It is now one week away from my 40th Wedding Anniversary. This is a big deal for me. Sure, the 50th Anniversaries are always the really special ones. But, to me, we have almost made it to 40. We are on the final stretch…one week to go.
According to various reports, only about 10% of all marriages make it to 40 years. It drops to 5.5% for a 50 year marriage. Apparently, the national average for marriage length is 8.2 years and the divorce rate in the U.S. is somewhere in the area of about 41%. That is pretty amazing to me as most of those people got married because they loved their spouse and cared about him/her.
I would love to take the time to dig into Census Data and other Social Data and find out things such as divorce rates or marriage longevity for couples with children and couples without children. But, alas, I don’t really have the time for that.
So, all I can really do is assess why Julianne and I have made it 40 years. I believe that love and commitment to each other were the prime drivers. The willingness to give and take is another. Of course, raising our children and being an example to them was important as well. We have two daughters that have managed 14 years of marriage and are beating the odds as well.
But, bottom line for me, is that my spouse is also my best friend. She is my soul mate. I truly do and always have loved this special person. Does this mean that our relationship is always hunky-dory? Absolutely not! Does this mean that we don’t have disagreements and things that tug us in different directions? No way! Certainly, we have had numerous times in our relationship that we could have called it quits, for one reason or another. But, we haven’t. Our friendship is a much stronger bond than that.
As we have grown older, there are segments of our individual lives that have grown apart. I think it is only natural. Our individual interests and pursuits tend to blossom after the children have left. Though there are many common pursuits as well, these sometimes falter for one reason or another. But the familial ties bind us strongly. We both love and cherish our children. We both adore our grandchildren. And we both love to be around each other.
I am humbled by my sweet wife’s willingness to hang in there with me, despite my foibles, faults and even failures. I have strived to be there for her and take care of her as well as I can. She has done the same for me.
Honestly, forty years ago I was not sure if we would make it this far. I most certainly hoped we would. But, it is difficult to see the future and all of the challenges, frustrations and disappointments that lie in the dark shadows waiting to leap onto an unwary couple. During those times, we had to hold each other tightly and get through the storms. And we did. Over and over. Because we loved, and still love, each other.
Its not over. It continues forward. I love and adore my sweet Julianne. She is an inspiration. She brings me joy. She is my best friend. She is my soul mate.