This past weekend (on April 26), I had the opportunity to celebrate my first year of marriage to my wife, Tania.
As the weekend progressed and we were out doing things together such as shopping for flowers and having the celebratory anniversary dinner, I couldn’t help but think about what we were celebrating.
At the same time, I also began to wonder if everyone else who has an anniversary - whether it’s their first or their 50th - thinks about what they are celebrating when they give that symbolic gift or sit down for a nice, quiet dinner together.
I decided that one of the best ways to mark my anniversary each year would be to think of all the things my wife and I accomplished in the previous year, kind of as a nice reflection on the way we have not only succeeded, but also grown together.
For example, I can say that without a doubt, I have become a much more patient person in my first year of marriage than I was even in the three and a half years that my wife and I dated.
In some situations where I knew exactly what I meant and she was having trouble understanding, I had to maintain patience and understanding while I continued to explain until she knew where I was coming from. The same is true of situations from her to me, in which I had a hard time understanding where she was coming from.
Then there is the selflessness of marriage. I’ve heard people say that you never realize how selfish you are until you have a child, which I’m sure is true. However, I think this could also easily apply to a marriage relationship.
Over the last year, I’ve had to learn how to put my wife and well-being of the both of us before myself, which is harder to do than one might think.
More and more I find myself considering what would benefit my wife in a certain situation instead of what would benefit just me. What would she like to do today? I know I would like to eat here or see that movie, but what would she like?
It’s easy to be self-centered, but much harder to be other-centered, which I think is essential to my marriage or any other marriage for that matter.
Then there are the easier things to recall: the funny moments where we both ended up laughing at each other, the times we spent with friends and together. The holidays that we spent with our new families. The days we spent taking care of each other while sick. The list could go on.
However you choose to celebrate your next anniversary, try taking a moment to remember what the previous year did for your marriage. When we reflect on the things that we have learned - especially about ourselves and our relationships - our ability to sustain both becomes that much more refined and special.
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