Having positive and intimate relationships with each other’s extended family is ideal, something I am thankful for everyday, because it enriches my life, my husband’s life and the lives of my children. We are able to celebrate birthdays, holidays, successes and losses together in a way that is meaningful for everyone. We are able to turn to our families and say, “thank you for giving me this extension of yourself“.
I used to believe that a healthy marriage required support from all family involved in order to be successful. Siblings, parents, extended family and friends needed to be loving, kind, accepting and encouraging in order to build a strong bond with our spouse. But the longer I have been married, and the more marriages I witness at various stages of maturity, I’ve started realizing that what really makes a marriage work is what two people have between them, with or without outside influences.
Each of us are a combination of nurture and nature. Our parents’ values, ideals and priorities help mold us along the way, but ultimately we get to choose what to believe, whether it be religion, politics, careers or our mates. We get to surround ourselves with like-minded people, build a life that functions in accordance to our heart’s desire and eliminate the people or things that take away from our happiness.
Henry David Thoreau said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined.”
When I look at my marriage, I see two mature people committed to loving one another unconditionally, serving each other selflessly, communicating respectfully and protecting one another from negative outside influences. We have clung to each other for support and encouragement. The way we treat each other everyday is what makes our marriage work, because after all, one day our parents will be gone, our children will be grown and we will still have each other.
During my cousins’ reception this weekend, they had a couple’s dance. The DJ called out possible number of years people have been married. I watched as couple after couple began leaving the dance floor until only one was left. My aunt and uncle have been married for over 40 years, (42 I think was the “magic” number). My own parents have been married for 39 years, in fact. I know how much each couple loves their families, children and friends, but what really stands out to me is how much they love each other. Even if you stripped away all the other relationships in their lives, they would still be complete as long as they were together. They remind each other everyday how important they are to one another.
So how does DW remind me?
Before I left for my trip, I happened to mention I thrown out an old set of sheets for our bed that had finally bit the dust after ten years. We were now down to one pseudo nice set and one crummy set. I also asked him to please take a look at the shower head in our bathroom because it was acting crazy, spraying water everywhere but where you needed it to.
Last night, as I slid under the covers in my own bed, I was surprised to snuggle under a new set of sheets.
This morning I took a shower under a new shower head.