On Tuesday we closed the books on Year 14 of our marriage and did so on the quiet side. Hubby and I both worked, the kids went to school, as per usual. We dropped the kids of at their grandmother's house and enjoyed a dinner for two, complete with stimulating conversation (something that doesn't always fill every day in a household with three school-aged children) and discussion about The Big Picture. The evening was capped off with an ice cream cake, a very necessary mode of celebration in our family.
And so begins Year 15.
Two thoughts top the many that came to mind this week.
1. Date nights are imperative. Parental love of a child is, by nature, more unconditional. Your relationship with your partner was voluntary and requires constant work, patience, compromise, and all that good stuff. Just like everyone needs their Me-time, part of being good parents once you have kids is consistently fostering the growth and health of your marriage. It's like the oxygen mask on an airplane. Don't allow yourself to sacrifice the opportunity to build your relationship because the schedule is too full of the kids' activities, or because there just isn't a babysitter available. Make it a priority. Don't go nuts, but write it in the calendar with pen, not pencil, and find a way.
2. I say it to make people laugh, but I really do believe that getting married was the best thing I was ever forced to do. Hubby and I were 20 when we found out we were expecting and our initial plan was to move in together, raise our child together and live happily ever until whenever. But when we told my dad, he said if we were living together, we were going to do so married. We loved each other and knew marriage was in our future. So in a way we were just bumping things (way) up in the schedule. But let this be a preventative lesson in consequence: if you're going to engage in grown-up things with someone, be prepared for grown-up follow-up with that same person. In our case, we did exactly that. We affirmed our commitment to our newly-created family and 14 years and three children later, we continue to keep our promise and work towards that "old-fashioned" notion that marriage is for life.