As I went to sleep last night, I resolved to write a post this morning in celebration of Nancy, my loving wife and friend, and our marriage. Yet, as I sit to write this morning, I realize that my celebration can bring haunting regrets to the minds of others.
And so, while I count my blessings — and they are many, I want to pen a few words to those who have suffered in relationships.
1. All relationships have tough passages.
And many, unfortunately, don’t survive. But in those that do, one element emerges consistently. The individuals involved never lose sight of their friendship. It may be stretched and it may be strained. In fact, if may be so stressed that it never is the same again. But the friendship remains.
2. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence — and it has to be cut more often.
Everything good in life requires maintenance. If your past relationships have suffered, look first to learn from the experience. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just be honest. And if you find yourself a little envious of others in their relationships, remember, they have to work intentionally for their apparent bliss.
3. Sometimes, it’s just not within your control.
I’ve had friends come to me and say, “What could I have done differently?” And while there’s always room to improve, sometimes you just can’t do enough. The relationship simply isn’t a fit — or at least not in the way you desire. And sometimes the other person simply can’t invest in the relationship to the extent needed. If that happens, it’s natural to mourn your loss. But investing in wholesome ways in other relationships is the best way to restore your life.
4. The best friendships evolve.
I’m certain there are exceptions. Yet, as I look around, the most solid friendships and marriages have gained strength and momentum slowly. They certainly have good times to point to. But more often, they are rock-solid because of the troubles that have been experienced, weathered, and worked-through. These things take time.
And finally . . .
Nancy and I pray for happiness for each and every one of you. Our marriage is far from perfect. From my view, that’s primarily because I am far from perfect. But today, on my 37th anniversary, I am blessed to say that I am married to my best friend. And I am blessed.