makes me cry.
Remember when I was young and so were you
And time stood still and love was all we knew
You were the first, so was I
We made love and then you cried
Remember when we vowed the vows and walked the walk
Gave our hearts, made the start, it was hard
We lived and learned, life threw curves
There was joy, there was hurt
Remember when old ones died and new were born
And life was changed, disassembled, rearranged
We came together, fell apart
And broke each other’s hearts
Remember when the sound of little feet
Was the music we danced to week to week
Brought back the love, we found trust
Vowed we’d never give it up
Remember when thirty seemed so old
Now lookin’ back, it’s just a steppin’ stone
To where we are, where we’ve been
Said we’d do it all again
Remember when we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won’t be sad, we’ll be glad
For all the life we’ve had
And we’ll remember when
This is what 25 years looks like for us. It’s taken a lot of work, prayer, and self-sacrifice but oh the rewards are so sweet. I pray your quarter of a century marriage milestone will look the same and when you look at your best friend who may now have a few more wrinkles and some grey hair that you will be as grateful as I am for the blessing of the person standing before you.
I love you Brett!
Thank you for never giving up on me, for being my best friend, and for loving me even when I am difficult to love.
You put an inscription in my ring and I agree without hesitation:
I would do it all again!