Last week I had dinner with two couples who had, between them, experienced decades of "wedded bliss."
Both couples had been married for many years, and truly seemed happy.
Each couple had been together since high school and had raised several grown children.
I asked one of the women (whose twin daughters--the last of their four children--graduated this past Sunday) why she thought her marriage had been so successful.
"Honesty." She replied. She told me that she and her husband had never been afraid to discuss the truth, no matter how painful it might be.
I enjoyed watching these couples interact; enjoyed seeing their comfort with one another.
Enjoyed the fact that I was sitting with people who had known the longevity possible in love.
Today would have been my twentieth wedding anniversary.
I, too, had the benefit of a long relationship.
Though it ended in divorce, I don't regret the majority of the years we spent together.
My regret is that we stopped being able to discuss painful truths with one another.
When we experienced job loss (mine) and financial difficulty, we found ourselves at a stalemate.
In retrospect, I believe that our lack of discussion was an attempt to protect one another from the pain of a very challenging reality.
A misguided attempt this ultimately proved to be, though well-intended.
Love--long, deep, committed love--requires honesty.
My successful years of marriage taught me this. As did my divorce.
On this anniversary of my wedding, I celebrate the possibility of long love.
And of honesty. Painful though it can be.
Cheers to those couples who understand this necessity, and continue to make it work.
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