|So young and naive...|
I never dreamed "happily ever after" would just keep getting more happily with each passing year!
Sure, doing life with someone day after day, year after year, can get dull and commonplace...if you let it. But it can also get richer, fresher and more rewarding, if you work at it.
As time goes on, you can figure out what REALLY works. And what really doesn't. (But no...I do not have marriage, or him, all figured out yet...give me another 50 years.) You've shared the best of times, and the worst of times. Sometimes those stressful-at-the-moment, terrible times turn out to be the memories you love to laugh about in years to come. You've shared so many memories together, you can reminisce for hours when time allows. That fact alone makes a long-lasting marriage extremely rich.
After 29 years, it's become obvious that a great marriage is much more than just "being in love." Anyone can fall in love. Yet many just as easily fall out of love when things aren't going well.
Not that anyone asked...but if I could give one bit of advice to couples planning to get married, it would be this: get it through your head, right now, that this is a commitment - not a storybook romance - and you're going to do your part to be fully committed. It'll be the toughest commitment you'll ever make; but it's worth it. Know that the other person IS going to fail you. She will make you furious. He will frustrate you to no end. She will have bad hair days and extremely unpredictable mood swings. He will reek after a hard day's work and be too tired for conversation. Whatever the disappointment or frustration - big or small - it will happen. You are marrying a human being, after all, and no matter how perfect you might think they are right now...they aren't.
I should finish with some nice, churchy advice and say, "Make God your focus...put Him first," etc. etc. If you're both Christians that's just an obvious, Sunday School kind of answer. And if you're not - it's a moot point. I know for us, it works extremely well. When you and your spouse are both concerned about being the best that God wants you to be - it's beneficial for all of those around you. Anything that takes the focus off of yourself and encourages you to focus on others is rewarding and gratifying for all involved. If BOTH of you are living like that, you'll BOTH feel extremely satisfied and cared for. As Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" book so pointedly proclaims...it's not about YOU.
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." ~~Philippians 2:3-4