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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Celebrating Our First Decade...and Looking Forward to the Next Decade!


Celebrating ten years together!
So yesterday my wife and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary.  We did some simple things for the day, and had spent some special time celebrating last month.  Ten years.  It isn’t as long yet as either one of our first marriages, but it seems like a pretty significant milestone to me.  Especially considering where I started out…

In the midst of a divorce, there are lots and lots of emotions that can leave you pretty ragged and beat up.  After mine, I had serious doubts about whether or not I would ever consider getting married again.  Too much risk.  Too much hurt in the divorce.  Maybe too hard a task.  Maybe something I just wasn’t cut out for, and should just avoid.  But within a few years, I realized that I am the kind of person doesn’t really want to spend my life alone.  That I did want a life partner.  Even if it wasn’t easy, even if it was risky…I decided that one day I would try again.  And now, ten years later, I am glad I did.

I had good friends who had told me that just because the first marriage didn’t work out doesn’t mean that the second one won’t.  Some of them indicated that a second relationship could actually be significantly different from my previous experience.  I wasn’t sure I believed any of them.  Because I had also heard that although about 50% of first marriages end in divorce, it is something like 75% for second marriages and even higher rates after that.  So I was pretty cautious.  I was willing to do some dating, but before I would commit to marriage, I really wanted to be sure that I was in better shape, and that the relationship would be different and have some kind of chance of success.  And so, ten years later, I still feel good about the choice I made.  (And so far, so does she!—and that’s a good thing.)  

I like the fact that both of us believe that when you get married, you mean it…that you don’t expect things to be perfect and that your marriage commitment means you do your best to make it work.  So both of us try to do that.  I like the fact that we both have a great deal of admiration for the other, constantly finding things that amaze us about one another.  I like the fact that when problems arise, they are just that—problems;  they are NOT the end of the world or earth shaking crises…they are just problems to be solved.  I like that we enjoy wandering together, and doing simple things together.  

An individual staring a second marriage brings with him/her plenty of baggage, sometimes including step-children, sometimes including bruised and abused hearts (or, sadly, even bruised/abused bodies), sometimes financial challenges, sometimes ongoing entanglements, legal battles and other difficulties due to an ex, and frequently a person who has plenty to unlearn and relearn.  A particular phrase or gesture intended a certain way can have significantly different impact because of past experiences.  Tones of voices may be interpreted based on previous relationships, rather than the current one.  

I could probably go on and on about the things I like, and probably add some to the challenges second marriage brings.  But mainly, I just want to share a couple of things.  First, I am pretty pleased with our ten years together, I think it is a significant achievement and joy in my life, our lives.  Second, I want to affirm what friends of mine said long ago, that it can be different and a second chance can be a good thing.  Finally, I just want to offer some hope if you are a person who is feeling the loneliness or hopelessness of divorce.  Divorce does not mean your life is over, or that there no longer something to live for or that God no longer has a place for you.  There can be good things in the next chapters of your life.  Surprisingly good things.  Even if it doesn’t include remarriage (I know several people who prefer it that way for themselves).  

And if you are contemplating a second marriage (or beyond), I just want to encourage you that it can be a very good thing.  It may not always be easy, and you may not always have the answers, but it can be well worth everything you invest in it.  Just don’t get in a hurry.  Make wise choices in even starting the relationship.  Seek some godly counsel from those who care about you.  And step out in faith, knowing that God can guide your steps ONLY when you are moving your feet!  As for me, I’m looking forward to celebrating our 25th in a few years!!!

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