So, fifteen years ago today I was a nervous wreck. I was about to be married. I wasn’t nervous about marrying Kristin, she and I were good, I was just nervous about the ceremony. For all of the countless hours I’ve spent on a stage, I still am nervous when it comes to formal ceremonial stuff; things you have to dress up for and act all prim and proper. I can pull it off, but I don’t like to. When I look back on that day I just remember being emotionally wrung out and nervous. Which is kind of funny, because when I look back on our fifteen years of marriage I feel so very satisfied and grateful.
Kristin and I had been through a lot by the time we got married. We dated for more than five years, then we spent a year completely apart with not even a phone call or contact of any kind. We got back together knowing each other pretty well, the good and the bad. I believed Kristin was a faithful person and I was pretty sure we’d have a good marriage. Time has shown that belief to be well placed.
Kristin and I both acknowledge that most of our healthiness was simply a gift from our parents. Both of us have parents who married for life. They gave themselves to their children, raising them with passion, faith, and a sense of what it means to be a true human being. I’m convinced that ninety percent of what makes for a good marriage was given to us by our parents before we ever left their home. Much of why we are able to have a happy marriage is because we have wonderful parents and families.
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned along the way. I’m not saying I do all these perfectly, they are just the things I know I’m supposed to do & be. I write these a means of honoring my wife Kristin on this day – fifteen years after we bound our lives together. I’m so glad we did!
– Don’t leave the toilet seat up – it’s just bad manners.
– You have to keep growing. Travel, read, experiment, think, talk, dream, and expand your horizons. Never rely on “that’s just the way I am,” as an excuse for being too afraid or lazy to grow. You are not yet the “you” that you are meant to be. You have to keep growing.
– Give each other credit for the small things. It’s too hard to be married if nobody notices that you still fold the laundry or mow the lawn, even though you hate every second of it.
– (I’m channeling Dr. Phil here) You have to decide if you want to be “right,” or you want to be “happy.” Most people want to be right more than they want to be happy – so they’re not.
– You cannot change your spouse’s behavior through negative reinforcement.
– It takes two selfish people to fight.
– Marriage does not exist for the benefit of its two members, but for the life of the world. The most dangerous spouse in the world is trying to “get” something from their marriage.
– Laugh. You have to laugh. If you don’t know how to laugh (Tim), you need to let your spouse teach you (thanks Kristin).
– There’s no way you can know what you are getting into when you marry. That’s why they make you take vows in front of other people and God.
– I thought marriage was about being in love, finding a soul mate, attraction, chemistry, compatibility. Those aren’t what marriage is about, those are what movies are about. Marriage is about fidelity through every season and challenge of life. Fidelity = Love
– When you are wrong, apologize – then do the dishes (or other acts of penance).
– Never take sides against the family – Santino Corleone was right after all.
I love you Kristin. Here’s to 15 more years. -T