I don't know if anyone really knows the "secret" to a happy marriage. I suspect that it in fact is probably not just one big thing, but rather many small things. Whatever the secret is, my parents seem to know it.
Today my entire family gathered in Dubuque, IA to celebrate Christmas and our parents upcoming 40th wedding anniversary.
I am the oldest of seven children, all of whom have moved outside of Dubuque and many of whom have married and started their own families or will be starting them soon. Trying to negotiate the holidays among so many people and so many other family obligations has been difficult at best. This year it was impossible to get everyone home for Christmas.
When we started to discuss weekends and figured out that we would most likely need to meet in January my mother actually got very excited. We could celebrate their anniversary along with Christmas! Wouldn't that be great to have everyone home? And that I for sure had better be there since I was at their wedding (they found out they were pregnant with me right before their wedding).
Luckily my mother has never been much of a drinker and she was no where near far enough along to have to do some major wedding dress alterations, so it seemed that I did not hamper the wedding too much. Unfortunately I did manage to mess up their honeymoon. They were planning on going to Florida and right before their trip a flu outbreak occurred right where they were going to visit. They were advised avoid the flu risk and never ended up going on a honeymoon.
My siblings put our heads together and thought of a great anniversary present for them. We all put our money together and will send them on their "honeymoon" - they just need to tell us where they want to go.
It was very endearing watching my parents renew their vows. That after 40 years of marriage, seven children, job losses, sickness and health, they still love each other very much.
If I am only partially as lucky, I will have lived a happy and fulfilled life.