As we reach the 14yr marker in our marriage, I feel blessed that all the "training" I got prior to beginning this journey with the Mrs have made these first few years go by pretty easy. I am buoyed by the fact that moving forward there are plenty of "aid stations" to help make sure that we don't fall off the pace and end up on the side of the road unable to go on. It seems with each passing year, we get news of friends who are no longer married, and it hurts to see because I know how much love and effort went into the formation of those partnerships. It is a sobering reminder that keeping a marriage strong is not simply about the love you have for your partner, but a number of intangibles that enable you to keep growing together.
The best piece of advice I received this year came during a recent visit to see my Pops where he told me to never stop "Tithing to the Marriage". He encouraged me to keep investing in my quality time with the Mrs. whether it be something as small as a Date Night movie or a romantic getaway. Every year as both of our careers grow and the boys get more involved in their activities, it's becomes more difficult to get the quality time events on the calendar, but they are as necessary as the kids vaccinations. We love our children to death, but we can only go so long hearing them scream "DADDY/MOMMY! I need you" before we need a break for some adult recreation.
Year 15 will be a big one for us in that we will both be celebrating 40 years of living in 2017. Since this has become one of my only reflections, now is as good a time as any to start thanking people who have helped us get to where we are and support us in where we are looking to go. My Dad is the pillar of man and fatherhood that I continue to lean on and I am thankful that he's still here to offer counsel when I need it. My mother has brought a brand of grand-parenting to the boys that I know that they will come to cherish in the same way that Nana was invaluable to my childhood. There's not enough roses, spa days, or fancy restaurant dinners to show our appreciation, so I'll just continue to say thank you at every opportunity. At the end of each visit, my mother-in-law, tells me how thankful she is that I am the father of her grandchildren, and the husband of her daughter. The fact that she still finds ways to compliment me after all these years motivates me to keep the streak going.
Finally, there is the Mrs., aka "The Franchise". I continue to feel lucky that she decided to track down my number after not remembering it when I gave it to her. I'm lucky that she saw enough in me to ride shotgun while I grew up. Everyday I try to honor that belief by being the best partner that I can. I look forward to the fun as we celebrate a decade and a half with all those who have been cheering for us along the way.