The First 25 Years of Marriage

“Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see
And I’ll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me”
– Bruce Springsteen, If I Should Fall Behind

Being married for 25 years seems like a long time, and at once like no time at all. If you’re looking for secrets to successful marriages, well, the Springsteen song above is a great starting point. It was our wedding song, and set the tone for infinite patience and helping each other stay in stride for year upon year. But ultimately both dance partners need to be in step if a marriage is going to work. And I’ve been very lucky in that respect.

Arriving at the first 25 years of marriage, you look back and see the hurdles along the way. Money and raising young children test you early on. Careers and the demands of older children test you later on. And then empty nesting and figuring out what’s next tests you after that. And then the nest fills back up in a pandemic and you’re back at it again, figuring things out as you always have. Simple, right? Nope. But worth the effort.

You tell yourself that the next 25 will be easier, but there are other challenges ahead. Children moving to faraway places, the health and well-being of family and friends and each other. Choices about where to live and how to live in retirement, if you ever get there. So you keep shoring up that foundation, work to shore it up when it crumbles a little bit here and there. And then keep building this castle higher and higher into the sky to see how far you can go.

Life is funny and you and I know what this world can do. We build layer-upon-layer, year-upon-year. They say there’s magic up there in the clouds, but you and I know it’s really in the foundation. The climbing and the building continue. I’ll wait for you, and if I should fall behind, wait for me. Keep climbing. And that, friends, is the secret.

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