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  • Writer's pictureEmily Taylor

From Newlyweds to Seasoned Pros: Reflecting on 19 Years of Marriage

Nineteen years ago, today, I got married.

I was young, definitely. I had all the naivete, impetuousness, and optimism of that age. And, looking back on it, I would never recommend anyone do what we did. We got married less than a year after dating, we had both just come out of bad relationships, and he had 4 kids already.

There were so many red flags it could have been a Lenin Convention.

But, while we knew all that, we also ignored all that. 19 years ago, we celebrated with our families. We shared in love and joy with people we cared for, and some of whom are no longer with us. And we all came together and made that wedding magical. Even after 19 years, people still comment on how much fun it was. I agree, and that was entirely because we all worked together to make it wonderful.

And after the wedding, came the rest of life. And, it’s not been easy. We’ve dealt with so much hardship together. Job losses, family court issues, toxic exes, poverty.... We used to joke that it would be nice when we got to the “For Better” and “For Richer” part of the vows. (That’s still a work in progress.) But the key to that was we did all of the hard stuff together.

When people say “Marriage is hard,” they aren’t wrong, but it’s also a trite and misleading phrase. It’s not the marriage that’s difficult, it’s just life in general. Marriage adds a new layer to the regular difficulties because you now have to care and balance someone else’s wants and needs and prioritize those aside from your own. You have to want for another person the same as you want for yourself. In everything.

Which is why when I look at where we started from, the deeply personal issues we each had as we came into the relationship, I am amazed. But, I think it helped that we were open about those issues. We acknowledged very early on that we were individually broken in many ways, but somehow our broken parts just worked well together. And it worked.

It took effort, don’t get me wrong. We went to marital therapy when things got hard early on. That taught us some basic communication stuff (that we still use to this day), and that also got us through some very difficult, very dark times. It was work, it was effort, but it didn’t FEEL like it. And even the hard stuff didn’t feel quite as hard because we were in it together.

We were madly in love 19 years ago. We made wild promises that you expect from the passions of youth. But every day we have also made the choice to work together as a team towards those promises. Every year, on this day, we take time to do a “State of the Relationship” discussion. What’s working, what isn’t (if anything), what our goals are as a couple and as parents. We talk about what the hard things for us are individually that we feel may be impacting the relationship. And, I feel like we make sure that we grow as people and that we grow in the same direction. And that effort has contributed to us being madly in love now.

So, I look back over the 19 years, and I wholeheartedly know that I would choose him again. Through the highs and lows, with all the laughter and the tears, even knowing everything, I would absolutely say I do again. Every part of my life is enriched in some way because of him.

Happy 19th, my heart. Here’s to 190 more.

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