This I Believe

Paul - portland, Oregon
Entered on October 19, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: love

Sometimes I’m tempted to repeat sarcastic jokes about marriage. Sometimes I do repeat them, but I should know better. You see, I really do believe in marriage. Not just in the idea or in the institution; I believe in MY marriage.

My wife’s folks divorced when she was 5 and mine when I was 21. We both have no right to expect a happy marriage. Or so we thought… I mean, marriage is hard work and true honest to goodness effort and requires the patience of Job, the love and kindness of Mother Theresa and biting your tongue is key and on and on… Worse than all of this hard work, for me, was the belief in the back of my mind that happy marriages are for those who’ve been trained by growing up in a happy home. So what right did I have even thinking that WE could make it?

Well, we HAVE made it for 22 years and I wonder; why are we still going strong in spite of our lack of training and the additional demands of raising 6 children? As I ponder this question, one thing comes to mind, but it’s so simple I wonder if it could really be the key?

Friday Night dates! Alone. Just us two. (Going out with other couples is fun, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.)

I still come home from work most every Friday eve, knock on the door and ask her if she’s ready to go out. She’s never quite ready, and so I wait. Yes, I still open the car door for her. If I don’t, she stands there and waits until I show some chivalry, just as she was taught to do in some dating etiquette forum she attended as a teenager. Somehow this weekly dating ritual has created the feel of an ongoing 22 year courtship! Sometimes we have money to spend on dinner or a movie, sometimes we spend nothing. We go for a walk, a hike, a swim, or drive to a scenic lookout and make out just like we did when we were 20! At 44, it feels good to have someone that still wants to go out, and make out, with me! (Lest I make it sounds too good to be true, I will confess that we’ve even had an argument or two during these dates!)

So have I found the secret to a happy marriage? I don’t really know.

But in this I believe; I believe in my marriage and I believe that Friday night dates have helped to make it great.