Anyone can be married, but to build a thriving, healthy, considerate give-and-take relationship takes constant effort and is a rare commodity in this world.
I’m immensely grateful for the marriage Jason and I have created over the last nineteen years. He is celebrating his 40th birthday this week and it felt like a good time to reflect on the ingredients that have made our marriage successful and satisfying.
Since my kids were little, I’ve hammered home the personality traits they should prioritize above all else when it comes time for them to decide on a marriage partner. The two essential qualities I’ve urged them to seek are kindness and a sense of humour.
Without a doubt, these two ingredients have been huge factors in the overall quality of our marriage. We both make each other laugh, every single day or pretty damn close, and a good laugh can help you get through the petty grievances of life. When you are truly relaxed with another person, accepted for your true self, it becomes easier to crack them up or to giggle yourself over stupid little things that might not be funny to anyone else.
Like humour, kindness greases the gears of the mundane to make every interaction more pleasant and enjoyable. It’s a worthwhile goal to treat your spouse with as much courtesy as possible, even if you might be irritated by them, for this politeness goes a long way in softening the atmosphere around you.
When Jason and I choose to be kind to each other above all else, intentionally curbing biting sarcasm or rude insults, we literally change the air around us and create a happy living environment daily for us and for our kids (not to mention friends and extended family and even strangers).
The other secret to our marriage is a willingness to grow and change. We offer each other permission to become the truest, most authentic versions of ourselves. When we are peacefully existing without disguises (or at least inching closer to this desire every day), bravely allowing our most vulnerable selves to be seen, we tend to evolve in a similar direction together.
We are still individuals, growing and changing separately, but our shared goals are more easily aligned and we are like unique flowers bending toward the same sun.
Being married to Jason has been the best experience of my life, without question. Saying yes when he asked me to marry him was the single decision that radically improved the course and trajectory of my life. I’m so proud of the quality of our family that we’ve built as a team. We are not simply existing in the same house together, but rather crafting a life with intentionality, purpose, forgiveness, laughter, kindness and loving care.
Happy 40th, my love. Here’s to a future that only burns brighter.